Miters can be a beautiful form of joinery and a symbol of true craftsmanship. For many woodworkers however, both novice and experienced, miter saw accuracy can be an elusive pursuit. Even after setting up your miter saw, you may have experienced the frustration of cutting miters that should be perfect 45-degree cuts according to your saw, but when you glue them together you find that they have gaps in them. Argh!
The good news is that miter saw accuracy doesn’t have to go like that. With a miter saw that is dialed in for accuracy, it is not difficult to produce miters that are seamless and exactly 45 degrees. The key is to be able to quickly and accurately measure the miter angle to ensure that it is accurate. George offers a tip to accomplish this goal using a device that you probably already have hanging from the pegboard in your shop.
Adjust your saw. No sense trying to cut perfect miters on a saw that is not calibrated properly. Check the calibration for both 45 and 90 degree cuts to be sure that your saw is accurate for the most common cuts.
Make a 45 degree cut on each end. Using a scrap board that is about 6” – 8” long, make a 45 degree cut on each end of the board.
Measure for miter saw accuracy. Using the device as demonstrated by George, visually determine whether the angles are exactly 45 degrees.
Adjust and retest your miter saw accuracy. If you determine that your saw needs to be adjusted, make any necessary adjustments, then repeat the test. Adjust the miter scale on your saw to reflect the compensation that you had to make.
After you’ve accomplished that setup, check out some more miter saw videos to continue your progress.