Bevel VS Miter Cut

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I often find that the distinction between a bevel and miter cut can be a source of confusion for many individuals, primarily due to their close relationship. Understanding the differences between these two types of cuts is essential, as it can significantly impact the success of your woodworking or DIY projects.

In this guide, I’ll provide you with a clear and concise explanation of bevel and miter cuts, helping you discern between the two with ease.

Types of Cuts

Miter Cut

A miter cut for DIY miter saw projects is a cut that’s made at any angle besides 90 degrees on the wood. Looking at the top surface of the wood, a miter cut is made in a shape other than a square cut. Woodworkers create miter cuts by angling the blade horizontally at the plane of the wood piece, working along the length and width – not the depth.

Bevel Cut

The bevel cut is one that is made at an angle  other than 90 degrees. It’s cut right at the thickness of the material instead of the length and width. Furthermore, the cut is made close to the face of the wood, and the angle is often measured against a square edge cut.

adjusting miter saw to make a bevel cut

In my experience, achieving a proper bevel cut involves a specific technique. It’s crucial to adjust the angle of the cut horizontally, aligning it with the plane of the work material. It’s worth noting that this differs from the process of creating a miter cut, as a bevel cut entails changing the angle of the edge board itself.

How To Tell Them Apart

Just from looking at the two different cuts, you may not be able to immediately tell the difference until you take a closer look. One way that you could tell a miter cut apart from a bevel cut is by identifying where the cut was made on your workpiece.

bevel cut

With miter cuts, you will notice that the cut angles on the face of the two wood pieces. When these pieces are joined, they create what is known as the miter joint. Meanwhile, a bevel cut is an angle that is cut right along the edge or the end point of the material.

Miter cuts are made when you press the flat on the tabletop at an angle to the blade. With bevel cuts, the blade is adjusted at an angle in regards to the top surface of the work material.

Miter Cuts: Tips For Making & Using Them

When you’re making a miter cut, you need to be sure that you use a sharp miter saw blade. If it’s not sharp, you won’t able to get a smooth cut. On the other hand, when the blade is really sharp, you want to force the wood or apply extra pressure to it in order to cut through properly.

I’ve found that mastering the art of a precise bevel cut requires a particular approach. The key lies in adjusting the angle of the cut horizontally, aligning it precisely with the plane of the work material. It’s important to understand that this technique differs from the process of creating a miter cut, as a bevel cut involves altering the angle of the edge board itself.

making a bevel cut on a miter saw

With a sharp blade from Hitachi C10FCG, you’ll be able to achieve a tight, perfect fit for door frames, wall corners, and similar pieces. Sometimes, you do have to work with the pieces you have and tweak them in order to achieve the perfect fit. In the wood projects we’ve done, we always have to make a few adjustments here and there depending on the wood. 

For installations of raw trim that will undergo a finishing phase after it’s been installed, it’s best to apply thin layers of wood glue to the end of each piece before you put the pieces together. Afterward, sand the pieces across the joints to even out the surface. This will allow for a better fit and a seamless look.

If you want to avoid noticeable gaps in the pieces you’ll fitting together, most especially when joining two boards lengthwise, cut the outside corners one degree sharper than the angle. If you still notice slight gaps in the baseboards, you can hide them by using a nail or screw driver to rub the miter’s tip. This way, the fibers will fuse together better and they will also be less likely to chip later on.

Having a stand makes your work easier, here are the topnotch miter saw stands you can consider to give you a boost of productivity for your woodworking projects. 

Application Uses of Miter and Bevel Cuts

Another area that should be discussed when comparing bevel vs. miter cut is the difference in how they’re used.

Miter cut applications are often for purposes such as making boxes, doors, windows, seals, picture frames, and the like. You can use topnotch sliding compound miter saws when making these types of cuts. On the other hand, bevel cuts are for various welding and carpentry projects.

Bevel cuts serve various practical purposes in woodworking, and I’ve personally found them valuable in my work. They’re commonly employed for enhancing safety, joining pieces securely, crafting geometric shapes, and even for applications requiring weather resistance. For instance, a frequent use of bevel cuts is in trimming the base or skirt of walls, a task often encountered by woodworkers like myself.

Also Read: Ultimate Guide for Picking Skirting Boards 

Bevel cuts are often known for giving pieces a more appealing look because of the complementary angles that are created with these type of cuts. In general, bevel cuts slightly overlap each other as if they’re a single piece. This gives a more unified appearance, and in our projects, a sturdier build too. 

beveling wood with hand plane

If you’ll be doing a lot of welding, you will mostly use the bevel cuts method. The reason for this is because they provide better support for the joints, making them stronger and able to handle heavier loads.

When it comes to achieving a flawless bevel cut, I’ve found that using hand tools can be quite challenging. The accuracy needed for creating smooth bevels is often beyond what some hand tool gauges can deliver. I’d strongly recommend turning to power tools when tackling projects that require precise bevel cuts. They tend to provide the level of precision necessary to achieve consistently high-quality results.

But if you prefer using hand tools, you can use a protractor to check your angles for accuracy. To avoid kickbacks, you will need to set the fence up so that the blade is tilted away.  More importantly, the saw also needs to be unplugged while you’re checking your angles with the protractor, just to be safe.

To understand more about miter saw, you can also check our comparison between miter saw and chop saw here


While there may be similarities between the miter cut vs. bevel cut, they are more different than many people think. Aside from the cut, they are also used for different types of projects and purposes. Beveling best suits carpentry projects, while miter cuts are the best for creating angles for frames and boxes. 

In the end, it’s easy to tell which cut you should use. With our guide above, you no longer have to be confused between bevel and miter cuts on your next project.

To know the legal implications of a miter saw injury, you can check our page about miter saw injury rights here. 

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.
Robert Johnson

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