What would you recommend as the essential tools/skills for creating square and true wood pieces (on a budget)?
Recently, I purchased a power miter saw and, as a first project, I built a table for it, but am disappointed in the results.
The table top has an "apron" made from 2x4's with mitered corners. I measured two or more times for every cut. To make a long story short, the top surface, which is inset into the apron doesn't sit square within the apron. Top and bottom seem okay, but the bottom of the left-hand side has a 1/8" gap that tapers to a tight fit at the top of the left-hand side. Similarly, there is a 1/8" gap at the top of the right-hand side that tapers to a tight fit at the bottom.
I have a relic of a table saw and generally only use it when I can use the fence (so, nothing wider than about 18"). So, I ended up cutting the top surface of the table with a circular saw--even clamped on a straight edge as a guide.
What would you recommend so I can have better results with my next project?
Sounds like you have either damaged or misaligned tools or in the case of your miter saw, a table that is not constructed or adjusted correctly.
Your question is 'what to do to make straight cuts' and the only answer is to make sure your equipment is operating correctly and is in adjustment. As you know, a longer fence will be more accurate than a short one, but that fence must itself be straight. If you can correct the miter saw table and the saw adjustments to get a straight cut every time, then you are good. If you cannot, then you need new equipment.
For short term, Crosscuts can be very accurate by using a circular saw guided by a large (12") speed square.
one tool I use religiously is a simple engineers/ draftsmans triangle. which is simply a plastic 90-45-45- degree triangle that can be bought almost anywhere that sells draftsman supplies. some hobby shops also carry it. I use it to check every saw setting at those degrees before I make my cut. I also have other angle triangles with other angles on it. I recently purchased a wixey digital angle gauge fo setings for angles of the table saw blades relationship to the saws table. It would also work with a miter saw
Never rely on a saws angle markings, they are there only for reference and should be checked with a proper tool before you make your cutThis message has been edited. Last edited by: nona,
after son #3 and his buddy finished redoing his basement, I inherited the miter saw. it was off. used a speed square, loosened the Allen bolts that hold the guides on, and got it apparently set 90 degrees to the blade.
then I got a piece of scrap hardwood from the "save" box, cut it, flipped it around to the other side of the saw, and partially cut down on the same cut so I had a cut and a line. diddled the two guides until there was no difference.
THAT's how you true a miter saw.
if it gets moved, it won't stay true. sooner or later something will bump into it. so every project it's worth rechecking trueness with the cut-and-a-quarter system.
sig: if this is a new economy, how come they still want my old-fashioned money?
Thanks Jaybee, nona, and swschrad for your ideas. I love the low-tech and high-tech suggestions.
I do think there is hope for the miter saw, but my 9" blade table saw needs to be replaced.
I'd like to buy a better table saw (at least buy one with a better fence and a 10" blade) for around $200. Now I see that, if I want a table that allows me to feed through wider stock, I'm probably going to spend more than $200. Any suggestions for a reasonably priced table saw?
Also, do you always use a tape measure or are there times when you use something else (like a mason's folding measure with the slide out extension)? There are times when I don't trust the precision of tape when measuring into a tight corner. Curving the blade doesn't get you tight and using the 3" allotment for the casing seems less than exact.
Thanks again.This message has been edited. Last edited by: SturdyNail,
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