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

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Working with aluminum can be a bit of a challenge due to its inherent delicacy, and not just any tool will suffice when it comes to cutting this versatile material. In the realm of aluminum cutting tools, there are numerous options to choose from. 

However, today, it’s good to explore the efficacy and benefits of using a miter saw for this purpose. So, let me walk you through the world of aluminum cutting, uncovering the advantages and potential drawbacks of employing this tool in your endeavor.

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 fellow 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

Circular blades excel when used at precise tilting angles for cutting aluminum. This technique reduces friction, enhances control, and optimizes efficiency. Tailoring the angle to your project’s requirements ensures cleaner, more accurate cuts and prolongs your tool’s life.

Sharp Cut Blades

For achieving impeccable precision in crafting, nothing surpasses the effectiveness of sharp-cut blades. 

These purpose-built tools ensure clean, effortless cuts, enhancing both the quality of your work and your productivity. When perfection is the goal, sharp-cut blades are the expert’s choice.

Razor Blades

For precise aluminum cutting, rely on razor blades. Their sharpness and slender design deliver unmatched accuracy, ensuring clean, smooth cuts. Whether crafting or metalworking, razor blades offer exceptional control for intricate tasks. Elevate your precision with this trusted tool.

miter saw razor blade

Coarse and very coarse cut blades

Coarse and Very Coarse Cut blades can be your key allies in the world of aluminum cutting. These blades excel in abrasive cutting, swiftly removing excess material while enabling precise, fine finishing. 

Whether you’re a pro or a beginner, these tools effortlessly blend power and finesse, ensuring your aluminum workpieces are crafted to perfection.

Cutting Angles for Aluminum Using a Miter Saw

It’s recommended clamping for mitered, beveled, and compound angle cuts because it can be a little cramped for hand space with the blade tilted. Check out this calculator for compound angle if you want to calculate your compound angle cuts more accurately.

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] or use chain oil substitutes 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

Achieving precise and efficient aluminum cuts with a miter saw is entirely achievable when one adheres to the appropriate procedures. Ensuring a successful outcome necessitates equipping oneself with the correct blade, securing the material firmly with clamps, applying a suitable lubricant, and executing each cut with meticulous precision. 

It’s imperative, too, to prioritize safety by donning the requisite protective gear prior to embarking on any cutting task. By following these guidelines, you’ll not only optimize your cutting prowess but also enhance the overall safety of your workshop endeavors.

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Robert Johnson is a passionate furniture maker & carpenter, sought after for his knowledge on the craft.
You’ve probably seen his down-to-earth wisdom in USA Today, Bobvila, Family Handyman, and The Spruce, where he has shared commentary and guidance on various woodworking topics.

Robert is the brain behind Sawinery, where he aims to share tips, tricks, and a passion for all things carpentry.

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