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Old 07-10-2008, 08:46 AM
72 posts, read 332,082 times
Reputation: 31


I am buying a house and would like to start a few DIY projects. The first one is installing beadboard paneling w/baseboard and chair rail in a bedroom. I would also add some crown moulding and trim to other rooms, and lastly make some simple bookshelves. We only want to buy one tool at this time, and I am not sure which to buy.

The paneling we are buying comes in 4' x 8' sheets and I want to cut them in half to 4' x 4'. The molding is going to require a miter capability. Do I have Home Depot cut the panels for us and buy a miter saw for the moulding, or buy a table saw with mitering capability? My guess is that I will be doing moulding and trim projects next so I am tempted to buy just a miter saw for now. And being a novice, the table saw seems more dangerous and intimidating. But I will eventually need to be able to cut planks for bookshelves so the table saw will be handy for that. I am not sure what to do and welcome advice.

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Old 07-10-2008, 08:49 AM
Location: U.S.
3,970 posts, read 6,525,729 times
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personally I would buy the miter first. a local place should be able to cut the larger sheets for you - or you could rent a table saw for a few days (or buy a cheaper circular saw). JMHO though!
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:08 AM
9,124 posts, read 36,262,305 times
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You need a miter saw first- a table saw will be useless for mitering long pieces for chair rail, crown, etc. A table saw wouldn't be a good choice for the beadboard either, as it's tough to feed large sheets through the saw unless you buy a large cabinet-grade saw ($2,000 or so). I'd buy the miter saw, a 6 1/2" circular saw, and a clamping straightedge for making clean, straight cuts in the panels.
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Old 07-10-2008, 09:11 AM
Location: Visitation between Wal-Mart & Home Depot
8,307 posts, read 38,657,867 times
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3rd on the Mitre Saw. A table saw that can cut angles just isn't quite going to do the trick for the baseboards and crown.
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:07 PM
72 posts, read 332,082 times
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Thanks everyone! The miter saw was my preference and your input made the decision final!
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Old 07-10-2008, 02:29 PM
Location: West Michigan
654 posts, read 3,446,621 times
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Excellent, I was going to ask a question about this too, because I have future projects that would eventually benefit having a miter saw. I take it that you can do quite alot with such a saw right? And what would the best type of saw to look into? I've heard of the types that is single-bevel and double-bevel.
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Old 07-10-2008, 03:25 PM
600 posts, read 3,439,665 times
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A single bevel simply tilts the saw right or left to the degree angle that you want to cut. A compund miter does that, plus changes the front to back tilt of the cut by swinging on an axis pin.

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Old 07-10-2008, 06:15 PM
Location: West Michigan
12,082 posts, read 38,699,467 times
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An adage I learned from my Father when buying tools. (he makes his living making fine heirloom style/grade furniture) Without putting yourself in trouble financially every tool should be "buy right, buy quality, buy once." Go the cheapest route on a miter saw and you will fight your end product something terrible. I didn't follow the advice a couple of times (young and knew better you know ) and ended up spending more in the long run because I fought with the results on some REALLY cheap tools and had to end up going back and buying what I should have the first time around.
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Old 07-10-2008, 11:08 PM
Location: Houston, Texas
10,447 posts, read 49,508,076 times
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I'd follow BobKovacs rule there. But I want to add something. If you do cut the sheet goods with a circular saw, sometimes referred to as a Skill Saw which is just a brand name, you must cut the sheet goods upsidedown from the finished side. Your saw blade pulls upwords and will tear your paneling or bead board to shreads.

Getting HD or Lowes to cut them for you is not a bad idea. They ususlly give the first 4 cuts free then 50 cents for each one after that. But remember, the clown cutting your wood is nothing more then a minimum wage clerk that was showed how to use the panel saw. He dont know about cutting the back side nor does he know how to set the saw on which side of the line. An amatur will always cut the pencil line but what he just did was cut the measured size at a sixteenth to an eigth short. You make your line and cut the opposite side of that line.

Some of those bead panels are sold already cut at 36" but the colors are limited. Buying them this way there will be no waste. If you by 4X8 sheets then you get two 36" cross cuts with a 24" piece left over to waste.

I also question a DIY trying their hand at crown molding. It is not a job for even a handy man carpenter. If it dont work out then not only will you be embarrased but you will be out all that money. And dont forget you can not put up crown with a hammer and nail. You also must have a pin nailer.

When I do a miter on my cabinetry or fine furniture it's precision. It took me 30 years to perfect this. I dont believe it's a skill one can teach very well. Just experience doing it over and over and over is the best teacher. The best advice I can give in one sentence is to think upside down when your doing crown.

Hope I provided some insight for you. You are welcome to ask me questions you may have.
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Old 07-11-2008, 06:56 AM
112 posts, read 849,006 times
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I'd get a decent 12" miter saw first and hand held jigsaw. I find those two more useful for a simple DIY person. Crown can be tricky doing it the first time around especially if you have odd corners. Most 90 degree corners are straight forward if your walls are straight but make sure you know how to use a coping saw while installing crown. It's also highly suggested to get a pneumatic nailer for 18gauge finishing nails. I wouldn't attempt crown otherwise using a hammer and nails.
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