Q: When I cut molding returns on my miter saw, the blade usually sends the return piece flying and ruins it. Is there a way to avoid this without losing my fingers?
—Scott P. Milsom, Rumson, N.J.
A: The safest way to keep those little rascals under control is with a plywood backer that closes up the gap in the fence.
Start with a strip of ¾-inch plywood long enough to cover the entire fence. Secure it with washers and pan-head screws at both ends of the fence. Then set the blade at 0 degrees and cut completely through the backer. This creates a kerf, a small gap the same thickness as the blade, which indicates exactly where to place the molding before you make your cut.
Then when you do, the backer prevents the return from flying through the gap. Just remember to remove both backer pieces before making angled cuts.