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A crosscut saw is a tool necessary in construction and repair work. The tool is popular among both professionals and amateurs, so the crosscut saws are presented in different segments of the market – both in the professional and domestic segments. Although we must remember that each of the users have their own requirements for the machine – some strict, some not so strict. For some people the crosscut saw, among other tools and machines, is a source of income, and for some people it is only a hobby or necessity due to construction or current repairs.

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Destination mitre saw

Their purpose is to cut workpieces made of wood at a right angle, a given oblique angle or at an inclination, as well as to select material from workpieces. Often these saws are called “trimming and mitre saws”, which is due to their ability to saw “at a bevel”, that is, at an angle. “Trim saw” is a more general, adopted variant of the name.

In addition to wood, mitre saws can also work with other materials (plastic, laminate, aluminum). The scope of the machines is wide enough: they are used for carpentry, finishing, general construction and assembly works, they will be useful in the manufacture of furniture. Traditional front of crosscut saws is the work on laying floors and frame production.

How to choose a crosscut saw if the need arises, for the average consumer? The most logical thing to do is to ask for help from the consultants at the point of sale: they will tell you everything, show you and explain it by example. But, probably, before you go to a consultant, it is good to know some technical features of the tool, so that the conversation with a specialist was more or less meaningful.

First of all, the consumer needs to understand: what he needs a crosscut saw for. If, for example, for infrequent and rather simple works without much work, it probably does not make sense to buy the expensive professional machine – you can do with a more budget version with a standard set of functions. But if the work will be more complicated, such as those where important accuracy, precision and durability of the device, it is worth picky to explore the options presented, analyzing their capabilities


In general, the device of a crosscut saw is quite simple: the working unit – the motor with the gearbox, the saw blade and the handle with the start button – is connected (for example, with the help of guides) to the base.

Both collector and asynchronous motors are installed on crosscut saws. The first has a high torque, but requires regular maintenance (replacement of the collector brushes). The second has no brushes, works with less noise and lasts longer. Most often, the motor is located on the right side of the working disc. However, some machines have it moved to the back, so it does not block the view and does not interfere with a tilted cutting (if the design provides for the inclination of the working head in both sides).

The motor drives the cutting disc through a gearbox. There are two types of transmission, toothed or belt-driven, each with respective advantages and disadvantages. The toothed type has no slippage at high loads.

The belt drive makes less noise and dampens the vibration of the disk, and this has a positive effect on the quality of operation and engine durability. However, the belt is not under warranty, it wears out and can come off at a sudden load change. However, there are crosscut saws and without a gearbox: the torque from the motor to the disc is transmitted directly, without an “intermediary”. The “plus” here is that a minimum of rubbing parts means a maximum of reliability. And the “minus” is that it also means a low torque.

The mitre saw has a relatively small cutting width (especially when working at an angle or inclination). In order to increase it, the saw is equipped with a pulling function. The working unit of a trimmer with this feature is mounted on the bars (usually two) and can move along the cutting line. Why is the function called “traction”? Because the disc has to be pulled on itself. Its cutting edges rotate away from the user, so that when you work, the flow of sawdust goes to the side, and the disk in addition pressed against the stop of the workpiece.

When choosing a tool, it is worth paying attention to the tilting mechanism of the working unit: whether it is fixed rigidly or is a part of the moving console. In the first case, the angular adjustment is set accurately and rigidly, and in the second case, it is necessary to take into account the possible backlash of the carriage.

The working part of the trimmer rests on the bed. It has a circular section that rotates when setting the cutting angle and a two-piece parallel stop. Often the frames are made of die-cast aluminum or magnesium alloy – this provides both durability and mobility, as in this case, the weight of the tool becomes significantly lower.

Adjustments and features

Table turning and bevel cutting

To make the cut at an oblique angle you rotate the table. The range of rotation angles is at least 45 degrees in both directions. Often there is more, up to 50 and 60 degrees, and it can be different to the left and right sides. Often adjustable mechanisms are equipped with locks for quick setup of the most used angles (0, 15, 22.5, 30 and 45 degrees). Other angles are set on a scale.

The saw blade is also capable of tilting, but not always. Usually, though not necessarily, the shape of the opening for the cutting blade in the longitudinal stop corresponds to the type of tool. If it is a single slot, the saw only cuts vertically; if the right or left corner is cut, the saw head can be tilted in those directions. The normal tilt angle of the head is 45 degrees, but on some models, it is increased to 46 or 47 degrees. This is due to the conditions of the potential application: walls, as we know, can be uneven!

In addition, one of the important functions of any crosscut saw is the ability to limit the depth of the cut. This is necessary for example when grooving or trimming profiles.


Crosscut saws do not usually have a wide range of electronic adjustments. The vast majority of models do not have electronic speed control. This is due to the fact that varying the speed is not an extreme necessity. Nevertheless, the presence of such a control still allows, first, by reducing the speed to better control the process of cutting, and secondly, to adjust the performance of crosscut saw for a particular material.

