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I have a question that people who do their own framing with wood might be able to answer. I am not a 2 D artist but I have a couple of projects at home that will need some precise mitering.


I have the usual wood miter box and mitre saw. Recently I built an oak bookcase with mitered trim. The miter saw had a lot of trouble with the oak trim. Even if I started the cut with a file, the too-large teeth kept catching on the wood. It was taking forever to cut the trim, and except for the baseboard, they were not big pieces.


I decided the saw was old and dull and went out to buy a new one, only to find out I was still having the same problem. I had looked for something with more teeth per inch, which I think would take care of it. But all the miter saws in the store had the same number of teeth, 12 per inch. I ended up using a hacksaw to finish the job: which presents its own problems, as it is very hard to maintain the right vertical angle and not tilt.


I bought a beautiful vintage all-metal miter box at an antique store last fall. This has slots to do some unusual angles, which is just what I need to make the cuts for the antique afghan hexagonal tile I want to frame.


This has a guide device to slip your saw into; which is meant to accommodate a regular miter saw: it has a channel to hold the thicker metal top piece of the saw. So any other type of saw won’t fit.


I bought walnut molding for the upcoming projects. That might be even harder to saw than the oak was.


So: what kind of hand miter saw is suitable for hardwoods, and where do I find one?

Thanks for your help 

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Hand Miter Saw

Here is one with 14 tpi. from Amazon and reasonably priced. Any hand saw you use has to be sharp for a good cut and especially so when you are cutting hardwoods.

I've been woodworking for nearly 60 years and I started out and learned by using all hand-tools. These days I primarily use power tools...but I still use a good bit of hand tools also.

Why would the saw I just bought not be sharp, though? 

I figured it was the teeth per inch that was the issue. That 12 tpi was just too few for hardwoods. But I don't really know: I just know it didn't work. I should test it with some cheap pine to compare. 

The more teeth you have will provide a smoother cut but it does not insure an easy cut..especially in a hardwood such as oak. If you plan to create frames or other cuts more than just a few times you would be much better off buying an inexpensive electric miter saw.

Greg, have any suggestions? I tell myself I don't want to spend much for what is just an occasional  hobby activity... but if it saves me frustration, maybe. I've always liked using hand tools, but....

Electric Miter Saw

This Hitachi is a quality and affordable power miter saw that would easily do what you need. It would be a real time saver

A blade like what they show would work on narrow moldings? It never occurred to me that something like that would be suitable. I assumed it would be for heavy lumber. 

I suppose you could get used to the kerf and learn to allow for it. 

Oh yes, you account for the kerf, though I’m not sure what they mean by 5/8” as one of their dimensions for their 10” diameter blade, it seems thick, wish their photos were better.  I just looked at the website, and I would be inclined to call them, if I were you, and ask for their recommendation.  If you get an electric miter saw, that is, you will be happier with a good blade.  I have a Delta miter saw, and the Phaedra fence system helps account for the kerf when measuring.  But a little testing will help you figure out your measurements.

The blade I have could be used on wood or aluminum moulding.  It has a kerf of about 3/16”.  One nice thing, if a tooth chips off, it is replaceable.  It seems like the Ultramitre company services their blades, offers sharpening service, etc., which is nice. If I was in the market for such a product, I would definitely consider contacting them.

Is it hopelessly maternal of me, if you decide on electric, to recommend ear protection, a respirator and eye protection?  

Sorry not trying to hijack your conversation here. But I would like to suggest a different company for the blades if you go this route. I too have either worked in or owned a frame shop for the last 30 years. I used Ultrimiter for almost 20 years then I discovered  Quinn saw company. The blades are fantastic & Less expensive. I have the 100 tooth blade which they resharpen for $25.00 I have large double miter saws that I use them on and a regular miter saw. There customer service is great as well. You'll pay around $65 for a decent blade at home depot so for just a little more you can have a blade thats great

Kendra, Quinn seems like a great company, I like that they build a blade to suit your needs if desired...if I was just starting out with new saw, etc., I’d definitely check them out. Also good to know you have used Ultramitre, so Linnea gets good info about them. 

Hi Linnea,

I have been a professional custom picture framer since 1986, learned all aspects of framing to frame my own art.  I have a 10” miter saw with a special blade made for cutting picture frame moulding, but I think the company that made mine is no longer in business.  It has over 100 teeth (Lazeredge was the brand).  You can’t get a blade like this at the big box stores, but you can special order it, not cheap, but worth it.

Ultramitre brand might be a good option for you, though I have no personal experience with the brand.  Here is a link.  They make a similar blade to the one I have.  The quality of the miter is amazing compared with the regular saw blades, and nearly as good as what you would get using a miter chopper.  Any little gaps can be filled with nail hole filler, but they will be minimal with a good, sharp blade.  

I also have a Phaedra fence system to use with my miter saw.  Not to hijack your thread, but it is for sale.  

FYI, I switched to a Cassese foot operated manual miter chopper many years ago. I’d had a lot of experience cutting frames with a chopper, and the miter comes out precise and smooth.  No noise, no dust, less mess, and uses two big knives to cut the wood.  I used it to cut hardwood like oak and maple, though those woods are hard to build with hammer and brads...But a chopper may too big of an expense unless you are doing a lot of framing.  

Carol, the Ultramitre is a power tool? With the small amount I do, I don't think I want to buy a power saw. I can't really justify the cost for something I do so rarely. 

If there was something small, though, I might go for it. Thinking....

Hi Linnea,

I was thinking you could just get a better blade to fit your miter saw.  I was so impressed by the Lazeredge blade I got, especially compared with the one that came with the saw (granted, the blade that comes with the saw is not meant for fine work).  But a good blade makes a big difference.  I think the ultramitre blade would be worth consideration.  If you really prefer hand tools over using your electric miter saw, you may not want to go that route.  There is a lot to be said for using hand tools! But since you had asked for feedback from picture framers, I figured I’d chime in, since I spent many years using the miter saw with a good quality blade, and had excellent results cutting hardwood frames, especially maple.  These days I prefer cutting and joining basswood whenever possible...


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