How To Cut a 45 Degree Angle With a Hand Saw

The most common angles to cut at are 45 degrees and 90 degrees. These angles slot together to make a perfect edge and corners. But how do you cut a piece of wood to be exactly 45 degrees? 

Most people will tell you that you need a mitre saw to do this as they are designed specifically to cut at these angles.

But not everyone wants to spend their hard-earned money on a mitre saw when they already have a perfectly good hand saw already. 

Never fear, as it is still completely possible to cut a 45-degree angle with a hand saw. While it might be a little trickier and take some practice to get the technique perfect, you can still achieve amazing results with a hand saw. 

Today we’re going to teach you how to do just that, so get ready to create your 45-degree angles within a flash!

Things you will need

The method of cutting 45 degrees with a hand saw requires you to use your eyes and better judgment.

We never said it was easy! However, this is the easiest way to cut wood and also the quickest. 

You will need: 

  • Sharpened pencil
  • Clamp
  • An angle finder or a mitre box
  • Your hand saw

What is an angle finder? 

An angle finder can be likened to a large protractor, with two measuring sticks and a gauge holding them together. The digital angle reader tells you at which angle the two measuring sticks are positioned. 

Angle finders are excellent for people who want to be able to find more than just 45 or 90 degrees.

However, when you’re trying to cut at 45 degrees you might want to leave a couple of inches excess in case you have to clean up your first attempt.

Angle finders are better suited to professionals who have plenty of experience with hand saws. You need to be able to cut in a perfectly straight line, a skill that most beginners don’t yet possess.  

What is a mitre box? 

A mitre box, either made from plastic or wood, wraps around your timber and offers you a clear guide on how to cut your angles. Some mitre boxes only offer 45 and 90-degree angles while others can be used for many more angles. 

Use the guides to ensure that your hand saw remains straight and at the correct angle throughout the entirety of the wood. These are better suited to beginners or people who simply want an easier job of cutting their wood at an angle. 

What to do: Angle finder edition

Step One

First thing’s first, you’ll need to get your wood that you want to cut a 45-degree angle into. Take the timber and clamp it onto your table.

If you don’t have a clamp, you can use your knee to keep the wood in place, although this is not as stable as using a high-quality clamp. 

Step Two

Use your angle finder to find 45 degrees and place it on top of your piece of wood. The measuring side of the angle finder should be flush against the side of the timber, and the possible side will help you to draw the angle.

Make sure that you use a sharp pencil to get a clean line. 

Step Three

Remove the angle finder and take your hand saw. You can reposition the piece of wood if you think you’d find it easier to cut the wood while it was on its side.

Take the hand saw and cut slowly and precisely down the pencil marked line. You can clean it up after you’ve achieved this initial angle. 

What to do: Mitre box edition

Step One

Place your piece of wood inside of your mitre box and position it so that the angle will be where you want it.

You can clamp both the mitre box and the piece of wood to the table to keep it firmly in place during the sawing process. 

Step Two

Place your hand saw in both of the ridges that indicate the 45-degree angle and begin sawing the wood until you reach the bottom.

This is the easiest way to achieve a 45-degree angle with a hand saw and the mitre box offers a straighter cut as well. 

Step Three

That’s it – how simple was that? 

Is there another way to do it?

You can cut 45-degree angles out of your wood with a number of other contraptions found around the home, including a protractor – whether it be a triangular-shaped one or a semi-circle.

Use the tool to find 45 degrees and create a straight line down your timber at the same angle. 

A triangular-shaped protractor would be better as it already offers a straight edge for you to use. Once you have the line, use your hand saw to cut down the line as seamlessly as possible.

Again, we would leave a little room for error if you don’t have much practice under your belt. 

You can also find 45 degrees using two pieces of symmetrical timber. Lay one on the edge of another so that the two make a perfect 90-degree angle. Use the edge of the top timber to draw a line on the bottom piece. 

Remove the top timber. You should be left with a square shape. Draw a line from the top corner to the bottom corner diagonally and use your hand saw to cut down this line. Voila! You’ve created a 45-degree angle in your wood. 

Don’t forget to read our Best Hand Saw for Cutting Trees post before you leave!


We hope that one of our methods for cutting 45-degree angles with a hand saw has been valuable for you.

As you can see, the gear that you have for your disposable will greatly affect how easy the task is. 

We recommend that you use a mitre box wherever possible to cut 45-degree angles, but an angle finder is also a good option for people with a steady hand.

Thanks for reading our article, we hope that your next task is an easy one! 

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