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How To Cut Perfect Long Miters on the Table Saw - Woodworking



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in a recent project that i did that not

very many of you watched

i made some long miter cuts on solid

cherry

to form the speakers on the end of the

console that i built

and if you've ever tried to make that

kind of joint before that type of cut

while you're watching it you might have

said to yourself he's making that look

really easy

because i know it's not and i can think

back to the time when i first made that

cut or tried to make that cut

when i was much younger and yes it

didn't work out well for me either

before you can even think about making

that type of cut you need to be working

with

tools that are well set up and aligned

properly

your table saw blade has to be aligned

perfectly with the fence

it can't be any drift or deviation there

otherwise you're not going to get a

smooth cut

and it certainly won't be burn free next

you'll want to have a zero clearance

insert for your table saw what the zero

clearance does is it doesn't leave much

room beside the blade

for the material to get jammed in there

and cause a kickback so that's very

important

especially when you're making angle cuts

and finally what you need

is a good quality sharp blade

very important that it'd be sharp you're

not going to get a good clean cut

if the blade is not sharp and the better

quality of the blade

the more precise the cut will be the

blade that i have on my saw right here

is

one that's reasonably good quality it's

older

like it's not new but it is sharp i just

sharpened it before i

started doing this and if you want to

watch a video on how

i sharpen my own blades there's a link

to that in the

description i'm going to be making my

cuts in

these four pieces of scrap plywood that

i have here

i'm actually going to make a tall box

from it

might as well get something out of it as

long as i'm doing the demonstration so

what i'm going to do first is i'm going

to set my saw to cut the two

narrower pieces to width and this is a

90 degree cut

and i'm actually cutting these an eighth

of an inch wider

than i really need and that gives me the

opportunity to make a couple of test

cuts to make sure that i'm actually

cutting at 45 degrees

and i wind up with a box that will go

together in the end

so now i have the four pieces to get

started and the next step

of course is to tilt the saw to 45

degrees what you're looking for is to

get this as close as you possibly can to

start with

this won't be your final cut now when

you tilt the blade you affect the depth

of cut so i'm just raising it up

and i like to go a little bit higher

than i normally would for

a 90 degree cut so i'm ready to make the

first

cut let's see line up the fence and i'm

going to do that by eye

um i just like to take the work

slide it into the blade line it up like

line up the corner of that square cut

with the edge of the blade and then

lock the fence and then i can turn on

the saw

and make a partial cut to see exactly

where that lines up

then i can finish the cut by running it

all the way through

and then i'll do the other piece through

the other side as well

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okay so i got a couple of clean cuts

there they look good

and what i'm going to do now is i'm

going to put them together

just hold them together and use an

accurate square

and if you don't have an accurate square

that's something else you need

okay so i'm gonna hold the miter

together

top and bottom as flush as i can and

take my square

and see how it looks and

not unexpectedly because my saw is well

tuned

it lines up really well but if you find

that

it doesn't like it's too uh

open this way okay that means that

you're not cutting a sharp enough angle

you need to push your your saw more

maybe past 45 degrees on the thing

it depends on the saw i mean the cheap

ones don't have

stops in there really good positive

stops

whereas the more expensive ones will so

you may have to make some adjustment

there

as well but the point is that you what

you want to do

after this cut is you want to make

another cut and make sure that what you

wind up with

is absolutely square when you measure it

with the square

now admittedly that's pretty low

precision

the square even if it's really accurate

even if it looks really good there's a

you know there's a more precise way to

do that

and that's to cut all four pieces that's

what i'm going to do next

so i've already cut this edge and now

when this goes up against the fence

this one looks pretty good the other one

over here

looks pretty good as well what we can do

is if this is too sharp if the material

is too soft

it will bend a little bit so you may

have to flatten that edge slightly

the thing about flattening the edge is

that when you put the smarter together

afterwards

you're never looking for something

that's razor sharp on the edge so a

little bit of flattening on this edge

won't hurt the main thing is that the

piece sits up tight against the fence

and it doesn't crush that tip on the

miter doesn't crush

with the edge flattened the next step is

to cut the other side

i'm just going to nudge the fence over

very slightly to make up for that

flattening operation

and then run the pieces through and then

i can reset the fence

and do exactly the same thing that i

just did

with the first two with the wider pieces

for the other sides

and while you're watching that i can

tell you about an upcoming

event on the makers mob that will be

starting on september 26th

we're gonna have frank howard and he's

gonna be launching a new woodworking

design

series over that four weeks frank will

cover everything

that you will need to know to understand

the fundamentals of woodworking design

along with the series you'll also get

access to my woodworking tutorials

and as well as projects from youtube's

top makers

like the samurai carpenter jimmy deresta

liam hoffman

john peters and neil paskin the doors

for this event will close on september

25th

at midnight so click the link in the

description below to register

and we'll see you on the inside i'm

going to tape these joints together

this is just a test to see

how well the miter actually lines up if

they're accurate enough

to make the finish cuts and then i can

very carefully stand it up

and actually put it together

if i can get that to happen here

and i can see

how well the miters line up so that's

looking pretty good that means my saw

is accurate enough to make uh precision

cuts

and you can stop at this point if you're

happy with the size i mean if it doesn't

like if what you're working on doesn't

have to be a specific size and you're

you're getting good results at this

point just glue it together and and call

it

call it done however i'm gonna go the

extra step here

and re-cut these like you normally would

if you had to make further adjustments

i'm not cutting very much off and that's

key to doing this

as long as you're working with a very

sharp blade when you're making this

cut it's going to result in something

that's a lot cleaner

because you're not putting any stress on

the blade when you're making this cut

when this goes through this time you're

going to wind up with something that is

a lot

smoother and a lot cleaner

now it's time to put the box together

i've laid all the parts down

in the correct order uh before i do this

a box needs bottom so i cut a rabbet

into the bottom edge of each piece and

that'll be for a piece of plywood the

same

thickness as this that i'll glue in

after the box is glued together

and to glue it together i've laid out

the parts as

they're supposed to be i'm just going to

take pieces of the green tape

just to keep them lined up the green

tape is not strong enough for this

he either needs a packing tape you know

the clear packing tape

or duct tape works but you don't want to

leave it too long

because that kind of leaves a residue

behind what i like to use is this stuff

here this is actually gaffers tape

this doesn't leave any residue and it's

really strong

the first thing i'm going to do is check

to make sure

that it does go together you don't want

to get glue in here

and find out that it will not go

together okay

so this looks excellent so i can go

ahead and get this glued up

and to do that i'm going to be using

regular woodworking glue

normally what i like to use for this

type of glue up

is polyurethane construction adhesive

because it gives me a longer open time i

have more time to

try to get clamps on it and whatnot but

since this is just a sample box i'm not

going to worry about it too much

i'll put the regular glue in here and

then use tape to close up the

last seam

i let it dry for about an hour

and i'm just pulling the tape off and uh

i just used the tape to clamp this

really you should clamp it and i

normally would

other than this being just a

demonstration now

all of the miters like everything looks

good

but it what you can do if you find that

they're slightly open

on the outside edge here there's a trick

where you can take

a screwdriver or i've got a wrench here

just use the side of that to

rub on one side of the miter like this

and then rub on the other side and

that'll close it up

and if it's really open what you can do

is you can squeeze a little bit of glue

in there before you do this

and that way the glue will permanently

hold it together

after you get it closed up tight

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