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Chopsaws and Mitersaws?

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  • Chopsaws and Mitersaws?

    What is the difference, if any, between a miter saw and a chopsaw? It seems to me if a miter saw is used mainly to cut long stock that you are overpaying for all the features on a miter saw or the same on a RAS. Doesn't a miter saw have an offset design that allows compound angles and cuts to match, and if so this is not what you want when trying to cross cut stock at 90 degrees? Maybe I am confused on this one.
    I asked a similar question on another forum and I just wanted some claification and more information.
    thepapabear<BR>When a bureaucrat has a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

  • #2
    Often these terms are misused and sometimes misused interchangably. I pure generic terms, the chop saw cross cuts at a 90° angle only, pull the handle down and binga-boom, binga-bam, a square cut. Most woodworkers need more than that, hell you can do a 90° crosscut with a skill saw. A miter saw does angled crosscuts. A hand miter box will generally give you 90°, 45° each way, and some will give you a 45° bevel slot. A power miter saw adjusts on a pivot to give you infinate angles from left 45° to right 45°. A'compound' miter saw will do the above and also adjust to cut any of the angles at a bevel at the same time.

    gator

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    • #3
      Gator gave good answers. Just to categorize:

      Chopsaw. Cuts 90 degrees only. I don't know of any woodworking chopsaws, but they are common metalworking tools.

      Miter saw. Now the blade can rotate side to side, allowing the cutting of miters. Pretty unusual saw any more, I don't know if anyone still makes one.

      Compound miter saw. This is the common saw today. In addition of rotating, the blade can now be tilted, allowing the infamous "37 miter/33.46 tilt" for mitering crown moldings on the flat.

      Sliding compound miter saw. Has all the movement of a compound miter saw, plus the blade can move forward and back (similar to a radial arm saw), for greater width of cut.

      "Chopsaw" is vastly overused due almost entirely to the work of one man, Norm Abram. He insisted on calling a compound miter saw a chopsaw, even while admitting it is wrong on his website.

      Dave
      (note, the crown numbers are made up)

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      • #4
        Thanks, this really cleared my mind. Sometimes when you think about something and the possibilities then you get a little fussy or confused or something. I think this will keep me on track.
        thepapabear<BR>When a bureaucrat has a hammer, everything begins to look like a nail.

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        • #5
          Also some refer to an abrasive steel cutting saw as a chop saw and a wood cutting saw as a miter saw.

          Jake

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