The manual or electric miter saw is an essential tool if you need to make crosscuts and angled cuts. For example, if you want to create a frame, the ends of the pieces must be cut at 45-degree angles. If you’re installing moldings, different pieces must be mitered to form the corners for a perfect fit.

The manual miter saw, along with the rib saw, is the most economical alternative for making precise miter cuts.

What is a manual miter saw?

This tool, also called a miter box, allows you to cut materials at angles of 45, 90, and 22.5 degrees. The latter measurement is used for making octagonal pieces.

If it’s a precision manual miter saw, it comes with two cam pins that secure the piece and prevent it from moving during cutting. They also include a tongue on the base to hold the miter box while you’re using it. In some models, you can store the pins and the pencil in the built-in compartment.

Miter saws are made of high-impact material and can withstand long-term use. The rib saw has an upper stop to prevent damaging the box during cuts.

Differences between a manual miter saw and an electric miter saw

There are different types of miter saws, both manual and electric, so you can choose the model that best suits your needs.

Manual miter saws have been used for a long time and are still very effective for DIY and craftsmanship tasks. They are lightweight and can be easily transported. The basic model is a wooden or metal box with guides made in the box to guide the cut. Manual models with an incorporated saw also exist, but they provide more precise cuts.

Electric miter saws are perfect for larger-scale carpentry work or when you want to make precise cuts effortlessly. They come with a circular saw powered by an electric motor. Both the motor’s power and the number and caliber of the blades must be adjusted to the machine’s intended use.

How to Use a Manual Miter Saw

It’s a straightforward machine, and you’ll quickly understand how to use a manual miter saw. Here’s a step-by-step guide if it’s your first time using one:

  1. Clamp the miter box to your worktable using clamps to prevent it from moving during cutting.
  2. Place the piece you want to cut and select the necessary angle. Ensure that the strip is firmly supported at the bottom of the box so that it doesn’t wobble while cutting.
  3. In more advanced manual miter saws, the angle is selected using a rotating button until it reaches the indicated stop.
  4. Slide the rib saw through the corresponding slots for the chosen angle and cut by applying pressure to the strip. The pressure should be sufficient for the teeth to penetrate the wood but without getting stuck in it.

How to Cut with a Manual Miter Saw

The manual miter saw is used similarly to a regular saw. The difference is that the piece you’re cutting is held in place on the base, allowing for precise cuts. If you attempt to make a right-angle or miter cut with a regular saw without using the miter box, you’ll find it much more challenging, and the result will be less precise.

Here’s a video where you can see how to use a manual miter saw for your DIY projects:

How to Build a Manual Miter Saw

If you’re just starting in the world of DIY and haven’t decided which machine to buy yet, you can make a miter box to begin working. This way, you’ll see the effectiveness of this tool and can purchase a more suitable one later. Once you understand how a manual miter saw works, building one yourself will be straightforward.

You’ll need the following materials and tools:

  1. A wooden strip
  2. A jigsaw
  3. Hammer and nails
  4. Pencil and ruler
  5. A square
  6. Wood glue

Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Cut the wooden strip into three equal parts and glue them together to form a box. Apply carpenter’s glue to the joining areas and secure them with nails.
  2. Once it’s dry, mark two angles: one at 90 degrees on one end of the box and another at 45 degrees, using the square.
  3. Clamp the box to your worktable and cut the side pieces along the marked lines. Try to make precise cuts down to the base. Now you have your tool to start cutting the wooden strips you need.

A miter saw is a tool designed to make angled cuts easily and effectively. They can be used by both professionals and enthusiasts, so we recommend getting a manual miter saw to learn how this tool works. If you later find that you need something a bit more professional for your precision work, don’t hesitate to buy a miter saw from our website, where you’ll always find the best offers on the market.