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Miter Saw Tips

Updated on October 26, 2014

Everything you Need to Know about the Miter Saw

Despite the seemingly endless number of tools that you can buy for woodworking, you should start with a miter saw. As your interest in woodworking grows, you will find the miter saw is important in the completion of many projects. Therefore having the best one you can afford is a good idea since it will be used on a regular basis.

This highly praised guide to the miter saw will teach you the best brands and styles to buy. This will help both the do-it-yourself and professional woodworker alike. Learn how to care for and maintain your miter saw to get years of use out of it. Simple things you can do to make it last longer, and keep a trouble free machine.

The Miter Saw Defined

The miter saw, often called a chop saw is used to make crosscuts and miters in lumber and wood molding. It is operated by pulling a moving blade, in a downward motion, into lumber or molding, which is held against a fence. They can be set to cut angles and bevels, which range from 90-degrees to 45-degrees. Stops allow the miter saw to be set at common angles, such as 15-degrees, 22 ½-degrees, and 45-degrees.

Miter saw blades range from eight to twelve inches in diameter. A blade guard, which comes standard on all models, retracts when the saw is lowered and re-covers the blade when the saw is raised. Using the saw when the guard is removed or damaged is very dangerous, it is imperative that you replace or repair it right away.

Miter Saw Accessories

The miter saw stand is used to elevate the saw to a comfortable working height. To the left and right of the saw, wings are needed to support long material. Rollers can be purchased as an addition to the stand, while some stands come with extensions. Whether purchased separately or constructed by the user the miter saw stand should be portable and easy to assemble.

Some models come with a safety clamp, which is fastened to the fence; this is used to lock the material down so you can keep your fingers away from smaller pieces. Crown molding support or crown stops, positions crown molding vertically against the saw fence. This keeps the crown molding propped up at the same distance for each cut, resulting in tighter fitting joints.

Dust removal with miter saws can be accomplished in two ways. A dust bag, which comes standard with most saws, is connected to the backside of the blade housing. This collects the dust as your cutting, keeping it away from the lumber and capturing it in a small bag. If you use your miter saw regularly, this can be annoying due the bag filling so fast. The alternative is to connect a vacuums system, from the same port as the dust bag. This makes capturing and disposing of the sawdust simple.

Of late, miter saws are coming out with laser guides making it effortless to cut on the line. The laser guide projects a beam of red light on to the lumber. This line, which can be calibrated, is used as a reference point to where the blade will start cutting. This feature is very handy and will save time once you get used to it.

Length stop used to make repetitive cuts of the same length, is a time saver. Purchased or constructed by the user and added to the fence. This can be as simple as a block of wood clamped to the wing of the miter saw stand, or as fancy as an aluminum gadget with a knob for quickly changing measurements.

Compound Miter Saws

Compound miter saws have a feature that allows the angle of the blade, relative to the horizontal plane, to be changed. This is used for bevel cutting, for an example you could cut the end of a board on a 15-degree angle with a 30-degree bevel. This feature is very handy for the expert woodworker in cutting molding.

Sliding Compound Miter Saw

A sliding compound miter saw, which combines both the sliding and compound features allows the user to cut wider lumber with a smaller blade. This is great for cutting 12" wide material, commonly used in cabinetmaking, as well as closet construction.

Miter Saw Blades

A good 60- 80 tooth top-quality blade will produce tight, flawlessly cut miter joints, and cross cuts with no bottom splinters. The triple chip feature makes perfect cuts in hardwoods, softwoods, and synthetic materials such as melamine's and veneers.

Get the professional results you want from your miter saw with these top-notch blades.

Freud LU91R Thin Kerf Sliding Compound Miter Saw Blade

A must for underpowered saws, thin kerf blades remove less material,

which means you'll get reduced waste and less power drain on your saw.

With a -5 degree hook angle and application specific mi..

Freud LU91R Thin Kerf Sliding Compound Miter Saw Blade

Care & Maintenance for the Miter Saw

The miter saw is a substantial investment in any tool collection; it should last around five to ten years. With proper care and maintenance you can rest assured that you will have, your miter saw tomorrow and many days to come. Try to keep your saw from working harder than it has to.

Keep dust out of the motor simply by blowing it off everyday, try to keep a vacuum system hooked up to it to keep dust to a minimum. Keep small pieces away from the blade area by removing them after each cut. A small cutoff box should be located near your miter saw for disposal of waist.

Make sure you have adequate power going to your miter saw or it will put a strain on the motor. If you notice less power, when you pull the trigger it probably needs a thicker extension cord or a shorter one. This will kill a chop saw faster than anything else will. A dull blade is another huge cause of motor failure in miter saws. It is a lot cheaper to have your blade sharpened than it is to change the entire motor and possibly the bearing too.

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