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I need to cut down about 4cm th legs of a wooden mantel since I have now fitted an elevated hearth. It is an odd cut and I am wondering if it would best doing it with an electric saw rather than a manual saw.

If the answer is yes, what sort of electric saw?

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If I understood the question correctly, I would use an oscillating tool for something like this. They are pretty forgiving and allow precise cuts very close to the ground. The main downside I can think of is that it might be slower than using a jamb saw.

Tool

  • @_Hooplehead24 Still a wood option for stright line cuts? – Manolete Oct 10 '16 at 13:49
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    @Manolete I use one of these tools all the time. For a very straight line cut I would suggest having some sort of guide like a flat surface to ride the cutting blade on top of. The picture above shows this concept by using a piece of wood under the blade to cut at the correct height and keep it level. Also, you may have better luck using a curved blade rather than the "square" one shown. Since this tool is mainly used freehand, it might help to make a couple practice straight-line cuts to understand how to support the tool while cutting. – Programmer Oct 10 '16 at 15:09
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You'll either use a flexible, fine-toothed handsaw or what's called a "jamb saw"--a circular saw set up to cut very close to the floor. Which you choose is your prerogative.

If you use a hand saw, which may be adequate for just two cuts, lay a piece of sheet metal on the floor (and height spacer, if needed) to protect it, and use your hand, protected by heavy gloves, to keep the saw tight to the floor.

With either saw the biggest risk is damage to your woodwork through splintering. Always direct the cut into the workpiece to prevent blowout.

  • @_isherwood Thanks! Please bare in mind that I can actually move the mantel and saw it somewhere else then screw it back again to the wall. My main worry is not to make a straight line cut. – Manolete Oct 10 '16 at 13:29
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    I prefer to remain clothed in mind. :) Anyway, you need to edit your post to provide that information. Don't make us guess. – isherwood Oct 10 '16 at 13:51

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