Miter saw VS circular saw – Which is best for your need?

A Miter Saw

In woodworking, the two single most essential power tools are the miter saw vs. circular saw. Your eventual choice for your project is dependent on several factors, especially the type of cut you are looking to make.

Miter saws are mostly suitable for trimming, while circular saws for ripping. Nevertheless, the factors surrounding your choice is not that straightforward.

In this article, there is an outlay of the circumstances surrounding your miter and circular saw choice.

Section 1 What is a Miter Saw

1.1 What is a Miter Saw?

Miter saws are your go-to saws for angular cuts. This saw is famous for its high accuracy crosscutting, bevel, and combination cutting. In essence, the miter saw is your best choice for making cuts at angles other than 90 degrees. For more information about miter saw types, sizes, and how to buy, check this.

A Miter Saw
Figure1: A Miter Saw

Types of miter saws include the sliding miter saw, compound miter saw, compound sliding miter saw, and dual compound sliding miter saw.

A Compound Miter Saw
Figure 2: A Compound Miter Saw

1.2 What Type of Cutting Can the Miter Saw?

1. Crosscuts: this type of cut is mostly standard. You can make it by cutting through a plane wood at an angle of 90 degrees.

2. Miter cut: you can make this type of cut by creating a trim at the end of your work-wood. A good example is at the edges and ends of your office or home door.

3. Bevel cut: in making the bevel cut, you will cut the end of your wooden board across its thickness. You can easily find such cuts at the doorstep.

4. Compound cut: this is the combination of both the bevel cut and the miter cut. You can find this on trims of crown moldings in your home.

1.3 Features of A Miter Saw

Here is a list of the common features associated with the miter saw:

  • Step and rotation stop for wood customization.
  • Sawdust collection mechanism for a neater workspace
  • Safety accessories like the fence and blade guard
  • Electric powered cutting tool.
  • Miter saw cutting capacity, i.e., all types of cuts possible using the miter saw.
  • Pros of a Miter Saw.
  • Below are some of the advantages of using the miter saw.

1.4.1 Precise Cutting and Make Tight-fitting Seams

The miter saw will give you a high precision cut. This high precision is notably applicable for all the cutting type on the miter saw.

1.4.2 Save Time and Have a Fast and Simple Process

With the miter saw, you can make a broader cut in a shorter time. This speed is mainly due to its blade automation.

1.4.3 Safety and Easily Cut Bevel and Cross Cuts

The miter saw moves upwards and downwards when cutting. This cutting style makes it safer to use than its counterparts. Also, you can easily make bevel and crosscuts while using the miter saw.

1.5 Cons of a Miter Saw

1.5.1 Poor Versatility

Miter saws have a low versatility because they are stationary and remain in a single location. The miter saw cutting configuration is just of four variants. It means that it can never produce any other cut outside those four. There are many cutting restrictions with the miter saw. The most important restriction is the fact that you can only cut in a straight line.

1.5.2 Expensive Cost

Miter saws will cost you far more than its counterparts, which is a huge turn off for most users.

2.5.3 Take up Space

Since you will need to mount the miter saw in a location, it will take up some space.

Section 2 What is a Circular Saw?

2.1 What is a Circular Saw?

The circular saw is a must-have for woodworkers, and most operators doing a lot of cutting. This saw’s configuration gives it an advantage, among other power tools. Its handheld design and its motorized blade make it flexible. Also, it is the perfect tool for making long cuts.

Circular Saw
Figure 3: Circular Saw

2.2 What type of Cutting can the Circular Saw?

  • There are several possibilities of cuts when using the circular saw. Here is a comprehensive list of the types.
  • Cross Cuts – this is the essential operation of cutting along the workpiece.
  • Miter, Bevel, and Compound – this is setting your circular at 90 degrees and making the miter, bevel, and compound cuts.
  • Rip Cuts – this is the cutting across of the workpiece with the circular saw.
  • Dado & Rabbet – you can also make dado cuts with the cuts by making linear lines on your workpiece.
  • Plunge Cuts – this is cut a plan by merely lowering it on a moving circular saw.

2.3 Features of a Circular Saw

  • The circular saw is a power tool variant, i.e., you can power it with electricity or batteries.
  • Their blades come in different diameters and thicknesses for various applications.
  • Their configuration makes them versatile enough to create a wide range of cuts.
  • There are also unique angle circular saws to allow for specific application and precision.

Circular Saw in Use.
Figure 4 Circular Saw in Use.

2.4 Pros of a Circular Saw

2.4.1 Almost Cut any Material

The circular saw is one of the most versatile power tools available, making it a must-have for most operators. They can cut metal, pipes, tiles, stonework, plastic, etc. You can move them to any location you see fit for the project.

