Advice on cutting fillets


Jun 3, 2005
Dallas, Texas
I have had a mini-mitre by ITWAMP for several years and its been betten up and needs to be replaced. I do not have chopper in my shop just a big double mitre saw. I was thinking that a good chopper would be a good addition to my arsonal for fillets and small moulding. Can you cut fillets easily with one or should I just repace the mini-mitre for good fillet cutting? Does any one use the trim cutter by frame square they seem to be less than the mini-mitre.

Thanks for the help.
I'd poke out both my eyes with a sharp stick before I would buy a FrameSquare fillet cutter, I officially despise them. I've probably used 6 different ones in 6 different stores over the years, so I know it isn't the machine. Some people love them, I will never be asked to give a testimonial on them though. I could be presented with one for free, brand new still in it's box and I would only use is as a big ol paperweight......can you tell I hate them?

Find an Art Mac one, that thing cuts like butter.

I use my double mitre saw to cut my fillets and it does just fine. I thought it would blow them to pieces but it doesn't. Mitre sander is good to trim a "hair" off too...... keep all that emotion bottled up inside like that and it affects your health. If you have a problem with the FrameSquare product, you shouldn't couch it such lyrical prose.

(I think knitting needles are much more iconic than mere sharp sticks for poking one's eyes out).

bratton, if you have the room and the need, a miter chopper is always a good addition. None of the smaller filler choppers are built as well as the big ones, and they all have their detractors (as well as proponents...I have a FrameSquare, and though I don't use the measuring gauge, prefer to scribe and fit, I find that it does an adequate job...just remember to keep the blades sharp).
Yeah Wally, I was being polite about it too. I learned to cut fillets on a FrameSquare and from the get go I never was completely satisfied with the results. I went for years just not caring to cut fillets. When I started at Aaron Bros they had an Art Mac cutter and it was like the heavens parted and the angels sang, I cut a perfect fillet the very first time. Even though I now had a tool to cut a good fillet I still twitched during the process after my earlier experience. I planned on purchasing an Art Mac here at my store until I discovered the saw does great.

To be honest I am now being forced to use a FrameSquare cutter again in my other part-time job and it has just annoyed the heck out of me. Why can't I cut a good mitre with that danged thing? I thought those days were gone and nary a FrameSquare fillet cutter would ever be in my presence again......sigh.

How many teeth are in your saw blade? And if you don't mind my asking, how often do you have to change blades? Besides fillets, are you cutting both wood and metals with the same blades?

Can you tell I'm thinking of investing in a double mitre saw??

Thank you,

Hi Mike, I have a Pistorious double mitre saw. I have 100 tooth combination blades on it. I have most of my metals cut since they are hard on the blade, although they are meant to cut metals and I do use them on the OEM's. I get fantastic results when cutting fillets on it. I hardly twitch at the thought any longer anyway.
Wally has just so kindly reminded me that I do not own a Pistorious saw but a Brevetti. I'm not sure where I came up with Pistorious, I don't have a Pistorious anything at the moment.......where did that come from?
We use the FrameSquare trim cutter for fillets without a problem after we got it tuned up. Before the tune-up, it was frustrating with less than perfect cuts and blades only lasting days. After the tune-up, cuts are perfect and blades last for months between sharpenings. The FrameSquare also cuts rabbitspace nicely, though you need to move the blades to a different set of mounting holes to do a proper job. The blade mounting holes utilized will make a huge difference in how nicely fillets are chopped.

My experience with Art-Mac is about the same as Kathy's experience with FrameSquare (substitute all her descriptions here). No one could get a satisfactory cut with the ArtMac and to us, the fingerguard was a safety factor in itself. The Art-Mac is much more sturdy but comes with a much shorter measuring device. We use the measuring extension on the FrameSquare all the time.

I must say that I am a bit partial to the FrameSquare equipment. We have their saw, manual joiner, maxi-clamp, mini-clamp and fillet chopper. I just modified the maxi-clamp to accept up to 5 inch moulding, up from the original 3 inch and can't tell any difference in its operation.
Frame Square is now offering a heavy duty fillet cutter. I just bought the first generation cutter about six months ago, saw the heavier one at the show, and will be trading up in January. The cutter we have doesn't like the larger fillets, which we use often, so I'm hoping the heavier one will fit the bill. We called Frame Square and they told us how to tune up the cutter and it made a world of difference. Evidently they need slight adjustments after shipping.
Unless you just wish to spend a bunch of money on a new chopper, spend a couple of hundred on a Fillet Master and fillets will never be a problem for you. It works with single or double mitre saws and floor model choppers. FrameSquare just came out with the new table top chopper that Sherry just mentioned. It is the only small chopper that works with the Fillet Master. I saw the chopper at the Atlanta show and it needed a few modifications to work well. I hear that the changes have been made, but I have yet to see it work for myself. I admire those of you out there that can cut a perfecy fillet every time by just measuring or marking. You should have been at the Atlanta Expo in September. You could have made $500.00 by beating the time it took a first time user of the Fillet Master to measure cut and fit a fillet. I think the two fastest times were 66 seconds and 68 seconds.
Like Cliff, I have a FilletMaster but, unlike Cliff, I wouldn’t part with it.

It allows you to cut fillets dead bang accurate – first time, every time, no trimming. But, rather than a saw, I have a Morsø chopper. That may make a difference.
With the chopper in the 'down' position, if you can easily slip a thin strip of 20# paper beside the blade; then the cutter head needs to be adjusted to minimize that clearance. The two, 7/16" hex head bolts on the back side, closest to the cutting head are the ones to loosen 1/4 turn or so. With the head held down, just push on the bar beneath those bolts so that the cutter head is as close as possible to the frame (cutter touching the frame is OK). Watch both blades and keep them centered, or symetrical. Tighten the bolts slowly, watching to make sure that the clearance doesn't change while tightening.

For wooden fillets, make sure the blades are mounted using the screw holes that put the blades on about a 45 degree angle. The screw holes that put the blades closer to parallel to the frame work best for plastic.

You should now be able to cut paper with the chopper without a problem. I forgot to mention that if there are burrs on the frame, you'll have nicks in your blades. Polish the burr.

A drop of oil every now and then on the sliding sleeves helps. I prefer Bernina rotary hook sewing machine oil for all the moving parts in the store that need lubrication.

Sorry that I didn't have the camera and chopper at the same place and time or I would have used photos. If needed, that can be done later.
I use my Morso chopper for fillets with no problems whatsoever. I fine tune sizing using a hand disc mitre sander (Alffamachine).

Dave Makielski