Miter Station or Crosscut Sled


mpisani

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I want to get more into woodworking. Nothing big like fine furniture or anything - just crafts, deck planters, etc. I'm torn between making a portable miter station with stops for repeatable cuts, or making a crosscut sled that can cut angles. Any thoughts on which to go with first to get start started with small projects? 

Thanks - Matt

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I do smaller projects too, but took a slightly different tack than you're proposing.

For precision angle cuts like picture frames, boxes, and six-sided thingies, I got a manual miter saw similar to this:

EDIT:  bottom picture in this post; I'm new here  :rolleyes:

(I really had to search for a bit to find this picture, maybe they're not made anymore)

I did make a standard-design crosscut sled for my tablesaw, 90º cuts only, which is large, heavy, and not terribly accurate.  I've bookmarked this video, a much more sensible and light design, that's on my Build list:

I don't have the space for any kind of power miter saw, but this system has worked for me for 28 years, so...  Hope this helps.   

miter.jpeg

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I find most woodworkers don’t want to put enough time into setting up a miter saw or slider. 
 

Having the right miter saw or slider and taking the time to correctly set it up, it becomes very valuable to fine furniture..

 

Like a framing square….it’s just a square unless you learn how to read it…

 

IMG_1300.jpeg

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Most hobbyist woodworkers work in a garage or basement with limited space, so you see the tablesaw getting used for crosscutting more than a miter saw.  I expect most see a lot of using a sled online and think it's the best way.

I almost never crosscut on a tablesaw.  For really precise crosscuts, I use a radial arm saw set to only make 90 degree cuts.  For all other cross cuts I use a sliding miter saw.  Crosscutting on a tablesaw scares me, especially when I see people using a sled with no safety box on the back.

There is no "best" way, only what works best for you and often involves compromises.  Don't compromise safety above all else.

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I work in a garage these days. Around 600 sqft. Yet it’s over run with lumber and leaves me with a little more than half. This was an argument on another forum. I would eliminate a RAS from accuracy before the  slider, but… if your unwilling to put time into the slider as you would in a table saw for sled and setting it up accurately, it’s obviously going to be a forced fail..

 

Now if you’re going to buy a nice blade , set it up and next week cut treated lumber on that blade. That would be a waste . I run a $100+ blade on mine and use it for angles..

 

Now a lot of people as will be mentioned consider the sliding miter saw a construction tool, but so is a skill saw and yet I see so many on track saws…

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If forced to choose, I'd keep my crosscut sled.

A miter saw is faster, especially for longer pieces and quick imprecise cuts, but a crosscut sled with good hold downs is just empowering in its ability to get a piece held exactly how you want it and then cut it. 

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@Coop, my gand-dad was a carpenter, and part of the crew that built the Oak Ridge laboratory facilities during WW2. He told me of the first job site he worked that had a "Dewalt Saw", the original RAS. He said several of his buddies liked to prank one of the older guys on site, sneaking around the corner to unplug the extension cord to that saw for a second or two, every time the guy got half through a cut. Said the poor old coot had a blistered trigger finger, and was mad enough to have a stroke, by the end of the day.

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On 11/19/2023 at 8:20 PM, Coop said:

Just curious. Why the redundancy if the slider can do the work of both? 

The miter saw is fixed.. The Makita  slider isn’t as accurate as the standard miter saw.

If your doing face frames, why wear out a slider..

I have a Dewalt 708 I chose not to lock into the bench and use portable.

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