Great for Rip Cutting, Long Cutting, and Straight Cuts

Circular saw cuts across longboards quickly. It carries out this operation with ease and reasonably precisely. The circular saw is a perfect match for making straight cuts in woodworking.

2.4.3 Cost-effective

This saw sells far less cheap than the miter saw. About 1/3 of the miter saw the price.

2.5 Cons of a Circular Saw

Cut with the Jagged Edge and not Suitable for Bending and Angled Cuts

The circular saw can sometimes fall short in making the perfect angular cuts due to the tool’s sloppiness. Using the circular saw can sometimes lead to rough tear outs. This flaw is because of its toothed blade configuration. It often results in cuts with jagged edges.

2.5.2 Risky

The handy configuration of the circular saw that makes it flexible is also a cause for concern. It is because it leaves you open to fatal accidents from its tooth.

Section 3 Main difference Between Miter Saw and Circular Saw

Below is a table summarizing the major differences between these two types of saw.

Below is a table summarizing the major differences between these two types of saw.

3.1 Do you need both of them

In the end, it is safe to say that both saws have their respective uses. Depending on your project’s scope, you must own before you can choose which of both saws. It is safe to say that having both won’t be a bad idea.

Industrial working using the miter saw
Figure 5 Industrial working using the miter saw.

Section 4 Which one Should you get between the Miter Saw and the Circular Saw?

Below is a table that provides the necessary information to help you in making the best saw choice. The facts are presented based on ease of use, type of cuts, storage and portability, project plan, and price.

Which one Should you get between the Miter Saw and the Circular Saw

Section 5 How to Choose a Better Miter Saw or Circular Saw?

Below is a list of factors you should consider when choosing between a miter saw and a circular saw.

5.1 Power

The higher the power of your saw, the thicker the wood you can cut.

5.2 Blade

Different materials will warrant other blades, so your project scope will determine the type of blade you can use.

5.3 Safety Features

Accidents, when cutting with saws, can be quite fatal. For this reason, most manufacturers are innovating new ways to make cutting safer.

5.4 Precision

Depending on the type of project you are working on, you will need to choose the level of precision you will need.

5.5 Brand

Different manufacturers have their respective advantages, which will go down to your preferred taste and trust in a manufacturer.

Section 6 The best Miter Saws and Circular Saws.

Here is a list of the top 5 Miter Saws

1. 10” Hitachi C10FCG Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw

This is a relatively cheap miter saw. It has all the miter saw’s necessary features. With a 15-Amp motor generating 5,000 RPM, this is a must-have for all operators.

2. DeWalt DWS709 12-Inch Slide Compound Miter Saw

For a handy tool with a 15-Amp motor, it sure produces a lot of quality performance.

3. DEWALT DWS709 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

This saw features a 15-Amp electric motor capacity. The motor typically runs at 3800 rpm max.

4. Bosch GCM12SD 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw-for a compact design

It packs many firepowers. This saw typically has a 15 Amp/3800 rpm motor

5. DEWALT DWS780 12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw

A precise tool with a 15 Amp/3,600 RPM.

Top 5 Circular Saws

1. DeWalt DWE575SB Lightweight Circular Saw

A compact and durable tool. The saw features a 15-Amp electric motor. It also comes with a braking system to improve safety.

2. DeWalt DCS391B Cordless Circular Saw

A cordless circular saw with up to 5000rpm. This saw is suitable for speed cutting through rigid materials.

3. Makita XSR01PT 18V Circular Saw Kit

A wireless circular saw that is very flexible and compact for making different cuts

4. SKIL 5280-01 7.25″ Circular Saw

A tool for professionals with a 15-Amp electrical motor for speed cutting.

5. PORTER-CABLE PCE300 7.25″ circular Saw

This is a heavy-duty circular saw with a 15-Amp/5500 rpm for all applications.

Section 7 Safety Tips

1. Install using the Instruction Manual

In carrying out blade replacement, ensure your saw’s instruction manual with you to guide you through the process.

2. Always Wear the Correct Gear.

Always wear the correct gear, from the protective goggles to your industrial boots.

3. Check your Blade before Each Use.

Make it a tradition always to check the saw blade before use if any rust or dullness.

4. Set the Right Depth of Blade when Unplugging the Saw

Make sure the cutting depth is 1/4 inch below the bottom edge of the board to be cut. Which invariably leads to better finishing.

5. Keep the Wires away from the Work Area.

You must keep the wires away from the work area. Ensure that the wires are long enough to complete the cut without jerking the saw.

