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Mitre Saw

P.T. Framer

Mar 18, 2004
Davie FL
Ok here is my question, I am looking to buy a mitre saw. What are the important features I should be looking for, isn't the most important one the blade. What would be a good size 10", 12". Is there any size motor I should look for. I have a very small shop and can't swing a big ticket mitre. But at the same time I'm getting frustrated with the chops and joins I've been receiving.

Be gentle
PT Framer
Since you are already buying your moulding via chops, have you considered buying a miter sander to true up the chops that you already have?

With even a new chop saw you might have to true up the joints with a sander.
P.T. -
Like you, we are also a small shop and we use the phradra mitre saw. Good cuts, and the measuring scale & stops make it easier to do "production".
Also can do metals.

Another option might be a "chopper" (wood only) - I don't own one, but will probably buy one at the NY show. Nice, razor clean cuts from "choppers"
This is right down the line of what I have been thinking about. I already have a workshop (my wife calls it a hellhole...) seperate from my framing area. I have a shop saw recessed into the workbench so that the table is level with the bench. It is currently a Delta 10" compound mitre model that I have used for mostly construction framing and finishing work. It is accurate.
If I were to get a 80 - 100 tooth blade would this do for choping moulding? Then I would want an underpinner of some sort.
I have been very happy with the quality of the chop and joins that I have been getting from my main distributor so I am in no hurry (my volume is small anyway). I am just thinking ahead.
Buy a good blade!

I use a 100 tooth blade. I have two and rotate them for sharpening.

I would also recommend a good scale. I use the Clearmount system and have been very happy with it.
I agree with Cliff; a good blade manufactured specifically for the frmaing industry is a must; not only does it cut better, but it keeps its edge much longer than construction blades. We have a saw works shop here that produces blades for picture framers. We use the Phaedra system for our wood mouldings and order our metals chop. Been satisfied with the service I receive from Phaedra whenever I have questions. We use a 12" blade so we can chop larger profile mouldings.
I have used the Phaedra system for the past 16 years and have no complaints about it. It is inexpensive to buy, can be set up with either 1 or 2 chop saws, and cuts consistently on all types of wood moulding. I have the original Makita LS-1030 chop saws on it that I bought 16 years ago and they work fine. I would recommend buying 2 saws if you can swing the price because you can set up each one to cut both sides of the mitered joint and don't ever have to move the settings after they are calibrated and set up. This is probably the second most important reason why framers get inconsistent miters using this type of system, either the Phaedra or the Clearmount. The detents on these saws are accurate enough for construction work (for which the saws were built in the first place) but switching one saw back and forth will eventually wear out the detents and won't give consistently accurate cuts from one side to the other.

The most important thing to do with any saw is buy quality blades! Period! I have used Forrest blades for my entire career and recently I decided to take another Grumbler's suggestion and buy a couple of Freud blades. It was a mistake that I won't make again. There was a marked difference in the quality of cut from a Forrest over a Freud blade. I may be too picky or maybe these new blades had a poor factory sharpening on them but I took them back after a week of use and got my money back. I am not implying that Freud won't give you a good cut. I just got accustomed to a glass smooth top quality miter cut and these new blades didn't give me anything close to that.

There is a difference of night and day in the cuts of good blades vs. the blades sold by woodworking catalogs and at Lowes or Home Depot. My last set of Forrest blades are about sharpened out from years of use and I may have them retoothed before I spend the same money on a set of lesser blades. I also send the blades back to the original manufacturer for resharpening. They have the latest in sharpening technology and you can get many more sharpenings out of the computer and laser sharpening technology than you can out of a guy using older equipment.

I have to echo and reinforce Framerguy's comments on blades. BUy the best - treat them like gold - use a good sharpening shop and you'll be making life 100% easier. We just bought a new blade on the reccomendation of our sharpener and it is GREAT - sorry, don't know the brand - it's out for sharpening right now.

If you afford it a double miter is best - I have to chack and resquare our single-miter table frequently to get good cuts.

Last but not least, buy a miter sander that Jerry Feig spoke about. Don't worry about which - just get one.