Its time for another empowering round of Power Tools 101.
In this round, I’m going to go over the basics of a miter saw, probably my favorite kind of saw, and Gina from The Shabby Creek Cottage is going to teach you how to use a table saw, which happens to be my least favorite saw.
Didn’t that work out nicely?
How to Use a Miter Saw
First off, what’s a miter saw?
Why, I am just so darn glad you asked. In short, a miter saw is a saw that allows you to cut at a variety of angles. Its base sits on top of a table or workbench, unlike the circular saw that you move yourself. Most of the time, miter saws are used for cutting things like baseboards, window trim, and crown molding. However, I like to use it whenever I can to just get a straight cut, because I suck at that sometimes with a circular saw.
This is our miter saw:
It is a DeWalt Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw. Our miter saw is a much larger miter saw than many people would require.We have a large one because a) it was on sale for a great price and b) we needed a heavy duty one when we started all the work on the beloved foreclosure. Right now, this one sells for about $600, but there are just as effective, smaller ones that start around $120, like this Ryobi one.
Here’s how it looks when the blade is up:
To release the blade, you push down on the handle with one hand, and press in on the “button” on the back left hand side, with the other hand:
The saw will operate by squeezing the trigger in the handle:
This saw is also capable of sliding back and forth by loosening the dial on the back of saw:
Why would you need to slide the saw? Well, if you have a larger piece of wood that the blade wouldn’t normally cut all the way the width of, you can start cutting on the front of the wood and then slide the blade back while cutting. In the photo below, you can see how the blade slides. The top photo shows the blade in the front and the bottom one shows the blade slid back:
Like I said in the beginning, one of the biggest reasons people use miter saws are to easily make angled cuts. You make angled cuts by moving the arm on the base of the saw:
You push down on the button while moving the arm. The saw will lock into place at set angles. Angles are marked along the bottom:
Anytime you cut a piece of wood on a miter saw, you need to make sure the wood is flush with the back:
This gives you a nice, clean, straight cut. After marking where your cut should be and making sure your wood is flush, you will put one hand onto the handle and push the trigger (as shown in the photo above) and use your other hand to hold the wood still – make sure your hand is far away from the blade:
As you pull down on the blade, you will see that the safety guard will automatically move backwards. You cut angled cuts the same way as straight cuts, you just move the handle on the bottom to the desired angle like I showed you above.
Some miter saws are also capable of creating beveled cuts. Ours does do beveled cuts, however we have never had to use that function and I don’t think that most DIYers like yourself and I ever really have to, so I’m not going to cover that.
Do you have any tips for using a miter saw?
Don’t hold out on the rest of us! Share them in the comments!
Don’t forget to hop over to The Shabby Creek Cottage for deets on how to use a table saw!
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