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I am adding wood paneling to the wall, as you can see above. Starting with the next panel in the coming row I will need to cut the left end to fit the angle of the ceiling. How to I determine the angle I need to set my miter saw to?

  • A digital laser level would be a high-tech solution. Another would be to hang a weight by a string from the roof. That gives you your vertical line (and an angle). You could similarly use a regular level to draw a horizontal line from that left corner. That gives you another angle. You really only need one of those angles, though. Do whichever you prefer. – Ryan Budney Sep 8 '15 at 3:24

Here is how I have done it before without anything more than what I was already using, the material, pencil, a tape measure and a miter box. Angle cut

  • 2
    +1 Love step 4 (first version.) Seems closely related to "I cut it off twice and it's still too short." – Ecnerwal Sep 8 '15 at 12:34
  • Good technical answer but I use cereal boxes and a utility knife. – DMoore Oct 29 '15 at 3:56

A sliding bevel, which is a fairly low-cost tool designed for exactly this type of job - the blade can be set to match an unknown angle and locked, then it can either be measured, or used directly in setting, or used to draw a line.

Image from zoro tools

No affiliation with or recommendation of the image source.

Or, a piece of cardboard or stiff paper (fold or cut to match the angle of the ceiling - set saw to match.)

  • +1, a carpenters bevel should be a standard toolbox item for this type of work. – Jimmy Fix-it Sep 8 '15 at 4:22
  • Excellent answer. When I was reading the question I was thinking I would post a picture exactly like this.....and then I scrolled down and saw your answer. – Michael Karas Sep 8 '15 at 4:36

In addition to the two previous answers (which can be used on the same project; some boards are easier with one method or the other), I'd like to point out another idea that is good for especially tricky spots or boosting confidence. Even when well-practised, there will be cuts you do not want to mess up or extreme cases like a brick fireplace surround.

Use paper to cut a template. Spread it out and smooth it and fold it in place. Add painter's tape to join, stiffen, or produce a cleaner straight edge.

Prototype the cut using cardboard. It's easy to cut so it's not more work, and I've used the box that the boards came in as a source!

FWIW, I have a continuous rule of floorboards on the entire upstairs with no thresholds or breaks in the pattern, even around doors into closets. A couple of rows go from one bedroom down the hall through another bedroom, the entire length of the house with a laser-straight joint.

The angle blade thing can be a lot cheaper and plainer than the one pictured. Like two bucks at the Home Depot, plastic handle with a protruding wingnut. I have two cheap ones and a nice rosewood/brass one from Lee Valley Tools' Verritas brand.

Another tip: put painter's tape on the wood board in the approximate place of the mark, then draw on that with a nice Sharpie or Black Beauty pencil. The overlap-row idea can sometimes work flipped over, and is excellent for slicing the last row down lengthwise to meet the wall (which is never straight when measured down to a quarter-inch tolerance).

  • If you hit the right yard sales you can sometimes get a nice brass and rosewood one for 50 cents, though it may need a little cleaning up. – Ecnerwal Sep 9 '15 at 12:27
  • 1
    Lucky you, to find good stuff at a yard sale. – JDługosz Sep 9 '15 at 17:21

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