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Carpentry: Mitering Corners


mitered cornersMany carpentry jobs require mitering corners for a clean tight fit. Mitering is simply the act of cutting mating pieces of wood to follow the angle of whatever it is you are working on. Most commonly, if you are installing baseboard, you will miter inside and outside corners so that the angle adds up to 90 (assuming the corners are actually 90-degrees.

Power miter saws are the way to go here. They are fast, precise, and safe. Use proper eye and ear protection, as well as breathing protection. Always clamp the piece to the table or fence of the saw. You certainly don’t want to get your fingers too close to the spinning blade. You can set the blade to cut the angle you need to mate the pieces for a perfect fit. Compound miter saws cut multiple angles simultaneously. These get tricky because you will need some math skills to figure out the angles.

If you don’t have a power miter saw or don’t want to rent one, you can buy a backsaw (a handsaw) and a miter box. I don’t care for these much because they take too much effort and the cut ends up sloppy. The result is that you get a mitered cut that isn’t perfectly straight.



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