When I was reading about table saws the other day, someone asked if a table saw could cut angles.
So, can a table saw cut angles? Yes. A table saw can cut angles. Angles are cut using the table saw’s miter gauge, it’s bevel adjustment, or it’s fence for tapered angle cuts. The angle method used depends on the application of the angle needed in your project.
Many beginners to woodworking ask about cutting angles on a table saw. I’ll go over the methods below so you can easily figure out how to cut your desired angle.
How to Decide on Method to Use for Cutting Angles with a Table Saw
Deciding on how to use your table saw to cut an angle is up to you. A few cuts could be accomplished in a few different ways. Sometimes, certain cuts can only be achieved using a certain method. With a little practice, all of these angle cutting methods will be really simple. You won’t even think twice on deciding which way to use your table saw to cut whatever angle you need.
- Use a miter gauge if you are working with a smaller piece of wood and you need to make an angled cut on the face of a smaller piece of wood. An example would be making 45 degree cuts for a picture frame.
- Use a miter gauge at 90 degrees with a beveled blade angle on your table saw if you need to cut angles on the edges or sides of smaller pieces of wood. An example would be the edges of a box.
- Use a miter gauge along with a beveled blade angle to make a compound miter cut. Crown molding is a perfect example for this. Most people use a compound miter saw for molding, but if you only have a table saw, then it will work just fine.
- Use a fence with a beveled blade angle if you are ripping a long edge on a piece of wood on your table saw. Picture a long rectangular box with 45 degree joints.
- Use a fence with a taper jig to cut an angle along the face of your boards. The result would look like a trapezoid.
- Use a fence with a beveled blade angle and a taper jig to cut 2 angles at the same time with your table saw. One angle is on the edge and the other is along the face. Think of a square box planter for a plant but the bottom of the planter is smaller and the 4 sides are joined together with 45 degree angles.
Always use safety glasses and proper dust collection to keep you safe while cutting angles on your table saw. Use a push stick when your fingers would get uncomfortably close to the blade. Also remembering to move your fence far away from the blade when it’s not in use is also a good habit to get into.
Cutting Angles with a Table Saw’s Miter Gauge
A table saw can make miter (Angle) cuts very simply. Just find your miter gauge and loosen the adjustment knob. Usually the miter gauge itself has markings on it with the angle degrees. Tilt you miter gauge to your desired angle and tighten the adjustment knob.
Mark your cutline on your wood. I like to draw a light line on the piece that I’m cutting. This helps to make sure that your angled cut is correct. I’ve made a few mistakes by just marking a cutline without the lightly drawn angle.
You can forget what you’re doing If you get pulled away from your project, and then you’ll have to measure again.
Make sure to either remove your fence or push it far away from your wood when you make your angle cut with your table saw’s miter gauge. If your fence is too close, the piece of wood that gets trimmed away from your angle cut can get lodged in between the blade and the fence. This will launch the piece of wood backwards and could cause harm.
Cutting Angles with a Table Saw’s Bevel Adjustment
Another way to cut angles with a table saw is to adjust the blade’s bevel angle. This will tip the blade to the left or right, depending on your saw’s design. With the table saw blade tipped, you can use your miter gauge at 90 degrees to cross cut a beveled angle on the edge of your piece of wood.
You could also adjust your miter gauge to a non-90 degree angle and put a bevel cut on it. This would be a compound miter cut on your table saw.
Ripping Angles with a Table Saw
To have a table saw cut an angle on the long side of a piece of wood, just adjust the blade’s bevel angle. Once you have the desired angle, remove power to your saw and double check. Then set your blade depth so it is just slightly above your wood.
Always make sure to adjust your table saw’s blade depth last because you could lose some height on your cut when you add the bevel angle. You’d make your angled bevel cut and it might not cut all the way through, and then you’d have to adjust the blade height and cut your piece again.
Next, adjust your fence to the desired width of your cut. Restore power to your table saw and rip your beveled angle along one side of your board.
A helpful safety tip is to always have the wider piece of wood in between the fence and the blade. This will give you more material to hang on to with either your hand or a push stick, It also prevents the smaller piece of wood from kicking back from getting pinched in between the blade and the fence.
How to Measure Angled Cuts on a Table Saw
Measuring your angles is always a good thing to do before and after you make your cut. There are a few different ways to accomplish this. Depending on how accurate you need to be, a few devices to help you measure are a protractor or speed square.
My favorite way to measure is to use a clear digital protractor or a digital bevel gauge. I really like the digital readout because you don’t have to stare at really tiny lines and numbers. You just read the display like a digital watch to get the angle of your cut.
How to Measure Bevel Cuts on a Table Saw
Most table saws have some type of markings on them to show you what degree you’re cutting at. These markings will get you in the ballpark of that number. If you need to make a really accurate cut, there are other tools available. I like to use a digital angle gauge like this one.
It’s really easy to use. Just set it on your table saw to zero it out. Then stick it on your blade (It’s magnetic) and adjust your table saw’s blade angle to get the perfect bevel measurement.
How to Cut a Taper on a Table Saw
Cutting a taper on a table saw usually requires some sort of jig to run along the fence. A tapered cut can be done by cutting the edge of your wood to create an angle on the face.
Using a jig allows your wood to be held at the taper angle that you need to cut. Some jigs even have clamps to help hold down your piece of wood to prevent the blade from pulling the wood away from the fence.
Depending on your project, set your table saw’s blade to 90 degrees. Then adjust your taper jig accordingly. Once you’ve done that, double check to make sure your angle is correct and make your cut.
The Table Saw Angle Cutting Conclusion
Well, hopefully I answered your question about whether or not a table saw can cut angles. If you just skipped to the bottom, yes, a table saw can cut angles in a bunch of different ways.
As always, if you have any questions or comments, reach me in the section below!