How to Cut Angles on a Table Saw: A Quick Guide

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Working with a table saw is comparatively easier compared to using a regular saw as the blade is fixed, and you don’t have to handle both the saw and the wood board at the same time, plus if you’ve ever tried to rip a long board with a hand saw… well you know how much easier it is to use your table saw or your circular saw.

Then again, similar to using any other kind of tool for the first time, you would need to be knowledgeable enough on how to cut angles on a table saw in order to complete your projects.

More often than not, the reason why people like to work with a table saw is that it allows them to be fast and efficient.

But in order to do that, you would need to learn a few basics such as end cuts and cut angles. Lucky for you, this article will guide you through doing just that.

Table saws are very handy and are considered one of the most efficient tools in every handyman’s workshop. However, it requires the user to invest a whole lot of time and effort on studying how to use it properly. For example not every table saw has the rip capacity to handle a 4×4 piece of lumber.

That being said, how is it used, really?

How to Cut Angles on a Table Saw

Table saws are specially designed to create perfect and precise 90-degree cuts. The challenge, however, is in learning how to use it properly.

In addition to 90-degree cuts, it can also be used to create other angled cuts such as a 45-degree cut.

Just like any other handyman tool, a table saw is only as useful as the man who yields it.

This means that in order to maximize its potential, you have to be able to cut different angled cuts. This can be done by making some adjustments to the table and the blade.

Additionally, you also need to trust in the ability of your table saw to cut angles in the way you want it to. In fact, this is what the table saw is most popular for—making precise cuts.

For angle cuts, you first need some extra accessories (commonly available in any workshop) to work with, which include:

  • A measuring ruler
  • A high-quality framing square
  • A drafting triangle
  • A sharp pencil
  • A magnifying glass is also recommended if your eyesight is weak, or if you are looking for the best possible precision

First, you need to ask: how do you make the accurate right-angle cuts?

You need to square up the miter gauge to the saw blade for making perfect right-angle cuts. Even though the angle indicators on the saw are provided for this purpose, it is not advisable to trust only them if you are aiming for precision.

Instead, use a drafting triangle.

We recommend that you use the 45-degree drafting triangle. Now, put the 90-degree sides against the blade and align the miter gauge to the other 90-degree side to create a perfect right angle between the miter gauge and the blade.

Once the miter gauge is adjusted, choose a 1 x 2 board that is at least 12 inches in length. This will be used for the extension fence. You can also choose a longer fence if you need.

Now, screw the fence with the miter gauge and makes sure one side of the fence goes past the saw blade, even for at least a few inches.

Test Run for Perfect Right Angle

To test the fence and the angle cut, hold a test wood piece against the fence, and push the wood through the saw.

Now, you will have two halves. To check if you are doing it right, flip the one half over and put the two cut edges together. Now, put both halves against the fence.

If you can find a gap between the cut edges, then that means that you have to adjust the miter gauge. When that happens, repeat the test.

At the point where there will be no gap between the two cut edges, you will have achieved the perfect right angle cut.

Note: The test wood must be at least four inches wide.

Moving Forward: How to Make 45-degree Cuts

You have to make slight adjustments to the above process to achieve 45-degree cuts. Again, this would require you to use the 45-degree drafting triangle.

However, this time, use the one right-angle side against the blade and the angled side against the miter gauge. In this way, you can set the miter gauge to 45 degrees.

Now, repeat the same process that you did for the right angles. Get a wood board and attach it to meter gauge to work as a fence. Now, place the wood beside the fence and push it towards the blade. You will get a perfect 45-degree angled cut.

What to Do with Long Boards?

The above-mentioned process works for boards that are, at most, four feet in length. Any board that is longer is more challenging for making perfect-cut angles.

The problem is that most tables don’t support any board that is longer the four feet unless you have an extra large table. This makes it difficult for you to support the board, which also affects your precision.

So, what should you do?

The simple solution for large boards is to use a closet shelving, or a clamped piece of plywood, or anything similar as support. Just make sure that whatever you are using to support the board has a slippery top edge. This is to ensure that the board moves easily when you move it for the cut.

You will also want to make sure that your table saw blade is sharp.

The support must also be of the same height as the table. To achieve this, you can hold a level of straight-edge flat to the table to make sure the support is about the right height as the table.

Note: One of the common mistakes people make is they ask others to hold the long boards for support. As an unfortunate result, this will ruin your board cuts, and you will never have precise angled cuts. Avoid this no matter how tempting it feels.

Using a Jig Assembly to Create and Cut Angles

Another common method that is used by professionals is to use a jig assembly with the table saw.

You can attach a jig assembly with the table saw that would allow you to reference angles when pushing the wood against the blade. For this, you can easily find a good wood assembly in any online store or your nearby hardware store. You just need to be extra vigilant in finding a good quality one.

Final Words

Even though cutting angles using a table saw looks a bit challenging, once you go through the process described in this article, you will find that it is actually very easy. After all, every good thing requires a lot of practice.

Once you have mastered how to cut angles on a table saw, then you can be absolutely sure that you are more than ready to take on any kind of woodworking project.

What’s even more delightful is that you can finish your project in less time that it would have taken had you used a regular saw.

How to Cut Angles on a Table Saw: A Quick Guide