How to Use a Miter Saw

How to use a miter saw is often a question that home builders and woodworkers ask. While it is true that the primary operation of a miter saw is to rip pieces of wood into specific lengths, the design of this saw is versatile enough to do other things as well. If you are a woodworker, you should know how to use a miter saw. There are many different variations of the saw and many of them employ various methods of sawing. Here are some basics on how to use a miter saw.

Miter Saw Basics: A miter saw is a straight shaft saw with multiple cutting angles. Most models have two cutting edges on opposite sides of the main blade. When working with a miter saw, you want to make angled cuts that mirror the length of the stock. This allows you to make very detailed, crisp cuts. Some miter saws have a locking plate to hold the blade stationary while in use.

Different Miter Saw Shapes: There are several basic shapes of miter saws. One is the straight shaft, which has a standard width that is most commonly used. There are also v-shafts, which are taller and have more width. And then there are angled cuts, which are the most common. Knowing how to use a miter saw in each shape is important for projects.

Basic Miter Gauge: You can use a miter gauge to measure angles when sawing. The miter gauge measures angles between the ends of a straight shaft and the edges of a v-shaft. Shafts with angles less than forty degrees will exhibit the typical sawing action. Shafts that are more than forty degrees will produce a vibration and result in poor cuts. Using a miter gauge to determine angles allows you to make clean, precise cuts.

Types of Miter saws: There are four basic types of miter saw blades. Most blades are round, but some are square and some are diamond. Square and diamond bevel cut angles are nearly perfect, but the angle of the cutting edge varies depending on the type of material being cut. Square bevel cut angles are the best for woodworking projects where tight shapes are desired. The diamond bevel cut angle produces more accurate cuts; however, it can be harder to control because the angle is not always precise.

How to Use a Miter Saw With a Trigger: A trigger is a movable piece on the saw’s handle that automatically loads the saw blade when the user presses down on the trigger. The blade loads up on its own and strikes the wood. The trigger also may be used with a brake, which allows the blade to stop cutting if you accidentally hit the trigger. Using a trigger makes it easier to perform multiple wood cuts without having to hold down the trigger. Trigger safety mechanisms must be used in miter saws that are powered by an electric motor; in other cases, a finger guard or paw pad will suffice.

How to Use a Miter Saw With a Compound Miter Saw blade: A compound miter saw is more versatile than a simple miter saw. It is more efficient than a basic miter saw and allows you to perform large circular cuts and cross cuts. However, a compound miter saw requires more effort on the user’s part because it requires you to manually load the blade and bring the law closer to the cut. Loading the blade is achieved with a click action as opposed to a feather touch, and it requires you to have good balance as well as good coordination. Crosscutting, which is the most common feature of a compound miter saw, requires the user to stand just inches away from the piece that they are cutting so that they can make a clean accurate cut.

How to Use a Miter Saw With an Angled Blade: The angle of a compound or true miter saw blade can be difficult for many people to master. A miter cut is typically performed at an angle of ninety degrees, but many people have difficulty making cuts that are no more than ninety degrees in degree. A miter saw with an angled blade lets you cut at angles that are closer to ninety degrees. When you use a miter saw with an angled blade, it is called a bevel cut. A bevel cut is generally easier to perform than a circular cut, but it takes more effort.