Can I Use a Mitre Saw To Cut Metal? (Our Best Guide!)
Mitre saws are an excellent tool for woodworking, they excel in trimming and moulding and can cut various angles in a piece of wood with accuracy.
But the question is, can you use a mitre saw for cutting metal? Although mitre saws are not technically designed for cutting metal, you can cut types of metal materials as long as you have the correct metal-cutting blade on your saw.
We have put together a guide below that will cover what mitre saws are used for, the blade types you need for cutting metal and how to do it, we also list a few important safety tips to consider while cutting metal.
Let's get into it!
What Is a Mitre Saw Meant To Cut?
Before we can get into the process of cutting metal with a mitre saw we need to understand what a mitre saw is designed to cut first with a standard blade.
Mitre saws operate with extra speed than most metal cutting tools such as metal chop saws, they are used for cutting angles in wood but can additionally be used to cut other materials such as brick or non-ferrous metals too if the type of blade can be changed.
Depending on the type of mitre saw you get, they can be used for creating degrees angle cuts with a sliding mechanism too for longer pieces of wood and for creating accurate repeated cuts with the same angle.
You can create the following kind of cuts with a mitre saw -
- Cross-cuts - Crosscuts allow you to accurately cut material with motor power at a 90-degree angle.
- Bevel & compound cuts - Bevel and compound cuts are the most complex on a mitre saw, this goes through the thickness of a wooden board at the edge angle.
- Angle cuts - Angled mitre cuts are best for framing work and can be achieved with a mitre angle on the saw.
What Type Of Mitre Cutting Blade Do I Need For Metal?
Mitre saws are primarily a wood-working tool, to use them with mild steel or any kind of metal you must use the correct metal-cutting blade for the job.
For the fastest chop, you need a ferrous-metal cutting blade or a chip-grind blade with very small blade teeth, this blade should be coated for the best results.
You should make sure the coated blade has steel-tooth blades over a count of 100, this slows down the extra speed of the mitre saw blade and creates less friction when cutting metal meaning there is a smaller chance of the blade from heat overheating.
In addition to the all purpose-built metal cutting blade, you use on your mitre saw, try and use a saw which has a low RPM, this is because it allows the mitre saw blade to create much less friction, mitre saws are not designed to cut slowly through metal so will lower the blade life.
It is best to consider these three main points to find the best mitre saw for cutting metal -
- Blade - The best metal cutting blade will be a straightforward, no-nonsense blade with small teeth and a larger tooth count, this blade should typically always be coated for use with metal.
- Adjustable speed - Not many mitre saws have adjustable speed so to use it safely on metal it might be best to use an adjustable motor inside of the power tool.
- Lower voltage - For lower speed, you can always try converting the voltage to a lower rating with a voltage converter.
How Do I Cut Metal With a Mitre Saw?
Cutting metal with a mitre saw is a simple process but differs slightly depending on the type of metal blade you are using for cutting. To help you out we have listed the two main ways of cutting metal such as aluminium and steel with your mitre saw below.
Cutting Steel With a Mitre Saw
- Step one - For cutting steel you will need to make sure that your mitre saw is fitted with a ferrous circular blade.
- Step two - Wear PPE before starting to cut the steel, adjust the blade then clamp the steel material onto the mitre saw for cutting.
- Step three - Turn on the mitre saw and let the blade reach full speed before lowering it down into the steel material, cut at the angle you desire.
Cutting Aluminum With a Mitre Saw
- Step one - Wear your PPE for eye protection and fit your mitre saw with carbide-tooth blades that are non-ferrous for using on the aluminium.
- Step two - Clamp down the aluminium angle material and use the correct blade with the right tooth count for cutting.
- Step three - Let the blade reach full speed and lower it down into the aluminium material.
Safety Tips For Cutting Metal With a Mitre Saw
As mitre saws are not technically meant for use on metal, you need to make sure you are using one safely to avoid any accidents while cutting the metal, the speed aspect of mitre saws means you need to be much more careful when using these saws on metal in comparison to an angle grinder.
- Don't cut fast - Mitre saws are not designed to cut through metal fast, only wood, and using your device on a full-speed RPM with metal material would be highly unsafe, make sure to use your mitre saw on the lowest speed possible instead.
- Clean the mitre saw well beforehand - It is very important to clean your mitre saw of any wood debris or sawdust before using it on metal, inevitably, your tool we create some sparks when cutting metal and the last thing you want is for it to catch fire with leftover sawdust.
- Use a triple-chip grind blade or an aluminium oxide blade - Both of these blades are recommended to use on a mitre saw to cut metal as they give you a clean cut and minimise debris helping increase blade life.
- Wear safety gear - Sparks fly everywhere when cutting metal and do not always follow the blade guide so wearing PPE is a must when doing this type of work, welder mitts and a welder mask are suggested for this.
- Consider renting a chop saw - Chops saws are much more suited for cutting metal due to their long-lasting and potent blade design with a low speed.
What Power Tools Are Meant For Cutting Metal?
With all the power tools on the market, it can be hard to differentiate which ones are best for woodwork and which ones are suited to cutting metal.
Angle grinder tools are great for cutting metal by making rough cuts through small and medium stock, when used with the right disc blade they can cut bolts, rebar and sheet steel easily.
Chops saws are also a great metal cutting tool when used with composite metal cutting blades, the blade of choice should be coated for cutting metal and they work best when used for hard materials such as aluminium due to their high motor power.
Frequently Asked Questions About Using a Mitre Saw To Cut Metal
What should the tooth count be on a mitre saws blade for cutting metal?
A blade tooth count of around 100 is great for cutting metal, thicker metal should have fewer teeth while for thinner metal cutting sheets it should have more. Your metal cutting blades should have a higher tooth count than your wooden cutting blades.
Can I cut steel pipes with a mitre saw?
Yes, you can cut steel pipes with a mitre saw if you have the right carbide tip blade for metal cutting.
How much does mitre saw cost?
This all comes down to the size of your mitre saw and its power, in general, it will cost anything between £200-£300.
What is the difference between ferrous and non-ferrous metal?
Ferrous metal contains iron while non-ferrous metal does not, ferrous metals will often be harder to cut because of this so might require more power and a stronger blade.
Can I use a diamond blade for cutting metal?
Diamond blades are great for cutting through metal as they are highly durable and grind through metal with ease, these abrasive discs however are not recommended for use on a mitre saw when cutting metal as they generate a lot of sparks during the cutting process.
What is the difference between a mitre saw and a chop saw?
Chops saws are larger than mitre saws and are mainly use for making 90-degree straight cuts, mitre saws on the other hand can rotate and produce a variety of accurate angled cuts making them more versatile and great for woodworking pieces.
Is there differences between woodcutting blades and metal cutting blades?
For metal cutting blades, each tooth on the blade design is smaller than wood cutting blades, metal blades have more cutting teeth too and tend to use a thinner blade than for wood cutting.
Typically metal cutting blades will be designed to have more durability than your standard wood cutting blade has due to the heat generated from the friction when cutting hard metals.
To conclude, it is possible to use a mitre saw to cut metal but it is not entirely recommended. If you do decide to use a mitre saw to cut metal then you must make sure you use a highly durable carbide-tooth blade or a similar coated blade with has a small and high tooth count to slow the blades speed down when cutting metal.
Always try and use your mitre saw at the lowest speed possible when cutting metal to try and reduce the friction created.