Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

 

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One of my most popular posts is my 2×4 barstools. The plans call for both bevel and miter cuts.
The two pictures below demonstrate a bevel cut vs a miter cut on a 2×4.

Build a barstool using only 2x4s. Tutorial at sawdustsisters.com

Miter

I will get right to it and show you how to set the angles on a miter saw, then follow up with some examples of each angle. Deal? I hope you get a better understanding after this!

Bevel vs miter: Setting the angles

compound miter saw is your best tool to cut both bevels and miters. This is a version of the one I have. Mine is a sliding miter saw. Both are great, but the one below is less expensive. My husband got a deal on mine on a holiday sale. I really love it but sometimes I wish I had a smaller one, since most of my projects are from scrap wood and my big miter saw is kind of massive :).

The miter angle is set at the bottom of the saw. See that little black thingie sticking out at the bottom? Move it right and left and set your angle.

Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

The bevel angle is set  behind the handle. This makes the top part of your saw mobile. Once your angle is set, lock it in place and you’re ready to cut your bevel.

Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

Bevel vs miter: The Cuts

I will use some 2×4 drawings to illustrate the difference in the cuts.

45 degree miter
45 degree bevel

Bevel vs miter: Parallel vs Non Parallel

Sometimes plans will refer to parallel cuts vs non parallel. Don’t fret! Whether bevel or miter, this just refers to the direction of the cuts.

45 degree miter, NOT-parallel
Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 
45 degree miter, parallel

Bevel vs miter: Some Examples

If you are here, chances are you are new to woodworking.  Perhaps you just bought your first compound miter saw (congratulations!) and you found a fun piece of furniture you want to build. However, you may be trying to read a set of building plans and  -while scratching your head-  are struggling with the angles.

Once of the most challenging things I faced when I started building was figuring out the difference between bevels vs miter angled cuts. At first, I actually thought they were the same, but I quickly learned there was a difference.

My first project using both types of angled cuts was my farmhouse entryway bench. The plans for this bench had both beveled AND mitered cuts, which made it clear there was a difference. It took some trial and error to get the angles right (thank heaven for scraps!), and when I finally got the hang of it, I realized I needed to write a tutorial and teach others who may be as confused as I was.

DIY Entry Way Bench and Faux ShipLap wall

If you look at the photo of the bench, the four vertical pieces that make the legs  have a beveled cut on each end, making the legs slant ever so slightly, instead just sitting straight up and down. A slight beveled angle makes a piece so much sturdier. The diagonal pieces in the center have mitered angles on each end. Can you see the difference?

I used the same concept to design my 2×4 barstools.

Free Plans- 2x4 Barstools

Notice how the legs slant out just slightly? It’s because of the 10 degree bevel on each end of the legs. The pieces between the legs are mitered at 45 degrees.

Bevel vs miter: Crown Molding?.

If you are installing crown molding, you get to combine bevels and miter cuts (lucky you!). That is what makes this a really complicated project. I installed crown molding in my little tiny powder bathroom.

Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

I used this awesome tutorial from Sawdust Girl and I got it done!

What do you think? Are you ready to tackle your project? Any other tips I missed? Share them in the comments!

And be sure to pin for others who need help cutting angles! 🙂

Whether you are looking to build a simple picture frame or cutting crown molding, understanding the differences between bevel vs miter cuts will take your woodworking to the next level. This tutorial is written for beginner woodworkers looking to understand the difference between these two common cuts, making it possible to read woodworking plans and create beautiful projects. 

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Janice| Sawdust Sisters

Novice woodworker and serial Popcorn eater, Janice Thomas writes detailed tutorials that motivate others to "dare to try". Originally from Puerto Rico, Janice is fluent in Spanish and dreams of owning a beach house on the island someday! Janice currently lives in Utah with her husband and children, where she works as a university professor.

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. Albert

    I don’t understand the difference between a 45 degree miter parallel vs non parallel cut. The pictures also don’t even look like a miter cut above where it’s labeled as parallel and non parallel. Can you help?

    1. Michel Gill

      Thank you for the question. It also clears my doubt about the 45-degree cut.

  2. Kobe Johnson

    How do you measure for a bevel cut? I know you have to take into account the inches that the saw takes off. I can’t get my measurements right. I hope I’m explaining this correctly.

    1. Usually the plans will indicate if the cut is from “long point to long point” of both ends if the board are beveled. This means you measure from the longer point of the bevel. If I’m just eye balling then it’s basically done trial and error. I cut a longer board than I need and chip at the angle a little at a time until it fits.

  3. bianca

    Hi I am trying to decide on what kobalt saw to buy. one is a Bevel and the other is just basic. 100 dollars in price difference. Im just wondering if it preference or need.

    1. Hi Bianca! I’ve never owned a Kobalt so I can’t vouch for it. However, I like that mine has the miter option. Probably worth the extra $100. I have the Dewalt 12 sliding compound miter saw. Good luck!

  4. Rick

    Why can’t you just flip the 2×4 from 4″ side down to 2″ side down to make bevels and miters?

    1. Hi Rick! Some people do that if their miter saw doesn’t have a bevel feature. It can be done the way you say but in my opinion having the 4” side down feels safer and easier to hold in place.

  5. Leslie

    The directions tell me, “Double bevel the ends at 10 degrees off square, long point to short point measurements, ends are parallel cuts”
    I have both ends cut at 10 degrees and are parallel, but I don’t understand the “double bevel” part, or I understand just can’t wrap my head around or visualize how to cut this part!?!? (Legs on a kids stool) I’m hoping there is a easy way to explain this to me, my legs are getting shorter, lol!

    1. Hi Leslie, I’ll tell you what I -think- that means since it’s hard to know without seeing the plans. “Double bevel” to me means you’ll have a bevel on each end of the leg. This is exactly how I cut the legs on my 2×4 barstools. If you to that post it explains the process in more detail.

  6. Leslie

    Not sure if it makes a difference but I’m using 2×2. I did go read on ur stools, but I think I’m still confused because u used 2×4! I just can’t seem to grasp the concept of the angles, I think I’m over thinking it! Lol
    I guess it’s a good thing this is a practice stool!

    1. Leslie, You’ve inspired to make a video to go with this post. Stay tuned 🙂 Have fun practicing!

  7. Leslie

    I finally figured it out! But a video would be great! I found a video that helped me, but everyone uses different terms for things, so it can get confusing! I was determined to get it right even if I had nubs! (Lol, I have a milking stool with no cow to milk!!) I look forward to ur video!!!

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