Elementary Mitre Box
A mitre box is a wood working tool used to guide a hand saw to make precise and fast mitre cuts in a board. The mitrebox is lightweight and portable. It’s a good tool for smaller mitring jobs.
Step 1: Tools and Materials
A miter box could hardly be simpler, consisting as it does of only three pieces – front, back, and bottom.
You will need:. about 1 meter wooden board. hand saw. square angle tool. nails or bolts
Cut wooden board into three equal length boards and connect the boards together using nails or bolts.
Step 2: Marking
Measure the outer width of the mitre box and take the first mark
Apply the measured width to the length of one edge and make a second mark.
Create 45 ° degree angle by connecting opposite marks.
Step 3: Cutting
Make a cut along the three marks using your hand saw. Try to be as precise as possible. To make your mitre box pretty sand it or paint it as you wish.
Step 4: Use
Now we can use it to create frame images or canvas frame and a lot of other things. Here’s an example of creating frame for a canvas.
I hope your new mitre box will be of a good service in lots of creative projects.
Step 5: Use in the Kitchen.
For example, you can slice of bread with a miter box, or almost any other sliceable food that’ll fit into it. on the https://www.instructables.com/ID/Bread-and-mitre-box/
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Комментарии и мнения владельцев
I don’t mean to be a buzz kill. But there is literally no mention of the measurements used. What distance between the marks creates a 45 degree angle?
This image shows it https://cdn.instructables.com/FR9/KS3J/HT5YKTJR/FR. You are creating a square (both sides have the same length), when you trace a diagonal line on a square you create 2 triangles that have one 90° angle and 2 45°.It’s very simple
Easy and quick! I made a few more miter box add ons and its great!
This is what I was looking for. I looked for “simple” Miter box. I too am concerned about how to free hand the ‘precise as possible’ cuts.
older ‘ible. I know, but I agree that cutting carefully to make the box (from scrap wood, for example). would allow you to cut with relative impunity, and ease if you had a large number of mitred cuts to make.
Great Instructable dude! I’m trying to build it now, and all your work helped me a lot Thanks!
How do you keep the saw perpendicular when making the cuts? You say “try to be precise as possible”. The whole point of a miter box is to create precise cuts, so your box has to be perfect, or all the wood you cut with it will be off.
I understand the whole “maker” thing, but there are companies with factories that offer precise tools cheap enough that you don’t need to make them yourself. Here’s one that includes the saw!
but the real “essence” of the instructables is “do it yourself”. To be honest I prefer a home-made wood miter box than the plastic one. even it doesn’t include the saw 🙂
You didn’t answer the question. How do you make precise cuts in the first place?
I think you are right. If you can precisely cut the miter box with a hand saw, you should be able to precisely cut a frame without using the miter. Now, had a friend’s table power saw with precise angle adjustments were to be used to make the precision cuts to build the miter box, that would be another story. There is nothing new about this diy. This is something as old and common as building a birdhouse.
You have to cut precise as possible and slowly (exactly as lines). Every handyman can do it precise as plastic miter box.
this afternoon i made my own miter box. thanks!
Reminds me of making frames and such with my dad and his wooden miter box. Thanks!
What do you mean “cheap” mitre box. It’s certainly not. It basic or elementary if you wish. Definitely not cheap. …
I vote as you revived simple tools that are as relevant to day as before.
It’s completely true. I renamed my tutorial.
How to Use a Miter Box (Cut Wood without a Power Saw)
Learn how to cut wood WITHOUT a power saw using a miter box for beginner woodworking projects, baseboards, and molding. This is your detailed tutorial on how to use a miter box. Great for apartments!
You want to build beautiful wood projects but,
- You are just starting out
- Don’t have the budget to buy power tools
- are intimidated by power saws
- you live in an apartment and can’t use or store power tools.
No matter the case, you do not need a power saw to do many basic projects.
All you need is a miter box, and I will show you exactly how to use it and how powerful it is.
