It is a known fact that angles play a significant role in woodworking. Cutting angles on a table saw will help you deliver more amazing projects to your clients.
Nevertheless, as you advance in this field and start handling more projects, you will face shapes more complex than basic angles. Therefore, it is critical to know how to cut angles to determine your ability to handle complex designs in the future.
Hence, this article will get you informed on efficient ways to cut angles on a table saw.
Figure 1: Cutting angles on table saw.
Table of Contents
Section 1: What tools do you need for cutting angles?
The following are some tools you will need for cutting angles on the table saw:
- A table saw
- Miter gauge or Taper jig
- Measuring instruments. e.g., tape measure or ruler
- Drafting triangle or Framing square
- Safety Wears (glasses, dust mask, fence clamps)
Figure 2: Various instruments for cutting at angles on wood.
Section 2: General Idea of Bevel Cut
Usually, angle cuts are often at 90 degrees. However, when you cut at an angle other than 90 degrees, this is a bevel. More so, the setup of the square edge comes with full dimensional lumber. It means that the angle of the bound’s edge and face is typically 90 degrees. Therefore, any angle different from the usual angle will need adjustment. It leads to the invention of bevel cuts.
Moreover, bevel cuts are very useful for decorative purposes such as interior moldings, cabinet trims, etc. Apart from the table saw, there are other instruments to make a bevel cut. Such instruments are jigsaws, routers, or circular saw; however, jigsaw typically fails to provide a precise cut.
Figure 3: Close-up image of angular cut.
Section 3: How to cut angles on table saw.
The following are the three major steps for cutting angles on the table saw:
3.1 Adjusting the wood and saw blade
Prepare the wood and saw blade:
Fetch the wood and make sure all your tools are close-by to avoid clumsiness. You will come close to the saw blade as you prepare, so you should always keep the saw turned off and unplugged.
Measure and mark out the beginning and end of the cut:
Determine the nature of the angle you intend to cut. It involves knowing the exact dimension needed for your project. Marking the target spot in pencil, measure along the wood’s sides using a measuring tape or ruler. Verify that your angle is correct before you proceed.
Outline the Cut:
Indicate the cut’s start and end by linking the points you have marked. Double-check the sketched outline on the board before placing a ruler on the board to draw across it with a thick, dark line. Then measure the angle again.
Adjust the saw’s height:
The recommended blade height is about 0.64 cm. With this height in mind, you can then use the adjustment crank to adjust to the height. You can make adjustments by placing a ruler on a piece of broken wood. Label the 0.64cm mark on the broken wood and position it beside the saw. Adjust the saw until it coincides with the marked point. Raising the saw’s height allows more contact between the blade’s teeth and the wood which translates into a smooth cut. However, if you are not sure of the best height to keep the saw at, use your discretion to judge.
Figure 4: Saw blade at a particular height.
3.2 Setting the wood at an angle
Prepare a drafting triangle for crosscut:
Clear the table before using a drafting triangle. You can create crosscuts across a board’s width or perpendicular to the grain of the wood. However, if you are trying to stay conscious of the wood’s length or edges then a taper jig is best. In a case where the drafting triangle is not available, you can use a simple framing square.
Set a miter gauge for cutting angles:
A miter gauge is a portable holding device that enables you to cut angles on wood boards. To use this gauge, place it firmly against the edge of the drafting triangle. Pay attention to the calibration of the gauge as it is necessary to place the wood at your preferred angle.
Open the taper jig to set an angle for the wood:
Standard taper jigs are long pieces of wood used to brace a board’s side. It is particularly useful when making bevel cuts to keep your fingers away from the blade. Hold the jig against the side of the board opposite the cut. To make the process less complicated, use a sled-style jig instead of the triangular-shaped jigs.
Secure a Fence:
Take advantage of the table saw’s fence, which serves as an integral safety feature. Slide the fence around the table to brace the miter or taper jig gauge. You can also slide a piece of scrap wood into the clamp at the back of the taper jig or front of the miter gauge.
Figure 5: Miter gauge on the table saw.
3.3 Using the Table saw
Put on safety gear:
You must put on safety glasses while cutting angles on the table saw to protect your eyes against wood debris.
Make a couple of test cuts:
Make samples to ensure that your saw and miter gauge is in order. Get pieces of scrap wood, cut them as you would cut the wood for your project. Make the necessary adjustments and make sure the cut is clean.
Hold the scrap wood tightly against the fence.
Furthermore, at the edge of the table, put the fence in front of your dominant side. Set the wood in between the fence and the saw, then align the saw with the sketch for cutting. Before you start cutting, make sure the miter gauge is out of the saw’s way.
Stand behind the wood:
Take a few moves to the side in the direction of your dominant hand. Place yourself instead of the saw blade right behind the miter gauge. Standing in this place prevents you from something called a kickback. It’s uncommon, but when you least expect it, it can happen.
Push the board and the fence:
Place your opposite hand on the miter gauge’s handle while holding the fence and board together with your dominant hand. Then, start at a slow, constant pace to drive things forward. Go slowly to get a clean cut to avoid a kickback. Stop when the saw slices through the wood.
Pull the wood back after cutting:
Pull all back towards you when the saw has sliced through the surface, including the fence and miter gauge. Carry it around to the table’s edge. You can easily cut the wood and disconnect it from the miter gauge after deactivating the saw.
Finally, this article has properly outlined three important steps to make cutting angles on table saw effortless. Besides, you would find a few other tips about angle cutting duly outlined. For your next cutting project supplies, do well to reach out to us at NCCuttingtools. We have an array of customized tools that will meet your needs.