How can I cut railed horizontal fence boards for a 50-degree angle?

I am installing a horizontal WPC wood composite fence that uses aluminum posts with embedded rails. The tongued boards measure 0.6" x 6" x 72". I need to make one 50-degree turn in the fence. The fence manufacturer sent me this diagram:

What's the easiest way to cut these angles on the end of 13 boards? I have a 12" compound miter saw and I could probably get access to a table saw, but is there some kind of jig that I could use or make or anything else that might be the easiest way to cut these boards?

• chop saw the big cut, use an oscillating saw to do the notch. use a template for repeatability. Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 22:22
• You aren't going to get 50 degrees in one turn. The diagram shows about a 20 degree turn. There would be nothing left of the board after notching that much. Can you do it in two? Otherwise, plan on using the notch at 90 degrees and angling back 40. You could also rotate the post and do 25 from each side. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 13:22
• I'd also consider going off-script and putting a mitered extension on the rail itself, possibly backed by the likes of piano hinge, so that the end of the rail still engages the post at 90 degrees. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 14:46

screw a fillet piece to the end of the boards

the result will be much stronger than trying to cut the board to fit in the post, and will look better.

• This is essentially what I proposed in a comment on the question. It's the best solution for such a sharp angle, I think. The thing is, at a 50 degree angle it'll probably need to be a proper miter, with 25 degree cuts on each piece. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 14:45
• If going this way, I would drill the hole in the fillet block in line with the fence rail so the screw ends up going down the center of the rail instead of going through it at an angle. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 15:37

The main cut can be mitered with the compound miter saw, possibly on either of its axes (hold board vertical and cut straight down, or lay board on its face horizontally and cut on the compound axis). Could also be easily done with a table saw.

Then you're left needing to create the notch. A router seems like a good way to go. Here are some options:

1. A rabbet bit could be used if the router is pushed across the face of the board. You'd need some tapered jig or shim to hold the router base up at an angle relative to the face of the board. If the base of the router is wide, or the angle between router and board is large, or the bit doesn't protrude far enough below the router base, this arrangement may fail.
2. A dado bit could be used if the router is pushed across the end of the board. It'll be hard to balance the router on that narrow end face though; some kind of jig to give it better support would help. Also a dado bit has no guide bearing; you'll have to be really good free-hand or add a guide fence to your jig.
3. (maybe 2.5) Use a dado bit as in 2, but use a router table. Fix a guide fence to the router table; make a wedge to support the workpiece at the correct angle; push the workpiece across the dado bit.

That last one could be accomplished similarly with a table saw with or without a dado blade, but to me that arrangement seems a little sketchy. I'd feel safer doing it with a router.

• Thanks. The depth of the C-Channel is 1". Do they make rabbet bits that can cut 1" deep? Commented Aug 2, 2021 at 23:24
• The last one seems sketchy because you would tilt the arbor of the saw and slide the face of the board across the table. Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 0:03
• A router is a good idea - BUT - don't try to take this all in one cut with a router!!! Commented Aug 3, 2021 at 2:06
• If you rabbet that deep you won't have any board left. The issue here isn't the cut. It's the overall strategy. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 13:23

The end cut is easy on the compound miter saw.

For the notch, my first thought was a router on an angled sled as Greg Hill suggested. However, thinking about it some more, I'd suggest a dado blade in the (borrowed) table saw.

Use a crosscut sled to hold the fence rail (loads of examples on YouTube about building and using crosscut sleds, from simple to extremely fancy) then run it past the dado head tilted 5°. Most table saws can only tilt to 45°, so you'll need to cut the reciprocal angle by running the rail on the other side of the blade. Your table saw owning friend should be able to help you with the proper setup here.

A crosscut sled will hold the rail at a 90° angle to the blade with no issue. You may will need to add a hold down clamp or two, something like this:

Image courtesy of Harbor Freight. Generally satisfied customer, no other affiliation.

One or two of those will clamp and release very quickly, yet hold a long fence rail very securely for the cut. (Note, this item is all of \$5 at HF, so it's not a huge investment. They're available at other retailers, too.)

This has two distinct advantages over the router table sled.

• Even if you have to build a crosscut sled (and your friend may already have one), your jig build time should be much less than building a sled for the router. Especially since you need to make an angled sled (which will involve, most likely, ripping lumber at a 5° angle and borrowing the table saw anyway).

• Once you've got the saw set up (blade angle, cut depth, distance from the fence), you'll be able to make all the cuts in no time.

With the router sled, you can set up a fence of sorts to position it at the right distance from the end of the rail, but it would take more time (as I'm envisioning it) to set up the sled, position it, clamp it down and put the router into it.

• The table saw will easily make the cut in one pass. The router (as noted in the comments on Greg's answer) will most likely need to make a couple of passes. It's often difficult and potentially unsafe to make cuts that big with a router. Having to either make passes at half-depth on all boards, reset the router to full-depth and do them again, or make two passes on each board, resetting the router depth will be more time consuming.

• Let's glance at the forest beyond the trees for a moment. If such a notch is made in this board for this system, there will be almost no rail left. It's a bad plan to begin with. No clever cutting technique changes that. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 13:30
• Fair point, @isherwood, however, the OP did contact the mfgr, and they provided drawings A) & B) in his post. One would think that they'd have warned against doing this if it would cause their product to fail. A happy customer is one who gets to install his fence his way. An unhappy customer is one who the mfgr tells "yup, you'll be good!" but ends up having failures when following mfgr instructions... Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 13:52
• That drawing shows roughly a 20 degree angle. A 50 degree angle is profoundly different. Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 14:42
• Not going to disagree with you @isherwood. Just working with what the OP indicated that the manufacturer recommended to him and thinking that they wouldn't recommend something that would compromise the integrity of their product. I could, of course, be very wrong... Commented Sep 2, 2021 at 15:36