Now, if you are already confident with power saws and are wondering if you even need to continue reading this, the miter box is an essential part of my toolbox. I use it for many things, and I will go into the details below.
Cutting wood without a power saw
If you want to cut wood and don’t have a power saw, there are a few options –
But I am sure you aren’t into any of those options because you want to make simple beginner woodworking projects in the first place.
Another option is to get your boards cut at the lumber store. That is what I did for the first couple of my projects.
The problem with that is the cuts are NOT at all accurate. The stores do not and are not expected to guarantee accuracy.
The best way to cut boards for simple woodworking projects without a power saw is a miter box with a handsaw.
hot weather, cool saw
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I have a full written article below, but if you would like to watch and learn, I also have a detailed video for you below.
What is a miter box?
A miter box is a guide for a hand saw and allows you to make cuts in boards manually with pretty good accuracy.
They are very inexpensive to purchase and make a great starting point to try simple woodworking projects like building frames, and small furniture builds and is the best option for installing baseboards and molding.
It is essentially like a manual miter saw where you are able to make pretty precise cuts.
These features make a miter box an excellent solution if you live in an apartment.
Parts of a miter box
- A hand saw – specially designed with a rim to prevent it from digging into the miter box.
- A miter box – with precut slots at various angles to help guide the hand saw.
- Cam pins – to help lock the boards being cut in place. These are only available with a few models.
The box itself has the following features:
- Material – can be made from wood, plastic, or aluminum.
- U-shaped with openings on the top and on both ends to fit long pieces of wood.
- Slots are cut into the miter box at precise angles needed to make cuts. on that below.
- A way to hold and secure the miter box when in use
- Small holes to help screw the miter box to a work surface if needed
- Clamping wings to use a clamp to hold the miter box when in use.
- A lip or tabs to help hold the box against a workbench.
A basic miter box has three angle slots – 0, 22.5-degrees, and 45-degrees plus a 45-degree bevel slot.
An adjustable miter box gives more flexibility and can be set at different angles. These are usually made of metal and are a little more expensive.
A miter box, or mitre box, makes straight and angled cuts in various materials.
A miter box can be used not just for cutting wood boards like 1×2, 1×3, etc, but also for many other boards and materials.
Despite having power tools and saws, I still use my miter box – especially when I need to cut small pieces (less than 2-3″) or dowels which can be dangerous to cut on a power miter saw.
Some other applications where you can use miter box are:
- Miter cuts for picture frames
- Crown molding
- Cut or trim PVC pipe
- Acrylic rods
- Aluminum tubes
I’ve used a miter box to build a picture frame, a mail organizer, cut acrylic rods, rain gutter bookshelves, and even aluminum tubing for my shower organizer.
Miter box options
Miter boxes are very inexpensive, and the box itself usually comes with an included handsaw and a few stops. Here are some options:
How to use a miter box to make cuts
Miter boxes are really straightforward to use.
Of course, as with any hand tool, it takes a little bit of effort and patience.
STEP 1: MARK THE WORKPIECE
You know how they say – measure twice, cut once? I say measure at least three times.
- Measure and mark your workpiece for the size you need to cut using a tape measure.
- Using a speed square, draw a straight line and mark your piece of wood with the angle you wish to cut.You can draw your line on either the face or the edge of your workpiece. See how to use a speed square to mark angles.
- Mark the side you need with an X or a little arrow, so you remember exactly which side is the one you need.
STEP 2: SECURE THE MITER BOX
Depending on the model, your miter box may have a lip that sits flush against the table’s edge or little collapsible tabs on the bottom to keep it in place as you cut.
The miter box may have a spot of clamps to hold it. Or it will have holes for you to be able to screw it into your workbench- if that is something you want to do.
Alternatively, you can also screw it into a larger board that might be easier to clamp.
Either way, holding the miter box in place is essential for safety and accuracy.
It is possible to cut with the miter box without clamping it down, and I have done it many times, but whenever possible, clamping it down adds stability and makes it a lot easier to use it.
