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Using a Miter Box

Miter box tips

A miter joint is made when two pieces of wood are angle-cut or bevel-cut at the same angle then joined to form a corner. Most often, two pieces that have been cut at 45 degrees are joined to make a 90-degree corner. Miter cuts must be precise. If they are off even one degree, the corner will be noticeably out of true.

The most inexpensive way to make angle or bevel cuts in narrow stock is to use a miter box--essentially a jig for holding the saw at the proper angle to the work. If you have a lot of joinery to cut, consider buying a power miter saw.

Before placing the piece in the miter box, support it on a scrap of 1x4 or some other suitable material. This allows you to saw completely through the work without marring the bottom of the miter box. Place the member against the far side of the miter box, positioned as it will be when in use, and make the cut with a backsaw. Hold the work firmly against the back of the box with your free hand.

If there's any trick to using a miter box, it's not in the cutting technique, but in correctly measuring and marking for the cut. Whenever possible, make your miter cut first, then cut the other end of the piece to the proper length with a straight cut.

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