4x4s are one of the most versatile and common pieces of wood that you can find used in construction.
They’re in that sweet spot where they’re thick enough to be used in many aspects such as fencing but also light enough that they’re easy to work with.
In this post, we’ll discuss what the right-sized saw blades are for miter saws to cut 4x4s with ease.
Some Safety Tips
Before we go into any details about which size of a saw blade would be ideal for cutting 4x4s, let’s talk about some safety precautions you should be taking.
Please note that these are safety precautions you should be taking no matter what job you’re trying to accomplish with your miter saw.
These safety tips are:
- Wear protective eye goggles or some other sort of eye protection to ensure your eyes don’t get hit with any sawdust or splinters that may go airborne.
- Wear a mask or some type of respirator to ensure you don’t breathe in any sawdust or other minute debris.
- Wear protective gloves to ensure your hands are safe while operating the miter saw.
- Make sure to work in a properly ventilated space.
- Make use of a miter saw that has a built-in vacuum port or dust collection system. If your miter saw doesn’t have one, invest in an external one.
- If you have long hair, make sure to tie it up.
- Do not wear loose clothing.
- Use a sub-fence whenever possible.
- When operating the miter saw, do not put too much pressure on it. Let the saw reach top speed and then gently push it against your piece of wood (or whatever material it is), increasing the pressure slowly. Doing it too quickly or too suddenly can cause your saw blade’s lifespan to decrease.
- Maintain a routine to regularly clean your miter saw and your workspace. This will increase its longevity.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about what the best size of a saw blade should be to cut 4×4 wood pieces.
What Size Miter Saw would be Best for Cutting 4x4s?
When it comes to cutting 4×4 pieces of wood, they can prove to be too thick for the miter saw blades that have a diameter of fewer than 10 inches.
To get the possible result, we recommend that you go for a 12-inch miter saw blade.
12-inch miter saws will be able to cut 4×4 pieces of wood in a single pass.
It can be a good idea to make some cuts on the 4×4 with a handheld circular saw before you place it onto your table for it to be cut with your miter saw.
Can I Cut a 4×4 with a 10-Inch Miter Saw?
The most common size for miter saws that most people have is 10 inches.
This begs the question: can you cut a 4×4 piece of wood with a 10-inch miter saw?
Well, it can be done but it’s not easy.
It will definitely be quite difficult to cut the 4×4 with a 10-inch miter saw in one pass.
Because of its depth, you may have to do some scoring with a handsaw or a handheld, mini circular saw before you can place it onto your miter saw table.
While a 10-inch stationary miter saw definitely has the capacity to make the cut on a 4×4 piece of wood, you would be much better off with a 12-inch miter saw.
If you’re going to be using a 10-inch miter saw to cut a 4×4, you will most likely have to adjust its blade guard or in some cases, remove it entirely.
Naturally, this is a major safety concern and we recommend that if you can avoid it and just use a 12-inch miter saw, that is definitely preferable.
You should only use a 10-inch miter saw to cut a 4×4 if that’s the only option you have.
In that case, be sure to do your research and be prepared to put in the work for extra preparation.
This would include:
- Removing or adjusting the blade guard
- Having additional safety precautions to protect yourself from the adjusted or removed blade guard
- Make additional passes with your 10-inch miter saw in order to ensure a clean cut.
You can get away with a single pass on a 10-inch miter saw if it’s a sliding saw.
This is because a sliding 10-inch miter saw will be extended into the depth of the cut and be able to cut into the full width of the piece of wood.
Keep in mind, however, that sliding compound miter saws are much more expensive.
Thus, if you’re going to be cutting a lot of 4×4 pieces of wood in your projects, then it can be a good idea to use either a 12-inch miter saw or a 10-inch sliding compound miter saw.
On the other hand, if you are only occasionally cutting 4×4 pieces, then it may not be worth it to invest in either of the above two options. In this case, you can definitely opt for a regular 10-inch miter saw.
However, what if you don’t even have a 10-inch miter saw? Can you still cut 4x4s with a 7 ¼-inch miter saw?
Can I Cut a 4×4 with a 7 ¼-Inch Miter Saw?
The typical maximum cutting depth for most 7 ¼-inch miter saws is 2 ½ inches.
This means that you cannot make a complete cut through a 4×4 piece of wood in one pass.
