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Making Square and Out-of-Square Cuts

 
 
Most of the time you'll want cuts that are square, but there are situations, such as an inside or outside corner of a wall, that are out of square. If that's the case, you'll need to make adjustments in the cut to accommodate the problem. Here's how to make both cuts that are square and cuts that are out of square.

Making Square Cuts to Length

Step 1: Lay out the cut

Step 1: Lay out the cut Guide a pencil along a combination square to mark the entire width of the board where you want the cut to be. Put an X on the waste side of the board so you'll know which side of the line to cut.
  

Step 2: Make a shallow test cut

Step 2: Make a shallow test cut Make the cut by lowering the blade about 1/16 inch into the wood on the waste side of the line. Pull the saw back up, and check where the cut starts in relation to the line.
  

Step 3: Make the cut

Step 3: Make the cut Adjust the position of the wood as needed to align the blade and the line.  Retest by lowering the blade again and barely cutting the wood. Make the cut if the test cut aligns with the line.
 

Making Out-of-Square Cuts to Length

Step 1: Measure the angle

Step 1: Measure the angle Put a T-bevel in the corner to measure the error.
  

Step 2: Set the saw to match

Step 2: Set the saw to match Set the saw to the angle of the T-bevel, and make the cut. For more on using a T-bevel, see "Mitering When the Corner Is Out of Square."
  

Step 3: Make small adjustments

Step 3: Make small adjustments It can be hard to make very small adjustments on a miter saw. If a cut only needs to be slightly out of square, shim the board with playing cards, adding cards until you get the cut you want.