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
  • 2
    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

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.


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.

  • 2
    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

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.