What Is A Bevel Cut?

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We all know in woodworking that there are many types of cuts – straight cuts, through cuts, non-through cuts, mitered cuts – and the power tool or tools we use to make these cuts depends on the type of cut.

We also know that the same tool can make different types of cuts.  Choosing the right cut and the right tool depends on the project and our intentions, especially in joinery; in joinery, there are many ways to fit two pieces of wood together in joints.

Today we take a look at bevel cuts.  Bevel cuts are not to be confused with miter cuts, even though both of them are angled in some way.

Key Points:

  • Angled cut, top of the wood is not perpendicular to the edge, anywhere from 0 to 90 degrees, whereas a miter angle is in multiples of 45 degrees.  
  • Bevels are cut with an angled blade; miters are cut with a vertical blade.
  • Both cuts can be used in the making of picture frames, for instance.

The difference between the two is important, and the intended purposeful use in your project can determine which cut you choose – it might be a picture frame, a table, a table corner, or a desk corner.

What Is A Bevel Cut in Woodworking?

A bevel cut is an angled cut, but it differs from a miter cut, which is also angled, in that the top of the wood isn’t perpendicular to the edges.

The angle of the cut can be anything from 0 to 90 degrees, and it is usually measured from the horizontal.

They can be made with a variety of tools, including a miter saw, table saw, or hand saw.

Here are some of their common uses:

  • To create a sloped edge on a piece of wood, such as the edge of a roof or a cabinet.
  • To join two pieces of wood at an angle, such as the corners of a picture frame.
  • To make a decorative cut on a piece of wood, such as a chamfer or a rabbet.
  • To create a smooth transition between two different materials, such as wood and tile.

The main difference between a bevel cut and a miter cut is that the former is made with the blade tilted, while the latter is made with the blade vertical. This means that a bevel cut can be used to create a variety of angles, while a miter cut is limited to angles that are multiples of 45 degrees.

What Tools Can You Use To Make Bevel Cuts?

There are many power tools that can be used to make a bevel cut, but the most common ones are:

  • Miter saw: A miter saw is a versatile tool that can be used to make both miter cuts and bevel cuts. It is typically used for making precise cuts, and it can be set to a variety of angles.
  • Table saw: A table saw is another versatile tool that can be used to make a variety of cuts, including bevel cuts. It is typically used for making straight cuts, but it can also be used to make angled cuts if the blade is tilted.
  • Circular saw: A circular saw is a less versatile tool than a miter saw or table saw, but it can still be used to make bevel cuts. It is typically used for making rough cuts, but it can be used to make precise cuts if the blade is guided by a fence.
  • Jigsaw: A jigsaw is a hand-held power saw that can be used to make curved cuts. It can also be used to make bevel cuts, but it is not as precise as a miter saw or table saw.
DEWALT Miter Saw, 12-Inch, Double Bevel, Compound, XPS Cutline, 15-Amp…
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  • Tall sliding fences of the mitre saw support crown molding up to 6-5/8-inch nested and base molding…
  • Double-bevel design of DEWALT miter saw allows saw to bevel 0 degree – 48 degree to the left and…

In addition to these power tools, there are also a variety of hand tools that can be used to make bevel cuts, such as a miter box and saw, a hand saw, and a plane.

The best power tool to use for making these cuts will depend on the specific project you are working on and the accuracy required. If you need to make precise cuts, then a miter saw or table saw is the best option.

If you are making rough cuts, then a circular saw or jigsaw may be sufficient. And if you are working with small pieces of wood, then a hand saw or miter box and saw may be the best option.

No matter which power tool you choose, it is important to take safety precautions when making bevel cuts. Always wear safety glasses and gloves, and make sure that the work area is clear of debris.

What Are The Various Types of Miter Saws For Making Bevel Cuts?

