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Working with 4x4’s is something that almost any DIY woodworker is faced with at one point or another.
Whether or not a 10 inch miter saw can cut through a 4x4 is a popular debate that even today seems to have no clear answer.
Although there’s a lot of confusion over the topic, there is also a simple answer if you look at the question from a different perspective. Determining the cutting capacity of a 10 inch blade is not hard but it’s the way it handles the task that might interest you more.
This article features a brief guide on 10 inch blades for different types of miter saws. You will see that it’s not always the size that matters but also the design of the saw itself that determines the cutting capacity of your favorite power tools.
What Gives the Blade its Cutting Capacity?
If you’re constantly asking yourself “can a 10 inch miter saw cut 4x4” you may be asking yourself the wrong question to begin with. There’s a lot more than just the size of a blade that determines cutting capacity. You have to consider the TPI, the motor power, the type of saw, and even how many cuts you’re willing to make.
The kerf of a blade will also influence the cutting capacity. This will determine the width of the cut that the blade can make. The thinner the kerf, the smoother the cut will be. It depends on the build and the brand whether or not two blades of the same kerf may or may not be able to cut easily through 4x4’s.
10 inch vs. 12 inch
12 inch blades will be able to cut longer, wider and thicker pieces or sheets of wood. These blades, regardless of which type of miter saw they are attached to, will handle 4x4’s without issues. Even some of the cheapest 12 inch miter saw blades are likely to cut easier into 4x4 than high-end specialized 10 inch blades.
If you want to cut along the grain of a 4x4, regardless of saw, you’re better off with a 12 inch blade. Because rip cuts typically ask for more teeth on your blade, you’ll want a 12 inch instead of a 10 inch. It’s easier to find quality 12 inch blades with up to 60 or 80 teeth for use with standard and compound miter saws than it is to find 10 inch blades with a high TPI.
Can a 10 Inch Miter Saw Cut 4x4 in One Go?
When it comes to cutting 4x4’s, a 10 inch miter saw will do the job but not in one continuous cut. With a stationary miter saw you’ll have to flip the material over and resume cutting from the other side. Sure, you may be able to do this in one push if you can adjust the blade guard more or if the material is thin enough, but for the sake of this argument, it’s safe to say that 10 inches is not the ideal blade size.
If you don’t want to invest in a 12 inch miter saw that will have no problem handling 4x4’s, you could get a 10 inch sliding miter saw. Because of its ability to tilt the blade forward and backward, the sliding miter saw will give you more cutting capacity than a stationary saw.
However, even 10 inch sliding miter saws may give you a hard time when cutting a 4x4. They do have a higher cutting capacity, but they might not offer the necessary torque. Although making the cut is possible, you have to stop and ask yourself whether or not it’s worth changing blades after every project. No matter how much you sharpen them, 10 inch blades won’t last too long if you constantly push them over their comfort zone.
If we were to sum it all up neatly, the simple answer is yes, you can use a 10 inch miter saw to cut 4x4s, with caveats. This may be enough information for the weekend carpenter but for people that work on a semi-daily basis with wood there’s more to it than this. The type of saw and the type of blade are also important things to consider.
While a 10 inch blade on a miter saw can cut through a 4x4 in one or two steps, this may not be enough from a practical standpoint. If you want to get the job done faster and smoother you should definitely consider either a 12 inch miter saw of any type or a 10 inch sliding miter saw.
Sometimes getting it done right is more important than just getting it done, and if you’re an advocate of this mentality then you wouldn’t use a 10 inch miter saw to cut 4x4’s.