How to Cut a 52 Degree Angle on a Table Saw

Your table saw can rip or cross-cut lumber at a wide variety of angles by simply tilting the blade or changing the angle of the miter gauge. Occasionally, an angle will need to be cut that exceeds the tilt range of the saw's blade. In these cases, doing a little math enables you to figure out what a complementary angle is to the one you want to cut. This angle, along with careful planning about the orientation of your board, allows you to achieve the target angle on your work piece.

Rip Cutting

Careful planning enables you to cut nearly any angle on your table saw.
  1. Tilt the blade on the saw to 38-degrees. If the gauge on your saw does not have enough detail to set this angle accurately, use a protractor to set the tilt.
  2. Lock the blade in the position and set the proper height for the lumber to be cut. The blade should not be greater than 1/8-inch above the thickness of the wood.
  3. Rip the lumber with the waste edge against the fence. The piece nearest the fence will have a 38-degree angle but the piece of lumber that passes to the left will have the complementary 52-degree angle.

Cross Cutting

  1. Set the miter gauge in its slot and set the angle to 90 degrees. Test the board to ensure that it is narrow enough to be safely cut on the table saw without pushing the gauge off of the table.
  2. Set the angle on the miter gauge to 52 degrees.
  3. Hold the board securely against the miter gauge fence and make the cut.


  • Complementary angles are a helpful concept for use where a cut needs to be made that seems to be beyond the angle allowed by your tools. If an angle exceeds the range of the tool, subtract that angle from 90 degrees to get the complementary measurement. Remember that the complementary angle (i.e. the one that is smaller than the permissible angle) will be on the fence side of the cut. Plan your cuts carefully to avoid wasting lumber.

About the Author

Warren Rachele has been writing since 1991. He has written two books, as well as articles on topics including programming and spirituality for "Your Church" and "PRISM" magazines. Rachele holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science from Regis University and a Master of Divinity in theology from Denver Seminary.

Photo Credits

  • man sawing a piece of wood image by Joann Cooper from Fotolia.com