July 26, 2022

How to cut wide boards with a miter saw

There are two methods used to cut wide boards with a miter saw. That is using a sliding miter saw or a Stop Block. What determines your best pick is your budget. Old miter saws have a limited cross-cut capacity, but you ca

You need a Miter Saw, clamp, and a speed Square. You can cut wide wood on a miter saw by cutting one side and flipping it to make the second cut. Use a stop block to ensure that the two cuts align.

Factors to consider before making the cut

Choose a better saw

Before cutting the wide board with your miter saw, always ensure you have picked the right type of saw for the job. There are different miter saws, each used in different applications. The blade size of the miter saw determines the blade size of the saw. 

If you have 7 ½ inch miter saws, consider using them for DIY projects as it is ideal for small projects. A 10-inch and 12-inch miter saw handle bigger projects on the job site and in your workshop. Miter saws are divided into single, dual bevel, and sliding compound miter saws. 

The sliding miter saw is bigger and more ideal when handling different projects. Use the 10-inch, 12-inch blade or a sliding compound miter saw.

Mark the exact length

When done with your best pick and a perfect blade, make the accurate marking. Proper measurements yield better results since you will cut different pieces of the required size. Marking the exact location keeps you safe from possible consequences. Use a speed square and a marking pencil or chalk. The pencil is better than chalk because it leaves a permanent mark.

Ensure safety

When you are done selecting the saw, a saw blade, and marking the piece where you want to cut it, ensure proper safety before starting the project. Power tools are so dangerous that you cannot afford to be around without safe clothing. Later in this discussion, you will find safety measures worth following so that you do not end up hurting yourself. 

Method 1: Stop block

  1. Place the wide board on the bed of the miter saw. This board should be wider and longer than you want to cut for a sturdy base. Use a speed square and a pencil to mark your intended cut line.
  2. Lower your miter saw blade and adjust the board until the saw blade falls on the cut line. The saw blade has to fall next to the cut line on the scrap side to account for the kerf loss.
  3. Use a scrap piece of wood to make a stop block for the miter saw (Thehandymansdaughter.com). Do not mind the size of the stop block. It can be any size as long as it is thick.
  4. Place the stop block at the end of the board and clamp it to the miter saw fence. The board has to rest against the stop block. Turn on the miter saw and cut along the cut line. Since the board is wide, unlike the miter saw blade size. Only a part of the board is cut.
  5. Turn off the miter saw, and flip the board.
  6. Place the board again to flush against the stop block. Lower the miter saw blade and expect it to fall in the same line as before.
  7. You can now turn on the miter saw and cut.
  8. Expect a straight cut due to the stop block.
  9. That way, the wide board cutting is completed using the miter saw. You can cut double the width of the board with a miter saw.

Method 2: Placing another board underneath the board to be cut

  1. Use this method if your miter saw falls short by inches when cutting a wide board. Start by placing the board to be cut on the bed of the miter saw.
  2. As you cut as usual with the miter saw, you might fall short by an inch or two. Keep another block of wood underneath the board to be cut to bring it closer to the blade.
  3. The board has to stay underneath, allowing stops short of the groove for the blade to go in. That prevents the board underneath from being cut.
  4. Mark the cut line on the board above using a speed square and pencil.
  5. Lower the miter saw blade as you adjust the board for a perfect blade alignment with the line of cut.
  6. Keep the boards firmly in place, turn on the miter saw and make the cut. Wide boards are sometimes so long that they will bend due to gravity. That is why you have to consider nailing or clamping it. Even after the cut, the wood piece will not fall and thus prevent the chipping of the wood (bhg.com).
  7. You have completed the wide board using a miter saw.
  8. If you need the miter saw to cut even wider, place a thicker board or two boards underneath the board to be cut. Note that it comes with a limit to the extra width you can cut using this method.
  9. When you need extra inches of cutting width, use the method.

Safety Tips 

  • Clamp the boards in place before cutting.
  • Always wear proper safety gear, including safety glasses, earplugs, a protective mask, and work gloves.
  • Do not lower the miter saw blade until it has reached its full speed.
  • After cutting, do not raise the miter saw blade before the blade has stopped spinning.
  • Be aware of kickbacks. It happens if the offcut piece is small as it can be thrown towards the user by the spinning blade. 
  • Always make sure to use the proper type of blade for the project.
  • Keep your blade sharp enough to complete the project with ease.
  • Make sure you are not wearing jewelry or any loose clothing.
  • Never work with crossed hands.
  • Keep your hands at a distance from the running blade.
David D. Hughes
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