A miter saw is a versatile tool at the hand of any capable woodworker. It is extremely efficient at cutting through wooden boards that you can use in a variety of professional or DIY projects. Whether you take carpentry as a passion or profession, it is definitely a tool that you want to have in your workshop.
But one of the few small nuances of this device is the struggle when you have to cut through a wide board. If you are using a wider board, then your miter saw might not be able to cut through it straight in a single pass. And doing two passes can often leave you with a completely ruined board.
One way to get past this issue is getting a miter saw with a wider range of motion. However, this requires even more investment on your part in getting a new tool and learning how to use it properly. And if you are a hobbyist, the thought of buying a new miter saw might not be very welcoming.
That is where we come in. In this article, we will give you a complete guideline on how to cut wide boards using the miter saw that you have in your workshop.
Two Simple Ways to Cut Wide Boards with a Miter Saw
We will give you not one but two ways, both of which are extremely simple to follow. And the best news is that none of the methods require any additional investment on your part.
Method 1: Using a Reference Block
The first method involves using a reference block of wood. You can use any old piece of a wooden block that you have lying around the workshop floor. However, try to use something that has roughly the same thickness as the board that you are cutting.
Here are the steps that you need to follow:
- First, you take your board and line it up directly against the saw.
- Make your cut directly through the board.
- Without removing the board, place the reference block on the side cut pieces.
- Clamp it down to the fence so that it does not move even when you take away the board.
- Then flip the board and line it up directly against the reference block.
- Take away the clamp so that the blade does not bind up when you finish the cut.
- Now you will notice that the blade of the saw is lined directly along with the cut you made previously.
- Simply cut through the board, and you are done.
Method 2: Using a Straight Edge
If a reference block is not readily available for some reason, or if the board is too long to use a reference block, you can use a normal straight edge to cut through a wide board. You also need a pencil to mark the board.
Here are the steps that you need to follow:
- Line up your board against the saw directly.
- Make the first cut by bringing the teeth of the saw down on the board.
- Take the board away and notice the cut line along the surface of the board.
- Flip the board over, and you should also notice the same line along the opposite surface.
- Take your pencil and a straight edge.
- Line the straight edge along the cut line and mark the side that you want to cut.
- Then line up the board against the saw so that the blade is in line with the pencil mark.
- You can now simply bring down the miter saw and cut through the board.
Tips to Get More Out of your Miter Saw
Now that we have covered how to cut wide boards with a miter saw, here are a few handy tips that will help you use your miter saw to its fullest potential. Some of these tips involve additional investments, which might not be for everyone.
However, following even one or two of these tips can maximize your cutting efficiency.
- Keep the Blades Sharp
The most important element of a miter saw, or any power saw in general, is the blade. So, make sure you regularly sharpen the blade or change the blade on a miter saw when it gets too dull. A dull miter blade will result in rougher cuts that will severely impact the quality of your cuts.
- Stop Before Lifting
A very common mistake that beginners make is they lift the blade before it stops spinning after cutting the board. Doing this can literally break the board or even snag splinters while lifting. It is always wise to let the blade stop spinning before lifting it from the material.
- Let the Blade Reach Top Speed
You should always wait a few seconds after firing up the saw so that the blade can reach its maximum RPM. At maximum speed, the cut will be quicker with minimal issues. Besides, landing the blade on the material before reaching top speed can also result in kickbacks.
- Install a Laser
Some of the newer miter saws in the market already come equipped with a guiding laser. If yours does not, you should consider investing in an aftermarket laser. It will help you align your cuts more efficiently without fear of messing up your projects.
- Easy Blade Swapping Miter Saw
If you still do not have a miter saw and are considering buying one, you might want to get one with an easy blade replacement feature. This type of unit allows you to change the blade with a simple push of a button. Since you need to change the blade from time to time, this feature can save you from a lot of hassles.
- Safety First
Remember to wear all the proper safety gear before you start working with any type of power saw. When it comes to the miter saw, you always want to wear eye protection such as as safety glasses and goggles as wood splinters can easily get into your eyes as you are cutting through wooden boards.
Apart from that, you should also wear safety gloves and noise-canceling earmuffs. The sound from a miter saw can get quite deafening and working for long hours with the loud noise can be very uncomfortable.
- Going All Out
Miter saw is more powerful than you think. Once you have set one up properly, you might as well go all out and use it to its full potential. With a miter saw, you can easily break down large sheets into manageable sizes by making wider crosscuts. These saws are also ideal for making repeated cuts at the same length. This saves you a lot of time.
The thing that this saw really shines at is making angle cuts. The fact that your board stays still while you are making the cut results in fewer errors.
Cutting wider boards with a miter saw is a simple enough task that any beginner can handle without any trouble. So, if you are struggling with a similar project, our article should give you all the information you need to overcome it.
We hope you found our article to be informative and helpful regardless of your skill level with a miter saw.
I'm Joost Nusselder, the founder of Tools Doctor, content marketer, and dad. I love trying out new equipment, and together with my team I've been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with tools & crafting tips.