Bob Vila Radio: Basic Saw Cuts

To install new woodwork around doors or windows, or put in new crown molding or baseboards, you’ll need to master four kinds of cuts on a miter saw, or learn how to use a miter box.

One way to dress up a room is by installing new woodwork around doors or windows, or putting in new crown molding or baseboards. To do that you’ll need to master four kinds of cuts on a miter saw, or learn how to use a miter box.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON BASIC SAW CUTS or read the text below:

basic-saw-cuts

Photo: treestotimberframes.com

The first cut is a simple crosscut—that just means cutting a piece to length, with no angles. That one’s easy!

The second is the miter cut, which is a cut on the front surface of a wood piece that creates the angles you’ll need to form the corners of a window or door. The most common miter cut is 45 degrees, so you can put two pieces together to form a perfect 90-degree corner.

Then there’s the bevel cut, which is cut on the side of a wood piece and allows you to create inside or outside corners of baseboard molding. Again, the most common bevel cut is 45 degrees, so two pieces join in a neat, sharp corner. Of course, not all rooms are perfectly square, so you’ll need to make some cuts on other angles.

Finally, there’s the compound cut, which is a combination of a miter cut and a bevel cut. You’d need this cut for crown molding so that the pieces join perfectly against both the wall and the ceiling.

A miter saw lets you make quick work of all these cuts. But an inexpensive miter box and a fine-toothed tenon saw can get you the same results—you’ll just need a little more elbow grease.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.