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Alternatives To Buying A Mitre Saw 

By  The Saw Guy

How To Cut Mitre Joints Without A Mitre Saw?

An electric or cordless mitre saw is by far the easiest method to make a clean mitre joint. However, those types of saw are not cheap, so we have provided below, a number of alternatives for cutting mitre joints.

These are all options that do not involve any type of power tools, however you will have to all of the manual sawing yourself. These include:

  1. Cutting the joint by measuring and using a handsaw
  2.  By buying and using a mitre box which is affordable
  3. Using what is called a precision saw which is slightly more expensive than a mitre box, but still a great deal cheaper than a mitre saw
  4. Hiring out a mitre saw

So as you can see from the choices above you have a few alternatives to getting the job done, without the need to buy an expensive power mitre saw. Let's have a look at these in more detail so as you know how to go about each of the above. These are probably your best option if you only have a small number of cuts to do on a small project. There is no point in buying a powered version if you only ever plan on doing a few simple mitre cuts.

The Old Fashioned Way - By Hand and Measurement

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This is the way that carpenters and joiners did this for years. It sounds really easy but the reality is that it is not easy. Trust me, there is a very good reason why they invented mitre boxes and saws. Trying to cut a 45 degree angle in a straight line through a piece of wood, needs a fair bit of practice and skill.

To make a simple square mitre joint like this you need to be able to draw a 45 degree line on the two pieces of wood that you want to join together. For rectangular frames that angle will vary and you will need to calculate it.

For that you will need something like a protractor. Once that is done, then you need to cut carefully along the lines with a saw. Check out this video below to see how it is done.

Hopefully after watching that you will now understand why mitre saws were made in the first place. Clearly it works, but it takes forever to make a single joint.

You can of course mark out a square and then draw a diagonal line to get a nice accurate 45 degree angle. That still takes a bit of time and if you have to make a lot of mitre cuts, that will really slow you down.

The biggest problem with this old fashioned method is learning to cut the lines perfectly straight. This takes a lot of practise to get right and most of us just don't have the time to do that. There was a reason all those years back why a woodworking apprenticeship lasted 5 years.

Using A Mitre Box to Cut Mitre Joints

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The good old mitre box has been around for years, and in my opinion still will be for a few years to come. For someone who does not fancy the first idea I have explained above, you can skip out the tricky bits and just buy a box, with pre-cut angles.

All you have to do then is place the wood to be cut inside, and simply follow the cut outs on the mitre box. These can be picked up at most DIY shops such B&Q, Screwfix, Wickes, etc for under £10.

They are pretty useful if you only need to make a few cuts and are also easy enough to store away when you are finished. Just make sure that whatever box you buy is wide enough to accommodate the width of your piece of wood.

This is an affordable alternative to a mitre saw.

Using A Precision Saw to Cut Mitre Joints

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The first method is still a tricky. It probably is easy if you have done it a hundred times, but for the person who is new to this, or hasn't done it for a while it can be a pain in the rear end.

The mitre box I mentioned above works well and I have used that many times myself. Personally I don't own a good quality tenon saw and just use a standard crosscut saw that I have in my garage.

Even with a tenon saw, trying to hold the wood in place, and saw at the same time can still be awkward and not that accurate. That is where a precision mitre saw can come in useful.

As you can see this comes with a small stand, a base that swivels and a saw that is built on guides. These are useful if you have a few small jobs to do about the house. They are also a lot more accurate than a mitre box or doing it all by hand. The big disadvantage of these is storing the saw away when it is not needed.

Hiring a Mitre Saw to Cut Mitre Joints

As you know there are usually a number of places where a tool can be hired out for a day, a few days or even a few weeks. Many people are under the impression that all you can hire out at these shops are tools like cement mixers. The opposite is actually the case and you can just about hire out any type of tool you need from these shops.

They are also a lot cheaper than many people may first think. There are many such as the National Tool Hire UK shops.  When we last checked there it was around £20 for a day to hire out a mitre saw and that included VAT and damage waiver insurance. So if you were doing some skirting boards in a room, then you should be able to hire one of these and get the job done in a day.

These are the alternatives to buying a power saw. At least you now how to cut mitres without a mitre saw and most of these alternatives are also cheap and affordable to do. If you only have a few cuts to do then just get a cheap mitre box. It is enough to do your job in most cases.

The Saw Guy


At this website we review the different types of saws. We do a lot of research to make sure we bring you the very latest information and reviews on the full range of saws.

Enda McLarnon

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