A miter saw is the ultimate tool for making crosscuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts.
It is very handy in any workshop because these 3 cuts are quite common in almost all kinds of projects. Well, what exactly is a miter saw? Let’s find out.
What is a Miter Saw?
Miter saws are power tools that consist of circular blades mounted on swing arms.
These arms can be pivoted to the left or right, or tilted along the vertical axis to create straight or angled cuts on a board’s width or thickness.
The saws are available in different sizes and this corresponds with the size of the blade.
For instance, a 7-inch miter saw has a blade that measures 7 inches in diameter. However, the most commonly used sizes are 10 and 12 inches and here is the reason why.
What Size of Miter Saw Do I Need?
1) 10-inch Miter Saw
10-inch miter saws are preferred for their practicality. They are not very small and can, therefore, be used to make crosscuts (90˚) on 2×6 lumber and 2×4 for 45˚ miter cuts. If it has a sliding arm, this can be extended by a few inches.
Other than that, this size is relatively affordable to buy as compared to the 12-inch saw, and also affordable to maintain because buying a replacement blade or sharpening it is cheaper.
Lastly, this saw spins the blade at higher speeds as compared to the larger sizes, resulting in quick cutting time.
Recommend: Makita LS1040
2) 12-inch Miter Saw
On the other hand, 12-inch miter saws are the ideal size for working on large projects. There is a larger 15-inch size, but this is quite bulky.
If you usually work on wide blocks, it is better to buy a 12-inch sliding miter saw, which will give you a maximum crosscutting distance of about 16 inches. That said, this saw is recommended for crosscutting up to 2×8 lumber size and 2×6 if making a 45˚ miter cut.
Recommend: DeWalt DWS780
To find out more about the comparison of these two miter-saw sizes, click on this link.
Choosing Suitable Miter Saw for The Right Job
1. For Crown Molding
Crown molding is a result of two compound cuts, which create a decorative joint that is ideal for capping cabinets and the point of contact between walls and ceilings. The molding can be in different sizes as this depends on the size of the stock being used.
Consequently, the best miter saw size to use depends on the size of the molding. For any width that measures less than 5 inches, a 10-inch saw will do.
Stock measuring 5-8 inches in width on a miter angle should be handled by a 12-inch saw while for 9-10 inches, you need a sliding 12-inch saw.
You might be asking yourself if it is possible to use the 12-inch saw for all these crown molding options and it is possible. However, using a large blade on a small project is expensive for no reason and makes it a bit difficult to achieve high accuracy.
2. For Laminate Flooring
For cutting laminate and vinyl flooring planks to size, a miter saw should be used and the sizing is basically like with crown molding above. Wide planks require a 12-inch saw while narrow pieces can be cut by 10-inch size.
However, since these flooring panels are built using tough, layered materials, you need a strong blade for the job. The structural integrity of the large 12-inch blades makes them better suited for this task.
3. For Baseboards
A baseboard is like the opposite of crown molding. It is the wooden skirting that covers lower wall sections up to the point of contact with the floor.
These boards can range anywhere from 3 to 8 inches in width and due to their similarity with crown molding boards, their miter saw’s size selection criteria are also very similar.
4. For 4×4 Lumber
If your project requires 4×4 lumber, it would be wise to stick to a 10-inch miter saw because these dimensions fall within its cutting range.
A 12-inch size can still work, but it is too expensive and unnecessary for this small task.
As a summary, miter saws range from about 7-15 inches in size, and this places the 10 and 12-inch sizes squarely in the middle.
This makes the two practical and relatively affordable and therefore, you need to pick the appropriate size for your project from these two.