How to Use a Miter Saw – For Beginners and Experts

When it comes to construction jobs or DIY home projects, saws are one of the most necessary tools. There are specific saws that are made for specific jobs. With plenty of different types to choose from, it can be hard to keep up with which saw does what.

Today you’ll be learning about all there is to know about miter saws! You’ll know what they’re used for, how to use a miter saw, tips and tricks, followed by where you can buy the miter saw of your choice.

But how do you know if a miter saw is the type of saw you need? Let’s talk a bit about what they’re used for and why you just might need to add one to your collection!

What Is A Miter Saw Used For?

Miter saws are quite limited when compared to other saws, but they make a few cuts really well. People often buy a miter saw to make these cuts specifically, so let’s talk about what type of cuts it can perform.

 

Bevel

Most miter saws perform what is called a bevel cut. This is a cut that is angled to cut through the piece. If you have a piece of wood laying flat on your saw, you’d be able to make a cut at a specific angle all the way through the piece of wood. To give you a better visual, imagine the pieces of wood as puzzle pieces that slide together perfectly after making a bevel cut.

 

Miter

There is a reason this saw is called a miter saw, and it’s because of this specific cut it can make. A miter cut is a cut that is done at any angle. Miter cuts are done in a diagonal direction as opposed to straight down through the piece. This is why miter saws are often used in projects dealing with cutting trim for homes.

 

Crosscuts

A crosscut is by far the easiest type of cut to make. A crosscut is a simple cut straight through the material that is parallel. Many people use miter saws to make pieces of 2×4 shorter, using crosscuts.

To make crosscuts, all you have to do is place your material on the saw base and bring the blade straight down. Pretty easy, huh?

 

Tips And Tricks For Using A Miter Saw

There are a few tips and tricks that can come in handy when using a miter saw. By no means do you have to do any of the tactics listed below, but they may make your job much easier.

 

Cutting Tip

To prevent you from having to do more work than you want, make sure you’re always cutting the factory end of a board first. Do this before you measure and cut the board so you can get a better fit. This will keep you from having to do excessive sanding later on.

 

Don’t Force It

Another great tip that can often be forgotten is allowing the saw to do the work. If you put too much pressure or try to force the saw to cut through whatever material you’re using, you could end up damaging the saw or the blade or getting yourself hurt.

Allowing the saw to do the work still allows you to stay in control but you’re not forcing anything to work a certain way it’s not designed to. There are plenty of miter saws that have adjustable plates and bevels with multiple speeds so you shouldn’t have to force anything.

 

Blade Teeth

It may be common knowledge for people who use power tools often, but just in case you don’t, it’s good to know all about blade teeth. The more teeth a blade has, the smoother cut you’ll get out of it.

The number of teeth also dictate what type of project you should be working on with it. For fine cuts, you should be using a blade with closer to 100 teeth, while construction projects require blades closer to 50 teeth.

 

Safety Guidelines For Using A Miter Saw

Using a miter saw is quite easy, even if you’ve never used one before. Before you read about how to use one, below are some safety guidelines that should be followed prior to and during use.

 

Safety Gear

Before you even plug your saw in, it’s best to be wearing protection for your ears and your eyes. These products are fairly inexpensive and can keep you safe. You can use ear plugs or ear muff protectors for your ears and safety glasses for your eyes.

Some people even like adding in work gloves for a little more protection. On the topic of safety gear, make sure you’re wearing appropriate clothing without strings or ties that could get caught in the blade, as well as sturdy work shoes. If you have long hair or jewelry, make sure it’s pulled back before use.

 

Blades

Another thing you should do is make sure the blade is on correctly and securely. There are few things as frightening as miter saw blade flying off the saw. To avoid this, also make sure the blade guards are properly in place and secured.

Feel free to raise and lower the saw head a few times to make sure the blade and blade guard are secured and in the proper position prior to turning on the saw.

 

Unplugging The Saw

Make sure after you’re finished using the saw, it is either unplugged or the power is locked. This not only keeps people from tripping over the chord and hurting themselves but is an absolute must if you have children around. When the saw is not in use, it should be properly stored in a safe place, unplugged.

 

Hand And Finger Placement

This one is a no-brainer but please keep your fingers and hands at least six inches away from the blade at all times. Even if it’s not turned on, blades have many teeth and are incredibly sharp.

 

How To Use A Miter Saw

When you’re ready to use a miter saw, begin by placing your material against the fencing to give it a sturdy backing. Then you’re able to start by having the blade closest to you when you begin a cut. Bring the blade down into the material to start cutting. This is when you actually push the blade away from you (without forcing it) by using the sliders.

Miter saws have adjustable features like bevels and miters that allow you to make cuts at specific angles. Whichever angle or type of cut you’re making, always start cutting with the blade closest to you and move in slowly away as you carry the cut through.

When you’re finished with the cut, release the trigger so the blade can come to a stop. Wait until the blade is completely stopped before you raise it to its resting position. Do not bring your hands near the blade until it’s at a full stop, and even then, remember the blade is still incredibly sharp.

If you have a miter saw stand, you’ll be able to use that to hold your material and it’s often much easier to cut pieces when your miter saw is on a stand. It’s also a good idea to make sure the material you’re using is well balanced before you start to cut.

Where To Buy A Miter Saw

Just like any other tools you have, miter saws are available at a variety of locations. For starters, you could support your local hardware store to see if they have the one you’re looking for in stock.

If you don’t want to go that route, you can always stop by a large chain store such as Menards, Home Depot, or Lowe’s. These type of stores are more likely to have what you’re looking for and may even be able to answer any questions you might have about the product.

Out of all the options available, Amazon is always a solid choice. You’re able to easily compare prices and read all about the product. One of the best things about shopping online is the ability to read real reviews from people that have already purchased the product and used it enough to give you an honest review. You can look at some of the miter saw brands available on Amazon.

 

Final Words

Whether you’re a beginner or you consider yourself a master craftsmen, there is plenty to learn about power tools and how to use them. You’re a bit more educated on everything there is to know about miter saws. If you’re looking to buy for professional use or just to get some projects done around your home, it’s a great tool to add to your collection.

You can read all about different projects a miter saw can be used for here to give you even more ideas. This tool might end up being a must-buy for you and you’ll be happy you decided on purchasing one! Happy shopping!

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