Power miter saw vs. "manual" miter box...

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Old 08-17-14, 08:05 AM
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Power miter saw vs. "manual" miter box...

Looking for some advice. We're doing a small bath remodel and had someone do the flooring. They weren't supposed to put up the baseboard, but they did put some up before I caught them (long story).

I have one final piece of baseboard to put in (just a straight cut on both ends), then the shoe molding. We're also going to be putting in new flooring in another bathroom (where I plan on only taking up the existing quarter round and putting down shoe molding in there, but leaving the baseboard).

Given the small nature of the project, does it make sense to buy a power miter saw, or should I go with a manual variety (e.g. the Stanley Pro Clamping Miter Box)?

If manual, should I buy something other than the standard, $5 miter boxes you see in the big box stores? I saw one of them sold a steel miter box and saw for around $50. I'll need to make a few non-45 / non-90 degree cuts. Which brings me to a related question:

Can anyone recommend how to measure the angle of cut I need for this area of the bath? Is this doable with a non-power miter saw?


TRIM Photos by hikerguy1 | Photobucket

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 08-17-14, 08:42 AM
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Look for a True-Angle Protractor, sold in most stores.
You place it against both walls and lock it in place. Divide the angle by two for your angle of cut.

A power miter saw is always nice and you'll probably find many uses for it.
It's been a long time since I've used a hand miter box, but I'm sure it would have 45 and 22.5 degree stops which are the angles you'll use most.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 08:47 AM
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in the big box stores? I saw one of them sold a steel miter box and saws for around $50
If you are willing to spend $50 go to a pawn shop and checkout the electric miter saw. (Bigger the blade more the versatility for many cutting jobs.) You might get lucky. Be sure to bring a short piece of 2X4 with you and ask to make a test cut before buying. Also listen to it run unloaded.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 09:14 AM
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These angles are poorly cut 22.5 degrees. It is usually best to cut the angle and cope the exposed cut with a coping saw. So if your angle is 23 degrees, the cope will roll to meet. For shoe, a cheap wooden miter box would suffice. BUT a pawn shop will have good deals for around $60+ for an adequate power miter saw.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 03:44 PM
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Never thought about the pawn shop angle. I will check that out this week. Thanks for the advice. And agreed, they did a poor job on the cuts. Long story lol
 
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Old 08-17-14, 04:22 PM
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You can find a decent (not great, but ok) miter saw at around $100. Around here, a good condition name brand saw at a pawn shop isn't that much cheaper than buying new.

For very light use like you describe I'd probably go with the quality manual sliding miter saw if you MIGHT have a use later that you aren't aware of, but at $50 for that, I'd jump to a low end power model. For basic cuts for the projects you describe, heck, a $15 plastic box and included saw would do fine.

Ya know, carpenters got along fine for many, many years using wood miter boxes they made themselves.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 05:11 PM
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carpenters got along fine for many, many years using wood miter boxes they made themselves.
That's quite true. I would suggest you save the $$$, make a little miter box jig of your own and cut the baseshoe by hand, perhaps using one of the small pull saws or maybe just a dovetail saw. You jig would be nothing more than a 1x2 with a lip on the front and back that the kerfs for your angles would be cut in. In fact, you could make the jig the right width so that your baseshoe just fits inside so that it doesn't slide around at all as you cut.

You don't even need to know the angle in 's to do this, since degrees only matter when you're turning a miter saw detent. You only need to know the long point and short points of the angle. You already know where the long point of the angle is (at the miter in your baseboard) and a short scrap of baseshoe placed against the baseboard is all you need to find the short point of the angle. Place it against the baseboard and make a light pencil line on the floor in front of the baseshoe. Then move that scrap to the other side of the miter and trace the front of the baseshoe on the floor. Where those lines intersect is where the front of your miter will need to start. That's about as simple as it gets.

Of course if you wanted to get exact, the protractor gauge that Handyone mentioned, along with a sliding t-bevel, would be a nice way to mark your miter box jig exactly before you make that first cut in it.

Painted trim is pretty forgiving. You want the joints to be nice and tight, but in the end a little caulk will hide any minor mistakes. Titebond makes a white trim and molding glue that is also good for filling in cracks. Joint movement is usually what makes the caulking fail, so all joints should really be glued.
 
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Old 08-17-14, 05:42 PM
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Where those lines intersect is where the front of your miter will need to start
Sleeper,
I don't mind telling you I just learned something. I've been doing this many years and I guess it's a matter of looking at things from another angle (pardon the pun).
 
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Old 08-24-14, 03:32 PM
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XSleeper, I'm having a hard time visualizing what you're saying. Do you have any way to provide a drawing of what you're saying?

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 08-24-14, 03:49 PM
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Which part dont you understand ?
 
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Old 08-24-14, 07:02 PM
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I agree with Chandler and Gunguy, do it by hand. Unless you are planning to do a lot of cutting and other woodworking the cost does nopt justify the project. And as Chandler says most likely it's not an exact 22 1/2degs. You'll most likely need some wood putty to fill slight gaps. Now, if you planned on doing crown molding then I think a power miter saw is a must, even on a small job.
 
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Old 08-24-14, 07:44 PM
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I agree that the measurements do not have to be that exact. Most cuts on tracts homes certainly aren't. Caulking and paint can cover up most mistakes. A hand cut will do the job, but if you own a home, the chances that you will use a saw again are very likely. Harbor freight is a great place to get inexpensive tools for the light "weekend warrior"
10 in. Compound Miter Saw with Laser Guide System
If you never use it again, it isn't a big purchase.
 
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Old 08-26-14, 08:31 PM
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re:XSleeper:

All of it?? LOL Just kidding.

