My first miter - do I really need one?


My first project will be to install some crown. I'm also interested in smaller projects for the garden, perhaps re-do the fence and that, along with the crwon, would be the largest projects I can see myself doing (for now - maybe if I had more free time). I don't want to rent tools but I don't mind borrowing if I could find someone to borrow from.
So I thought I'd purchase a CMS. I was leaning towards a 10" for around $300 (CDN). Then, I ran into a promotion with Dewalt where you purchase either the DW716 or DW718 and get the Dewalt Miter Stand free. The DW716 is a 12" double compound and goes for $500 (CDN) (the DW718 is the same with a slide).
I'm pretty certain that no matter what miter I get, I'll need a table. I'll need it to be portable since I'll be working in the backyard but storing everying in the garage (I live in a townhome and space is at a premium). I'd love to make my own table but no room. So any of the factory made tables are attractive as most of them fold up.
My dilema...well, more my wife's than mine, is do I really need to spend that kind of money for a handful of forseeable projects. Okay, maybe I know the answer but should I bother with this or just forget it and pay for someone to install crown (though I'd love to try it myself).
Thanks...
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The 12" non-sliding compound miter saw from DeWalt is what I bought six or seven years ago, and it was worth what I spent on it and then some. The slide takes more room to use and to store, and eats a bigger portion of your project budget, at the start at least. And I bought a finer (higher tooth count) blade to use for crown and molding work. Spent maybe US$250 total. It's more today, I'm pretty sure.
A couple of summers ago, Home Depot had their Miter Saw Utility Vehicle on sale at $99, which is a steal. I bolted my saw to it, and use/store the setup that way all the time. Slides easily into the back of the truck, when I need to drag it somewhere else, too.
The thing is, this all might be not particularly cost effective, for a couple of projects. But it's fun, and a lot of the things that get done when I have the tools would not get done, if I had to find a craftsperson to hire. I have to watch out for folks asking me to do their projects - not something I'm looking for day to day.
Patriarch, working on the master bedroom closet system again today...
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You can pay for the saw for the labor cost of installing the crown. I use a folding table (Black & Decker, about $30US) for my saw.
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Crown mouldings and small projects? Cripes just get a decent manual_non_electric miter box like this: http://www.adjustableclamp.com/mb-64020.htm FAR cheaper, and easy to use. For the mouldings you'll need side supports for the lengths just as much as you would with an electric saw.
--
Alex - "newbie_neander" woodworker
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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On the other hand, for long crown mouldings, you'd buy it, but just have them cross cut it for you. You'd work out where the cuts are and what angles yourself. AAvK
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Never worked out that way for me. Too many 'adjustments' to make in the field.
Buy 20% extra crown. It's cheaper than going back for more, when you goof something up. And that is likely to happen to a newbie. It happens to an experienced finish guy once in a while, too. Or so I've heard.
It's easier to hire it done, but then, it's easier to buy tables at IKEA, too.
Patriarch
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I have that saw and, yes, it does a great job. I have done a considerable amount of molding with it. I recently purchased a Dewalt CMS however as, with a powered saw, a small nibble (less tan a blade width) cut can be made where as with the hand saw, minor trimming has to be done with plane and shooting board.

manual_non_electric
cheaper,
lengths just as

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Thanks guys. I've used a miter box before but it was borrowed and in pretty bad shape (the teeth were dull and the box plastic and pretty cut up). The miter boxes in the link above look much better but I think I'm still leaning towards a powered CMS. Actually, I'm now looking at the Bosch 3915 sliding 10" CMS which is $100 less than the Dewalt (non-slide 12") I was considering.
Anyway, thanks again for your input...very much appreciated.
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My first project will be to install some crown. I'm also interested in
smaller projects for the garden, perhaps re-do the fence and that, along with the crwon, would be the largest projects I can see myself doing (for now - maybe if I had more free time). I don't want to rent tools but I don't mind borrowing if I could find someone to borrow from.
<< Snip >>
My dilema...well, more my wife's than mine, is do I really need to spend that kind of money for a handful of forseeable projects. Okay, maybe I know the answer but should I bother with this or just forget it
and pay for someone to install crown (though I'd love to try it myself).
______________________________________________________
In a word, no- you don't need it. But that doesn't mean you can't get one.
Now here's the real barrier- you've chosen about the toughest, most finicky trimming job there is to try for your first project. There are any number of how-to articles availible online, so it's not worth going into here, just make sure you check them out. I'm not trying to discourage you- you may find that you have a previously undiscovered natural aptitude for woodworking, or feel a great sense of accomplishment after doing a few things, and that's all for the good.
What I'm trying to say here is that you may get discouraged starting with this. A lot of people decide to install crown and find it's a bit more than they bargined for. It might be a good idea to start with a cheap miter saw and a coping saw and file from the hardware store to see whether or not you intend to continue doing these kinds of projects first. I learned to do trim carpentry with a plastic miter box and a hand saw, then *graduated* to a $99 Black and Decker saw for two or three years, and it worked just as well as the Delta Industrial saw I have now (though it was louder, and the fence needed a little tweaking) The nice, expensive saws are great- but why drop $300+ on something that may sit around collecting dust? Get one for $80-100, and put a good blade on it (the red Freud Diablos are nice). If the bug bites you, you can always get a better one later, and use the old cheapo for whacking the ends off two-by-fours. That old POS I started with is still working just fine.
As to your other question- Wolfcraft sells a folding miter saw stand for about $60 that works pretty well. It's not the Caddilac of stands, but I like it- and it takes up very little space.
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Indeed...I'm pretty sure I'm underestimating the difficulty of crown work...but I've read quite a few articles on the subject...some good, some great, and some...just a waste of time. I plan to do a few small projects, planter boxes and such for the garden where I can afford to make a few mistakes...also just to get comfortable with the saw. Also, I plan to get some cheaper moulding for smaller rooms (bathrooms) to practise on first before I dive in and do the rest of the house with pricier trim. But yes...you're correct...I'm apprehensive because I might suck at this. Maybe I can get a really thin stainless steel blade and use it as a deli slicer. :)
The one nice thing about all this is that I can get all my equipment from Rona (Home Depot equiv. here in Canada) at the employee discounted rate from a buddy of mine.
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