Miter Saw

There are three main types of miter saws for making bevel cuts:

  • Compound miter saw: This type of miter saw can tilt the blade to make bevel cuts in both directions, left and right. This allows you to make a variety of angled cuts, including compound cuts, which are cuts that are both mitered and beveled on a single piece of wood.  A single bevel miter saw can also be a good addition to your shop at a lower price point.
  • Sliding compound miter saw: This type of miter saw combines the features of a compound miter saw with the ability to slide the saw head to make wider cuts. This makes it a versatile tool for a variety of woodworking projects.
  • Dual bevel miter saw: The dual bevel miter saw is a more advanced version of the compound miter saw. It allows you to tilt the blade to make bevel cuts in both directions, left and right, and it also allows you to tilt the saw head to make angled cuts. This makes it the most versatile type of miter saw for making bevel cuts.  We like dual bevel miter saws, even though we have yet to add it to our shop; right now we can only visualize a dual bevel miter saw over there instead of the compound miter saw.

The best type of miter saw for you will depend on your needs and budget. If you only need to make occasional bevel cuts, then a basic compound miter saw may be sufficient.

However, if you need to make bevel cuts frequently or on a variety of projects, then a sliding compound miter saw or dual bevel compound miter saw is a better option.

Here are some additional factors to consider when choosing a miter saw for making bevel cuts:

  • Blade size: The blade size will determine the maximum width of the cut that the saw can make. As an aside, although all woodworkers know, sharp blades make the best cuts both generally and specifically to bevel cuts.
  • Cutting capacity: The cutting capacity will determine the maximum thickness of the material that the saw can cut.
  • Features: Some miter saws have additional features, such as laser guides or LED lights, that can make it easier to make accurate cuts.
  • Price: Miter saws can range in price from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars.

What Angles Can Bevel Cuts Be?

Bevel Cut

Bevel cuts can be made at any blade angle from 0 to 90 degrees. However, some of the most common bevel angles are:

  • 45 degree angles: This is the most common bevel angle. It is used for joining two pieces of wood at a corner, such as the corners of a picture frame.
  • 30 degree angles: This angle is used for making a decorative cut called a chamfer.
  • 60 degree angles: This angle is also used for making a decorative cut called a chamfer.
  • 15 degree angles: This angle is used for making a smooth transition between two different materials, such as wood and tile.
  • 22.5 degree angles: This angle is used for making a miter cut that is not a multiple of 45 degrees.

The specific angle that you need to use for a bevel cut will depend on the specific project you are working on. It is always a good idea to consult a woodworking plan or a professional woodworker to get the correct angle for your project, although experienced woodworkers can visualize projects and cuts on the fly, even.

In addition to these common angles, bevel cuts can also be made at any other angle that is required. For example, you might need to make a bevel cut at a 37 degree angle if you are building a piece of furniture that has a specific design.

No matter what angle you need to make a bevel cut, it is important to use a power tool that is capable of making accurate cuts. A miter saw or table saw is the best option for making bevel cuts, but you can also use a circular saw or jigsaw if necessary.

Bevel vs Miter Cut – The Differences

The main difference between a bevel cut and a miter cut is the angle of the cut. A bevel cut is made with the blade tilted, while a miter cut is made with the blade vertical. This means that a bevel cut can be used to create a variety of angles, while a miter cut is limited to angles that are multiples of 45 degrees.

Here is a table summarizing the key differences between bevel cuts and miter cuts:

FeatureBevel Miter 
Angle of cutVariesMultiples of 45 degrees
Blade orientationTiltedVertical
UsesSloped edges, joining pieces of wood at an angle, decorative cuts, smooth transitionsJoining pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle

Here are some examples of when you might use each type of cut:

  • Bevel:
    • To create a sloped edge on a piece of wood, such as the edge of a roof or a cabinet.
    • To join two pieces of wood at an angle, such as the corners of a picture frame.
    • To make a decorative cut on a piece of wood, such as a chamfer or a rabbet.
    • To create a smooth transition between two different materials, such as wood and tile.
  • Miter:
    • To join two pieces of wood at a 90-degree angle, such as the corners of a door frame.
    • To make a compound cut, which is a cut that is both mitered and beveled.
    • To cut crown molding or other molding that has a specific angle.

Video Demo

Here’s a very straightforward and short video that both explains a bevel cut and demonstrates its cutting.

Between the information we’ve offered and the video, bevels and miters should be pretty easy to distinguish between in your woodworking shop.

Last update on 2024-04-13 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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