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Thread: Role of the miter saw in a furniture shop?

  1. #16
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    I use my miter saw to break down lumber. Also for some repetitive cuts. My miter saw is built into a work bench. So I have an 8í bench on one side and a 6í bench on the other side. They make a good work area. Or place to pile stuff.
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  2. #17
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    You certainly don't need to have one if you don't want, woodworkers got by for many centuries without them. That said, I use mine continuously for precision work in furniture building. I've got a nice fence setup that allows me to cut everything I need to final length easily and the saw cuts everything up to a foot or so wide as perfectly square as I can measure, so what's not to like? It does take up a huge amount of space; it has been so useful for me that I've gladly dedicated an absurd amount of space to it. Dust collection sucks. No solution there. If my shop were twice as big and I could fit a nice slider table saw I might reconsider. As it is I can't fit the footprint of a slider and I can't cut as reliably square an end on a 6-7 ft long board on my TS with any of the various sleds and miter fences I've acquired over the years as I can with the miter saw.

  3. #18
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    Dec 2019
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    New Brunswick, Canada
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    I’m in the process of trying to wean myself off of my SCMS. I have an Makita that is accurate and has been useful over the years but I found that the space requirements and the poor dust control has made it hard to live with in my small 13x22’ shop. I’ve been breaking down rough lumber with a handsaw lately and using my table saw more often and am happy with the results.
    If I had more room, I’d have it set up with a more effective dust hood than I had as I found the SCMS to be my worst dust offender by far. I had an 80 tooth blade in most of the time which may have added to the problem but it made excellent cuts.
    17’x30’ is a nice sized shop. Enjoy!

  4. #19
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    Oct 2016
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    Ogden, UT
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    I personally vary between Contracting type work and furniture.. so I use it. But using it for furniture... I try not to. I have considered getting an arm saw and storing my miter for on site stuff. It is hard to beat for breaking down lumber, but for breaking down an arm saw would work and from what everyone says they are more accurate. The miter saws are hard to get dialed for angle cuts. It kinda turns into a science problem most times.

    I have the Bosch miter saw.. it doesn't use sliders, but a 4 bar mechanism deal to extend. It saves room, for what it's worth.

    A long board is hard to cut square on a table saw sometimes (even with a sled). But I also need to upgrade my sled for use with clamps.

  5. #20
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    I have the Bosch Glide its ok.
    Really wish I had the space for a Radial Arm saw.
    Aj

  6. #21
    I like having a miter saw for woodworking tasks, including making furniture. I dont have room for a full up miter station, nor a sliding miter saw. But I ghave a 12" Makita on a small stand with a good (small) fence setup. I'm glad to have it. I use it mainly for cross-cutting (though I also have and Incra HD 1000 on the tablesaw.) Like AJ, I wish I had room for a Radial Arm Saw.
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  7. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Young View Post
    Rather than use the miter saw to roughly dimension lumber, I would use a jigsaw instead to cross cut things to length.
    By necessity, this is what I frequently must do: a circular saw, usually, a jig saw or handsaw sometimes, due to limitations on cross cut capacity both to the left and right of my saw. It works, of course. But to be honest, it gets old fast--getting the tool out, supporting the cut, cleaning up the sawdust on the shop floor, etc. When, someday hopefully, I get a bigger shop, I'm getting a miter saw situated such that I can just walk up make rough cross cuts and long cuts for carpentry projects.

  8. #23
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    Nov 2009
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    Peoria, IL
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    As far as I am concerned, a miter saw is for building decks. Sleds on a table saw make all the miters I use for furniture moldings.

  9. #24
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    Feb 2004
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander Young View Post
    My shop is 17íx30′ and I am seriously debating the merits of having a miter saw/chop saw in there. The end walls are curved (the shop is in a quonset style barn), so space along the straight walls is at a premium, and Iím just not certain the miter saw earns its keep. I notice that Becksvoort, and Tessolin donít regularly use miter saws for furniture making, but it seems that many other ďmakersĒ and folks on YouTube have a designated miter saw station. I have a great table saw and a nice Incra 1000HD and plan to build a crosscut sled for cutting stock to length. What are your thoughts on having a miter saw for a furniture shop? Iíd keep one around for doing trim and stuff in the house, but Iím not sure I need a Bosch Glide that I donít want to lug into the house taking up room in my shop.

    Rather than use the miter saw to roughly dimension lumber, I would use a jigsaw instead to cross cut things to length.