- Line your mark up with the corresponding miter box slot on the miter box edge.
- Insert the saw in the slot and check the placement of the board.
At this point, you want to pay attention to the kerf – which is the thickness of the saw blade. Read more about Kerf here. You want to ensure that the entire blade of the saw lies on the waste side of the board.
- Once the saw is aligned in the right place, secure the board with clamps on the ends or use the cam pins. You may also carefully use your hand to hold the board as you make the cut. Just be sure to keep your thumb out of the way!
This will make a groove and help get the cut started and keep the saw from deviating from the cut line when you make the cut.
- Go ahead and make the cut with downward pressure on the saw.
It can sometimes be hard to keep long pieces of wood stable and control them to get a precise cut. The best way to manage is to use as many clamps as needed.
Miter boxes typically have 22.5-degrees and 45-degree angle slots and a 45-degree bevel.
Cutting angles is pretty much like when cutting a straight-line – measure, mark, align and secure the board and make the miter cut.
The slots in the miter box make sure your saw stays aligned to the desired angle you make the cut.
To make a miter cut, lay the board flat inside the miter box. Below, I am making 45-degree cuts.
To make a bevel cut at 45-degrees, use the bevel cut slot to help guide the saw.
If your miter box does not have the bevel slot or if you want to make a bevel at 22.5-degrees, hold the board standing up in the miter box and cut through the 22.5-degree slot.
Of course, the height of the wood that can be used is limited by the height of the sides of the miter box.
Cutting crown molding and baseboards
Cutting crown molding and baseboards is one of the most common applications of miter boxes.
Even with the power saws available, I usually keep a miter box handy to quickly make the cut in the room as needed and don’t have to carry the huge boards across the house.
Plus, baseboards and molding are usually soft materials that are pretty easy to cut.
The inside and outside corners of molding and baseboards can be pretty confusing. Here is a little guide –
To cut a left internal corner –
- Place the piece of molding upside down laying at an angle on the left of the miter box.
- The top of the trim should rest against the miter box while the bottom wall angle toward the middle.
- Clamp it in place to hold it secure.
- Line up the saw in the 45-degree slot.
- Cut from the bottom right to top left.
Cutting a right inner corner –
- Place the piece of molding upside down on the right side of the miter box, with the top resting against the side of the miter box and the bottom angled out towards the middle.
- Clamp it in place
- Line up the saw with the 45-degree angle slot.
- Cut from bottom left to top right.
Why does the saw not cut into the box?
The design of the miter box and accompanying handsaw makes sure you do not cut into the box itself.
The handsaw has a lip on top that is wider than the slot and the box itself has grooves at the bottom.
The lip on the saw hits the top of the miter box when the saw reaches the bottom of the cut.
But what if you have lost the handsaw that came with your miter box?
In that case, you can use a scrap piece of wood underneath your workpiece so that the miter box does not get damaged.
I think a miter box is definitely an important tool to have in the workshop – whether you are just starting out or have lots of power tools.
I still use my miter box pretty often for various projects.
Projects using a miter box
Now that you know how to use a miter box, here are a few projects that you can use them for:
If you would like to learn more about other beginner-friendly power tools, take a look at these:
How to Use a Miter Box to Cut Wood Without Power Tools
The internet (and this site!) is full of amazing DIY project ideas, but the tools required can feel intimidating to a beginner. I remember my first woodworking project, a simple poster frame, and how scared I was to start up the miter saw for the first time! (You can learn how to use a miter saw in this tutorial.)
Luckily, there’s a cheap and easy way to cut wood without any power tools! A simple plastic box and a hand saw are all you need to get started. I’ll show you how to use a miter box to cut wood, trim or PVC pipe with just a little elbow grease!
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All too often, I hear people say things like “I would love to make that, but I’m not handy!” or “I can’t make that because I’m terrified of power tools!” My goal is to show that anyone can build simple DIY projects with the right information and tools!