I'm a very visual person, so you lost me on the part about laying out the angles.

I understand the terms "long point" and "short point", but you kind of lost me when you started talking about finding the short point.

Once I lay out those lines, how do I "transfer" that to a miter saw or miter box?

On a related note, I was having a hard time figure out how to cut some of the angles. In some cases, when I had the baseshoe against the fence, the long point would be farthest from the fence, meaning I had to kind of guesstimate where I needed to start cutting the short point so I would end up with the long point I needed (hope that makes sense). How can I determine where I need to start cutting (when the cut will start on the short point)?

Thanks,

Andy
 
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Old 08-26-14, 08:51 PM
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I'm not sure if I understand what you're saying. But when cutting any material in a miter box or on a miter saw, the back of the material is always against fence.
So you will always be making left or right cuts, and you will always be cutting at a pencil mark that was made on material at the back.
If you get good at transferring these measurements and pencil marks, you can get very accurate cuts.
Maybe tomorrow I can make up a simple drawing and post it. I could show how I would go around a room.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 06:20 AM
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Mitre Saw Cuts

But when cutting any material in a miter box or on a miter saw, the back of the material is always against fence.
I disagree. Some cuts could be made with back of the material resting on the saw bed instead of against the fence.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 07:07 AM
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Generally, Handyone is correct. Material is usually oriented with the back of the material against the fence so that any tearout created by the blade is occurring on the back (or bottom) side of the stock being cut, not on one of the surfaces that will show.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 02:37 PM
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OK, maybe this will help. In the link below is a picture of the corner of the vanity. It took me about three cuts to get it to the right length, but I know there has to be a way to measure and get it right the first time.

In this case, I had measure the length I needed, plus the width of the piece of shoe molding to make the pieces match up. You'll notice that for this particular piece, when I placed the molding against the fence of my miter saw, the mark for the long side would have been "away from" the fence. I couldn't figure out how in the heck to determine where to start cutting the short side so that I would end up with the long side length that I needed (as in this case, it was an outside corner).

You'll see in the one pic where I placed a red circle (just as an example) of where I would start cutting (and for this outside cut, to me anyway, I'm cutting from the short side out to the long side). Hope this makes sense.

20140827_161413_zpsf785d632.jpeg Photo by hikerguy1 | Photobucket


The other pic is just the angles I'm trying to figure out. I have this section patched up and painted now, so ignore the poor work someone did (it was a contractor that had also put down the flooring).
 
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Old 08-27-14, 03:08 PM
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I'm a painter not a carpenter but what I usually do is measure the short distance, mark the piece I'm cutting and then cut. It's better to cut it a tad long than too short.
 
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Old 08-27-14, 03:27 PM
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That's a decent Miter Box.
Well, you probably did better than the Pro....

I had measure the length I needed, plus the width of the piece of shoe molding to make the pieces match up
It's easier, as Mark said, to mark short distance. In the picture, the material is orientated properly and just begging to be cut. But like you said, you can't touch the blade to the material at the mark because it's in the front.
Wirepuller is correct. There are other ways to cut. But you should start with the basics.
Don't try crown molding yet or you will drive yourself nuts.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 06:03 AM
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Cut

Referring to the photo of the stock on the mitre saw, using a speed square I would mark a 45 deg. line on the stock at the cut line.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 06:22 AM
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I hope that shiny caulking in the photo isn't white silicone. Silicone isn't easily paintable.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 11:20 AM
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XSleeper--I believe it was white silicone. I had already painted the baseboard and shoe molding before putting that bead of caulk down, so I don't plan on painting that area. What should I be using?

Cmhc00per--That's a steal on the miter saw. I might have to pick that up. Thanks for the link.

Handyone--No, I have NO plans of putting up crown molding. I'm struggling with just doing 45s on the shoe molding lol Just trying to save a little money doing some things myself.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 11:51 AM
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You usually want to use a fine bead of painters caulking, wiped down with a wet sponge, rag or finger. Then you paint the caulking to make it disappear.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 02:13 PM
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Because of theft of tools from the trades people that work their a$$ off in the heat and cold rain or shine I don't buy pre owned portable tools from pawn shops or any person that appears he / she would rather steal than work. If it can't be sold the theft will stop.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 03:38 PM
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There may be unscrupulous pawn shops around, but for the majority, they have to hold all items that have value (guns, tools, jewelry, etc) for a period, and ours has to make them available to our Sheriff's department, who sends look out information for stolen property. Tradesmen come and go, and with them so do their tools. There is nothing wrong with purchasing from a pawn shop. How else are they to make a living?
 
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Old 08-28-14, 04:21 PM
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Tools get sold for various reasons. I bought my worm drive saw [almost new] from a dope head carpenter about 25 yrs ago. He tried to sell it for $75 and got no takers, he offered it to me for $50 and I told him all I had was $30. He said that along with what he had would get him a bag of dope so I went home with the saw and he went to his dope dealer. I expected him to try and buy it back the next week but he never asked.
 
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Old 08-28-14, 04:35 PM
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they have to hold all items that have value (guns, tools, jewelry, etc) for a period, and ours has to make them available to our Sheriff's department, who sends look out information for stolen property.
Around here, the seller has to have valid ID (copied or scanned) and gives a thumbprint as well as having a picture taken if the ID has none. The item is entered into a County (State?) wide database and held for 3 days (IIRC) before being offered for sale. The seller actually pays a fee that pays for the system. Any items with purposely obliterated identifying numbers is rejected. I'd say it's quite rare in most areas that someone would risk their license for a small profit like that. Of course, as stated, there are always shady businesses.

If someone offers an almost new tool for 25% of retail in a parking lot, that's a different story. I've actually called the cops twice after that happened when I was working at HD.
 
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