Left tilt, right tilt ?

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Forum topic by Jim Dawson posted 06-24-2017 02:57 AM 767 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jim Dawson

114 posts in 1283 days

06-24-2017 02:57 AM

I know the obvious difference between a right tilt and left tilt saw, but what are the practical differences? I have a left tilt saw now but I’m looking at used cabinet saws like a Unisaw or PM66 and most I see are right tilt saws. What are the disadvantages and why are the current saws all left tilt.

11 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 4099 days

#1 posted 06-24-2017 03:00 AM

Left tilt has a minor “comfort” advantage in
that when the fence is used to the right of
the tilted blade, stock cannot become
“trapped” between the blade and the fence.

As a practical matter I’ve had both left and
right tilt saws over the years and never had
a problem with boards getting trapped. I
wouldn’t make the tilt direction a dealbreaker.

View Rich's profile


4695 posts in 1041 days

#2 posted 06-24-2017 03:11 AM

Mine is right tilt, and I’d prefer left. The main advantage about left tilt is when you’re cutting miters. If it’s right tilt, you make one cut with a square edge against the fence, but when you turn the board around to do the other edge, the mitered edge will want to slip under the fence. With a left tilt, the mitered edge is at the top face and will be riding high on the fence.

Agree with Loren, it’s not a deal-breaker, but if I had my druthers…

-- My grandfather always said that when one door closes, another one opens. He was a wonderful man, but a lousy cabinet maker

View MrUnix's profile


7447 posts in 2650 days

#3 posted 06-24-2017 03:11 AM

Personal preference. The miter/bevel problem Rich mentions is easily compensated for.

The one advantage to a right tilt machine has to do with the accuracy of the tape measure on the fence. The distance between the blade and the fence (when on the right side of the blade) will always be accurate regardless of the width of the blade being used. Thin kerf or dado, both will register accurate on the tape. With a left tilt machine in the same configuration, you have to compensate for the thickness of the blade.


PS: I have both…

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View GR8HUNTER's profile (online now)


6340 posts in 1164 days

#4 posted 06-24-2017 03:14 AM

left :<))

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1350 days

#5 posted 06-24-2017 03:20 AM

I find the left tilt better for cutting bevels with the face up on wider pieces leaving a cleaner leading edge.

Cutting wider pieces with a right tilt you have to cut with the face down and the blowout is on the face/leading edge. You can move the fence to the other side of the blade for smaller pieces, but it limits the size of the wood you can cut. In order to cut wider pieces (w/RT) face up you need to use a sacrifice fence and the off cut gets trapped.

I had right tilt for years and got by just fine, but after having a left tilt it is what I would prefer.

View Jim Dawson's profile

Jim Dawson

114 posts in 1283 days

#6 posted 06-24-2017 10:08 AM

Thanks for the replies, now I understand. I feel comfortable with the left tilt but could adapt to either.

View sawdustdad's profile


379 posts in 1336 days

#7 posted 06-25-2017 03:26 AM

I have a right tilt Rockwell Unisaw. My Unifence works on either side of the blade, so I can use it either way. No diff.

-- Murphy's Carpentry Corollary #3: Half of all boards cut to a specific length will be too short.

View knotscott's profile


8302 posts in 3827 days

#8 posted 06-25-2017 03:40 AM

The biggest reason I prefer left tilt is that the arbor nut thread orientation is normal….very conducive to right handers. Right tilt has reverse threads.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View 000's profile


2859 posts in 1350 days

#9 posted 06-25-2017 03:46 AM

I have a right tilt Rockwell Unisaw. My Unifence works on either side of the blade, so I can use it either way. No diff.

- sawdustdad

How wide can you cut with the fence on the left side of the blade?

View Woodknack's profile


12870 posts in 2831 days

#10 posted 06-25-2017 06:08 AM

The only advantage to me from a left tilt would be that I could cut panels without moving my Unifence to the other side (you have to reverse the bolts), saves about 60 seconds. But if I cut panels regularly I would build a panel cutting sled and not worry about it. Like Loren, I’ve never had a piece trapped. The blade holds it down so it can’t come up, can’t go right or left, there is nowhere the piece can go except out (unless you let go of it).

-- Rick M,

View splintergroup's profile


2779 posts in 1674 days

#11 posted 06-25-2017 02:55 PM

Also consider that a RT saw (speaking of a Unisaw here) will have the motor access door under the extension table, limiting the amount of available storage space (the dust collection hose is well tucked away however).

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