I’m constantly adding to my library of beginning woodworking tutorials, so if there’s something you want to learn, just let me know!
What is a Miter Box?
A miter box is a plastic, metal or wooden box used together with a hand saw to cut wood at preset angles. It’s more precise than cutting wood freehand, because the slots prevent the saw from moving sideways as you work.
This Stanley miter box is the one I would recommend for beginners, and can be found for less than 20 at your local home improvement store. It features clamping pins that hold the wood in place while you cut, and comes with a decent saw ready to go!
How to Use a Miter Box
There are a few steps to take before you start cutting wood with a miter box if you want the best results.
Clamp Down the Miter Box
You’ll wear yourself out pretty quick if you’re trying to hold the miter box steady with one hand while you saw with the other! Do yourself a favor and use a couple clamps like these to hold the miter box to the table while you cut.
If you’re cutting a really wide board, it can be a little tricky to keep the ends of the clamps from getting in the way. You may want to screw the miter box to a scrap board first, then clamp the wood base instead. This also makes it easier to clamp it across sawhorses if you’re working outside.
Measure and Mark the Cut
Measure the length of wood you need for your project with a tape measure. Mark it with a pencil, then draw a straight line across the board with a square. This will make sure that the line is exactly 90 degrees from the edge of the board.
One side of the line is the “keep” side and the other is the “waste” side. The keep side is the one you’ll be “keeping” to use in your project. Mark the waste side with an X. It may be obvious on that first cut, but it’s easy to get confused when both sides are similar lengths.
Place the Wood in the Miter Box
Lay the wood inside the miter box, either flat or standing on end, depending on the cut to be made. This particular miter box comes with little peg clamps to hold the board tight against the back of the box. Line up the waste side of the cut line with the side of the slot, not right down the middle!
If your miter box doesn’t come with these pegs, don’t worry! You can use your thumb to hold the wood in place as you cut. Just make sure to keep your hand safely away from the blade!
Line the Blade Up with your Mark
Insert the saw into the slots for the angle you plan to cut. In this case, it’s a straight 90 degree cut. Line up the blade so that the teeth will touch the line on the waste side (this is why you make an X!)
Why not cut on the line? The blade will remove some of the wood as it cuts (this is called the kerf). If you cut directly on the line, you’ll make the board shorter than you want it to be!
It’s always better to cut the board slightly longer than necessary, then sand the end down if it doesn’t fit. You can’t add more wood back on if it’s too short!
Score the Cut Line First
If you start sawing at full force, the blade will jump and you’ll get a jagged edge at the top of the cut. Instead, run the blade lightly over the board a few times to score the surface and break those wood fibers.
Finish the Cut
Once you have a groove in the board, you can finish the cut using more effort. Don’t try to force the saw down. Just let the teeth do the work!
Depending on the species of wood and the thickness of the board, it may take a few minutes to get all the way through. Consider this your arm workout for the day!
A miter box is the perfect solution for a homeowner who wants to replace baseboards or window and door trim without buying a full size miter saw. The 45 degree slots are most often used for making those tricky corner cuts.
Window and door trim goes together like a picture frame. Measure the top of the opening, then mark that dimension on your board, indicating the direction of the angled cut.
Make the cut the same way as shown above, but line the mark up with the 45 degree slot instead. Repeat for the other end of the board, but with the angle facing the other direction.
Fit the two sides of the cut together at a 90 degree angle for the perfect corner!
Baseboards and crown moulding are a little trickier. This video shows you how to cut trim with a miter box, and he explains it much better than I could!
I am thankful that your article mentions how mitre boxes offer an alternative to using power tools as it offers several convenient angles to cut at. My spouse and I are interested in building wooden toys for our children but we do not have access to power tools nor the budget to do so. We’ll be sure to look into purchasing a mitre box for the future.
Miter boxes are such a great tool. I had that exact miter box, but I gave it to my nephew. Unfortunately, I do very little woodworking any more. I figured that the miter box would get more use if I gave it to him. Thank you for sharing this very informative post.
