Help me understand circular and miter saws.


  #1  
Old 12-18-12, 11:45 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Help me understand circular and miter saws.

I've never owned a standalone circular saw, nor a miter saw, but based on it's "circular shape," I've made assumptions about them through the year, but never used one or been around anyone who has used one. So I need some confirmation, and some education. I also don't know the lingo in this world so please bear with me.

My one main assumption: It is only good for cutting all the way through. Whether cutting at an angle with a miter or cutting straight, circular and miter saws are for cutting all the way through, as in cut in half, cut 3rds, cut in 4ths, whatever you want, but it has to be all the way through. You cannot cut out sections or make grooves because since it's circular, you cannot cut 90 degree corners. Is that a correct assumption? I'm not sure if you guys understand what I'm saying, so I've attached a diagram of a 40 inch two by four. Can you guys look at the picture and tell me if a miter saw can do that with accuracy? It is really basic, a hand saw or jig saw can get it done, but I'm trying to understand a miter saw because I want to buy the most versatile saw out there.

Thanks!
 
Attached Images  
  #2  
Old 12-19-12, 01:32 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I just read up on band saws.. Hmmm. Okay, based on that picture, can a bandsaw do that as well?
 
  #3  
Old 12-19-12, 03:56 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,025
Received 68 Votes on 57 Posts
Both a band saw and a circular saw (aka Skil saw) can make that cut. Ditto a simple hand saw. With the circular saw you would lay the board on it's edge (the "2" side) and make the cross cut. Then you would make the second cut on the end. This is a bit tricky due to the lack of support for the sole plate on the circular saw and having to eyeball the cut line. Circular saws are generally cheaper (sometimes much cheaper) than a band saw, so one question would be how much use you would get out of either.

Depending on how clean and neat the cut needs to be, you could also make the cross cut first and then knock off the piece with a wood chisel along the grain on that cut line.
 
  #4  
Old 12-19-12, 03:58 AM
W
Member
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 6,802
Received 36 Votes on 33 Posts
Saw Lingo

A circular saw is portable and is used to make straight cuts. A circular saw has a depth of cut adjustment and would work for your application.

A mitre saw is semi-portable and is usually mounted on a stand or table. A mitre saw is used to make precision cuts for finish work such as mouldings and trim.

Yes, a band saw would work for your application. But a jig saw would do the same job.

Others will follow with more complete descriptions of the various kinds of saws.
 
  #5  
Old 12-19-12, 04:01 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,025
Received 68 Votes on 57 Posts
Right, thanks 'puller, I forgot to mention either the miter saw or jigsaw (saber saw). Need more coffee. Miter saw not really suitable as noted. All things considered the jigsaw/saber saw would probably be the best bet.
 
  #6  
Old 12-19-12, 04:56 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,256
Received 431 Votes on 385 Posts
I think a table saw works best for that type of cut. A dado blade makes quick work of it but you can also do it with a standard blade [takes longer]

My first circular saw was a skil saw. I went a long time before I bought a table saw but once I got one - I wondered why I waited so long. Same can be said of a miter saw. Each type of saw has it's own type of use. If you continue to work with wood, you'll eventually want many different saws
 
  #7  
Old 12-19-12, 05:08 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
It's funny I can't conceptualize a circular blade being able to make that cut. It's round so how do you end up with sharp right angles?

Okay, so miter saw is out. Bandsaw, jigsaw, portable circular saws will work. I'm assuming a table saw would work too, right?

Also, on the lower scale band saws like the 9 or 10" inches. Is it possible to somehow make adjustments to the table and cut a 30 inch square piece diagonally?
 
  #8  
Old 12-19-12, 05:23 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
Although my total experience is built around who owns the most power equipment, I'll have to step back and say for a noob to try to cut this end of a 2x4 with anything that has a motor will not be in his best interests. It's only a 2x4. Use a handsaw.....you know, the ones without a motor , and a handle on one end. Your hand goes there. I have to introduce myself to this slowly.

Table saw with a tenoning jig, yes. Circle saw, marginal. Band saw, no end cut possible. Jig saw, yeah. Miter saw, definitely no. Chain saw........never mind. Use the handsaw.
 
