Compound mightier saw

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Forum topic by electricalD posted 02-21-2013 12:50 AM 1657 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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116 posts in 2947 days

02-21-2013 12:50 AM

Hello everyone,
I am new to woodworking and soon to start purchasing the big tools for my shop. The first is a saw stop table saw. I was thinking about all the bigger tools and was wondering. Is there really a need for a compound mitre saw? If I have a table saw and I already got a Festool TS55 Plunge Cut saw, is a mitre saw justified? I see most people have either one on a bench or on some manufactured device. Your thoughts.


-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

28 replies so far

View muleskinner's profile


896 posts in 2274 days

#1 posted 02-21-2013 01:18 AM

All I can tell you is that they’re great for cutting compound miters. :) I’ve always had at least a radial arm saw so have never had to depend solely on a table saw for miters and am glad of that. I have a SCMS now and I have no problem justifying it.

-- Visualize whirled peas

View crank49's profile


4026 posts in 2809 days

#2 posted 02-21-2013 01:28 AM

I think I may be in the minority here, but I find a miter saw very useful. I also do not like using a crosscut sled on the table saw. So there are two prefferences that run counter to the general trends here on LJ.

For me, a miter saw is the best way to get perfect, square or mitered cross cuts in long stock.
It’s safe, fast and repeatable.

The only time I revert to the table saw is when I have to cut something that is wider than 6” because that’s the limit of my miter saw.

I know that a sliding compound miter saw would increase that capacity to 12”, but those saws are too expensive for my taste. and a RAS would have even more capacity, but those things scare the hell out of me.

So, for me it’s my simple 10” miter saw for almost all short or long, and narrow cross cuts and table saw or band saw for everything else. If I had it to do again I might go with a 12” miter saw.

Now, if I had a Festool plunge saw, I might have a different perspective. but I just like the simplicity of plopping a 10ft board up on the mitersaw bench and sliding it through and chopping off the parts for my cut list and then moving on to the next station.

View Manitario's profile


2564 posts in 2721 days

#3 posted 02-21-2013 03:40 AM

I have a mitre saw and I use it pretty much every time I woodwork. It is great for cutting wood to its final dimensions. I have my MS set up carefully so it is as accurate as my TS and way quicker to crosscut something to length.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View JesseTutt's profile


853 posts in 1948 days

#4 posted 02-21-2013 03:43 AM

Like Manitario I have a accurate miter saw and use it for most cross cuts. On extremely precise cuts on small pieces I will use a sled.

-- Jesse, Saint Louis, Missouri

View DKV's profile


3940 posts in 2342 days

#5 posted 02-21-2013 04:08 AM

Jesse, can you give me an example of extremely precise cuts on small pieces? Thanks

-- This is a Troll Free zone.

View runswithscissors's profile


2564 posts in 1863 days

#6 posted 02-21-2013 04:26 AM

The longer the stock, the more preferable is the miter saw. Really long pieces are difficult to move accurately and steadily for crosscuts on the TS.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View RVroman's profile


163 posts in 1862 days

#7 posted 02-21-2013 04:31 AM

Another vote for the table saw and the compound miter saw. I use both quite often. I also agree with Jesse that when I have to do small accurate pieces (such as for a segmented bowl) I find the table saw with an Incra miter gauge more accurate than the miter saw.

-- Robert --- making toothpicks one 3x3x12 blank at a time!

View Grandpa's profile


3258 posts in 2513 days

#8 posted 02-21-2013 04:35 AM

You will get as many different opinions as there are people answering. I have 2 miter saws and 5 table saws. I seldom use more than 2 of them. I have a 12 inch compound miter saw, a 9 inchmiter saw and I use them a good bit. I am about to set up a radial arm saw too. I do like collecting tools. The miter saws have their place but if you are cutting small pieces of wood you don’t want your gingers down there near that 12 inch blade. On the other hand it is difficult to slide wood on a table and keep thing accurate. I think you can get a good sled the table saw is good for angles too. If you need to adjust the cut 1 degree then you better have a real good sled and be able to adjust it by the degree. I think it is a matter of preference and wht you can learn to do. You need to learn to use your tools. Often it depends on wht you started with. That is the go to tool.

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Monte Pittman

27087 posts in 2176 days

#9 posted 02-21-2013 06:46 AM

I personally wouldn’t be without a good miter saw. Maybe it’s just cause I always have had one. I don’t like doing small parts on table saw.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Nighthawk's profile


554 posts in 2194 days

#10 posted 02-21-2013 07:17 AM

My compound sliding mitre saw is the work horse in my basement… it will gets used on every project and does most cuts except ripping the longer lengths…

However as said before every shop is different… you need to know what you will be making and the stood stock you have to use to make it from… Then add in budget, space in your shop…

For a long time I was with out a table saw… I just used a straight egde and a circular saw to do the same thing… There are many different ways of doing the same thing using different tools…

-- Rome wasn't built in a day... but I wasn't on that job? ...

View oldnovice's profile


6433 posts in 3205 days

#11 posted 02-21-2013 07:22 AM

If you have the room, buy a good!
They are very useful and sometimes it’s easier to move the blade than the wood!

-- "I never met a board I didn't like!"

View Purrmaster's profile


915 posts in 1931 days

#12 posted 02-21-2013 08:33 AM

Miter saws are great. It’s true that you can do most of the things on a table saw that you can do on a miter saw.

I’ve got both and I use the miter saw all the time. It’s faster and easier to set up a crosscut on the miter saw than the table saw, especially on long pieces. Slapping a board on the miter saw and giving it a quick chop is much faster than setting up the table saw.

I also think a miter saw is generally safer. Because there is pretty much always a guard between you and the blade on the miter saw.

Once you have a miter saw you’ll find yourself using it constantly.

View shelly_b's profile


850 posts in 1955 days

#13 posted 02-21-2013 09:15 AM

First I want to say that I am very jealous that you are just starting and already have a saw stop AND festool plunge cut saw:) I started a year ago and still have all the same craigs list tools I bought then…anyway, my compound miter gets use with pretty much every project. It really speeds things up. I would def get one if I were you. Esp if you make a station, then you don’t have to set up a place to stick a board to safely cut with a circ. saw. Good luck!

View Jamie Speirs's profile

Jamie Speirs

4167 posts in 2694 days

#14 posted 02-21-2013 09:35 AM

I’ve the lot, TS, RAS, Wall mounted panelsaw, various chop & compound miter saws
all get used reguarly even my portable circular saw.
So I have the choice for most cuts, you wont regret adding the Miter saw to your collection
especially when you have a project requiring many set up changes. Just make sure you get a
12” crosscut and the facility to do dado’s
my 2p worth (UK = 2c)

-- Who is the happiest of men? He who values the merits of others, and in their pleasure takes joy, even as though 'twere his own. --Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

View knotscott's profile


7787 posts in 3213 days

#15 posted 02-21-2013 09:58 AM

My CMS collects dust unless I’m cutting very long boards or molding that I can’t do on the TS. A good TS setup is inherently more accurate than a CMS. That’s not saying that it can’t be accurate enough, or that it doesn’t have any use….just saying that mine gets a lot less use than the TS.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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