What is a Miter saw?
Miter saw is an automated saw which is used to make crosscuts, miter cuts, bevel cuts, and other angular cuts on wooden boards more quickly and efficiently. Miter saw is a vital tool in making various kinds of wooden articles and furniture. In this write-up we are going to explore different uses of a Miter saw so you can get the most out of our machine.
How its works?
Miter saw has a circular blade mounted on a motor which is pulled down onto a wooden board to make quick and accurate cuts. Due to this pulling down action, the miter saw is also known as drop saw and chop saw.
- A motor-powered miter saw’s strength is measured by the number of amps. More amp means more power.
- A miter saw will come with many positive stops straight out-of-the-box. Positive stops allow the user to make controlled cuts at desired angles. The higher-end miter saws have thumb controls which make the job of controlling the saw even easier.
- Alongside positive stops, there will also be depth stops on a miter saw. This decides how deep the cuts are going to be.
- A miter saw comes in a variety of blade sizes. The bigger your blade is, the bigger woods you can handle with your miter saw. Usually, the blades are available in 8 inches, 10 inches, and 12 inches sizes.
- A blade guard is found on most of the miter saws to ensure user safety.
- It uses an electric-powered brake to stop the rotation of the blades. As soon as you release the trigger button, the brakes are activated and stop the rotation of the blades. With the electric blades, the blades can be stopped in just 1-2 seconds.
- Shaft locks are available to lock the shafts while removing/replacing the blades.
- Higher-end models will come with blowers to clean off the sawdust from the workbench.
- Most of the models have dust chutes which can be used to collect dust while cutting.
- The work area can be extended by adding table extensions. This allows longer pieces to cut using the saw.
- To help make miter cuts into taller boards the sliding rail mechanism can be used. The sliding rails allow for the blade to slide after each cut. The sliding mechanism can also be utilized to make space for longer boards.
- Built-in laser/LEDs into higher end miter saws help to cut precise cuts every time. This will also reduce wastes to a great extent as well.
- Some of the newer and higher-end models also come equipped with a digital display which can be used to change and toggle between different modes of cut setting.
Different Kinds of Miter Saw
There are several types of miter saws. Each has their unique advantages and disadvantages. Some of them are described below:
The Box Miter Saw
The box miter saw also known as the original miter saw is constructed of a tri-sided wooden or plastic box. Hence, it’s called a box miter saw. It has usually two guiding slits of 90 degrees and 45 degrees which are used as a guide to saw accurate angular cuts on a wooden board.
The Power Miter Saw
The power saw is a motor-powered version of the miter saw. It is designed to make swift and accurate cuts every time. The best thing about the power saw is that it offers a varying range of degrees of angles which is not available on the original box miter saw.
The original box saw can only cut abrasive cuts at only 90° and sometimes at 45°. Power saws have become a standard tool for creating straight or 45° cuts, mostly used in crafting frames. There are many alternative ways to cut trim at a 45-degree angle without using a miter saw.
The power miter saw consists mostly of a rotating blade powered by a motor which is usually 8-10 inches in diameter. The rotating blade is pulled down onto a workpiece in a controlled yet swift motion to make smooth cuts. The blade can be rotated in either 90° or 45° angles to make miter and bevel cuts. A typical power miter saw quite portable due to its small size. (Post you may like: Best Miter Saw Stands.)
The Compound Miter Saw
The difference between a standard powered miter saw and a compound miter saw is that the latter’s blade can be rotated into more than two angles of 45° and 90°. This type of miter saw is quite popular for home trimming works and very complex cuts. Due to this rotating flexibility, it is used for making ramp cuts onto a wooden board.
If you turn or angle the compound milter saw on one side, then only it’s head will turn only on a single side, either on the left or the right side. Then the user will need to turn the board in order to get angular cuts. Hence compound milter saw is also known as a single compound miter saw. This type of miter saw is good for crown moulding work.
Dual Compound Miter Saw
The dual-compound miter saw's head can be rotated on both the right and the left side and does not need the user to turn the boards to make the cuts. This feature allows to make complex and intricate cuts on wooden boards. A dual compound miter saw is mostly used to make decorative trimmings.
Sliding Compound Miter Saw
In a sliding compound miter saw the rotary blade is connected to a sliding rail which allows the blade to slide forward and backward. This feature of sliding compound miter saw allows cutting and trimming of larger boards. Because the rails are locked in the sliding compound saw, it is best for straight cuts. The head of the saw must be pulled forward due to the use of the sliding rail mechanism.
Laser-Guided/LED Miter saw
As the name suggests, Laser guided miter saw is equipped with a LED/laser which projects a line onto the board where the intended cut will be made. Due to this feature, the user can determine beforehand where the cut is going to be made eventually.
This allows for more accurate cuts. This feature is built-in on higher-end miter saw models but if your miter saw doesn’t have one at the moment you can always add a laser/LED guide to ensure more precision cuts.
