Family Room – One Room Challenge Week 4: Tips for Cutting Wall Trim using a Miter Saw

If you are new to my blog, welcome! I’m Sanda Stojakovic and I’m the author of My Design Playbook. A year ago my husband and I bought a 1970 Colonial house that needed many updates but we were so excited about this purchase that we knew we could turn this house into our home. Ever since we started on this journey to modernize our house I realized that we really enjoy this type of work and it quickly turned into something we love doing together. Follow along as we renovate our family room over the next few weeks for the Spring 2020 One Room Challenge and mark your calendar for the final reveal on June 25th!

Fall 2019 ORC can be found here.

If you missed previous weeks they can be found here: Week 2 and Week 3.

This week has been very fun and productive. I learned how to use the miter saw to cut all my trim pieces for the wall panels we will be installing. I always thought the miter saw looked scary and that whoever uses it will most likely loose a finger, but turns out that is not the case and I still have all 10 fingers to prove it.

Here are a few things to consider when using the miter saw from someone who is not a pro but I think these tips would be helpful for any person starting to use the miter saw.

1. BUY A MITER SAW STAND

If you are on the market to buy a miter saw don’t skip out on the stand. I have seen so many instances of people using their floor as a miter saw stand and for a while my husband and I did the same but if you own a miter saw you want repeatable accurate cuts and the best way to get accurate cuts is with a stable miter saw stand. Our miter saw stand has wheels so it makes extremely easy to move around when we need to.

The adjustable arms on this miter saw stand provides support for the long pieces of lumber or wall trim that are often cut with miter saws.

2. SAFETY IS KEY

Always wear safety glasses when operating the miter saw.

3. LET THE BLADE COME TO A COMPLETE STOP AT THE END OF EACH CUT BEFORE LIFTING IT. This is not only the safe thing to do, it also prevents you from cutting your piece twice. Once when put the blade down and the second time if you are lifting the blade up before it completely stopped. Cutting the board twice could change the measurement of the piece you intended to cut. It took me a couple of times before I remembered to allow to blade to fully stop spinning before lifting it.

4. USE THE CLAMP Keep your fingers at least 6 in. from the path of the blade. Some saws have lines to indicate the danger zone. I went super safe and used the clamp to clamp down my trim piece so I did not even have to hold in place. This made me much more comfortable using the miter saw as I did not have to worry about my finger being close to the blade and it also ensures the accuracy of the cut, as the piece you’re cutting will not slide off in any way as it is firmly clamped to the auxiliary fence.

Whenever you have to cut miters on a piece less than about 8 in. long, cut them from a longer piece so you can keep your fingers in the safe zone away from the blade. If you need a 6-in. piece of baseboard with miters on both ends, for example, cut one miter on the end of a long piece of base. Then mark for the other miter, change the miter saw angle, and cut off the 6-in. piece while you hold the longer end. This way you can continue to using the miter saw clamp and you don’t have to worry about where your fingers are, as you won’t be holding the piece. It’s a win-win method.

5. LEAVE THE LINE

When you are marking the pencil spot on your trim piece or board where you need to cut, remember to leave the line. Do not cut exactly on the line you marked because you have to account for the blades thickness and the possibility that you may cut more than needed and once the wood is gone, it’s gone. You can always cut less and make fine tune adjustments cut if you need the piece to be shorter.

Picture with piece with line pencil.

6. USE ONE PIECE AS A TEMPLATE FOR OTHER PIECES

If you need to make many pieces of the same length (in my case I needed 18 trim pieces of the same length) use one piece as template so you don’t have to bring out the measuring tape for each piece.

Here you will see I used one trim piece that I measured to mark the length for another trim piece before cutting it.

This whole week has been spend cutting trim pieces for the installation that will take place next week. Thanks for following along. I hope you found my tips on how to use the miter saw helpful. Next week, I will be priming and painting the trim pieces and will hopefully have some of them installed as well.

Don’t forget to check out other One Room Challenge renovations.

3 thoughts on “Family Room – One Room Challenge Week 4: Tips for Cutting Wall Trim using a Miter Saw

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