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Miter Saw Fundamentals

Learn to swing your saw without visualizing the mitered corner

I used to close my eyes and visualize which way to swing my saw, especially if I was mitering a tricky corner. When I first started using a miter saw, there was a time I’d cut the wrong miter. And on tricky corners, even after years of experience, I still got them wrong nearly as often as I got them right.

Not any more. The method I’ve been using for the last ten years is almost fool-proof—even for a fool as big as me. And it’s fast and simple, too.

All of us, every carpenter imaginable, identifies miters by short points and long points. So why not learn how to swing your saw according to the same vocabulary?

Several Roadshow attendees have asked me to provide a clearer explanation of the Shortpoint-Longpoint method. I hope this short video does the trick!


5 Responses to “Miter Saw Fundamentals”

    • Rob Potter

      I like that musical intro too. I’ll try to channel that on the job!

  1. Loren97

    I make annotations on my scratch pad when measuring trim. A vertical line in front of the number = butt joint on left
    A degree sign behind the number = outside miter on right
    A squiggle behind the number = a return on right
    No mark = square cut left, coped right.
    All those marks can be placed before or after the numbers depending on the need. If its a big room with lots of corners, sometimes I’ll sketch the layout on the pad too and usually work counter clockwise so every right side is coped.

  2. john

    Inside = cut into the trim
    Outside = cut out from (away from) the trim.

    It really can’t get any easier than that to remember.

  3. JOY

    This information was an enormous help to me. it is now embedded in my brain and I will be the master of the miter cut. Keep up the good work and thanks for the information. God Bless.



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