How to Get Accurate Miter Saw Cuts When It Doesn’t Quite Fit

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Do you have trouble getting accurate miter saw cuts? Yep–me, too. Keep reading for a great tip on how to cut off only 1/8″ from your piece of wood or trim!

First of all, let me confirm that you want your miter cut to be too long when trying to get accurate miter saw cuts.

At first.

If you’ve ever built or made something with wood, you know all too well the frustration of thinking you’ve cut something the correct size and then–BOOM!–realize that it’s too short.

Too many last minute trips back to Home Depot is enough to make you learn real quick that you should cut your piece a little bigger and then make your final cut after a few passes, to ensure it’s going to be correct.

But I’m talking about that minuscule amount of “too big-ness.”

You know the amount–where your piece doesn’t quite fit and you have a burning desire to pull out the hammer and make it fit….?

Umm–been there, done that.

Instead, simply do the following quick miter saw tip that I’ll explain to you in this post for times when you need to shave just a teeny bit of wood off the end of your boards for a better, more accurate fit. 

I have been using this tip myself and it’s been a “wood saver” in my workshop.

I couldn’t wait to pass it along to you guys!

 

How to get accurate miter saw cuts when using a miter saw | Thrift Diving

How to Get Accurate Miter Saw Cuts

Follow these steps to get accurate miter saw cuts by cutting off about 1/8″ of wood with each pass of the miter saw blade, giving you a more accurate fit. Once you know how to do this, it will be game-changer when using the miter saw!

STEP 1: Secure Your Wood Against the Fence

Be sure your wood is secure against the fence.

Intermediate DIYers know where the fence is located, but for those of you who are newbies, the fence is that metal wall with the ruler on it that allows the wood to hold steady and in place while being cut.

(Resource: For a detailed guide on how to use a miter saw, check out RYOBI’s Tools 101: Miter Saw).

Use the fence on the back of the miter saw to get accurate miter saw cuts. | Thrift Diving

STEP 2: Lower the Blade While It’s OFF

Don’t turn the blade on yet. You’ll want to lower it while the blade is off, and then butt the piece of wood against the blade, making sure that the wood is still securely against the fence.

You’ll notice that I’ve got my wood trim marked to the measurement I need.

 

Accurate miter saw cuts are possible when using a miter saw, but here's how you cut off 1/8" when you need just a little bit taken off. | Thrift Diving

STEP 3: Raise Your Blade While It’s OFF

Still holding your wood in place, slowly raise your blade while it’s OFF. You’ll notice that the edge of the blade snags on the edge of the wood. That’s expected because the blade has about a 1/8″ edge on the tip.

 

STEP 4: Turn On and Lower the Blade

Keeping the wood securely against the fence, bring the blade down. You’ll notice that the edge of the blade juuuuusssttt shaves off a slider of wood about 1/8″.

Be sure the blade stops running completely before raising the blade again.

 

Getting accurate miter saw cuts is easy. A few safety things, though: Let the blade fully stop before bringing it back up. | Thrift Diving

STEP 5: Repeat, If Necessary

Need to cut off another 1/8″?

Not a problem.

Repeat these steps until you’ve shaved down the length necessary for you to get a great fit without needing to go grab your hammer in frustration just to make it fit. 😉

 

Get accurate miter saw cuts when cutting trim and boards. Here's how to do it. | Thrift Diving

 

I’ve been using a miter saw for a couple years now but no one ever taught me that little tip for getting super accurate miter cuts by shaving off 1/8″ until I stumbled upon it in a woodworking book called Woodworking FAQ: The Workshop Companion – Build Your Skills and Know-How for Making Great Projects.

 

Recommended reading: Woodworking FAQ. The Workshop Companion. Find it on Amazon. Great tips for getting accurate miter saw cuts. | Thrift Diving
Recommended book for newbies and intermediates!

 

 

 

I feel a little silly admitting that I just learned this tip about 6 months ago because it’s probably something that all woodworkers know, but they, too, had to learn it at some point, so I shouldn’t feel silly.

That’s the point, isn’t it? To learn? 🙂

And as I learn new tips, I pass them on to you.

Let me know if you found this miter saw power tool tip helpful, too, for getting accurate miter saw cuts when your wood is a little bit too long and you need to shave off a teeny 1/8″!

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. That’s a GREAT tip!!! I’ll have to check out the book as well! Always love things that make the task easier ??

    1. Glad you liked the tip! I found it amazing when I discovered it. And I’m sure folks who are hard-core die-hard tools users will have already known it, but it was new to me months ago. We all have to start somewhere! šŸ™‚

  2. Linda Weeks says:

    That IS a very good tip! I am all about the miter saw, it’s my favorite tool – when all goes according to plan! I have a project waiting for me now, as a matter of fact!

  3. Exactly! Sometimes all you need is a smidgen of wood removed! Now you know how to get it cut to what you need! šŸ™‚

  4. Maria Chow says:

    OMG! Thank you so much for that tip, I have done that numerous times where I need that just smig and not sure how to do it and usually go past my mark. Thank you!

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