An even less common function is to maintain constant RPM under load. This option will show itself when speed is required in the work. When you press hard, the speed of the tool usually drops noticeably. In this case the electronics will work – it will correct the speed, which, in fact, depends not only on the quality of the cut (the higher the speed, the cleaner and neater it will turn out), but also on the total time spent on the task. However, an experienced craftsman can do without the RPM system as well: the hand that has been built up over the years feels the saw well and can compensate for the RPM drop with the feed.


Some trimmers (not all) are equipped with “precision guidance system” – a laser, which indicates the line of the intended sawing. This is quite convenient, because the user does not need to try on before cutting or calculate by eye.

Additional options

One of them is the table extension. This is very convenient in cases where you have to deal with long workpieces. Usually such a table is a stop on two rods, which are fixed in special holes on the sides of the bed. The standard length of the device is about half a meter, but it may be longer.

Other features include various clamping devices and stands for mounting on the floor.

Dust extraction

Any saw, including trimming saws, produces a considerable amount of waste – sawdust, garbage, dust. This not only pollutes the workplace, but also has a negative impact on the health of the user. To combat the dust there are several options for trimmers. During the work it can be collected in a cloth bag. Or a vacuum cleaner gets in the way and the level of cleanliness increases many times over. Almost all modern models of the tool have a connection tube for a vacuum cleaner – it is usually located in the “back” of the trimmer.

Security Systems

Taking care of the collection and removal of dust from the workplace is also, in fact, a matter of personal safety for the operator. In addition, the user must take care of his or her own eyes, for example, and not forget to wear protective goggles while working. While it is the job of the operator to take such precautions, the saw has other safety measures on its conscience, including those aimed at protecting the tool itself.

The mitre saw is a cutting power tool. This fact alone assumes certain safety systems in the tool. The most obvious protection is the guard. Its movable part completely covers the blade when it is not in use. And when you start working, the guard can be removed exposing the blade in two ways: either the user removes it by pulling the lever on the handle, or it “opens” itself by lowering the arm. For even greater safety, such a system is supplemented with an electrodynamic brake, which stops the motor smoothly and quickly after power failure.

In general, the concept of “safety systems” of crosscut saws is quite extensive. It includes many things and provisions: a soft start, especially important in saws with high power; blocking the start when replacing the disc; automatic shutdown in case of a stuck disc. The breakdown protection on the body, the location of the controls, the presence of a convenient and quick workpiece locking system – all these also belong to the “department” of safety.

The combination wizard

On the market, you can find quite a few saws that combine two functions – facing and sawing. Actually, at the heart of such combination saws are crosscut saws equipped with a sawing table placed on top.

In the “fighting preparation” the table is set in a horizontal position. The saw has a riving knife with a blade guard and a guide, i.e. a rather modest set.

The attitude to the combined trimming saws is ambiguous. Many professionals believe that the universal is always worse than the special, which means that the hybrid units can not provide accurate and reliable execution of works. Of course, the combination saw can not become a full-fledged replacement for a specialized machine. However, a considerable number of amateurs still purchase such machines, because it saves both money and time. After all, when performing simple, standard jobs, sometimes it’s not perfect accuracy that’s important, but speed.

Circular saw blades

The working “weapon” of a crosscut saw is a saw blade. The material that the saw can work with depends on the choice of blade. As it was already noted, the main “product of consumption” of crosscut saws is wood in all its forms: hard and softwood, plywood, veneer, etc. However, the saw “tastes” also to plastic, laminate, soft non-ferrous metals.

Two main parameters of a saw blade are outer and fitting diameters. If the latter, with rare exceptions, is usually equal to 30mm, the former cannot boast of constancy. If we look at the technical parameters of crosscut saws, compiled in a special table, we can find very different figures in the column that shows the outside diameters of the disks. But even with this richness still stand out the most common sizes: 210, 250 and 305 mm.

Surely someone will have a question: is it realistic to use a disc of a different diameter on the saw? It must be remembered that the drive is designed for the use of a certain disc, so the work of “foreign” equipment of a larger diameter can be extremely harmful for it. Theoretically, the use of a disk with a slightly (by millimeters) larger diameter is possible. But the parameters of the blade guard are also calculated for a particular blade: there is simply not enough space for a larger one.

It is not only the diameter that is different for mitre saws. There are also differences in geometry and sharpening of teeth, manufacturing material. One way or another it all influences the quality and the result of the work. One configuration of teeth provides high speed performance in cross cutting, the other – in a longitudinal, the third guarantees a cleaner and more accurate cut in a certain kind of wood, the fourth is suitable for working with plastic or aluminum … You can go on for a long time, because there are really many options.

Another peculiarity: on some saw blades if you look closely you will find wavy lines or thin slits. Similar “patterns”, deduced on the disk blade with a laser, do not do, of course, for beauty. They are functionally justified. Originally, they were made to compensate for temperature deformation and later to reduce noise during operation.

Max Welder

Max Welder

Hi! I'm Max Welder ( I always wanted to work with my own hands, repair something, do things. Now I combine my knowledge with computers and my own knowledge in the field of mechanics in order to understand which tools I like the most. I hope to convey some knowledge and experience.