Ideally, you will need two or sometimes, even three passes with a 7 ¼ inch miter saw to cut through a 4×4 wood piece.
In case you need a completely straight edge, this can be fairly complex as it would mean that you’ll have to line up each cut perfectly.
If you don’t need such precision, then you can simply mark a rough area and make cuts along that line.
Use a square to ensure that the line is as straight as possible. You can do this by following these steps:
- Pu the shoe flat of the miter saw on the face
- Line up the saw blade with the cut line
- Place the square on the corner of the post and place it against the shoe
- Hold the square firmly and pull the saw blade slightly upwards.
- Pull the saw trigger and wait for it to reach full speed.
- Once it’s at full speed, push it gently into the cutline.
Once the cut has been made, you can make use of the kerf to line up the square.
Do this by making a single rotation of the wood piece towards you. After that, put the blade in the kerf and the square against the shoe and hold it firmly.
Pull the blade from the kerf and then pull the saw trigger to start the blade.
The edge of your square will help keep your cut aligned.
Repeat this process until the 4×4 piece of wood is fully cut. You should get a straight piece of cut wood with minimal errors.
It’s important to take note that you can use the above technique for pretty much any size of wood as long as the saw blade is able to reach at least the middle of its depth.
Cutting a 4×4 with a Circular Saw
If you have access to a handled, compact circular saw, then you can use that instead of a miter saw that’s smaller than 12 inches.
It can be preferable to use a circular saw if you only have access to a smaller miter saw since the process is much simpler and safe.
Simply place the 4×4 on the ground and cut into its depth using your circular saw until you reach the middle of its depth.
Then, flip it over and make the cut from the other side.
You can utilize a speed square to mark the cut line.
Cutting a 4×4 with a Table Saw
If you don’t have access to a miter saw, you can cut a 4×4 with a table saw as well.
You will need a 12-inch blade on your table saw in order to cut the 4×4 in one pass. A 10-inch saw blade would only be able to cut 3 ⅛ inches into the piece of wood which would not be enough.
Hence, if you have a table saw with a 12-inch saw blade, you’ll be able to cut the 4×4 in one pass. However, if you have anything smaller, then you may have to flip the piece of wood in order to complete the cut.
A great advantage of a table saw is the fact that it allows you to cut the piece of wood in a number of different ways.
For example, you can cut the 4×4 lengthwise with a table saw or you could even use a vertical bandsaw.
Cutting a 4×4 with a Chainsaw
If you have access to a chainsaw, you can utilize it to cut 4x4s as well if you have no other option in terms of saws.
Unlike miter, circular, and table saws, chainsaws are relatively difficult to control and produce rough cuts rather than precise ones.
If you’re not worried about the precision of the cuts, then a chainsaw can be a good choice to cut a 4×4.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
1. What are the Three Basic Types of Miter Saws?
The three main types are:
- Standard miter saws: They rotate to the side so you can cut the material from the top angle.
- Compound miter saws: These can also bevel and tilt to all you to cut at different angles both vertically and horizontally.
- Sliding miter saws: They can slide forward, enabling you to cut much wider pieces than a typical miter saw would allow.
2. What Sizes Do Miter Saws Typically Have?
Miter saws are typically available in the following sizes:
- 7 ¼-inch
3. How Deep Can a 7 ¼-Inch Miter Saw Cut in One Pass?
The maximum cutting depth for a 7 ¼-inch saw blade is roughly 2 ½ inches.
4. How Deep Can a 10-Inch Miter Saw Cut?
The maximum cutting depth for a 10-inch saw blade is roughly 3 inches.
5. How Deep Can a 12-Inch Miter Saw Cut?
The maximum cutting depth for a 10-inch saw blade is roughly 4 inches.
Wrapping Things Up…
With that, we’re at the end of our post for what miter saw size you should get if you’re going to be cutting 4x4s a lot.
In conclusion, if you’re going to be mainly cutting 4x4s, then investing in a miter saw with a 12-inch blade is definitely the way to go.
You’ll run into a lot of trouble if you need to cut 4x4s regularly and you have a miter saw with a 10-inch blade or a 7-inch blade.
Having a sliding miter saw with a 12-inch blade can be even more beneficial.
Which size and type of miter saw do you think is ideal for cutting 4x4s? Let us know in the comments below.