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Sliding Compound Miter-Saw Basics

The sliding compound miter saw does the job of a miter saw and a radial-arm saw. Here's a guide on how to use this versatile piece of equipment and cut wider stock with a smaller blade.

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sliding compound miter saw is most versatile saw

The sliding compound miter saw is the most versatile type of miter saw. Its ability to slide back and forth on rails allows the user to cut wider stock with a smaller blade -- something that's impossible with a conventional miter saw.

The sliding compound miter saw has a head assembly that rotates and tilts for compound cutting. The head is mounted on a rail system that enables it to slide forward and backward, increasing its crosscutting capacity to more than 12 inches on most models. To operate the saw, pull the elevated blade toward you, pivot it down into the front edge of the work piece, and push it back toward the fence to complete the cut.

To use the sliding compound miter saw as a miter saw, swivel the blade and the table to 45 degrees. Lock the table and blade into position. Lower the blade to the surface of the work piece, and turn on the machine to make the cut.

To make a compound miter cut, swivel the blade and table to the desired angle, and lock into place. The saw must be set to the same angle. To set it, turn the saw guide to the appropriate number. Use the saw's hold-down clamps to secure the work piece into place. Turn on the machine, and lower the blade onto the work piece to make the cut.

To use the sliding compound miter saw as a radial-arm saw, lock the saw, blade and table into place at their original positions. Slide the saw's head to its farthest point forward on the rails. Lower the saw blade onto the work piece, and push the saw head down the rails to make a crosscut.

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