Accurately Cut Miter Angles Without Using Measuring Toolscomments (1) November 20th, 2012
Video Length: 2:12
Produced by: John Ross and Chuck Miller
If you need to cut a mitered angle that's other than 90 degrees, you could hunt around for your protractor, but there's a better way
Seasoned carpenters know that the best way to measure things is to not measure them at all. Try to figure out a way to not use a tape, or a protractor, or any other measuring device. Simply use the tools at hand, mark where you want to cut, and you eliminate a lot of problems.
Here's how Mike Stevens from Carlstadt, New Jersey (in the shadow of Giants stadium) does it. Mike likes to use adding-machine tape--we don't have any, but we do have some good-old-fashioned paper drywall tape, so that's what we're going to use to demonstrate this technique. Let's pretend the scrap of plywood we're using is a parallelogram-shaped panel for a stair-wainscot panel or something like that.
First we slide the corner of our tape up to our obtuse angle, and then we tape this to our panel to keep it in place. Now we take another piece of drywall tape with a nice pointy end on it and do the same on the other leg of the angle we're measuring. The key is to make sure that you're getting this right on the corner and right up against the edge. Next, we tape these two pieces together where they overlap--that's the important part of this technique.
Now, what we've got is a replica of this outside angle that we need to fold in half. Once that's folded in half, you can take the tape to your miter saw, put it against the fence, and swing the blade over the fold. You've just bisected the original angle.
This works every time whether it's an acute angle or an obtuse angle.
Mike, that's a great tip. Thanks for sending that in.
posted in: measuring and marking tools
Learn techniques for protecting the window opening with an angled sill and flashing tapes read more
If you have a tip that you would like to share, visit our new Readers Quick Tips blog to post text, photos, and links to videos. Or, send us an email at: email@example.com
About this Blog
Have your ever been frustrated building something and mumbled to yourself, "There's got to be a better way"? Then we've got just what you need.
Watch our There's a Better Way videos to see Fine Homebuilding editor-at-large Chuck Miller demonstrate his favorite tips sent in by readers like you.
If you've got your own creative solution to a home-building problem, post it in our submit a tip blog, or email it to Fine Homebuilding, and we might put it in the magazine or in one of these videos. Thanks!