  #9  
Old 12-19-12, 05:36 AM
W
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,185
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
There are many ways to make this simple cut. A table saw would be my first choice. A circular saw will also do the job, but I would make the cut using multiple passes across the grain and then knock off the scrap with a mallet and cleaning the cut with a chisel.

However, if you don't own power tools and don't have a production line of similar cuts, then you should consider a hand saw. I would use a pull saw but a back saw or a cross cut saw would work as well.
 
  #10  
Old 12-19-12, 05:38 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Chandler, don't worry about me. I'm a chicken to pain, so when it comes to tools, I'm EXTREMELY careful. Just starting to dress up my garage. I knew nothing about drill presses too and I started a thread in this forum asking for help. My drill press is up and running and I love it, and I love this site!!

My next toy is a saw. So 2 things I already see myself needing to do:

1. The image that I attached
2. 30 inch square pieces, they could be wood or acrylic, and I would need to cut them in half diagonally.

A table saw can do both of this job? Band saw cannot?
 
  #11  
Old 12-19-12, 05:57 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
To cut a 30" square panel on a diagonal (2 triangles), your best choice is a hand held circular saw or "skilsaw" used with some sort of straight cutting guide.
 
  #12  
Old 12-19-12, 06:07 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Toolman, dang it.. I would imagine a table saw can do that. Trying to kill a few birds with one stone. But also with convenience. Those circular saws just look cumbersome in all the product images. I see you have to hold it with both hands, which means more accessories to buy to hold your work piece. I like the idea of stationary cutters, and I'm feeding the piece, instead of having to move the cutter.
 
  #13  
Old 12-19-12, 06:19 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Chandler, you sure you can't do the end cut with a band saw? I saw a youtube video where the person fed the piece one way, then fed it again perpendicularly with the miter gauge.
 
  #14  
Old 12-19-12, 06:41 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
You CAN do it on a band saw, just be careful to keep the wood parallel to the blade and the end held parallel to the plate. Your cross cut will be just as daunting, trying to keep the wood in a parallel position. The longer the wood, the more cumbersome it will be.

A table saw will probably be the best investment you can do. The panels CAN be cut on a table saw, but you will need to build a slide jig to hold them against the fence without any movement of the diamond.

Glad you are getting the shop up and running. Let us know if we can help spend your money
 
  #15  
Old 12-19-12, 06:43 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I would imagine a table saw can do that.
Yes it can but you would need a 45 cutting jig to run the corner of the panel along the fence and you will need a decent sized table saw with at least 24" cutting capacity between fence and blade. You cannot make freehand cuts on a table saw (safely), it's always used with the fence or miter slots.
 
  #16  
Old 12-19-12, 06:59 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I think it'll be down to a table saw vs band saw. Table saw seems to be most practical, but band saw just looks so much fun. LOL!
 
  #17  
Old 12-19-12, 07:02 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Toolman, the 24'' cutting capacity you mentioned, is that also known as rip capacity?
 
  #18  
Old 12-19-12, 07:12 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hmmm, this one by Sears has side extensions that gives it a total of 24'' inch rip capacity on either side.

Craftsman 21807: Make Those Miters Tight with Sears
 
  #19  
Old 12-19-12, 07:19 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Yes, I should have said "rip capacity". Be advised though, even if you get a tablesaw, you will still need a skilsaw to cut 4X8 panels down to a manageable size to handle on the tablesaw by yourself.
 
  #20  
Old 12-19-12, 08:27 AM
W
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 3,185
Received 1 Vote on 1 Post
If you are just getting started setting up a shop the tablesaw is by far your best investment. Bandsaws have their place but they are limited in what they can do. My bandsaw is probably one of the least used stationary tools in my shop.
 
  #21  
Old 12-19-12, 11:29 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
I agree with Wayne. I have both a band saw and a 24" throat oscillating scroll saw, and use them very seldom. However, when the need arises, they are there....paid for. Table saw with all the accessories gets used probably 90% of the time.
 
  #22  
Old 12-19-12, 02:06 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,946
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There is more to not getting hurt with power tools than being careful. You have to understand how they operate and how injuries can occur to avoid them.
 
