A common question I read is “Why do you make your sliding miter saw cuts in two passes instead of just one pass?” The answer is to reduce tearout. All tool cuts will tear wood fibers. How well the resulting surface stays intact has a lot to due to the surrounding wood and if it is or isn’t supported. In a rip cut (wood grain running the same direction as the blade) the fibers are being torn directly in the path of the blade. This means that the tearout created will most likely be removed when the blade creates the rest of the cut. In a crosscut situation (grain running perpendicular to the blade) the fibers will be tearing away from the blade and will not be cleaned up with the rest of the blade travel.
Most often when using a miter saw or a sliding miter saw you are making a crosscut and not a rip cut. The two different ways to produce a cleaner crosscut are to support the external faces of the cut with something like a sacrificial backer board or zero clearance insert plate or something as simple as a stiff piece of tape or to use the tool in such a way that cuts the external faces on the enter side of the cut and not on the exit side of the cut. For a demonstration please watch the video above.
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