How to Use a Miter Saw Correctly



A miter saw is engineered to cut wood, plastic, and similar materials. Any other application other than the stated ones is considered to be inappropriate. To use a miter saw correctly, you are not supposed to use it for any other irrelevant application. Using a miter saw in breach to its intended use may lead to potential injuries, along with the void of warranty if the saw is new. You should know that creating precise miter and bevel cuts is no easy job, regardless of the cutting job. It might be woodworking, flooring applications among other do-it-yourself applications.

Choosing the Appropriate Miter Saw

The very first step towards using a miter saw correctly is selecting the correct diameter size. The diameter of the blade determines the type of miter saw to use. Apart from the diameter, you need to choose a specific class of miter saws, such as standard, compound, sliding miter saws. The standard type creates perpendicular cuts through a workpiece from 45° left to 45° right. The compound type is equipped with the ability to tilt the blade to create a compound cut. As far as the sliding type is concerned, the carriage slides along the rails, thus allowing the wider workpiece to be sawed.

Using the Miter Saw

A miter saw needs to be adjusted (for miter cuts, bevel cuts, and compound cuts) to precise cutting by following the product user manual. This is so since only a few models will cut exactly without adjustment. There are some few observations that you need to make before you attempt any adjustments, and they include: making sure that the trigger is released and then removing the power cord from the power source.

Make sure that you read the safety rules adequately. You are supposed not to place your hands near the blade than the ends of the miter saw fence, and you are expected to hold your fingers against the fence so that your hands do not move.

  • Make certain that your arms are not crossed; you can achieve this by positioning your hands in such a way that your arms are out of the way.
  • Wear protective gadgets to protect your eyes and ears; you should wear appropriate goggles to protect your eyes from shooting pieces of molding, and you should wear earmuffs to protect your ears from the high noise intensity.
  • Hold your workpiece firmly, ensure that it is well-supported, and it is firmly held against the fence. Ensure that you are well-balanced while standing with your feet steadily on the floor.
  • Follow the miter arm when mitering right or left. At the current position, stand gently to the side of your miter saw blade, and look through the lower guard for alignment, if you are not using a miter saw with laser guide.
  • Turn OFF power, and then gently lower the blade to test for a precise cut before making the real cut.
  • Turn ON the power and gently lower the blade into the workpiece until the cut is created. When using a sliding compound miter saw, you are advised to pull the blade away from behind the fence in order to start the cut at the front of the workpiece, and lower it in position, and then push it back behind the fence.
  • Turn OFF the miter saw, and allow time for the blade to stop spinning, and then raise the blade from the workpiece.


Do not take your hands off the miter saw or the workpiece, not until the blade stops spinning.

Crown Molding

The best miter saw is one that is designed for the tough job of cutting crown molding. Crown molding must be compound mitered with utmost precision in order to fit appropriately. You should know that the two surfaces on a workpiece of molding that fit flat touching the ceiling as well as the wall are normally at angles that sum up to 90°.

For you to be able to cut crown molding accurately for a ninety degrees inside/ outside corner; you have to lay the molding with the broad back surface touching flat on the miter saw blade. Always remember that when setting the miter and bevel angles for compound miters, the settings are normally interdependent. Interdependency means that changing one angle changes the other angle.

Maintenance of a Miter Saw

Just like any other machine, a miter saw requires maintenance in order for it to work correctly each time you use it in a cutting session. You need to replace carbon brushes when they have less than a quarter inch of carbon left. Make sure that your miter saw’s lower blade guard is functional. Make sure that you secure a replacement in the event that your lower blade guard gets damaged.

Check for saw dust before starting a cutting session, and make sure to blow out or vacuum up the sawdust.

On the other hand, you may also check out our guide on how to make a dugout canoe.