6. Use Proper Alignment

You have to align your workpiece properly to your saw blade to have a smoother cut.

7. Never try to Twist or Curve Angles.

It would be best if you never tried to twist or curve angles, resulting in poor cuts and even injury.

8. Store Accordingly

You must store the saw in a safe, dry place after use. This method of storage helps to prolong the service life of your cutting tool.

Section 8 Frequently asked Problems

8.1 How to Make a Sharper Cut with a Circular Saw?

You can make sharper cuts by paying attention to the following steps:

  • Make it a duty to always check the blade guard control before using the saw.
  • Look carefully through your saw blade to check for any rust or damaged teeth.
  • For cordless saws, ensure to charge the batteries before using the saw.
  • Set your saw depth blade to a maximum of 1/4 inches below the board’s edge.

8.2 Why does the Edge get Rip when Cutting?

In woodworking, your board edge has to be dead-flat to have a smooth and more effortless cut. However, this is not always the case. Most times, you will find boards with rough edges. It is the primary reason most edges get rip when cutting.

8.3 Can I Change the Blades of My Circular Saw?

After consistent use due to frequency or time, your circular saw blade will ultimately get dull. At such a point, you have the responsibility to replace the blade to continue getting significant cuts from your saw. There is an easy way to tell that your circular saw blade is dull. You can tell it is dull when you have to apply too much force to cut your workpiece.

8.4 Can the Miter Saw cut through Metal?

Most miter saw owners use the tool for woodworking and cutting other softer materials. You must begin to wonder if it can also cut through metal? Well, the answer isn’t a straight yes. Nevertheless, there are still some uncertainties. The reason for the uncertainty is because the miter saw can only cut metal if certain conditions are in place.

Your miter saw blade is the primary determinant of whether or not the saw can cut through metal. While using a standard miter saw blade can’t cut through metal, the compound miter saw will do a better job. In essence, to use the miter saw blade to cut metal, you must tweak a few things. As a rule of thumb, you must change its blade to a variant strong enough to cut metal.

8.5 Is Maintenance of a Miter Saw Difficult?

As crucial as the miter saw is to the woodworker and other users, something of great importance is its maintenance. Constant maintenance will keep your miter saw cutting effectively and faster. Maintaining the miter saw is not difficult for those that know the value of this tool. A simple activity like cleaning after use and storing in a dry place can go a long way in keeping the miter saw sharp.

8.6 Can Miter Saws Extended?

Yes, you can extend your miter saw. The standard miter saw table width is about 18 inches wide, and some users opt to include extension wings. These extension wings increase the width and length of the support.

Conclusion

Woodworking has been made easier with power tools like a miter saw or circular saw. These tools, however, have their respective advantages and peculiar applications. Operators must understand the circumstances surrounding their choice of either the miter saw or the Circular saw.

This article compares the miter saw with the Circular saw, highlighting their different strengths and scriptures. You will also find the various applications of both saws and how to use them for woodworking activities.
In conclusion, as you continue to look out for helpful tips on which power tool to use for your project, NCCuttingtools is the place to go. Click here for a video detailing how to use the miter and circular saws.

Band Saw-Use these Accessories to Improve Performance

A Typical Bandsaw

The band saw rank among the best workshop tool in this century after table saws. Although professionals and DIYers tend to overlook their usefulness and versatility. However, their uniqueness lies in their simplicity and structure, making people classify it as a common tool.
Numerous bandsaw accessories have hit the market, and they all contribute to the efficiency of the saw. Bandsaw accessories include the following; riser block, tension-release lever, bearing-style guides, and saw table.
Generally, succeeding paragraphs of this article will examine the upgrades and bandsaw accessories that drive improved performance.

Figure 1: A Typical Bandsaw
A Typical Bandsaw

Section 1: Band Saw — Choose an Upgrade or Accessorize?

In this article, the improvement process falls under two broad categories: upgrade and accessories. Specifically, upgrades refer to the complete replacement of machine parts or structures of the bandsaw. Upgrades will involve the removal of a manufacturer’s original and standard parts. For instance, replacing a chain drive with a belt-drive involves substituting sprockets for pulleys and chain for belts. On the other hand, bandsaw accessories involve replacing worn-out parts with new ones. Additionally, it also includes swapping of non-wearing parts as well as supplementary parts for optimum performance.

Section 2: Blade Selection May be the Most Important Section.

The blade remains one of the most important bandsaw accessories. It determines how the bandsaw itself will perform and its accuracy of cut. Besides, if you run a large workshop with a wide range of operations, you would require various styles of blades. The nature of the workpiece will determine the style of blade and other bandsaw accessories needed for cutting.

