P.O. Box 812
Holden, Maine 04429
Perfect Miters ...... Fast
Miters Every Time"
by Jim Chestnut
Published in "Fine Homebuilding
issue #164, July 2004
Edited by Jim Chestnut
for web site publication.
are courtesy of "Fine Homebuilding Magazine",
though most were not used in the orignial publication.
Any inaccuracies, omissions, advertising, or inappropriate verbiage
that may appear in THIS article
appear in "Fine Homebuilding"
and are solely the result of my own ineptitude
and/or megalomania, greed, perversity, or any other of a wide range
of diverse character defects.
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now have all the upstairs measurements on the story pole. We put
it close enough to the chop saw to easily read the measurements
written on it. So now we can shove our mitered (and possibly already
slotted) casing end to the stop, read #1X = +6, mark the casing
at 6/16ths to the right of center off the rule on the saw fence,
slide the casing a few inches to the right, and whack it square
at the mark. We then label the leg 1X, and check it off on the list
of legs before proceeding to the next.
This method of
marking lengths from a stop ensures that your apprentice never mistakes
a 6 for a 9 when reading the tape upside down, nor sees 1/16th over
85" as 1/16th under 85". Nor can he hook the miter with
the tape rivet instead of the hook. Though we would never do these
things ourselves, our apprentices, helpers and the guy out sick
do that routinely - and you‘ve probably even heard of it happening
to some experienced men as well.
That said, you
can always still use a conventional tape for the initial measurements,
and stick a Quick Rule on your saw fence registering it to a specific
long point measurement such as 84 inches to the center of the tape
from the stop. The net result will be the same – very fast,
very accurate marking of stock to length; and, consequently, production
speed cutting of variable lengths.
That stick of casing
illustrates how we cut a bunch of right legs out of long sticks.
To square off the bottom is counter productive until we have the
exact measurements. The cutoff from this piece is likewise a right
leg with the miter already on it. Both pieces stay this way until
they are cut to the final length. There is no reason to change the
saw angle until all the right door leg miters, right window leg
miters, left door head miters, and left window head miters have
been cut for,say, the whole upstairs. At any time, these miters
can be slotted for biscuits.
my editor at "Fine Homebuilding", refused to allow me
a smoke until after he had taken a picture of my "Hunchback
of Notre Dame" impression shown below.
I am in the process
of marking the same leg as in the picture above for the final cut
Head casings on both
windows and doors of the same nominal widths are usually able to
be mass cut to final length. We use welding clamps without screws
to speed up stop moves for different width doors and windows. If
there are only a few of one kind, we mark them traditionally - with
the hook, not the rivet.
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