Mitre Saws Buying Guide
More accurate than a hand saw, more compact than a table saw – the power mitre saw is extremely versatile and very fast. It excels at any cut where accuracy is required and a precise angle is essential. Decks, flooring, window frames, furniture, door frames and more come together much more easily when you use a power mitre saw.
Canadian Tire offers three different types of mitre saws:Compound Mitre Saw:
- Well suited for cutting materials, such as mouldings, that require a greater amount of clearance between the top of the table and the blade
- The head can be tilted in one direction so you can make a cut that’s simultaneously mitered and beveled (cut with a slanted edge)
- Useful for picture frames, crown moulding or any project that requires angled cuts in two planes
- A little more expensive than the chop saw, but this model enables you to make compound cuts in one pass
- A single bevel compound mitre saw is able to make single bevel cuts on one side of the work piece
- A dual bevel compound mitre saw eliminates the need to flip and turn the work piece when making cuts from the opposite edge. It also allows you to bevel the head to both the left side and the right side
- Best-suited for larger width cuts
- Especially useful when cutting shorter, but wider work pieces, such as shelving and deck boards
- Has the versatility of a compound mitre saw and comes with a sliding feature that allows the saw to slide along a rail or guide
- The sliding feature allows the saw to perform a much wider cut
- Most sliding saws include a mechanism to limit the depth of cut
- A chop saw is ideal for fast, precise cutting of wood, steel, non-ferrous metals, steel and cast iron sections
- The simplest type of mitre saw
- The head is mounted on a swing arm that pivots left or right to produce angled cuts
- The maximum size of cut is determined by the size of the blade
- Useful only for through cuts because the leading edge of the cut will always have a round profile matching that of the blade
- Most do not have any method for limiting the depth of cut
Some mitre saws include a laser-guide system that helps the operator place the outline precisely on top of the blade’s path.
Definition of cuts
- Cross Cut: A 90-degree cut, typically across the grain of the piece of wood.
- Mitre Cut: An angled cut made from the back to the front of the work piece that allows two pieces of wood to be joined together. By cutting two pieces at 45 degrees, a 90 degree corner can be formed
- Bevel Cut: A cut at an angle (slant) along the thickness of the material
- Compound Cut: A cut that involves both a bevel cut and a mitre cut
The blade is the most significant part of the saw. Different blades are available for different applications.
- Steel Blade: Less expensive and works well to cut softwood, but dulls quickly when used on hardwood
- High–Speed Steel Blade: Harder than a steel blade and stays sharper longer
- Carbide-Tipped Blade: More expensive than other blades, but stays sharper much longer than steel or high-speed steel blades.
Size of Blade: The diameter of the blade should be chosen based on the width of the wood that you need to cut in a single pass.
Number of Teeth on the Blade : The more teeth on a blade, the finer the finish to the cut. The most common number of teeth per blade is 40, 60, 80 and 120. For a "rough" cut, a 40-tooth blade is more than sufficient. For a smoother finish, a higher number of teeth is recommended. The power of the motor, the blade, and more importantly, the number of teeth on the blade, all play a part in determining the finish of the cut.
When choosing a new mitre saw, look for these features:
- Blade Size: The most common mitre saw blade sizes are 8", 10" and 12". Larger diameter blades are able to make longer cuts.
- Positive Stops: These factory set points allow precise cuts on specific angles. More positive stops mean less setup time.
- Self-Retracting Blade Guard: Ensures a better view of the cutting line. When the saw is raised, the guard is lowered to completely cover the blade.
- Electric Brake: Makes the saw safer by making it unnecessary to wait for the blade to coast to a stop. An electric brake can stop the blade in as little as two seconds, compared to up to twelve seconds for a saw without this feature.
- Shaft Lock: Serves to immobilize the shaft and blade which makes it much easier to change the blade.
- Dust Bags: Attach directly to the saw to collect sawdust.
- Table Extensions: Attach to the sides of the saw in order to balance longer boards and ensure an accurate cut
- Sliding Fences: Provide additional support for longer boards during mitre cuts and slide out of the way for bevel cuts.
- Portable Stand: Provides a sturdy base which brings the saw up to a convenient height for use.