Just read this tutorial. Vineta, what a wonderful job you did explaining how to use this miter box. I learn so much from you. Thank you!
Aw, thank you so much! I’m glad I could help!
The 5 Best Mitre Boxes for Woodworkers and DIY
Need a professional finish for a special project or a job around the house?
Mitre boxes provide near machine accuracy for a very reasonable price.
Making a Mitre Box
Additionally they are portable and quick to set up and use.
These 5 hand selections provide a neat solution for almost every type of job, from trim to beading, boxes to frames, fine hobby projects to working with a circular saw.
Consider them an investment in minimising frustration
Best all round choice and for wider lengths
In distinctive yellow, the Stanley mitre box is your standard issue mitre box.
It’s portable and easy to set up anywhere there is a bench. Being plastic it feels a little flimsy, and you do need to take some care when using it. However, if you need mitres for a particular job, it’s a great value choice.
To use it, clamp it to your workbench, or screw it down to something. Then secure the work with the bench dogs (which is the reason for all the holes) and start cutting.
You can buy with or without a mitre saw, but any tenon saw that’s 80mm (3 ¼”) deep will work here. (Our tenon saws work with it so I just have the mitre box)
This is a good buy if you have a job in mind. Treat it well and it will last longer.
|Stanley 1-20-112 Saw Storage Miter Box|
|Largest Timber Size (90° 45°):||120mm x 80mm (4 ¾ x 3 ¼”)|
|Angles:||90°, 45° and 22.5°|
|Pros:||Universal, Portable, Easy to use, Inexpensive, and it works|
|Cons:||Feels flimsy, being plastic means care needed with cuts,|
The one on Amazon is a newer model than mine (pictured). It cuts a 45° mitre on the flat (bevel) and also for wider lengths of timber. Mine did not include a saw
Most Accurate Mitre Saw
If a more precise cut is what you are after, the CRAFTSMAN Mitre Saw is a good option. Although more expensive than a standard mitre box, the benefit is more precise cuts.
The base is cast aluminium, and provides a sturdy platform when screwed down to a bench.
The saw runs along guides so it keeps the saw inline with the cut angle. This removes (almost all) of the slop out of the saw compared with a standard mitre box. The saw locks into common angles, although it seems cutting outside of these angles isn’t as straightforward.
A good choice for cutting angles that need to be accurate and cut over and over again.
|CRAFTSMAN Mitre Saw, Adjustable Angle|
|Largest Timber Size @ 90°:||112mm x 150mm (4 ½” x 6”)|
|Largest Timber Size @ 45°:||100mm x 106mm (4” x 4 1/4”)|
|Angles:||45°, 54°, 60°, 67 ½°, 75° and 90°|
|Material:||Metal (including base) and some plastic|
|Pros:||Easy to setup and use, Hard to muck up, Sturdier than plastic, Durability of metal|
|Cons:||Wood only, Restricted angles,|
Best for accurate circular saw mitres
How durable are mitre boxes?
Depending on which one you purchase they can last. But by nature, mitre boxes don’t last forever. The are effectively measuring devices that have a saw moving back and forward on them. This will eventually affect the slots which will throw the angles out, making the joins out of square.
If you are having a hard time choosing between two mitre boxes, I recommend going for quality.
It might cost a few more dollars but it’s 10x better than having to wait to do a job because you don’t have the right tool.
And if you use it for a future job you have just saved money!
Thanks for reading my guide on picking the best mitre box. I hope I have helped your search.
What Is a Miter Box?
Need to make a few angled cuts but don’t have the budget or space for a full-sized miter saw? A miter box may be the perfect solution.
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It’s easy to fall into the trap of feeling like you need the latest and greatest power tool for your projects. But just because you can buy a tool doesn’t mean you should.
If you’re cutting wood at an angle for picture framing or interior trim, a miter saw or table saw with a miter gauge can do the job quickly. But these are expensive and take up a lot of workshop space. To cut precision angles without the expense or bulk of a miter saw, a miter box is an affordable, robust option.
