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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:36 pm 
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Hi
Im thinking of getting a new mitre saw, probably a sliding version.
I really need to be able to cut 45 degrees more accuratly for picture frame making (Im still using a performancepower B&Q mitre saw from a few years back). It has no shadow guide or laser guide, which would be nice. The fence (guide) is also pretty terrible.

There are soooo many mitre saws available from £60 to £1000. Budget is as little as I need to spend.

Does anyone know how accurate any of them are? or how accurate they claim to be?
Any recommendations or ones to definately avoid?
I know you can also calibrate them with a set square.

Thanks for the help
Simon


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:32 pm 
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Hello, and

:welcomeuhm:

I think that accuracy is at least partly down to how much patience you have (to set-up a tool) as much as how much you spend. I've recently been using a pair of (hired) Makita LS1216 mitre saws. Despite being a top of the line tool from a well respected manufacturer (with a price ticket to match) and being nearly new neither of them were accurate on the pre-set detentes and for deep, heavy cuts it was necessary to start off by plumbing the blade the resquaring it on each and every cut. Just shows you that it isn't always a question of price. You can get repeatable accuracy and accurate scales, but there are very few saws capable of doing this time after time.

The other issues about accuracy concern blade diameter and (for sliding mitre saws) the extension arms. The bigger the diameter of the blade the more likely it is that you'll get blade vibration , wow and flutter (harmonic distortions), flexing when making one-sided trim cuts, etc. The bigger the saw blade the more likely it is that the rods will flex when making a heavy cut and some saws (well all, to an extent) can also suffer from the body casting flexing as well. For that reason go for a non-sliding saw if you can and restrict yourself to the smallest blade ypou can to reduce distortion and reduced accuracy of cut

As to lasers, most are inccurate, some really badly so, and they generally only work on one side of the saw blade - which makes then]m a bit of a gimick. In fact the only one I know which is really accurate and uses a double laser line is the Festool Kapex KS120 - a £1000 saw (which even if you in the trade is a big swallow, I can tell you). An interesting alternative is deWalt's shadow line system which uses a much lower tech approach but which works passably well.

You'll maybe help people give you a more definite answer if you set a size of cut and a budget range

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:03 pm 
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Really appreciate your detailed reply, that helps alot.
What you say makes sence.
I never even considered the plumb-ness of the blade. I dont know if I can adjust the plumbness on mine.
Ive got a nice new metal set square and a digital angle thingy coming tomorrow, so ill see if i can accuratly seup my existing saw, and do a few test cuts.
I have a lovely new 80t blade on the saw, makes a beautiful cut, just need it to be exactly 45 degs now lol

A non sliding mitre saw and a smaller blade makes sence, I dont need it big anyway, for frames.

Can you recommend something?
Thanks again


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 16, 2018 11:16 pm 
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mreco99 wrote:
I never even considered the plumb-ness of the blade. I dont know if I can adjust the plumbness on mine.
Ive got a nice new metal set square and a digital angle thingy coming tomorrow, so ill see if i can accuratly seup my existing saw, and do a few test cuts.

Cast detentes are notoriously inaccurate and aluminium horseshoe fences have a habit of warping as well as aluminium tables having the tendency to be a bit out.

I'd start by checking that the fences are actually co-planar by putting a steel or aluminium straight edge across both the fences (a 3ft spirit level will do, on a smaller saw a 2ft one might just be enough). If the fences aren't straight and in-line (co-planar) that can be fixed by screwing a piece of 12 to 18mm plywood across them with any gaps packed out using standard builder's horse shoe packers. This fence plate reduces capacity slightly and is sacrificial

You can check that the base of the saw is straight by using the straight edge (spirit level) again together with some more horseshoe packers (a small mixed pack of Broadfix packers will be very handy for other things, so might be a worthwhile small investment). Discrepancies can be cured the same way by affixing a full-length piece of 18nn plywood to the base. You'll need to check that your false back fence and the false base are at right angles to each other (using a square - and have you confirmed that your square really is square? Many aren't).

Having got this far set the saw to make a square, vertical cut into a scrap piece of MDF or ply held vertically against the fence (it must have a flat bottom edge). This vertical cut can be checked for squareness using a simple square and the bevel angle adjusted and further cuts and adjustments made until you are getting a consistently square vertical cut.

A similar technique is used to check for the squareness of a horizontal cut and the mitre angle adjusted as required. Mark where true zero is using a pen and sticky label so that you can find it again.

Once you've got this far you'll need to try the mitre 45 degree angles in the same way - remembering that if you add two 45 degree angles together you should get a verifyable right angle which can be checked with a square

Another check you can make to check for a perpendicular saw blade is to cross cut a piece of MDF or softwood (ideally 18mm or thicker) then place both pieces together on a flat surface and flip one over through 180 degrees so that the top of one is adjacent to the bottom of the other. If your blade is vertical you'll get no gap between either piece whichever way they are oriented

So - lots of ways to check and correct, but no need for fancy tools - just eyeballs and a verified square square

And here's how to check that a square really is square

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