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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
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....
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.
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. https://ultramitre.com/mitre-blades/ 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....
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...