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O/T Need Info on Miter Saws

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Easystreet, Sep 28, 2010.

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  1. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Educate me about miter saws. I know very little about them and probably won't use it more than once or twice per year. I'm not even sure what I want to use one for except to occasionally cut a board of some kind. I might, on occasion, want to use it to shorten a gun stock.

    I definitely don't plan on taking up woodworking as a hobby or doing any major repair or building jobs. It's just that on rare occasions I would like to be able to cut a board neatly and make a square and neat cut.

    So what is the cheapest one that would do the job for me? Also, what size blade and what amps do I need?

    Thanks,

    Easystreet
     
  2. wayneo

    wayneo Active Member

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    Most power miter saws are used for very precise crosscuts on trim, and molding. You can use them for some framing work, but a circular saw would be more economical. Most of the carpenters on our jobs use Makita, DeWalt, and Milwaukees. Between $400 and $650 depending on features. I don't know about cutting stocks, but a good circular saw is about all most people need, unless you want to be a Trim Carpenter.

    BTW, I wouldn't use a circular saw to cut a stock.

    Wayne
     
  3. W.P.T.

    W.P.T. TS Member

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    I picked up a Delta Miter saw at Harbor Freight, works great and very precise ... I'm guessing but seem to recall I paid about $99.00 for the thing ... If you make a jig to hold and steady the stock I would imagine the saw would work fine to shorten a gun stock ... I use it as a cut off saw for a lot of lumber and it works really well .... The blade is what makes the saw ... WPT ... (YAC) ...
     
  4. hrosik123

    hrosik123 Member

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    There are lots of choices when it comes to miter saws. Miter, compound, and compound slides. Lots of choices on blade sizes. I have a DeWalt 12" compound slide that cost around 650 back in the day. Great saw for anything I want to use it for. If you're gonna buy any power tool I suggest that You buy the best you can afford at the time. Good luck Chuck Hrosik
     
  5. shot410ga

    shot410ga Well-Known Member

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    The miter saw is the most used piece of power equipment in my shop. Second would be the band saw.
     
  6. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    I have been using a Dewalt for the past few months and it will do work that a lot of others won't. It ain't cheap but I think it's the best. I leave my Craftman and Ryobi at home now. Jackie B.
     
  7. dhip

    dhip Active Member

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    Just bought a Hitachi 12" for 199,100 off plus got a brad nailer free with it.Until it I was using a Craftsman 10"

    Doug H.
     
  8. skeeljc

    skeeljc Supporting Vendor Supporting Vendor

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    I have cut stocks with a 12" miter saw. Use a finish blade with 100+ teeth. Put tape on the breakout side and go slow. Use spacer blocks to support the stock on the saw.

    Jim Skeel
     
  9. WS-1

    WS-1 Banned User Banned

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    I've been in millwork and carpentry almost all of my life and I'll be 65 in December. I have all my fingers because I was trained by professionals. Unless your macho index is off the charts, forget the miter saw. In my years around the bench, I've seen more than one finger on the shop floor.

    Kit
     
  10. WS-1

    WS-1 Banned User Banned

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    APrice,

    I'm probably just being overprotective. One of the dangers of a chop saw is the relationship of the overhead blade and blade gaurd to a small back fence. Small, thin trim cuts can get caught between the work and the opening in the fence and kick back. If fingers are close to the work because the operator is not concentrating, there is an opportunity for injury. The new compound, radial arm miter saws seem to broaden the exposure to injury because of the ability of a rapidly turning blade to grab the work and run the overhead motor/blade assembly quickly toward the operator.

    If I sounded overbearing, I am sorry. Miter saws are good shop tools but it is my opinion that they should be bolted to a work bench and that table/fence extensions should be permanently added on either side so the operator can hold the material to be cut with hands that are as far away from the blade as possible.

    We used to joke that the definition of a craftsman was "a man who still had all of his fingers."

    Regards,Kit

    P.S. People who are new to miter saws sometimes have trouble making logical decisions about which hand to hold the work with and which hand to chop with. Because angles are involved, there is often a need to chop with your non-dominant hand and hold the work with the dominant hand. On other occasions, just the opposite is true. Some men are not immediately ambidextrous, and in that split second where a lack of training and practice on the tool can be critical, bad things can happen.
     
  11. numa

    numa TS Member

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    A miter saw is VERY useful if you are doing things like, finish trim and such. The ability to quickly cut the 'open' of a piece of crown before I cope it is invaluable, it's great for trimming pices to fit, it truly is a fantastic time saver.