  #23  
Old 12-19-12, 02:06 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
You guys are right, table saw it is!! I need to get things done, more than I need to make pretty bandsaw boxes or a reindeer like this guy. LOL!

bandsaw magic - YouTube
 
  #24  
Old 12-19-12, 02:23 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
There is more to not getting hurt with power tools than being careful. You have to understand how they operate and how injuries can occur to avoid them.


Yeah, unfortunately we sometimes learn the hard way. I only got bit by a power tool once many years ago, a jointer, but not too bad. Now I stop and think about what can go wrong before I start an operation. That said, it's only the past few years I have been wearing eye protection all the time with any power tool after years of getting hit in the face with wood, concrete and metal chips. Guess I had to have the warning drummed into my head 10,000 times before I wised up.
 
  #25  
Old 12-19-12, 02:24 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
Kick back is your worst enemy. Protective eyeglasses will be drilled in to you here more than anywhere, except your optometrist.

This is for when you get really good: Schwartz Table - YouTube
 
  #26  
Old 12-19-12, 02:34 PM
Gunguy45's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: USA
Posts: 21,112
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
I had kickback one time trying to rip down a piece of ply (yeah, my bad..I twisted it while feeding). I wear safety glasses doing that stuff...but this one caught me in the belly....had a dark purple bruise for over a week. Right after it happened I thought I might have to go to the ER...hard to breath, wondered about internal stuff. Luckily I have more belly than common sense I guess?
 
  #27  
Old 12-19-12, 02:44 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Wow, the Schwartz table look something like out of a movie. Like a meeting table for the JEDIs. Only the movie version will be automated and a hologram of Obi Wan Kenobi will appear.
 
  #28  
Old 12-19-12, 03:00 PM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 48,256
Received 431 Votes on 385 Posts
Safety can't be overstressed! Several yrs ago I cut the tip of my thumb off using my table saw, not sure how it happened as I always keep my fingers away from the blade and often use a push block/stick..... but it happened It did happen a few weeks after I loss the sight in my right eye but I don't if that had anything to do with it. My thumb grew back, you have to look close to see where it was cut - but it is now difficult to pick up small items using that thumb.

My grandfather retired as a carpenter back in the early 50's. Like many carpenters of his era, he had multiple missing or partly missing digits
 
  #29  
Old 12-19-12, 03:13 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,946
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Riving knives and splitters go a long way to reduce kick back!

This is the table saw I purchased for my home shop. sawstop's channel - YouTube I had one of my fingers slip into the blade at work and I never wanted it to happen again. It was a big deal to me, but not that serious of an injury. I've always had a safety conscious mind, but I take far fewer risks than I used to.
 
  #30  
Old 12-19-12, 04:36 PM
T
Member
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 614
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I've seen that Sawstop before, still can't figure out how it works.
 
  #31  
Old 12-19-12, 05:03 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
Works off moisture with electronic connection to a servo that releases a spring into your blade. Destroys itself and a perfectly good $70 blade in the process. I prefer to be more careful than the next guy.
 
  #32  
Old 12-19-12, 09:06 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Hey guys, when talking about rip capacity. From the fence to the blade is the left side, correct? I'm curious why there are specifications for both left and right rip capacity. Why does the right matter? How can the right side be limited? Don't you have extensions, or even make your on extensions/stands that's at the same level and basically increase rip capacity of the right? What if you have someone help hold the piece on the right?

I have no projects requiring such large rips. I'm just trying to understand/learn. Thanks!
 
  #33  
Old 12-19-12, 09:11 PM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Let me rephrase that. I guess the right does matter because that's the size of the table. But technically, isn't the right limitless with a little help, custom stands, extensions, etc.?
 
  #34  
Old 12-20-12, 01:34 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
As you guys stress the importance of safety, I read up more on kick backs. That's scary stuff!

And now I'm a little bit more confused. LOL! Mainly because I've never own or yet understand how to operate a table saw. But if I'm not cutting all the way through, how do I safely pull out my piece? Is there some sort of automatic stop function? I set it to cut 1 inch and the blades stop spinning?
 
