Popular Woodworking 2001-10 № 124, страница 41

Popular Woodworking 2001-10 № 124, страница 41

mitersaws

Contractors call them 'chop saws' — an unfair name for this accurate and versatile tool.

Unlike many kinds of tools, you can find the same miter saw in a carpenter's truck, a trim carpenter's van and the assembly area of a high-end cabinetshop. Miter saws are capable of everything from rough crosscutting to shaving airtight miters. It's all in how you set up and use the tool.

For woodworking, you can tune up the saw's fence and equip your saw with extra wings and adjustable stops and you'll have a tool that's capable of great accuracy and repeatability.

If you're in the market for a miter saw, there's a lot to consider. These tools are priced anywhere from about

$100 to $700 — about the price of a decent table saw. It's easy to buy too little or too much tool in this category. To make sure you don't buy the wrong saw, you've got match the tool to the task. The first step is to choose from the three major types of saws.

• Standard miter saws. These saws make crosscuts and miters anywhere between 45° (or more) and 0° to the left and right. These saws are available with a blade between and 15" in diameter. Most woodworkers need to bevel the blade for compound miters occasionally, so these saws are usually not versatile enough for woodworking.

SHOPPING GUIDELINES

for miter saws

• Buy the saw in your price range that can cut the widest board.

• Are you a woodworker? Then don't buy a saw without a carbide blade.

• Saws that can miter past 45° are preferable to those that don't. Also, saws that bevel past 45° are better, too.

• Don't sweat the motor; all the saws we've tested are powerful enough.

• Compound saws are preferable to straight miter saws.

Sliding compound miter saws (far left) offer amazing cut capacities in a small package but at a big price. Straight miter saws are a bare-bones bargain, but their heads cannot bevel.

• Compound miter saws. For a

few bucks more, buy a saw that makes crosscuts and miters — plus the head bevels to 45° or more to the left, right or in both directions. The bevel feature is great for cutting compound miters, like those needed for crown moulding or undercutting miters for a super-tight fit. These saws are available with a blade between 81/4" and 12" in diameter. The 10" saws will cut 6 x material (a little less than 6"). The 12" saws cut 8 x stock (or usually about 8").

• Sliding compound miter saws. At the top of the heap is this saw, which has the saw head mounted on a sliding carriage. This allows you to crosscut and miter boards up to 12" wide on many models. These saws are available with a blade between 71/2" and 12" in diameter. All of the sliding models cut both miters and bevels.

The key here is to buy as much cutting capacity as you possibly can. If you purchase a 10" compound saw, you are probably going to be a little miffed the first time you want to crosscut a 7"-wide board. And if you buy a 10" saw first, then upgrade later to a 12", you will have spent enough money to buy a sliding compound miter saw.

Miter and Bevel Range

All miter saws swing 45° to the left and right, but some go a couple degrees further. We like these machines because they help you fine-tune your miters — especially when you're working in a corner or on a case that isn't square.

You also want your saw to lock in at common miter settings, such as 0°, 221/2° and 45°. These stops, called

10 Popular Woodworking October 2001

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