What Type of Cuts Can be Made Using a Miter Saw?
Now, that we have learned about all the different kinds of miter saws, it’s time to explore what different kinds of cuts we can make with a miter saw
This is the most common kind of cuts one can make with a miter saw. A crosscut is cut which is perpendicular to the edges of the board.
Miter cut is the cut for which this device was made for in the first place. A miter cut is an angular cut made at any angle diagonally with the board. A miter cut is a necessary cut for crafting frames, ledges, and other works that require angular joints.
Bevel Cut is a complex cut that can be made using the miter saw. It is made by moving the blade to either left or right then pulling it down at an angle to make the desired cut. This type of cut is really complex and with a miter saw the job becomes much easier. With a sliding rail, miter saw bevel cuts can be made into longer boards.
If you put a block at one end of the cutting board, you can make repeated cuts at your expected length. It’s really hard to make accurate repeated cuts with a manual tool.
Alongside these, a miter saw can also be used for framing works in construction sites. It can also be used to trim down building materials such as; fences and wall pieces. Due to the variety and flexibility, the miter saw offers; it is a great boon to DIY enthusiasts.
Safety Tips While Using a Miter Saw
You must make sure that you wear protective gear while using the miter saw. As the rotating blade cuts really quickly, there will be wood chips flying all around. To protect your eyes from these wood particles, it’s a necessity to wear protective goggles while operating a miter saw.
If you are planning to work on a miter saw for a longer period then do have earmuffs or other protective gears to protect your ears from the loud noise from the saw. To avoid any further accidents, it’s best not to wear loose clothes while working on the saw and if you have longer hair, it’s advisable to tie it down before proceeding to the workstation.
Make sure your hands are well away from the rotary blade and the cutting table. A minimum distance of 6 inches from the blade is considered to be safe.
Try to keep the arms straight while cutting with the miter saw. Keeping your arms crossed will increase the chances of a fatal injury.
The last safety tips, which most of us ignore is to read the instructions which come from the manufacturer. You will find all the necessary safety tips provided by the manufacturer in this booklet. Do give it a brief read before using the machine for best and safe use.
Cons of a Miter saw
Although a miter saw ensures accurate complex and angled cuts, it can sometimes create poor quality wood chips. When making a cut, a great deal of the blade is exposed which can create lots of unwanted sawdust. This is especially the case when executing bevel cuts.
Pro-tips for getting the best result out of your Miter saw
In order to get the best output from your miter saw you must follow these tips and tricks in order to impress people with your upcoming DIY project.
- Do not put pressure down the blade for a cut. Let the blade glide itself down the board. This will ensure smooth edges every time.
- Always keep your arms straight while making a cut. DO NOT cross your arms when cutting using a miter saw. Keeping your arms crossed while using any kind of powered miter saw increases the chance of a fatal injury exponentially. Always keep both of your arms straight and feet firmly on the ground to ensure safety and proper control of the machine.
- Remember to always cut the factory part of the board first before proceeding to make the final measurement. It will create lesser waste and will also ensure the best fit every time.
- Most miter saws come with interchangeable blades. This means you have different blades for different needs. There are blades with more and lesser teeth. For cuts related to construction, a 50-teeth blade will be best and for finer and more exquisite carving and cuts you will need to use a blade with more teeth. In these sorts of cuts, a 90-teeth blade would be recommended. More teeth will help clean the dust and debris between each cut area. Choosing the perfect blade for your work will put minimal stress on the motor and cause lesser wear and tear.
- After making the first cut on one end of the board, it’s good practice to mark first on the other end before making the final cut on the other end. This will help see if the cuts will fit together properly.
Frequently Asked Questions
At first, learn the basic steps of how to use a miter saw safely. Then Follow all the instructions there and come out with a successful result. Point to be noted that professional people recommend the following steps, so you can freely take that advice and gather a pleasant experience.
Mainly, a miter saw is designed to cut wood, molding, masonry, and plastics. But certain high-powered miter saws can also cut select types of lighter metals.
Though it is not ideal to use it on those materials, it will perfectly handle and ensure precious cuts at the end. Remember, don't use it frequently to cut aggressive materials that can hinder the long life of the saw blade.
Of course not! You can't use your favorite miter saw on the floor. If you place it on an unstable surface, the miter saw won't perform well, and sometimes different types of damage may also create an occurrence from this problem.
Miter saw is a versatile woodcutting tool that is almost a necessity for woodcutters and other enthusiasts and hobbyists. It makes crosscuts, bevel cuts, and miter cuts easy and gets the perfect and accurate cuts every time. Imagine doing the same thing manually. Not only will it take more time, but it will also not guarantee smooth and accurate cuts every time.
Hopefully, after reading this, you will have quite a good idea about different types of miter saws and what you can do with this wonderful machine. Now, it’s your time to choose the best miter saw which fits your bill.