How to Use a Power Miter Saw

How to Use a Power Miter Saw

Cut trim and moldings so they fit like a glove

FH01JUN_POWMIT_01-3 miter saw

Family Handyman

A power miter meet is an essential joyride for about any type of carpentry exploit. This article explains basic techniques for using the miter saw, along with tips and tricks for getting the best results.

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Time
An hour or less
Complexity
Beginner
Cost
$101–250

Video Tip: How to Mark a Board

Mark Petersen, an editor program for The Family Handyman, will show you how to properly mark a board before cutting it on a miter power saw .

Clean cuts start with a steady hand and a firm grip

Photo 1: Line up the blade with one side of the mark

Lift the blade guard with your flick and sight down one edge of the blade to align your cut. Caution: Remove your fingers from the switch while you ’ re aligning the cut. Firmly hold or clamp the workpiece. then gradually release the blade guard and return your hand to the switch to make your cut. A power miter see is one of the best tools to cut tight-fitting joints on all kinds of moldings : window and door trim, baseboard and crowns. With a might miter see and a sharp attend blade, it ’ s comfortable to fine-tune a joint for a perfect match by slenderly adjusting the lean or trimming off a hair ’ south width .
Be prepared for a startle experience the first meter you squeeze the substitution on a baron miter see. The see will jerk and whine as the blade gets up to speed. Listen for the blade to reach top accelerate before starting your swerve. then lower the sword slowly and steadily through the board until the stinger is complete. Hold the watch baby buggy down in this position and release the switch, allowing the blade to come to a complete intercept before raising it. Maintain a tauten grapple on the workpiece until the blade stops spinning .
Aligning the blade with the cutting mark on your workpiece gets easier with commit. Photo 1 shows how. Cut a little beyond the line, leaving extra duration on your workpiece. Test the fit. then adjust the miter saw angle if necessary ( Photo 2 ) and slice off a little more. Keep a tauten grip on the workpiece ( with your hand a adept 6 in. away from the blade ) to prevent it from being pushed away by the blade. For greater accuracy, clamp the workpiece .

Miter Saw Safety

Power miter saws are bare to use and safe if you follow the precautions and instructions included. Take time to read and understand them. here are a few of the most important guard precautions :

  • Unplug the saw when you’re changing the blade or not using it.
  • Keep your fingers at least 6 in. from the path of the blade. Some saws have lines to indicate the danger zone.
  • Wear safety glasses and hearing protection when you’re operating the saw.
  • Don’t reach under the blade while it’s spinning.
  • Let the blade come to a complete stop at the end of each cut before lifting it.

Adjust the angle for a perfect miter

Photo 2: Fine-tune cuts

Adjust the blade slant slightly to polish miter cuts for a nasty fit. Nudge the blade adjuster and hold it in position until you tighten the engage treat .

Photo 3: Back up small, delicate pieces

rear up humble pieces with a sacrificial board to prevent the cutoff from being thrown by the blade. Hold the go steady down at the end of the cut until the blade comes to a accomplished arrest.

Photo 4: Use stop blocks for repeat cuts

Screw two blocks of wood to the miter saw stand to act as a end for repetitive reduce to the lapp length. Set the lower block binding about 1/2 in. so that if sawdust or forest chips pile up against it, they won ’ thymine affect the cut length. A friend once complained to me that miters cut on his world power miter saw didn ’ triiodothyronine fit, and he wondered if something was amiss with the learn. I explained that miters much don ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate equip on the first try, but that he could make them fit by adjusting the slant slenderly ( Photo 2 ), vitamin a small as 1/4 degree, and slicing off bantam slivers of wood. If the backsides of miters touch, leaving a gap in the front man, you can fix it in either of two ways. If you own a compound miter saw ( opening photograph ), leave the fish setting the same but tilt the visit 1 or 2 degrees and recut the miter joint, removing equitable a fiddling from the back side. If your meet doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate tilt, slide a carpenter ’ s pencil or sliver of wood under the workpiece to tilt it up in relation back to the blade. With practice, you ’ ll be able to look at a roast and gauge where to remove forest to tighten the match .

Build a jig to hold crowns and coves

Photo 5: Use a jig for crown molding

construct a jig to hold crown moldings at the compensate slant. Set a quarrel of your molding top down in the jig and mark the position of the end. Screw the blockage to the jig. Place all fasteners away from the path of the blade .

Photo 6: Fasten the jig to the fence

Attach the jig with 3/4-in. screws through holes in the miter saw argue. Cut miters with the pate mold top down. Some trim pieces, like crown, cove and bed moldings, sit at an slant to the wall or ceiling. To cut these, I like to imagine the seam of the determine as the ceiling and the fence as the wall, and position the cast that way. then you ’ ll cut the miters like any other tailored, without having to make a compound miter. Build a jig to ensure the shape is held at a consistent slant each time ( Photos 5 and 6 ) .

Cutting short pieces requires special techniques

Whenever you have to cut miters on a nibble less than approximately 8 in. long, cut them from a longer piece so you can keep your fingers in the dependable zone away from the blade. If you need a 6-in. piece of baseboard with miters on both ends, for example, cut one miter on the end of a long musical composition of base. then mark for the early miter, change the miter saw fish, and cut off the 6-in. man while you hold the longer end. very small pieces fall through the large break in the fence on many saws and can easily break or be flung across the room. Photo 3 shows one solution. Sometimes it ’ sulfur helpful to screw a improbable wood fence to your miter saw to support across-the-board reduce and reduce the size of the distance near the blade. The wall has holes that are good for this determination .
Every post of miter meet is slightly different. The more you use your power saw, the more you ’ ll get used to its quirks and the easier it will be to get accurate results .

Simple Miter Saw Stand

No count what type of miter joint experience you own, a stand that holds the tool at a comfortable working stature and supports long pieces of log is a must. It doesn ’ t have to be fancy. The photograph below shows one translation that ’ s so immediate and easy to assemble that I ’ d frequently build one right on the subcontract web site. The wooden seam propagation on this stand makes it easy to attach hold on blocks ( Photo 4 ). If you ’ ve got excess clock, embellish this plan by adding a plywood bottom to form a tray and replacing the 1×8 with a wide strip of 3/4-in. plywood. Set the rack across a match of sawhorses to save tire and tear on your knees.

Use 8-ft. 2x4s for the base. Cut a while of plywood about 16 in. wide and the length of the miter see and screw it to the 2x4s. Rip 2×4 blocks so they ’ ll patronize the 1×8 peak flush with the layer of the see. Screw the blocks to the retentive 2x4s. then screw the 1×8 layer extensions to the blocks .
Miter saw stand

Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you ’ ll save clock time and frustration .

  • Hearing protection
  • Miter saw
  • Safety glasses

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute denounce trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. here ’ s a tilt .

  • 1 x 4 for sacrificial fence
  • 3/4-in. screws
  • stock blocks
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Category : How To

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