  #35  
Old 12-20-12, 04:19 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
Normal grade saws usually rip from the right. It is a trade off on ergonomics. Most people are right handed, so I guess the right rip is more efficient, and thus the blade is set heavy to the left side of the machine. You will have a left rip capability, but it is less than right.
I use a Delta Unisaw with a 5 HP motor and 7' run off table, and it has both left and right rips at adequate spacing. Left is about 24", and right is 48" or so. If you choose to increase the rip capacity of the right, you will need to install a longer fence guide. I would recommend a Beisemyer (sp) set up. It glides effortless and sets like a rock.

Another important thing to have is "run off" capabilities. If you are cutting a long piece of wood, you don't want the weight of the piece to ovepower your ability to keep it in the blade. Making an extension table at the back at the same height of the table is a good thing to have, eliminating that problem. You can never trust another person to run at the same rate as you. It can cause kickback unless they are just "holding" the materials and not providing any push. Tables eliminate that. Plus you don't have to feed tables or provide beer.
 
  #36  
Old 12-20-12, 04:36 AM
the_tow_guy's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: SW Fla USA
Posts: 12,025
Received 68 Votes on 57 Posts
Yikes, I go away for awhile and there's 20 new posts in a thread I jumped into early!

Per the discussion, see my signature line.

In the initial post I made the assumption this was a hand tool question, so bypassed even mentioning table saw which like others would be my first choice.

On the subject of the notch you diagrammed, not really doable on a table saw by ripping, as the cut is not perpendicular on the piece with a table saw but is rather an arc. Mark mentioned a dado blade; that would be my choice.
 
  #37  
Old 12-20-12, 06:35 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Just looked up DADO blades and this has confirmed my assumption. You guys mentioned it earlier, but I do not understand lingo and didn't research it, but this cleared up some imagery for me. Like I said earlier, I cannot conceptualize a circular blade making these sharp corners, but the word "arc" escaped me. But that's it! That's what I was trying to say. Dado blade it is!!

Okay, now what if I'm not cutting all the way through? As you can see by the diagram, I won't be cutting through, I'll be cutting out a corner. When I do the first cross cut, do I pull the piece back out while the blade is still running? Will I have to reach for the power off button before I pull out the piece? Anything automatic that would stop once I cut an inch? Or is the stoppage completely based on eyeballing? How does this go in operation?
 
  #38  
Old 12-20-12, 01:33 PM
D
Member
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: USA
Posts: 4,946
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Works off moisture with electronic connection to a servo that releases a spring into your blade. Destroys itself and a perfectly good $70 blade in the process. I prefer to be more careful than the next guy.
It doesn't work off moisture, it works of electricity. There is a small amount of current put on the blade. When you touch it with your finger, it detects the voltage drop and activates the safety mechanism. The device will activate if you try to cut metal.

I'm always puzzled by people's dislike of how it destroys the blade in the process. Who cares? It just saved you from injury and a hefty hospital bill. I would trade $200 for a new blade and cartridge over injury and thousands of dollars in medical bills.
 
  #39  
Old 12-20-12, 02:31 PM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,964
Received 8 Votes on 7 Posts
You're probably right. It was explained to me that the current was like a GFCI, detecting the difference in poles and activating the mechanism. They used a hot dog and said it was like your body with moisture in it to help with the circuit.

I'm always puzzled by people's dislike of how it destroys the blade in the process.
I'd rather have my cake and eat it too. It takes caution and concentration. I like keeping the cost of the blade and the doctor's visit in my pocket, sort of like I do with the hand that isn't doing anything at the moment of the cut. If it isn't needed, keep it out of the path.
 
  #40  
Old 12-21-12, 01:13 AM
A
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 83
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Like shopping for bits, how do you shop for blades?

Hey guys, when shopping for blades, do we just look at the blade size? For example, with drills, you need to know what chuck you have.

1. Is there something equivalent to a chuck in table saw, miter or handheld circular saws?
2. Or do we just look at blade size? So a 10" table saw will take all blades smaller than 10".
3. Do you have to buy blades made specifically to fit table saws, made specifically for miter, made specifically for circular? Or, are all blades on the market interchangeable with all three types of machines provided you buy the proper size for your machine?
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: