How to Cut a Wide Board With a Miter Saw

Updated: Jan. 18, 2024

Watch and learn how to cut a wide board with a miter saw.

A miter saw is an essential tool for any woodworker, letting you make precise, repeated cuts at various angles and lengths. Traditional miter saws have one limitation: They can only cut boards up to a certain width and height, a measurement is known as a “cross-cut capacity.”

This miter saw from DeWalt has a cross-cut capacity of 2-in. x 6-inches. That means that if a board is wider than six inches, you can’t cut it all the way through because the blade won’t reach.

Many modern miter saws feature extendable arms that can reach as far as most boards, making cross-cut capacity a non-issue. But if you’re using an old miter saw with a limited cross-cut capacity, don’t worry. A simple trick can allow you to saw through boards that are technically too wide for your miter saw. Here’s how.

How to Cut a Board That’s Too Wide

Step One: Grab Another Board

Let’s say the board you want to cut is 6-1/2-in. wide. First, grab another piece of scrap lumber from your pile. This board should be wider and longer than the board you want to cut so that it provides a sturdy base.

Step Two: Lay Down The Board

Take your scrap board and lay it on the miter saw as if you were going to cut it. Then, slide the scrap all the way to one side of the saw blade so that it’s out of the blade’s path. Make sure to put the scrap on the side of the saw you want to cut from.

Step Three: Make the Cut

Lay the board you want to cut on top of the piece of scrap, then make the cut as you normally would. The scrap will lift the board you are cutting enough to give the saw blade extra clearance, permitting a wider cut than the cross-cut capacity normally allow.