In this post, I’ll share my favorite tips and tricks for making accurate miter saw cuts. This includes making accurate cuts from a measurement as well as making accurate duplicate cuts. Making the perfect cut means less waste, less frustration, and the best outcome for your project!
Accurate cuts are extremely important especially when you’re building things like carabiners, drawers, furniture, etc.
Even if you’re not constructing things, accurate cuts will help prevent material waste and will give any DIY project a professional look! especially when doing things like installing trim, shiplap, or other wall treatments.
The miter saw is a tool I consider “essential” even for the beginner. You can get away with a lot by just having a circular saw, but the miter saw is going to make all the difference when it comes to accurate cuts.
By the way, if you’re wondering what tools are worth investing in when just starting out, here’s an article I wrote about essential power tools.
Let’s jump in to these miter saw tips for making accurate cuts!
Tip #1: knowing where to position the blade
It seems simple but when I first started using my miter saw, I always lines up the blade in the middle of my marked measurement.
This is NOT going to give you an accurate measurement because the blade itself has depth.
You will want to line up your blade on the SIDE of the line.
First, measure the board or whatever you’re cutting. Then, determine which side is the one you’ll need to keep.
Line up the saw in the other side of that line (the waste side) so that the piece is exactly the full measurement.
Go slow and have patience with it. Sometimes I notice that if I’m rushing or I’m starting to get tired, my measurements aren’t as accurate. It’s worth stepping away from the project for a little while especially if you’re getting frustrated. As always, practice makes everything easier!
Here’s a closer look:
By the way, it goes without saying that any trick will not help you make accurate cuts if your measurement is off. Take the time to refresh your brain with how to read a tape measure (No shame! I had to remind myself especially when it came to the 8th measurements). You can buy a tape measure that has all the measurements marked for you to make it easier and I also love my laser measuring tool as well, especially when I have to bend the measuring tape to fit it in the space.
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Tip #2: cutting two boards at once
Depending on the size of your miter saw and the material you’re using you can cut two boards at once to ensure they are both exactly the same. This is important anytime having perfectly squared angles is required like building drawers or cabinets.
I like to use my clamp to hold the two boards together so they don’t shift while I position my miter saw blade.
Tip #3: using the first board to duplicate cuts
Sometimes the materials you’re using might be too thick for your miter saw blade. In this case, you can use the first cut to measure the next cuts.
The trick here is to always use the FIRST board that you’ve cut. That first cut essentially becomes a template and everything after that needs to follow. If you start using the last boards you cut, eventually you might notice they are no longer the same size as tiny shifts can start to happen.
Remember to make sure to line your saw up on the side of the line you make so that the width of the saw blade doesn’t subtract from your measurement.
Tip #4: Set up a stop block for duplicate cuts
Another trick for making accurate duplicate cuts is to use a stop block. You can easily create a stop block by clamping a piece of scrap material to your saw or to the table you’re working on. The scrap wood is secured in a spot that allows you to push your boards up against it and give you the measurement you need without having to re-measure. It can save a ton of time!
This becomes tricky when the cut is longer and your work surface isn’t very big (or you’re working on the ground) so I typical don’t use this method often.
Making Accurate Miter Saw Cuts is Easy!
Measurements and accurate cuts can seem very intimidating at first but once you nail this down, the doors swing wide open for the things you’ll be able to build!
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