Mitre joints are common woodworking joints that are used to join two pieces of wood together at 90° angles. These joints are commonly used around doorways and skirting boards.
In this post, we’ll explore how to cut skirting boards with a mitre saw with a compound, or if you don’t own one of these power tools, a manual mitre saw.
Understanding a Mitre Cut
To create a mitre joint, you need two pieces of wood cut at 45° angles which are then butted together for form the perfect 90° turn. In general, mitre cuts are used to form the joints where pieces of skirting board meet in the corner of a room. These aren’t the strongest timber joints, so they aren’t perfect for bearing load or pulling forces.
To cut and form a mitre joint, you can either use a mitre block, and jack saw, or a compound mitre saw. If you don’t own a compound mitre saw, you can use a mitre block and handsaw. Compound mitre saws, however, tend to be more accurate and precise than manual mitre saws since they were designed for cutting timber at a variety of angles.
To form a mitre joint, you need to measure the length of the section of wall you’re working with and then cut the skirting board to that exact length. Next, cut a 45° bevel at each end. The next piece of skirting board’s bevel needs to be cut in the opposite direction to form the 90° joint with the piece of skirting you’ve already cut.
It’s essential to keep tabs on which side of the timber the bevel needs to be cut (front or rear-facing side) and whether you’re using it for an internal or external mitre joint. In general, internal mitre joints require you to cut the front face of the wood, and the rear is generally for external mitre joints.
Cutting Skirting Boards with a Manual Mitre Saw
If you don’t regularly go the DIY route when it comes to woodwork, a mitre block and handsaw is your cheapest solution to cut mitre joints accurately. To use it, you’ll place a piece of wood inside the uprights of the mitre block and slot your handsaw down into the pre-cut slots at the angle you want to cut your mitre joint. Here’s how to perform the cut:
Measure and mark your wood – The first thing you need to do is to measure and mark the cutting position on your piece of wood.
Position your mitre block on a solid surface – With your cutting point marked, place your mitre block on a stable work surface.
Place the wood inside the mitre block and clamp it down – Ensure that your mark lines up with the correct slot on the bottom edge of the mitre block.
Insert your saw and make the cut – Insert the cutting edge of the saw blade down into the slot of the mitre clock and start cutting. Once you’ve cut through the wood, unclamp and remove it from the mitre block.
Cutting Skirting Boards with a Compound Mitre Saw
If you regularly tackle DIY projects, a compound mitre saw is an essential tool to have in your workshop. These power tools are much more accurate than manual mitre saws (mitre block and handsaw) and will save you a ton of time and energy when compared to tackling skirting the manual way. Here’s how to cut mitre joints with a compound mitre saw:
Measure and mark – Just like using the manual method, you’ll need to measure and mark your wood before performing any cuts.
Set the angle on the mitre saw – With your cutting point marked, set your mitre saw up to cut at a 45° angle. Simply unlock the handle at the front of the saw and turn the scale until the indicator reaches 45°.
Position the wood – Place your piece of wood on the flat table of the mitre saw and push it up to the fence. Move the wood until your cutting point is directly over the centre of the blade recess on the table.
Cut the first piece of the joint – With the proper safety measures in place (safety goggles, etc.), you’re ready to get cutting. Press the power switch on the handle to start the saw and use your thumb to press the handle release. Lower the blade down to the piece of wood while using your other hand to hold the wood against the fence, so it doesn’t move.
Rinse and repeat – With your first piece of wood cut at 45°, repeat the steps above for the remaining 45° angle that can be used to form your mitre joint.
By now, you should have a good understanding of how to cut skirting boards with a mitre saw. Even though it might be cheaper to use a mitre block and handsaw (manual mitre saw) to cut skirting boards, a compound mitre saw is much more accurate and will save you loads of time and energy.