The Tools

Basic Miter Saw
Crosscuts and miters, but does not tilt for bevel cuts.
Pros: Good basic job-site saw. Relatively inexpensive, lightweight for easy hauling and setup.
Cons: Can't cut bevels. Width and depth of cut are limited to blade reach.
SHOWN: Makita LS1030N, approx. $180


Compound Miter Saw
Crosscuts, miters, and tilts to one side to cut bevels. Some tilt both ways.
Pros: Makes all the basic cuts.
Cons: Width and depth of cut are limited to blade reach. One-way tilt means you have to make some bevel cuts with the workpiece upside down.
Shown: Delta 36-255L TwinLaser, with double-laser guide lines for accurate cuts, approx. $350

Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Crosscuts, miters, tilts to one side, and slides.
Pros: Makes all the basic cuts. Slide mechanism increases cutting capacity.
Cons: One-way tilt means you have to make some cuts with the workpiece upside down.
Shown: Porter-Cable 3807, approx. $470


Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Crosscuts, miters, bevels to both sides, and slides.
PROS: Makes all straight, mitered, and beveled cuts. No need to turn work upside down.
CONS: Numerous adjustments to get right; more expensive.
SHOWN: Dewalt DW708, approx. $600

Cordless Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Crosscuts, miters, bevels to one side, and slides, all on battery power.
Pros: Battery means it can be used on sites where the electricity has not yet been connected.
Cons: Biggest, 24-volt battery still might not be big enough for a full day's work without recharging.
SHOWN: Bosch 3924, approx. $350

Miter Saw Stands
Most lumber stock is long, which means you need to support the wood's ends when cutting with a miter saw. Consider getting a bench or stand. The Delta Kickstand, above, folds to become a wheeled cart. Or build your own infeed and outfeed tables with planks on sawhorses (see www.newyankee.com for Norm Abram's "Chop-Saw Station" plans); outriggers to catch the wood must match the saw table height or else the blade will bind or kick back. Whether or not you use a stand, be sure to screw the saw down tight to whatever surface it's on.

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