Cutting Aluminum With a Miter Saw: All You Need to Know

miter saw and aluminum metal

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Handling aluminum may be tricky because it is not the most robust material. However, you cannot just use any tool to cut it since you may damage it and waste material. Many tools are available to cut aluminum, but today we’ll find out if cutting aluminum with a miter saw is worth it.

Will a Miter Saw Cut Aluminum?

A miter saw is one of the best tools for cutting aluminum. Its design allows it to clamp the aluminum and perform precise cuts with the rotating blade held by the handle. Thus, a miter saw will enable you to cut aluminum accurately while remaining safe and user-friendly.

However, specific considerations must be made, such as the metal volume and the project requirements. You must also be cautious about the type of blades you use.

Type of Miter Saw to Use to Cut Aluminum

According to our woodworkers and tool experts, you can use any type of miter saw for cutting aluminum, but for best results, use a 12-inch sliding compound miter saw. 

miter saw and aluminum metal

A 12-inch sliding compound miter saw is the ideal solution for many woodworkers, contractors, and homeowners who need to cut aluminum at different angles.

Which Blades Can You Use to Cut Aluminum?

Circular Blades

These blades perform best when working with tilting angles to cut aluminum into desired shapes.

Sharp Cut Blades

If you want sharp cuts to create a perfect piece, sharp-cut blades are best.

Razor Blades

Cutting aluminum with razor blades will provide high-precision cuts.

miter saw razor blade

Coarse and very coarse cut blades

These blades provide abrasive cutting to aluminum, allowing for fine finishing.

Cutting Angles for Aluminum Using a Miter Saw

Our woodworking experts recommend clamping for mitered, beveled, and compound angle cuts because it can be a little cramped for hand space with the blade tilted.

In addition, depending on your angle, the aluminum will push or pull. Clamping will result in cleaner, straighter cuts and help prevent serious injury.

If you’re working with small items or need to cut angles, don’t do it with both edges down like an inverted V because the angles will undoubtedly be crooked.

cutting aluminum with miter saw

However, if you’re working on something too large for your saw, like cutting a 3′′ angle with a 7-1/4′′ blade, and only need straight cuts, this can be an excellent way to get the reach you need to cut it in a single chop.

How to Cut Aluminum With a Miter Saw: 4 Steps

Step #1: Choose the Right Blade

Whether you are using a regular or compound miter saw, ensure that the blades of have the correct tooth count. Determine the thickness of the aluminum you are cutting as well. A 200-toothed HSS blade is ideal for cutting fragile aluminum.

Make sure you are using aluminum-cutting blades made of high-quality carbide.

Step #2: Mount the Blades

To mount a new blade, you have to open the blade guard, remove the old blade, and replace it.

Makita A-93681 10-Inch 80 Tooth Micro Polished Miter saw Blade

Step #3: Clamp the Aluminum

Clamp the metal to avoid moving too much since the blade could grab the material and damage it. So, make sure the aluminum is clamped correctly, and always wear safety glasses when cutting.

Step #4: Cut the Aluminum

Align the workpiece and blades with the intended cut or measurement marks. Keep one hand on the aluminum. The miter saw handle is lowered with the other hand until it touches and cuts the material.

To make cutting easier, apply lubricant before you begin. Continue the cuts following the project specifications.

Must-Know Tips in Cutting Aluminum

Tip #1: Always Don Safety Gear When Cutting Metal

To protect yourself from small pieces of aluminum thrown into the air during the cutting process, you should wear safety goggles and work gloves.

person wearing ear and eye protector while operating a miter saw

Tip #2: Use the Right Types and Sets of Blades

Use the proper blades with the correct number of teeth, avoid using blunt blades, and regularly replace old blades.

Tip #3: Clamp the Metals Securely

Clamp your metals securely to allow you to make a perfect cut and to avoid failure and material waste.

Tip #4: Use a Wood Backer for Extra Security

Using a backer board will improve the quality and accuracy of your work while also ensuring your safety.

Tip #5: Use Lubricant or Water When Cutting Aluminum

Lubricate the blade with low viscosity cutting oil [1] to prevent debris buildup and aluminum snagging. Lubrication reduces splintering and prevents blade and aluminum overheating.

FAQ

Can I cut aluminum extrusion with a miter saw?

You can cut aluminum extrusion with a miter saw using a blade for aluminum and non-ferrous metals like copper, lead, titanium, tin, nickel, brass, and bronze. Measure the piece, mark it, clamp, and make your cut.

What is the best 12-inch aluminum cutting blade for a miter saw?

The best 12-inch aluminum cutting blade for a miter saw is the Dewalt DW7666 80T. Blades for cutting aluminum should have a long-lasting, professional-grade carbide material that provides burr-free cuts. The blade should also have the correct teeth number, around 80 or higher.

Conclusion

Cutting aluminum with a miter saw is possible if you follow the right steps – make sure you have the right blade, clamp the material properly, use some lubricant, and begin cutting your materials to the highest precision. Wear protective equipment before starting any cutting job.

Robert Johnson is a woodworker who takes joy in sharing his passion for creating to the rest of the world. His brainchild, Sawinery, allowed him to do so as well as connect with other craftsmen and women. He has since built an enviable workshop for himself and an equally impressive online accomplishment: an extensive resource site serving old timers and novices alike.
Robert Johnson