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Make mitre joints without a power saw

We may be taking a step back in time here, but there are still plenty of DIY enthusiasts who still use a handsaw for cutting. Here's how to cut 45-degrees mitres to make a variety of projects, including a basic frame bed for a child's bedroom.

Visit your local Builders Warehouse and you will see that there are a vast array of power tools on the market that allow even a complete novice to start out with do-it-yourself projects, whether for in and around the home, or to set up a small business. But there are still plenty of basic projects that can be done without power tools, and the frame bed [above and below] is just one of those.

This simple project uses pine planks to assemble a frame and most of the work can be done using a handsaw and a screwdriver.

Bear in mind that this article is aimed at a complete novice. If you already have experience in cutting mitre joints you may want to skip this and visit our DIY section.

Important tips to consider

Invest in the best tools you can afford, especially as concerns a saw and chisels. Quality tools will keep a sharper edge for longer.

When accurate cutting is required you will need to use a saw that has a reinforced band along the top edge. A backsaw or tenon saw has such as reinforced edge. The reinforced band prevents the saw from bending as you cut.

Measure twice - cut once is a rule of thumb that every decent woodworker uses as a general practice. Making sure that drawn lines and marks are accurate ensures a job is done well.  

Use an accurate compass when marking angles. Your mitre joints are only as good as you cut them. If you don't cut accurate 45-degree angles you won't be able to achieve perfect 90-degree corners.

Manually align the blade of the saw against drawn marks. Guess work isn't going to work. Make a slow cut along the mark that you can use as a guide for cutting through the wood.

Follow your pencil line as closely as possible. If there is any difference, use a sander to remove any excess - using the pencil lines as a guide for how much to sand away.


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