What Is a Miter Box?
A miter box is the manual equivalent of a miter saw. It’s used to cut wood stock to make miter joints, which connect two pieces of wood at an angle, most often a right angle.
A miter box isn’t really a box. It consists of a stiff, rectangular frame, open on top and both ends, with vertical slots in the walls to guide a saw blade to a precise cut. Some also have a bevel slot, usually set at a 45-degree angle. The open top and ends allow material to be placed inside. Methods of securing the material vary from cam pin systems to clamps.
The box is usually (but not always) sold with an accompanying hand saw, usually a back saw. If you want a high-quality hand saw, you’re better off buying a standalone saw for your miter box.
When To Use a Miter Box
A miter box is a great choice in the following situations:
Cutting small stock
Miter box walls are usually four inches high or less, so they’re meant for cutting smaller items like picture frames, narrow baseboards or other thin material.
Cutting limited angles
If you’re only cutting limited angles (usually 45 degrees), a miter box is a great time saver. If your project requires a greater variety of angles, then look for an adjustable miter box or upgrade to a miter saw. Many home renovations require this level of flexibility. Even corners that appear to be right angles typically aren’t exactly 90 degrees.
If you’re on a particularly tight budget, go with a miter box. Most power miter saws cost seven to 10 times more than a miter box.
Tight storage space
A miter box is roughly the same size and weight as a loaf of bread. It can be stored in even the most constrained of workshops.
How To Use a Miter Box
A miter box is simple and intuitive. Once you’ve made a handful of cuts, you’ll be using it like a pro.
- Select the angle: Determine what angle you want to cut. If your project demands an angle not matched by one of the precut slots, consider an open miter box that allows cuts at adjustable angles.
- Secure the material to be cut: This procedure depends on the individual miter box. Many have a honeycomb of perforations on the bottom, with cam pins that fit into place around the material. Others require the user to provide a clamping system. Most back saws that come with miter boxes cut on the pull, so it’s best to secure the material against the front wall or “fence” of the box. If you have a push-cut saw, secure it against the rear fence.
- Secure the box: You don’t want the box sliding around. Many miter boxes come with lips so they can be placed over the edge of a work surface, or ears that can be clamped to a bench top.
- Make the cut: Try to keep the saw perpendicular to the cutting surface to avoid running the blade into the slot walls.
What To Consider When Buying a Miter Box
There are only a few considerations when purchasing a miter box.
- Box material: Whether you opt for plastic, wood or metal mostly depends on personal preferences. Plastic is the most affordable option, but its lighter weight makes it the most likely to shift while cutting.
- Saw quality and proportions: Look for a saw handle that fits comfortably in your hand. Saws with a higher tooth count will cut smoother, while those with a lower tooth count will cut faster.
- Angle options: Most miter boxes come with a few preset angles. Make sure your needs align with these presets. If you’ll be making cuts with unusual angles, look for an adjustable miter box.
Three Top Miter Boxes
Here are three miter boxes to consider:
Best all-around plastic
The Stanley Saw Storage Miter Box comes with a sturdy back saw that securely remains in the box. It also features a honeycomb and cam pin system, and multiple options to secure the box to a work surface. It offers cut slots at 45-, 90- and 22.5-degrees, as well as a 45-degree bevel.
Best budget miter box
The Project Source Miter Box With Saw Set is a great price for a box-and-saw combo. It only has two angle options (45- and 90-degrees) and doesn’t come with a honeycomb and cam pin securing system. But 11 for a box and bundled saw is about as affordable as these tools get.
Best fine-tooth saw and metal miter box
The Olson Zona Miter Box comes with a straight-handle fine kerf saw and offers preset angles of 90, 45, and 60 degrees. The saw cuts wood and soft metals such as copper, with 42 teeth per inch. Note it’s shallower than the previous two models, with only 7/8-inch of cutting depth.