Figure 2: Close-up Image of Bandsaw Blades
Close-up Image of Bandsaw Blades

2.1 How to Choose the Right Blade for your Band Saw?

The factors to consider when choosing blades are enumerated below with a detailed explanation:

Blade Width

Here, the focus is on the least radius you intend to cut and your bandsaw’s maximum capacity. Firstly, you must understand that different sawing styles require different blade width. Secondly, resawing and cut-off sawing requires the maximum blade width for a clean cut. Lastly, contour sawing requires a narrow width of the blade to cut any desired radius

The general chart below shows the relationship between the blade width and the least radius it can cut.

Blade Width

Blade Thickness

Currently, adopting the appropriate thickness of a blade is by far pertinent to longevity and performance. Now, blade thickness varies with the diameter of the bandsaw wheel as well as the intended work. Meanwhile, the thicker the blade, the more stress and the strain it can withstand during operation. Just be sure to choose the right thickness that corresponds to your bandsaw as listed below:

Blade Thickness

Blade Tooth Styles and Sets

Blades come in three tooth styles: regular, skip, and hook. Also, there are three basic tooth set: rake, alternate, and wavy.

Just like the name implies, a Regular tooth has equally spaced teeth, which are ideal for general cutting. Hence, they give a fine finish when used for cutting thin materials.

Skip tooth blades have their teeth spaced at zero-degree rake angle. Specifically, this tooth style minimizes clogging during the cutting of wood, plastics, and non-ferrous metals.

Hook tooth blades have deeper gullets with larger teeth with a positive ten-degree rake angle. With these teeth configurations, they have a high cutting rate and are more aggressive in advancing into the workpiece.

The raker tooth set is oriented to face the left and right direction and a straight one for the tooth set. Simultaneously, this straight tooth sometimes refers to as the unset teeth or raker.

The alternate tooth set has two left-right combinations of the tooth without a raker.

The wavy tooth set has teeth to the left, right, and separated by a straight tooth in the middle. The wavy tooth set blade is most suited for cutting light metals, pipes, thin sheets, etc.

Figure 3: Skip Tooth Blade.
Skip Tooth Blade.

Surface Feet Per Minute (SFM)

Knowing your bandsaw SFM helps you select the best speed suitable for your workpiece. Usually, each manufacturer outlines the SFM rating of their blades in the user manual. However, if you desire to calculate it yourself, you can use this formula:

SFM = Drive Wheel RPM x Drive Wheel Diameter x 0.262

2.2 What size Blade is the Right One?

The overall performance of your bandsaw also depends on the blade size used. Although the manufacturer’s guide always states the correct size. In the absence of a guide or manual, follow these steps to calculate the size you need:

  • Position the pulleys or wheels correctly.
  • Measure the distance, C, from the center of one pulley to the other.
  • Measure the radius of both wheels or pulleys as (R1 and R2), respectively.
  • Apply this formula: Blade length= (R1 X 3.146) + (R2 X 3.146) + (2 X C).

Section 3: Choose the Most Popular Upgrade Plans for your Band Saw to Get Better.

Highlighted below are the four most prominent upgrades you should consider for your bandsaw. Once added to your saw, they help you up your game to derive satisfaction.

3.1 Riser Bloc

Due to the 14″ bandsaws’ limitation to resaw boards up to 6″ wide, a riser block becomes necessary. Subsequently, the riser block is a cast-iron spacer fitted between the bandsaw’s upper and lower casting. After doing this, your bandsaw can now resaw boards up to 12″. Nevertheless, it would help if you had a longer blade, a new guard, and a post, which usually comes with the riser block kit.

3.2 Tension -release Lever

This upgrade makes adjusting the tension of the blade effortless however you desire. The usual process of tensioning can prove tough and herculean, hence the need for this upgrade. It helps to engage and disengage the blade fast and easy. To install this upgrade, start by removing the top wheel, the housing, and the tension assembly. Afterward, drill some part of the upper casting to bolt in place the lever’s gear mechanism. Thus, re-assemble all component such that the lever can control the tensioning of the blade instantly.

3.3 Bearing-style Guides

The bearing-style guides help eliminate friction and noise generated from the blade rubbing against the metal guide block. Even the guides come in an upper and lower set and do not require any disassembly to install. Finally, they consist of roller bearing that reduces friction and noise as well as improve blade handling.

3.4 Saw Table

Like a table saw, the saw table will help you create more room for placing lengthy workpiece positioning. Some table comes with added features such as T-tracks, inset miter slots, a rip fence, etc. A typical saw table measure 24″ x 24″, which is almost triple the bandsaw’s usual stock table.

