Some would say that buying household tools is not the done thing for the festive season. It does seem a little odd. It’s almost akin to buying a woman a set of kitchen utensils. Some things are acceptable, such as a nice cheese board with a matching set of knives. But you wouldn’t get a set of saucepans. Similarly you might resort to getting a quirky pocket tool with a number of different screwdrivers and items on it. But a mitre saw doesn’t seem to hit the mark somehow.
Mitres Saws, sliding mitre saws and compound mitre saws; all at low prices from all the main online retailers.
Once, carpenters used a wooden ‘mitre’ block with a handsaw when they needed to make a precision cut. And from that beginning we get the modern power mitre saw. In very simple terms it is a circular saw that makes precision cutting relatively easy. There are two basic types, the chopsaw and the sliding saw.
A Selection of the Best Selling Mitre Saws
It’s worth thinking hard about what you are going to be doing with your mitre saw, sliding mitre saw or compound mitre saw before you make a decision on what you go for. The chopsaw is less expensive, but it’s also less versatile and accurate. In effect it has a circular saw blade suspended above the work on a hinged mechanism which makes it good for straight cuts, for example in cutting studwork to size, but less accurate than its larger cousin for more complex work. Both are used on site typically for frames, skirting board, architraves and coving, while making any number of general carpentry tasks easier and quicker around the house or for the DIY expert. The sliding mitre saw has the facility to slide along a rail; on many of them to make a flat bottomed cut; to limit the depth of cut; to angle the cut, up to 60 degrees on some models; to tilt it; to do both at once and make a ‘compound’ cut.
When you’ve considered what you’ll need its worth having a look at several models to get a feel for the quality. A good mitre saw will have a really firm, stable feel to it. If there is any movement in the mechanism, you’ll see that movement in your cuts. Other things to look out for are that the plunge mechanism is smooth, and rigidly in line with its setting; that it is easy to select your cut angles, and the cuts match what you’ve set the tool to do!
If you are going for a sliding saw, watch out for any looseness as the blade tracks back and forth. You want the slide to be smooth and free – if you’re using the tool all day you will really notice any snagging or ‘over-running’. Much of the accuracy with which the mitre saw operates will be down to its motor – particularly on compound cuts, and if using hardwoods. The ideal motor is an induction one, but if that is expensive try to source a quiet-start motor – it can become really trying when the whole saw ‘grabs’ or kicks the moment you touch the trigger.
There’s no doubt that one of the key things you need to think about before buying your saw, sliding mitre saw or perhaps compound mitre saw is be the maximum diameter it cuts. Broadly speaking this will be higher for straight cuts than angled ones but its worth having a good think about what, primarily, you’ll be using it for. As the cut diameters go up, so do the prices but if you buy a saw that’s great for five inch skirting board and then realise it can’t cut a mitre through some four by two you may regret paying less.
It is also important to think hard about how much use you’re going to be giving your new saw. Top end models by the likes of Makita, DeWalt and Bosch are designed to give years of daily use, but you do pay for it up front. If you’re considering a limited DIY project it may be more cost effective to go for a less expensive model.
Also, as with everything nowadays, consider the costs of the ancillary equipment when you buy. Batteries for a DeWalt cordless compound mitre cost up to £80 plus VAT, and blades to fit different models will vary significantly in price too.
Also be aware that there are red herrings out there. You will find that expensive saws make much of being rated for continual use, but common sense tells you that you never use your saw continuously, but in sporadic cuts between measuring, fixing and anything else you are doing.
Finally we urge you to remember that power mitre saws are dangerous pieces of equipment in untrained hands, and if you have any reservations about using either type of saw its well worth considering one of the courses run by reputable training companies. Even if you are an expert please remember that it is recommended to use protective glasses, ear defenders and dust extractors or face masks.
Because the mitre saw is a ‘hands free’ unit there is consequent scope for accidents to happen and purchasing a robust saw stand is highly recommended. If you buy one which has a dedicated bench fitted with in feed and out feed supports you will make everything about your task much easier. It’s also important to keep the working environment safe and tidy, as per general health and safety guidelines which can be found at www.hse.gov.uk. It is all too easy to make a mistake with these powerful pieces of equipment, and precautions against that happening are vital.