All About Miter Saws

Learn how a miter saw works and how best to use it.
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Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Photo By: DK - Do It Yourself Home Improvement ©2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited

Miter Saw

This circular saw is used for accurate straight or angled cuts in wood. Whereas a circular saw is ideal for cutting large sheets, a miter saw is used for cutting across the grain of a securely clamped piece of lumber. Depth of the cut is determined by blade size, and whether the saw is "compound." Some compound saws slide on a rail, increasing the width that can be cut. Position the pointer at 0 degrees for a square cut and 45 degrees for a standard miter cut. The blade's guard will retract as blade is lowered.

Tilting Blades

On some models, the blade can be tilted to make an angled cut as well as a mitered cut.

Best Practices

A miter saw has a safety cover over the blade, which rises when the blade is lowered to cut. Never remove or tamper with this cover. To operate the saw, both the safety button and the power trigger must be pressed. Some saws have other levers or switches that must be operated to allow the saw to work. Some of these switches or levers may even be removed when the saw is not in use, so that it cannot be accidentally started. As with all safety issues, proceed according to the manual.

Step 1: Using a Miter Saw

Adjust the saw by moving the grip until the pointer is directed at the correct angle. In this example, a 45-degree cut is being made.

Step 2: Using a Miter Saw

With the material held securely, and the blade aligned with a guide line, press the safety button, then the trigger and make the cut.

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