How to Cut Wide Boards with Miter Saw – Different ways to Cut

miter saw

A miter saw is a must-have tool for carpenters. They give a professional touch to your carpentry projects.

Cutting wide boards with a miter saw is a fairly easy task and can be quite enjoyable. Your saw will go right through the board if you operate it the correct way.

So, here are some methods that will help you cut wide boards with a miter saw.

Quick Summary

By the end of this guide, we will go through

  • How to cut wide boards with a miter saw
  • Some of the queries related to cutting wide boards

Let’s take a look at it.

Cutting Wide boards using a miter saw

MIter saws have blades that can either be mounted to make vertical cuts or pivoted sideways to make sideways cuts. They work quickly and result in accurate cuts if used effectively. 

As discussed earlier, miter saws are able to go through wide boards with ease. However, there are many complaints about setting up the wide board. 

cutting board

Some of the things to be aware of before cutting the wide board

Securing the wide board

You may face issues when securing the wide board to the miter saw. To safely secure the miter saw with the fence, you will have to use clamps

The type of Miter saw

There are many kinds of miter saws that are available in the market. 

There are standard miter saws. These can cut at angles between +45 degrees and -45 degrees in both directions.

Then there are sliding miter saws. These are the best miter saws which you can use to cut wide boards. 

There are also compound miter saws. These saws combine the functionality of both standard and sliding miter saws. 

We recommend that you use a sliding miter saw for cutting wide boards. They are a little on the pricier side, but their efficiency and effectiveness are unmatched by anything else in the market.

Type of Blade

saw blades

There are different blades in the market too. These come in both different sizes and different hook angles.

The best blades to cut wide boards are 10-inch and 12-inch blades. Some blades also have positive or negative hook angles. 

Blades with a positive hook angle will give you a more aggressive kind of cut. Blades with a negative hook angle have teeth that are angled backward. They help with a safer feed action. 

The best blade for cutting wide boards is the hook blade with a negative hook angle as it will give you a cutting action with better scraping results. 

How to use the clamp

The clamp is a useful item that helps secure the wide board to the miter saw. When cutting wide boards using a miter saw, you need to use two clamps.

You simply screw the clamps tightly to the wood. Be sure to put a couple of small blocks between the wood and the clamps. By doing this, you will be minimizing the risk of pressing down the wood.

Make sure that you use the clamp correctly. The wood can be damaged quite severely or your wood may have imperfect cuts. 

Safety Protocols

Before making the cuts, you must go over the safety steps. 

Miter saws come with a blade guard that protects your hand when operating the saw. You must also wear safety goggles and gloves. 

Step 1 – Secure the wood


The first step is to secure the wide board using the clamps provided with the miter saw. The clamps are your best tools for an accurate cut. 

You must clamp about the wood tightly as thick wood needs to be held down when cutting it with a miter saw. 

Step 2 – Mark the wood

This is a fairly basic step and professionals usually tend to skip this step. However, it is highly recommended that you make it a habit. 

Marking the wood with tape, laser light or even a pencil will help you cut the wood in a precise, straight line. 

Step 3 – Make the Cut

Make sure that the saw blade is aligned with the wide board and the board is tightly clamped. 

Then cut. Don’t rush the cutting. Allow the blade to reach its maximum speed and then you need to gradually push the blade down. Make frequent stops in between the cutting to not heat the wood. 

The technique for an accurate cut here is to take it slow. The thickness of the wide board makes the cutting a complicated procedure that requires surgical care. 

When should I use a 10-inch saw blade?

Depending on your requirements, you may want to use blades of different diameters. Your local hardware stores will have a selection of 10 inches and 12 inches saw blades. Both come with their distinct advantages and disadvantages. 

For most DIY projects or if you are a small-time carpenter, a 10-inch blade works well enough. 

When using a 10-inch blade, you need to know that:

  • 10 inch blades are less likely to wobble or create a deflecting effect when cutting
  • 10-inch blades are usually cheaper than most 12-inch blades that are available
  • Most 10 inch blades are lighter and able to run on a 110 power supply   
  • 10-inch blades are ideal for small projects such as cupboards or small cabinets

As discussed above, are sufficient for a beginner user or a part-timer. These are easier and more convenient to work with plus they have a high level of versatility. 

Once you get used to 10-inch blades, you can shift to larger blades.

When should I use a 12-inch saw blade? 

12-inch miter saw blades are more sought after by professional woodworkers. 12-inch blades are more suited to cutting thick pieces of wood and in industrial workshops. 

When working with a 12-inch blade, you need to be aware of the following details  

  • 12-inch blades are more heavy-duty and durable
  • These blades are designed for cutting through thick pieces of wood 
  • 12-inch blades provide a far smoother and effective cut than 10-inch blades due to their size and weight  
  • You can easily cut through large sheets of different materials such as plywood or melamine

If you want to cut through at least 6-inch thick wood, this blade does the job. You can expect a 12-inch blade to go through stacks of 2 x 8 lumber. Some blades are rated for even thicker pieces of wood.  

What size of wood do different miter saws cut?

Miter saws come in different configurations depending on their capabilities.  Different miter saws have different cutting capacities.  

There are three types of miter saws. Standard miter saws, compound miter saws, and sliding compound miter saws.

miter saw cuts

Standard Miter saw

A standard saw with a 10-inch blade can easily cut through wood that is 5.5 inches wide, so it is sufficient for 2 x 6. A standard miter saw can also cut through 2 x 4 at 45 degrees. 

Miter saws with 12-inch blades have a better cutting capability. They can cut through 7.5-inch wood, hence they are rated for 2 x 8. 12 inch miter saws can also cut through 3.5 inches of wood at 45 degrees. They are enough to cut 4 x 4. 

Compound Miter saw

Compound miter saws have an added feature that they can perform bevel cuts. This capability is because you will be able to both tilt and swivel the saw blade. 

In terms of cutting capacity, compound miter saws generally have the same capacity as a standard miter saw i.e 2 x 8 at 90 degrees and 4 x 4 at 45 degrees. 

Sliding Compound Miter saw

Sliding miter saws have all the capabilities of a miter saw, however, their blades are not fixed. Sliding miter saws have blades that are mounted on tracks giving you the ability to pull the blade across the board

The sliding ability gives the saw additional room so you will be able to cut wider boards. The thickness of the wood does not change, however. 

In terms of cutting capacity, sliding miter saws can cut through 2 x 16 at 90 degrees. At a 45 degree angle, they can rip through 2 x 12

Wrapping things up 

We think that article will help you when you are cutting wide boards as well as answer some of your queries.

Cutting wide boards can be a challenge, however, if you stick to the guide and follow the steps, you will be able to go through the task quite comfortably.

With this, we reach the end of the article on “How to Cut Wide Boards with Miter Saw”.

Do let us know about your experience. 

5/5 - (2 votes)
Spread the love