new to framing - need good low cost metal saw??


Grumbler in Training
Jul 29, 2005
Elko, NV
I'm going to start framing my photographs - a lot of them - and will buy metal moulding in length and need a good saw to cut them accuratly to size. I've looked on the net and have found everything from hand saws to double mitre saws in prices ranging from $100 to $15,000+.

I wouldn't mind a hand saw if they are accurate but if there was a decent power saw alternive for less than $500 I'd rather do that.

Here are some link to products I've found. Are any of these any good? If not, could you recommend alternitives.


PS: some of my frames will be big - 40x60 - if that makes a difference.
Cutting metal moulding for frames takes a couple of things to do it right.
#2- Saw that has clamping system or some other way to keep the moulding still.
A regular miter saw can work and I have used one, but it was a real bear. I would suggest a Pistorius double miter saw, if you want frames to look like frames and not cut off pieces of metal.
For low volume (less than 500/year) you don't need to invest in a double miter saw. Invest in a good blade and you can get perfect results from a standard power miter chop saw. Plan to pay almost as much for the blade as the saw. You actually don't want a high end sliding or compound miter saw - the extra degrees of freedom those saws offer will result in less accuracy in terms of a repeatable square 45. Stick with something simple like a Makita 1030 (or whatever works with the fence/measuring system you chosoe). You'll then want to spend some time checking and tuning the saw to make sure it's dead on.
If your volume will be enough to justify, you'll want to look at a good miter measuring system such a the Clearmount, Phaedra or Fletcher 7100 (I use the latter and love it).

Metals are a relatively small part of what I sell, but I have to respectfully disagree with jerry above. With the above approach my metal corners are perfect and certainly don't look like "cut off pieces of metal". Obviously if you can justify the investment in a Pistorius double miter then go for it - but you're getting productivity and not necessarily higher quality corners.
In hand saws, either the "Nobex" or "Logan" saws will give spot on accurate mitres. Both are produced specifically for framing and can be fitted with a metal cutting blade and measuring systems.
I was just wondering if you did a complete analysis to determine if length moulding is the way to go. I'd weigh cost of storage space, time of cutting moulding, moulding waste and material disposal against simply buying the moulding cut to size.
I don't believe I've ever heard of anyone cutting metal with a hand saw (non-power.)

Cutting metals accurately with a power miter saw will require some sort of measuring and (usually) clamping system. A good one costs more than the saw. So does the blade.

Get yourself some protective gear for your eyes, your face, your ears . . . Metal fragments whizzing past your face are disconcerting and distracting. Especially when they inpale themselves in the wall behind you.

I use a 10" radial arm saw with a Barton multi-angle meter attachment, so the arm never moves. I probably spent $900 plus the blades, but that was 27 years ago. It's an unwieldy rig to move around, but it works.
KwajPrints said exactly what I would reccomend.

Remember that those really expensive blades need lubrication ideally before each cut. You can use solid wax (a product meant for this aplication sold through most suppliers) or a spray oil type lube. The spray is less messy, the wax can slip out of your hand.

A double pistorious saw will set you back thousands of dollars and take up a lot of space. A good miter saw and even better blades and clamping system will work best if you plan on doing them in smaller quantities.

Don't forget what Ron said, eyes safety is a must. I've taken more chances with my health than anyone I know, and I religiously wear eye gear. More times than I care to remember I had pieces of metal fly where logic deamed it impossible to go!

Good luck whatever you choose.

and welcome to the Grumble.
I have a Pistorious been useing it for nine years without a clamping system. You need a compesser to oil the blades so they will not get dull and you will neet two sets of blades not cheap.
Thanks so much,
I'm going to go with KwajPrints and JbNormandog's advice and get a makita and a measuring system.

Can anyone recommend a blade????
What is a lot? 10 , 50 , 100 , 500, 1000 , at a time? 14,000 is only 40 per day per 5 day work week for a year!~
We used a power mitre for years it was not until We bought a 12"pistorious I realized it only took 1/3 the time to cut on the double mitre as it did our old system!~ I.E. to cut 25 metal frames power mitre took me about two hours on the double miter only took about 45 mintues!~

So is the real question; time, money or convenience?~