Figure 4: Bandsaw Showing its Table.
Bandsaw Showing its Table.

Section 4: Not all your Improvements to the Band Saw Involves Machine Replacement.

If you are not carrying out machine replacement, bandsaw accessories come into play as an alternative for performance enhancement. Also, accessorizing involves taking out old or worn-out parts for new ones. The importance of all these bandsaw accessories cannot be over-emphasized.

4.1 Urethane Tires

Urethane tires run smoother, quieter, and last longer in service than the typical rubber tire. Unlike rubber tires that get hard over time, urethane tires remain soft and flexible. Indeed, a soft tire allows the blade to sit well in place. Before installing, soften the urethane tire in hot water, dry off, and stretch into the wheels.

4.2 Cool Blocks

It is one of the amazing bandsaw accessories which acts in place of the metal guides. Here, the cool blocks of graphite impregnated phenolic material allow for easy slippage into place. Remember that graphite is known for its low-friction, which improves blade handling, reduces heat, and guarantees durability.

4.3 Tension Crank

This accessory helps you to turn the adjustment knob properly. Hence, with this crank, you can turn the knob at any position; on the bandsaw.

4.4 Rip Fences

Without bandsaw accessories like a rip fence, getting a straight cut might be difficult on the bandsaw. Currently, this fence comes with features like a knob, setscrew, or wrench for adjustment. Consequently, whenever drift occurs with the blade of your saw, the ability to adjust the fence compensates for the offset.

Figure 5: Rip Fence Guiding Cutting.
Rip Fence Guiding Cutting.

4.5 Resaw Guides

Usually, all resawing tasks require adequate support and guidance for a fine finish. To illustrate, a special feature of the resaw guide over the rip fence is adjusting the feed angle. However, they can function independently or in conjunction with a rip fence.

4.6 Tension Gauges

With this gauge, you can be sure of not under-tensioning or over-tensioning your blade. Neither over tensioning or under-tensioning is good for your blade or workpiece. Else, you stand the risk of snapping your blade when over-tensioned or having tracking issues when under-tensioned.

4.7 Digital Angle Guide

This guide becomes exceedingly necessary when you desire perfection and precision. Therefore, the bandsaw comes with an angular scale, which often gives inaccurate measurements. Consequently, the digital angle guide measures accurately and precisely and easy to install in just two steps.

4.8 Duplicating Pin

This pin helps to attach a template to the workpiece for multiple repetitive cuts. Thus, it ranks as one of the best bandsaw accessories that make your work easier and faster.

4.9 Task Light

For adequate and good visibility when cutting, you need this task light added as part of the bandsaw accessories. Also, the task light comes with a clip or a magnetic base to fit in place.

4.10 Band Saw — Mobile Base

The removable base allows you to move the band saw. Besides, you might need more space away from your workshop, and a mobile base helps you achieve that. Moreover, if you have limited workspace and an enormous workpiece, a mobile base can always save the day.

4.11 Band Saw — Dust Collection Port

As a safety precaution, fine dust given off during cutting should immediately be evacuated and not released into the environment. Accordingly, a dust collection port helps you maintain a cleaner and safe working environment during and after cutting.

4.12 Band Saw — Saw Welder

If you ever decide not to purchase a blade, you would need a saw welder to make yours. Meanwhile, for this purpose, there is no need for filler materials but just heat and force.

In summary, these are bandsaw accessories that help you to produce custom-made blades to your preferred length and style.

Section 5: Is Tracking a Necessary Factor Affecting Band Saw Performance?

Truly, when putting in place band saw accessories, the most important factor to look out for remains the blade tracking. Blade tracking determines if a drift will occur or not, i.e., if your cut will be straight or not. Furthermore, to ensure proper blade tracking, both the upper and lower wheels must all align. Again, the tooth of the blade should always align with the wheel’s centerline.

Section 6: Maintenance of the Band Saw.

  • Lubricate all the bearings periodically.
  • Keep all adjustment screws clean and lubricated.
  • Tighten set screws from time to time.
  • Be quick to replace the blade if you suspect poor cutting.
  • Inspect tires for deficiencies.

Summary

In conclusion, you should have learned the difference between an upgrade and bandsaw accessories and various functions. Hence, this knowledge will culminate in guiding you in efficiently using the bandsaw for all your cutting purpose. At NCCuttingtools, we provide all types of saw blades, customized services, and added customer service. Never hesitate to reach out to us for all your cutting problems and solutions; we will be glad to help.

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