Cutting Metal Moulding - Newbie Question


CGF, Certified Grumble Framer
Dec 3, 2004
Just wondering what the proper method of cutting metal moulding is. I have a blade that is capable of cutting metal and a wax stick to use when doing it. Sould the blade be waxed between each cut or once per frame? What is the best method to use when applying the wax? Any advice welcomed and appreciated. Thanks!

Perhaps you can specify exactly what (machine)you are using, and what blade you are using (carbide? # of teeth? triple chip?)

I'll start.

We use a CTD 45We use a water soluable oil mix, sprayed in a fine mist.

It's to cool the blades, and it holds down on some of the metal flakes. Not much. But some.

Makes an awful mess.
Do yoyu have a steel blade with carbide tips, or a compsition cutoff blade?

If indeed your setup is capable of doing metal on a sporatic basis:

Wear ear protection.

Wear eye protection.

Wear lung protection.

Cut slowly so as not to heat up the blades, and wait inbetween cuts (to give them time to cool). You are not doing produciton. Don't sweat it.

Don't try and do a cut with a tiny piece left unsupported on the other side. It's OK to waste a bit and not create small pieces that can get drawn under because it's not held by the stops. You are not doing produciton. Don't sweat it.

As for the wax, no advice there.

Sorry 'bout that.
Sorry, I am using a DeWalt 12" miter saw with a Phaedra cutting system and 80 tooth wood/metal blade. Thanks Marc for the info.
NO matter how good your saw is, you will still get burrs. Don't sweat it.

Some medium or fine sandpaper will take it right off, and make for a clean edge.

Mount the sandpaper to a piece of matboard (or mounting board) an it will go farther (not get cut up as bad by the metal).

Black Emery Paper (the fabricky type sandpaper) will also work fine.

We actually use the side of the table with a piece of carpet on it. Drag on the carpet and it whacks off all the burrs.

Don't sweat it, Whatever you find works best for you.

I also use a carpet mounted to a tabletop. Drag the moulding firmly across the carpeting four or five times, then you will have pushed all the burrs towards the mitered cut. Simply take a used razor blade, and scrape off the burrs. They come off like butter on most metal mouldings. Then, just as you would with wood frames, marker the edges of the moulding before joining them. Perfect corners every time!
If you have a spray mist system, you shouldn't get any burrs and there shouldn't be any concern about heating the blades. We've run ours for hours at a time. You need enough water going on the blade, though. If you're getting burs or the blade is heating up, you don't have enough water. It's the heat what causes the burrs. The water is important, the soluable oil just keeps the water from rusting the saw away. We'd sweat burrs in a big way; it would be a RPITA to debur every frame leg we cut. More water will also cut down on the fine al. filings in the air.

Marc, if you think a spray mistem system is messy, you should see a wax stick in action.

I've also heard that WD40 is a good substitute for a wax stick on saws without a spray mist system. These saw's blades will heat up but I don't think you can cycle them fast enough for heat to be a problem; you have to stop to either was the blade of spray it with something.
I have a FrameSquare saw that I use the wax sticks with when cutting metal. I also have a Ledsome with the spray mister. The cuts look equally as good, only the Ledsome will crank out a lot in a short time if that is the goal.

To answer the question, I touch the wax stick to the blade after every other cut, or once per frame leg cut. Once per frame would not be often enough and to wax the blade at each cut would be a little excessive.

The technique was taught to me by the guy that builds FrameSquare saws.
There is a water based vegetable oil used in the machining industry for machining aluminum that you mix 20 to 1 (very cheap) that works just fine, dosen't smell, wont hurt your lungs, and cleans up easily.

You can use a spray bottle and just squirt a shot on the blade for each cut. You get clean cuts and the saw doesn't get gummed up with that horrible wax.

After by get the frame joined, burnish the sharp edges with a round steel rod (like a phillips screwdriver shank).
This gets rid of the sharpness without removing the finish like sanding or filing does.

I was told that the oil is not really acting as a lubricant or coolant but acts as a barrier against the aluminum sticking to the saw blade. For what ever that's worth.
On a previous thread, someone had suggested AcuLube. It looks good; although I haven’t switched yet (due to inertia, I guess).

I wax at every cut; clean off the goop with lighter fluid; then eliminate the burr with a very fine flat file rather than emory paper. You need to clean first so that the file doesn’t get gummed up.
We also use a Framesquare saw with wax.. and wax after every other full cut. We do a 1/16" trim on all cuts with metal moulding... makes a much better corner.

To remove burs the best method I have found is using a corrugated cardboard piece. run the edge over backwards then the burs just fall off if I rub my finger over them. Plus the cardboard doesn't chew up the frame... you will chew up the cardboar though.. but who cares?