    Thank you for your thoughts and experiences!
    Alexander, if one has the space - which I do not - I would do as Jim does, that is, use it to break down rough boards, and keep it in the storage area. In other words, I do not consider a SCMS a tool for building furniture. But then I have had a sliding table saw for around 25 years, and this has done duty for precision crosscuts and mitres. If I did not have a slider, I would continue to use a circular saw for cutting up boards, and a sled for precision cross cuts on the table saw.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Cohen View Post
    I do not consider a SCMS a tool for building furniture.
    Why ever not? Are we into one of those arguments about how the wood will "remember" that it's been cut with an "improper" tool? If the length and angle are precise, that's good enough for me. I'm not at all sure what else I might ask for.

    For small boards that fit within a sled where I can set a positive stop for reproducible length I regularly cut them on the table saw. For boards that dangle out in space with no practical means to set a stop for length and fighting the forces of gravity and inertia to keep them square against a too-short fence the SCMS does a much better job.

    I'm afraid I flunked the hand sawing course, I can't cut a straight line, square in two dimensions to save my soul. I'm filled with admiration and envy for those who can do it.

  11. #26
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    Feb 2004
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    Roger, let me rephrase that: I do not consider the SCMC an essential tool for building furniture. That is basically what the OP wanted to know - that is, is he missing out by not having one. As you say, some will find it useful. Some may even find it essential. I have never had one, and I build furniture. Ergo, it cannot be essential.

    Regards from Perth

    Derek

  12. #27
    I have gone back and forth on having a SCMS in my shop and currently do not, but only because of limited space and some recent tool acquisitions and a new shop layout pushed it off the current priority list.

    They are space hogs and my shop is so small and oddly configured that it never really conveniently fit in to the available space I had to give it, so it was usually setup on the portable Dewalt stand and taken down as needed or taken to job sites for install / carpentry work, which is where it’s been for about 6 months now.

    I don’t really use it in furniture making / fine woodworking for finished cuts, but it’s very convenient / quick for rough - close to finished cuts compared to a circular saw/jigsaw/handsaw/table saw crosscut sled. Some stuff is just too long for the crosscut sled. That’s what I’m missing the most is quick cuts and not having to stop, set the board up with clamps and get out a “blank” saw to crosscut something down less accurately than a finished cut.

    I have another, smaller older Hitachi 8 1/2” slider (great saw) on the same stand that I keep in my garage, which is more of a carpentry work area, but not really close enough to the shop for me to say “I’ll just take this out to the garage and cut it in the miter saw out there” when I’m working in the woodshop, indoors 50’ away.

    If I had space, I would build a dedicated miter saw station with 6-8’ on either side of the blade with stops, dust collection and slap an Omga in there and be done with it, but I don’t have that kind of space in my shop as it’s configured now.
    Still waters run deep.

  13. #28
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    A mitre/chop/jump/scms is by far the fastest and most space conscious (with some thought to table layout) way to repeatedly and accurately cut to length. IMHO, no there is no replacement for them in a furniture shop because:

    Any technique that requires the wood to move to the blade, instead of the blade moving, requires stock support proportional to the size of the materials. That means that the crosscut sleds, or sliding table saws have to be as big as the materials you handle. That quickly becomes a space hog in operation, easily more so than a chop saw. Wood is also heavy and crosscutting it on a sled or slider takes more effort than just laying it on a chop saw stand and going to work, especially important if you are processing bigger or lots of materials.

    Any technique that uses portable saws to rough cut, then be cleaned up on a sled or slider require two steps. Unless a jig table like the Festool MFT is used, but then you are not saving space again.

    Chop saws are generally cheap compared to other tools to. Compare the cost of an Incra sled, or a track saw to a chop saw, turns out the chop saw is a bargain.

    You can use whatever technique that floats your boat, but the chop saw has earned a place in most shops.

  14. #29
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    So, for those concerned about high accuracy while breaking down larger stock... are you dimensioning before you break it down? I really don't care about break-down accuracy to anything greater than say +/- 1/4" as I still have to join, then thickness the stock anyway.

    I'm not talking about cross cutting really long work. There a sled would be less convenient, to be sure.
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  15. #30
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    I break down wide long boards by hand.

    A miter saw that is accurate is hugely useful. Referring to an Omga or similar, rigidly built with a fine blade.

    A construction level miter saw is not useful outside of rough cutting.
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