Miter Saw / November 11, 2018 / Pernilla Lund.
I quickly realized that the tool of choice would be a compound miter saw especially when tackling the crown moldings. I had suffered through a bookcase project a year earlier using a manual miter box and back saw to produce the crown molding trim on several built-in bookcases. There was no way I wanted to repeat that experience! My wife eager to see the remodeling project underway readily agreed to a new saw purchase. A Saw By Any Other Name Miter (or mitre) saws are designed to make angled cuts in wood stock by pulling a circular blade down in a plunging motion. This action gives the saws their nicknames of "drop saws" or "chop saws." A further refinement the compound miter saw can cut both an angle and a bevel simultaneously removing the need for a "work-and-turn" motion when making an angled cut that will smoothly join to another piece of trim or molding. The double action cut is possible because the motor is attached to a pivoting post which allows the blade to swing both side to side and at an angle to the workpiece.
I. Compound Miter Saws On a compound miter saw the blade moves in three general directions. First the blade moves up and down in a chopping motion. Second the blade moves about 45-degrees to the left and right for miter cuts and lastly the blade will lean either to the left or to the left and right to perform bevel and double bevel cuts. Although compound miter saws are typically more portable and less expensive than sliding compound miter saws they also have less capacity for wider boards. Most often a compound miter saw will be unable to through-cut a wide board with a single pass. II. Sliding Compound Miter Saws A sliding compound miter saw does all of the things a compound miter saw does while also adding a few more things to the pot.
A distinguishing characteristic of a miter saw is the rounded miter index that allows the angle of the blade to be changed relative to the "fence" the bar that holds your stock in place. The protractor-shaped index often has pre-designated "stops" so you can quickly swing the saw head to the angle you want and lock it in place. The Makita LS1040 has nine stops: four to the left and right and the 90-degree straight cut setting. I had previously used a friends mitre saw at a job site and had experienced some trouble with the grip which didnt fit my hand very well. So that was definitely one of the features I considered before choosing the Makita. My new saw has a vertical grip design with a thumb-activated safety switch that lets me use the saw comfortably with either hand. The large paddle trigger is easy to squeeze no matter how Im holding the handle. Motor and Blade Brake There are a number of motor sizes used in miter saws. The LS1040 has a 15-amp motor which is one of the larger motors found on this size of compound mitre saws. Ive found that I can easily cut through tough hardwoods with this powerful motor.
This is incredible handy and especially helpful when cutting molding. Miter saws are available with one one bevel (single bevel blade tilts to the left) and two bevels (dual or double bevel blade tilts to the left and right). In order to make a bevel cut in the opposite direction single bevel saws require that stock be flipped end for end (which can be a pain). Double bevel saws on the other end offer simple bevels to both the left and right. While double bevel miter saws are more expensive the price difference (about $50 - $100) is almost negligible if you use the feature.