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So anything up to 45 degrees is simple, either on a mitre/compound/chop saw, or on a table saw with a mitre gauge/crosscut sled. However, more than that is tricky.

Mitre saws are out, because they usually only go up to 45-50 degree angles, and would require the work material to be sticking out towards you. Similar problem on a table saw, though at least a sliding table or extension would help support the material.

What's the best way forward? Let's say I wanted to make an equilateral triangle, for example.

  • A bandsaw comes to mind. But it really depends on what you are cutting, you should edit to make that clear. – bpedit Mar 28 '17 at 19:58
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    Can't you just reverse the cut and cut the < 45 angle? For your triangle this would be 30 degrees – micmcg Mar 29 '17 at 21:50
  • I don't think so? Imagine cutting a 3m length of 2x4 into three pieces with mitre cut ends that would make a triangle. – Neil Barnwell Mar 30 '17 at 8:37
  • The answer is very dependent on the type of miter cut. Is it a long diagonal cut across the face of the board, or a straight cut across the face, but angling the blade through the thickness. Is it a narrow enough cut to make on a miter saw, or a wide sheet of material requiring a table saw or track saw? I don't think it is one size fits all. – Jacob Edmond Mar 30 '17 at 18:08
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I would use a track saw or a taper jig for the table saw.

Also, I imagine that a European-style sliding table saw would have no problem with this.

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When doing angled cross cuts using the miter gauge, I find the work piece tends to slip as I move the miter gauge towards the blade. For this, you can build a small sled and clamp it to the miter gauge. This will works pretty well if you are mostly cutting the same angle repeatedly, and if you're cutting pieces with a small enough width to fit on a sled.

The sled would look something like this:

Small miter sled

Image credit: Woodsmith eTips.

If the piece is too big for a sled, or if I am doing just one or two cuts, I will forgo the table saw and in favor of my circular saw instead. Clamp a long straight edge to the work piece as a guide. This works well for plywood and other sheet goods.

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    Brave or foolish? That work-holding method would get a stern talking-to in my old high school woodshop class. Optimists... – Ecnerwal Mar 29 '17 at 2:16
  • I wasn't going to say anything but now this comment has been upvoted. I would like to respectfully disagree. This example renders more safe (is anything totally safe in this business?) a decidedly unsafe operation. Having small parts wander on a mitre gauge is a serious issue and this addresses that. The box is safely clamped to the mitre gauge; the box is large enough to keep your fingers safely away from the blade; a strip of sandpaper keeps the little parts from slipping. No safety violation from a guy who runs a tight ship and gives no quarter on safety. – Benchwerks Mar 31 '17 at 10:53
  • I upvoted it, actually. In the picture, his hands are a little close to the blade for my comfort. I prefer to keep 3" between my hands and the blade. If I needed to support the work this close to the blade, I'd use a clamp. Other people's safety thresholds will be different. But I did briefly consider the location of his hands when I picked this picture, but ultimately decided that wasn't the main point of the question. – Katie Kilian Mar 31 '17 at 14:42
  • To be clear, it's a judgement call. I'm not condemning anyone who would find this completely safe. For myself, I am keenly aware that I've only been at this for about two years, and as a hobby at that. I err on the side of caution, remembering that I can get overconfident about my own experience. I know from other comments you've left that you have far more experience than I do; I would trust you to run a tighter ship than me. I try to keep that in mind and give myself more safety margin than I need. That's all. – Katie Kilian Mar 31 '17 at 14:54

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