    HOWEVER, as has been said before, they can be very dangerous, especially with unsupported work wanting to move freely back into the blade, this is how you lose fingers. bolting a miter saw to a bench is a great option, but a big waste of bench space (besides it is often neccesary to have large amounts of clear space left and right of the saw if you working with large pieces, like 16' finish trim). My advice would be to get the best MITER SAW BENCH/Stand you can, and get perhaps a slightly cheaper saw.
    I use a 12" Craftsman Professional saw, with a the craftsman professional portable miter saw bench. It provides the ability to support a 12' piece of lumber, has guides to keep the material from rotating, has clamps, etc. It even folds up and is roll around able. Rigid and Dewalt also make GREAT stands (probably better than mine) and I would recommend you buy a good quality stand right off the bat. Yes you are going to be into this thing for some decent money.

    I don't like the 'slider' saws at all, as what you lose in repeatability is the whole reason you are using a miter saw at all.

    The key is to remember that a miter saw does NOT replace a good radial arm. The nice thing is, radial arms have fallen deeply out of favor, and one can aquire a nice older dewalt or craftsman for under $200 in great condition on craigslist. And since you have a fancy miter saw for your compound crosscuts, it doesn't even have to be a compound radial arm. Between my radial, my miter, and my table saw, I am totally satisfied with the projects I have to do. Just finished laying 1200 square feet of hardwood red oak unfinished flooring, and that miter saw was used for every single row. Hope this helps, Kris B.
     
  12. Pull & Mark

    Pull & Mark Well-Known Member

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    Easystreet, First off when using a miter box never,never ever cross your hands while cutting on the saw. This is how you will cut your fingers,or hand off. Next for what you want a 10 inch machine will work fine. It will need 12 amps or better for power. You can get away with a 60 tooth blade as opposed to a 96 tooth blade in a 12 inch blade for the same smooth finish. A good finish blade will run you around one dollar per tooth. A Sears made saw should do you just fine, The Dewalts or the Hitachi's are more the norm in const. Good Luck and Break-em all. Jeff
     
  13. Easystreet

    Easystreet Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the good advice.

    Easystreet
     
  14. ricks1

    ricks1 TS Member

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    WS1 is full of BS and he aint been around saws . Radials are is the worst
    and you dont cut from back to front with a compound miter.
    the bigger the blade the deeper the cut
    a 8in will do a gun stock
    a 10in will cut about 3in a 12in will cut 4in so what you need to look at is what you think is largest cut you will make.
    And as said above blade is what makes the saw
     
  15. WS-1

    WS-1 Banned User Banned

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    Ricks,

    1. Sears Craftsman 7.5 Radial Arm Miter Saw

    2. Bosch 3915 10 inch Silde Compound Miter Saw

    3. Festool Kapex KS 120 EB Sliding Compound Miter Saw

    Does that sound like BS?

    GFY.

    Kit Thomas
     
  16. phirel

    phirel TS Member

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    Kris B- I have done a lot of trim work and I was impressed with your post. I suspect few understood your comment about "opening a piece of crown before you cope it". Only real trim men use coping saws anymore and few homeowners understand that if dry wall is finished, none of the corners will be square.


    Pat Ireland
     
  17. maka

    maka Member

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    I have done wood working ,(mainly furniture grade) for 20yrs. I would suggest you purchase a good veriable, osillating, hand scroll saw. I have trimed a number of my own stocks,(kids) with one. Make shure to tape stock all around with 2" masking tape, use a very fine blade. Take a set of dividers and scribe original stock edge onto tape. Then simply follow line. If you go slow you can maintain the oiginal pitch with no break outs. Good Luck!!!
     
  18. cubancigar2000

    cubancigar2000 Well-Known Member

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    No matter what tool you select I would keep an eye on Craigslist. I am looking for some things so have been watching it regularly and there is a lot of power tools on there including Dewalt
     
  19. JerryP

    JerryP Active Member

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    Easystreet, keep your trigger finger on top of the saw so, at least, you won't lose that finger. Won't need all your fingers to hold the forearm.
     
  20. Shotgunbutch

    Shotgunbutch Member

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    I loaned my neighbor my Hitachi compound sliding miter saw on a Saturday.
    Sunday after noon he came over with his hand in a huge bandage. Yes he cut off the end of his finger.
    I still like my saw.

    Arnie
     
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