The terms cut-off saw, or chop saw, refer to two distinct classes of power tool: the miter saw; typically used in woodworking, and the abrasive saw; typically used to cut hard materials, such as metals or ceramic.
Miter saws are used to make accurate cross cuts and miters on a work piece.
Types of a cut-off saw
The Manual Miter Saw is suspended on rollers or slides in a metal guide that works with a miter box to allow for accurate cross and miter cuts. Used occasionally in picture framing or by manual woodworking enthusiasts, but have largely been replaced by power woodworking tools.
The Power Miter Saw, or chop/drop saw, is a power tool used for quick, accurate cross cuts at a select angle. Common uses include framing operations and mold cutting. Most miter saws are light and portable, and with common blade sizes ranging between eight and twelve inches.
Technically, the abrasive is not a saw since it does not use regular shaped edges (teeth) for cutting.
The abrasive saw has a built-in vise or clamp, and the cutting wheel and motor are mounted on a pivoting arm attached to a fixed base plate.
Since their introduction, the portable metal cut-off saw has helped to make building job sites run a bit more smoothly. They are also a useful tool for lightweight steel fabrication, and in workshops that also use stationary power bandsaws or cold saws, due to their portability.
When it comes to safety, the abrasive saw has worked well as a replacement for the more expensive and hazardous acetylene torches sometimes used in many applications to include the cutting of rebar.