Sliding Compound Miter Saw
Sliding compound miter saws are ideal for cross cutting wide plank hardwoods, or those in excess of four inches in width. Instead of the standard miter that has limited blade width cut, most sliding miters can cut planks up to 11 inches in width. Another benefit to this tool is cutting 45 degree angles or if the installation is laid on a diagonal.
Other Uses: Crown Molding, Stair Treads
Other uses around the home for this beauty include crown molding if you're so inclined to tackle that tricky project. In addition, sliding compound miter saws are ideal for cutting solid stair treads and risers where accuracy is paramount.
When looking at these tools it may be wise to think about overall size and weight. Some can be quite bulky carrying from one area to another. Compound miters come in several sizes and are measured or often described by the blade diameter. For example, the Hitachi shown takes an 8 1/2" saw blade. This is ideal for our purpose, but you may want to consider using something larger for other projects down the road if you have to cut larger material as the blade has limited clearance.
Most sliding compound miter saws offer a locking mechanism if you're cutting longer boards. By way of explanation, once you've found the cut you want to make, simply screw the lock into place that will prevent board shifting and making an improper cut. Another solution to improving long board cuts is using a stand accessory that will help keep the board in place. In effect it becomes a helper on the job when you're alone.
As mentioned previously, a compound miter saw is very effective for diagonal installations on boards greater than four inches in width. It is also useful when running into walls that happen to run off at a 45 degree angle to the installation. Otherwise if a standard miter saw is used two cuts would have to be made by flipping the board on its backside after the initial cut is made. In effect, the standard miter does not complete the cut.
Compound miters can offer another option by creating bevels on the ends of floor boards. This is especially useful when installing treads, or plank and strip flooring on stairs.