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Miters The Old Fashioned Way: By Bridgesaw

Updated:2008-03-29 08:58:02

by Mark McMunn

The versatile bridgesaw is capable of performing mitered edges on slabs even without a tilting head. Often this work is performed not on the saw table itself, but on a fixture set up at the front edge of the saw table. This is important because use of this "off the table"area will maximize the capability of your existing equipment. The bridgesaw is designed to cut, but it is how you place the workpiece under the saw, and the tool mounted on the spindle that will give you greater productivity.

Step one: Create a straight edge in line with the saw head. To do this take a scrap strip of material 15" to 18" wide and then about 24" longer than the piece you want to work. Clamp the piece to the saw table, and let it extend out about 4". Now saw off 1" to create a straight edge (Photo #1) that is now true to the cutting path of the blade. This piece becomes the fixture that the workpiece will rest against as the cut is made as seen in the photos.



Step two: Lay up the workpiece to the straight edge fixture. Build up a base using a wooden box, bricks or a combination of the two as shown in the photos. Now using shims, wedges, wood blocks, nails, and clamps align the edge of the workpiece with the cutting blade. Use a simple speed square as shown (Photo #2) to help you position the workpiece at 45 degrees to the saw head. Bring the blade over the top of the workpiece and place the blade over the leading edge of the piece, and lower the blade until it touches a quarter inch spacer that you will place at that location. Remove the spacer, and move the blade over to the trailing edge of the piece and repeat the process. You may have to do this a couple of times back and forth until you are sure both ends are the same distance from the blade. If the difference between the two ends relative to the blade is a 32nd or less then you are fine, and ready for the next step.



Step three: Securing the workpiece: Center your workpiece on your straight edge, and leave 12" of straight edge on either side to allow for blocking, and clamps (Photo #3). Typically you will want to place a block with a clamp on each end to prevent the blade from pushing the workpiece backward or forward while cutting. Where the workpiece touches the supporting wood bench below, nail a wooden block, or clamp it depending on your setup, to prevent the workpiece from slipping down and away from the blade during cutting. The piece should be stable and not easily moved by hand. Once you feel the piece is secure then you can cut the miter.



Step four: Cutting the miter. In this case we are cutting a 3cm thick piece of granite (Photo #4) which should be step cut to insure that the blade is not stressed by too deep a cut, and to lessen vibration on the workpiece. We have aligned the blade so that we can accomplish a 1/4" quirk miter. The size of your quirk miter can be accommodated by moving the saw head with the y axis (front to back) on the saw rails to achieve the desired miter size. Cut into the workpiece slowly, about _" depth, and cut the piece to the other end, and then return the blade slowly through the saw kerf. We suggest a minimum of three passes to cut through a 3cm thick workpiece. If cutting 2cm material two passes will do fine. After you have cut the piece gently remove it from the fixture, and repeat the process with the next piece. While this is not the fastest process available for cutting miters it is effective, and allows you to produce very good miters from a machine that you once thought only useful for cutting slabs laying flat on the saw bench.

Editor's note: This article contributed by Mark McMunn of M&M Marble Company Inc, San Antonio, TX. He can be reached phone 210-733-8877 or e-mail mamc5x@aol.com.
Source:www.stoneindustrynews.com

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