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Tips for Using Miter Boxes

A miter box is used to guide a hand saw and help users make cuts on an angle. Use these tips when working with a miter box to assure cuts are made accurately -- and safely.

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many kinds of miter boxes are available

Many kinds of miter boxes are available, but they all perform the same basic function: to assist with cutting on an angle.

The plastic miter box is the most basic type today. It usually has one 90-degree and two 45-degree angle guides. The more traditional wooden miter box typically has the same guides.

The steel-shelf miter box is more complex, with guides on the top, back and front. It has a built-in depth guide and ruler. With this box, the saw can be locked in a variety of angles.


  • Clamp the wood to keep it from moving as it is being cut.
  • Use a spacer strip to prop up pieces such as molding that might need to be cut on an angle.
  • Make depth-stops by clamping a strip of wood to the saw blade so that cuts are made to the desired depth in the work piece.