How to Use a Miter Box

A miter box can help you cut precise angles of 45 or 90 degrees in wood or PVC pipe. For the purposes of this article, we’ll assume you are cutting a wooden board. The things you’ll need are: the board to be cut, a miter box, a workbench or work space, a clamp, and a best miter saw.

In order to prevent the miter box from moving around while you use it, your first step should be to secure it to your workbench, or whatever work area you have available. Once that’s taken care of, it would be helpful to confirm that the board you intend to cut is capable of fitting in the miter box. This is a simple step, but it is easy to overlook until the last minute. If you find that the board is currently too big for the miter box, but your project allows you to trim the board to a size that would fit, then you can do that. If your project doesn’t allow the board to be cut in that way, then a miter box may no longer be appropriate for this step in your work.

Assuming you have a board that fits in the miter box, or that was trimmed to fit, simply mark with a pencil where on the board you want to cut. Then insert the board into the miter box, and line up the mark you made with one of the slots. Now you should secure the board to the miter box, for the same reason you secured the miter box to your workbench or work area. You want things to be stable when you cut the board. You can use a clamp, or at your discretion, you could simply hold the board in place with your free hand. However, the clamp would be more secure, and it would make your work easier, since you wouldn’t need to pay attention to keeping the wood in place while cutting it.

Whatever method you choose to steady the board, the next step is to take your miter saw and slide it into the two appropriate slots for cutting the board where you marked it. Depending on which style of saw you use (for instance, a Japanese dozuki saw or an English miter saw), your saw could cut on the pull stroke or the push stroke. To cut the board, simply apply force to the stroke of the saw that performs the cut. With the miter saw still in the slots, continue sawing until the board has been cut all the way through.

Once the board has been cut completely, you can remove the saw and unclamp the board. You’ll now have two pieces of the board, one for further use in your project, and the remainder. You may opt to use the remainder for some purpose as well, or you can put it aside. With the relevant piece of wood, you may benefit from making sure the edge of the cut ended up smooth enough for your project. If this did not occur, you can ensure a smooth edge now, using coarse sandpaper. After you’ve made the edge smoother, you can use fine sandpaper to finish with.

[IMG VIA: makezine]

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