So, what is a mitre saw? And what are the different types you should know about?
In this article we’ll be going through some vital information you need to know about mitre saws, highlighting what they’re best for and what different types of mitre saws you can opt to invest in.
What is a Hand/Manual Mitre Saw?
Before the dawn of power tools, carpenters and woodworkers relied on manual mitre boxes and backsaws to cut every kind of mitre and angle they needed for their work. But even though just about everyone and their uncle rely mostly on power mitre saws for angled cuts these days, a manual mitre saw can still come in handy, especially if you’re a DIYer that rarely cuts a mitre.
Mitre boxes can be as simple as a box made of wood or plastic fitted with a few cutting slots set at standard mitre angles like 45°, 22.5°, and 60°. The humble mitre box paired with a backsaw allows you to cut basic angles you’ll need for elementary jobs like installing wood trimmings or baseboards.
Some mitre boxes are made entirely out of metal and sport adjustable beds, allowing you to cut at just about any angle. These higher-end mitre boxes generally come with brackets that hold your saw blade in place during cutting and are an excellent choice for more refined crafts like picture framing.
What is a Chop Saw?
A chop saw isn’t technically a mitre saw because it doesn’t do angles, but since many folks use the term mitre saw and chop saw interchangeably, we felt like an explanation was in order. A chop saw is a power tool designed to cut wood accurately and precisely, but it’s only able to move straight up and down. Chop saws can therefore only make straight cuts. Mitre saws, on the other hand, can be adjusted to cut at a variety of different angles, making them a bit more versatile than chop saws.
What is a Compound Mitre Saw?
A compound mitre saw does all the tasks a standard chop saw can do, but with the added feature of being able to tilt the blade to one side to create another angle of cut. A compound mitre saw’s blade is mounted to the arm for a downward cutting motion. It can swing left and right, allowing you to make cross cuts, mitre cuts, bevel cuts, and compound cuts. If you plan to cut wood as opposed to metal, a standard compound mitre saw is the best entry tool for newbies to the mitre saw world.
What is a Sliding Compound Mitre Saw?
Just like the standard compound mitre saw, a sliding compound model can make cross, mitre, bevel, and compound cuts. The only difference between the two is that a sliding compound mitre saw sits on sliding rails which allows the saw to cut much wider widths of wood than a standard compound mitre saw. If you need to cut deeper (for example 1×12 or 12 x 12 lumber), the sliding compound mitre saw is your best bet. But if you need something more compact for greater portability, this isn’t the right saw for you.
What is a Dual Compound/Cross Cut Mitre Saw?
A dual compound mitre saw can make all the cuts a standard compound and sliding compound mitre saw can make, but it sports the added benefit of being able to flip to both sides, making opposite mitre cuts. A dual compound is an excellent option if you want to bevel cut crown and base flat in both directions. But this isn’t something you’ll do every day, and if you’re looking for something more economical, the sliding compound is a more affordable option.
After reading this article, we reckon you have a pretty clear understanding of what a mitre saw is and what the differences between manual and compound mitre saws are. You should also have a good idea of what sets sliding compound mitre saws apart from standard compound mitre saws and where dual compound mitre saws come in handy.