Miter Cuts?

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Project by Kirk posted 11-04-2007 02:06 AM 3173 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Test cuts for getting that miter just right. I did find my miter gauge is off. File the hole and now I am closer. I think, and hope.

These are the ends and the first time I put them together they didn’t fit. The second time they did. There alive, maybe.

I hate miters.

-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico

12 comments so far

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 5040 days

#1 posted 11-04-2007 02:14 AM

We must learn to love that which we hate, Grasshopper.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View Kirk's profile


116 posts in 5132 days

#2 posted 11-04-2007 02:27 AM

Easy for you to say. I am trying to live with a Coffee table, with glass top/insert, and 6” wide mitered outside frame.

While in the midwest I watched the gap expand and contract. That is one reason I don’t like miters.

So I try to use smaller boards.

-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico

View Muzhik's profile


173 posts in 5216 days

#3 posted 11-04-2007 09:38 AM

I’m with you, Kirk.

When I moved from California to Germany, my household goods spent quite awhile on the ocean. The 3” miters on my living room furniture were yawning wide-open when I saw it again. They will never be the same, and I will never again do a simple miter that long. Even though I reinforced those miters with biscuits, it wasn’t enough.

For my bedrrom furniture I’m going to try modified finger joints with only the tops appearing mitered. I’ll let everyone here at lumberjocks know how that works out.

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 5238 days

#4 posted 11-04-2007 01:02 PM

so easy for you to say, Master Thos.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6874 posts in 5057 days

#5 posted 11-04-2007 02:20 PM

Hi Guys, and gals,

I think maybe you guys are dealing with something other than miter problems.

Sounds more like a ambient condition to me. By that I mean if the humidity in the enviorment where the furniture “lives”, is not controlled, it will always move.

Just like the doors in a house that stick sometimes, and work perfectly at others.

Another key to controlling the wood movement as much as possible is to apply the same finish all parts of the wood. Tops bottoms and especially edges, which act as straws for moisture, (humidity), to sneak into. By finishing all part evenly, you are controlling to a degree, where moisture is gaining access to your project. If it is equall on all surfaces, it will remain fairly predictable.

A rule of thumb for all woodworking is to do the same to both sides of the board. If you were to veneer only one side of a board, it will surely cup. Same goes with finishing.

Any furniture that makes a three month voyage, unless properly packaged will be prone to self destruction.

Don’t give up on miters, as they do have their place in woodworking.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Tony's profile


995 posts in 5108 days

#6 posted 11-05-2007 09:44 PM

I totally support you Lee on this one – it does not matter what the joint was – A long time (months) stored in uncontrolled conditions, especially at sea, with High humidity conditions will affect all carpentry, even if ALL surfaces have been covered in laquer (this only slows the process of expansion and contraction of wood)

We have extreemly high humidity here most of the year, 80 to 100%, yet the workshop and inside woodstore is artifically maintained at 40 – 45% relative humidity, in order to keep the wood at about 8% moisture content (MC). I can also watch my joints expand if I leave the doors open for too long. The secret is to control the environment of the untreated wood. If the finished item in going into a high humidy environemnt then make the item from 10 – 12% MC wood. If its is going into a centrally heated house or apartment, then use 6 – 8% MC wood.

Try leaving a slightly larger expansion joint between the glass (which effectively does not move much) and the wooden frame, the use of soft silicone is qute useful for holding the wood and glass together firmly, whilst allowing some movement.

-- Tony - All things are possible, just some things are more difficult than others! - SKYPE: Heron2005 (

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 5099 days

#7 posted 11-05-2007 10:18 PM

Years ago a friend of my scored a complete teak wood dining room set in the Phillipines while on a business trip.
It was heavily decorated and gorgeous to look at.
In 6 months he had several hundred individual pieces of wood.

I have never forgotten that. It literally exploded!


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 4606 days

#8 posted 12-17-2011 03:46 AM

I don’t know what tool you purchased, but my with my mitre if you set 90 degrees perfectly all the others will also be perfect. But if you file on it that angle will be correct but all the others will be off. The way you have fit your project together it is an illusion that only one is off, each piece is off, measure the gap in degrees and devide it by 8 that will be how many degrees each piece is off.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

View Kirk's profile


116 posts in 5132 days

#9 posted 12-17-2011 06:12 AM


It’s a cheap saw, and I failed after the warranty was out. Cost about the same to get it fixed. I know about degrees, I’m a Tool Designer, but how accurate is your machines?

It ability to adjust them machine isn’t easy. Therefore,...

-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 4606 days

#10 posted 12-18-2011 12:04 AM

Normally I do not trust any thats any mitre built in protractors on store purchased equipment, it as if its placed for decoration. Until I bought and started using the Dewalt cut off saw. Its the only one that has an trustable protractor. For all other equipment I have made fixed angle templates out of scrap hardwood, it took weeks to make using scrap soft wood as trials until the correct angle is found, once found a hard wood version was made. There are 12 of them from 45 degrees to 3.5 degrees (24 pieces in 180)(48 in 360) . You must remember with wood its near impossible to be perfect, though on ocasion you will, but you need to be as close as possible. Prepare the joining surfaces right after you cut it out, and glue it together, its the natural or nature of wood to move: bend, twist, shrink, by attaching them together keeps the piece in check so it mooves as one piece. This especially applies to small or narrow pieces.

I did not mean to get your gander, only to help it wasn,t long ago I couldn’t put a 45 on door trim w/o scratching my head. But don’t give up if you are serious you will get it, after several head aches.

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

View Kirk's profile


116 posts in 5132 days

#11 posted 12-18-2011 03:02 AM


I give up.

-- W. Kirk Crawford - Tularosa, New Mexico

View Randolph Torres's profile

Randolph Torres

295 posts in 4606 days

#12 posted 12-18-2011 08:13 PM

Read Mrs. Debbies blog: She has the power to inspire you. Then if you still want to be a quitter there is a web site for—-

-- another tip from cooperedpatterns

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