How to Use a Sliding Bevel

Written by julie keyes
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Creating a non-standard angle when working with wood takes a little more work than with more common angles. If you need something other than the typical 45- or 90-degree settings easy to create, you require the use of a sliding bevel. These simple tools allow for any angle necessary, and they come in small to large sizes, perfect for any project. Home improvement and hardware stores carry a variety of sizes and styles in their tool areas. Although there are some that incorporate sophisticated features and niceties, a simple sliding bevel is adequate.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Sliding bevel
  • Protractor
  • Pencil

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  1. 1

    Release the tension on the thumbscrew that locks the sliding bevel by turning it counter-clockwise just enough so that the pressure releases and the bevel pieces move freely.

  2. 2

    Determine the angle desired using a protractor, or align the bevel with an existing angle on another piece of wood by laying the bevel down on the material and moving the angle to match.

  3. 3

    Turn the thumbscrew clockwise until the bevel locks tight again. Verify that you haven't changed the angle while tightening the thumbscrew.

  4. 4

    Position the sliding bevel on the wood and align the lead edge carefully with the outer edge of board. Press down with one hand on the lead edge and slowly draw a pencil line along the angled edge to replicate the perfect angle on the wood.

  5. 5

    Release the thumbscrew again and return the setting on the bevel to the original position for storage.

Tips and warnings

  • Store the bevel in a location where it stays relatively free of dust or debris that may clog the mechanism and make it harder to adjust.
  • Avoid tightening the thumbscrew more than necessary or it could damage the bevel so that it no longer locks and unlocks properly.

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