Do you want to cut bevels and mitres on a piece of wood?
A mitre saw is a cutting tool that lets you cut wood at different angles. Whatever project you are working on, a mitre saw will help you cut different pieces of wood. It is one of the most powerful and versatile power tools. For instance, you can use this tool to cut the frames, crown moulding, and baseboards.
Some people are torn between using a circular saw, and a mitre saw. Which one you choose will mainly depend on your preferences and the projects you will do. While a circular saw is less expensive, a mitre saw is quicker and more precise. Also, mitre saws are considered to be safer compared to circular saws.
In this post, we are going to show you how to use a mitre saw in different projects.
Different Types of Cuts Made by Mitre Saws
A miter saw is used to cut wood at different angles. It also has different designs and different cutting width. The versatility of mitre saws makes it easier for you to make cuts while working on woodwork projects at your home.
Cuts made may differ, depending on the side of the wood that you are cutting. While a bevel cut and a mitre cut are two terms used interchangeably, they actually refer to two different cuts. A bevel cut is an angled cut that passes through the thickness of a plank of wood. Meanwhile, a mitre is an angled cut that can be made on the face of a wooden surface.
Step by Step Guide to Using Mitre Saws
Step 1: Get Some Insight Into the Different Sections of Your Mitre Saw
The first thing that you need to do is to understand how a mitre saw works. Since mitre saws have different designs, going through the instruction manual makes it easier for you to understand how your mitre saw works. Not to mention, it gives you an insight into the different section s of your mitre saw. You can also visit the company’s website that designed the saw to find more information and data about your miter saw.
Most user manuals will show you where different features are located. Examples of such parts include the blade, the blade guard, the miter adjustment, the power switch, and the fence.
Step 2: Wear Protective Gear
You should wear protective gear before you start using your mitre saw. Protective equipment protects your body as you are using it. All mitre saws come with a blade that rotates at a very high speed. Therefore, you have to wear a pair of gloves to minimize the risks of any injuries. Apart from that, you should wear safety glasses to prevent sawdust from getting into your eyes.
You should also wear fitting clothes. Loose clothes and hanging jewellery might get in the path of the saw blade and cause some injuries. To prevent this from happening, you should wear clothes that fit perfectly.
If your mitre saw produces a lot of noise when while cutting timbre, wear earbuds to protect your ears from the noise coming from the mitre saw.
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Step 3: Prep the Table That You Are Working On
For a mitre saw to work effectively, you have to mount or place it on a sturdy workbench. If you plan to cut large pieces of timber, look for a workbench with enough space to accommodate the timber.
Once you determine where you will mount your mitre saw, clear the work area by removing any items that might get in your way as you are cutting timber.
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Step 4: Connect the Mitre Saw to a Power Source
The next thing that you need to do is to connect it to a power source. Since mitre saws come in different designs, you have to connect your saw to the right power source.
If you are using a corded mitre saw, you have to connect it to a power source near your work station. On the other hand, if you are using a cordless mitre saw, charge the battery and connect it to a mitre saw.
Step 5: Adjust the Bevel and the Mitre Angle and Other Settings
A mitre saw comes with a mitre adjustment that lets you adjust the cut angle. It also features a bevel gauge that makes it easier for you to adjust a bevel angle.
If you plan to make a crosscut on a piece of timber, you have to adjust the mitre angle to 0°. Unlock the mitre gauge, then slide it until it gets to the perfect angle. In this case, the preferred angle should be 0°. After that, lock the mitre gauge on that angle.
Apart from that, you can also adjust the mitre gauge to cut timbre at different positions, such as 45°, 22.5°, and 31.6°. Just slide the mitre gauge until you get to the perfect angle.
Step 6: Adjust the Bevel Gauge
The bevel gauge can be used to tilt the blade to different angle points. This makes it easier for you to cut through the thickness of a certain piece of wood. Adjusting the bevel gauge can help you cut bevels on different pieces of wood.
If you are planning to make a crosscut on a piece of timber, leave the bevel gauge at the 0° mark. On the other hand, if you want to cut a bevel at a different side other than 0°, you have to move the bevel gauge to the preferred positions.
For instance, you can move the bevel gauge to 45° and 22.5°. Like the mitre gauge, a bevel gauge comes with a lock mechanism that lets you lock the gauge at a certain angle to minimize any movements.
Step 7: Adjust the Compound Angle
A compound angle makes it easier for you to combine both a bevel angle with a mitre angle in a single cut. While adjusting a compound angle might sound like an intimidating task, adjusting a compound angle on a mitre saw is quite easy. You have to adjust the gauge to your most preferred position and the mitre gauge to your preferred side.
Step 8: Mark the Timber That You Want to Cut
The next thing you need to do is mark the section you are planning to cut. It makes it easier for you to cut a plank of timber and get the right measurements. You can use a pencil to mark the section that you want to cut. After that, fit the plank of timber on your mitre saw base and align the blade with the guideline that you have drawn on your timber.
Some models also come with a laser that lets you line up the blade with the timber you want to cut. Once you line up the timbre with the blade, hold the piece of timber sturdily against the fence of the mitre saw.
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Step 9: Cut the Plank of Timber
Keep your fingers at least 15 cm away from the blade of the miter saw. It minimizes the risk of any injury that the saw’s blade might cause.
- Place your other hand on the handle of the mitre saw. The handle of most saws has a trigger that allows you to start.
- Once you press the trigger on the handle, the blade of the mitre saw will begin rotating.
- Lower the arm of the mitre saw slowly until the blade comes into contact with the workpiece that you are cutting.
- Apply a little pressure on the arm of the mitre saw until you cut the plank of timber. You can also slide the arm to cut a workpiece that has a large width. Since planks have different measurements, you have to use a sliding saw on the large width. A stop block can help you make repeat cuts.
- Raise the handle of the mitre saw and release the trigger to stop the rotary movement of the blade.
Step 10: Clean the Area You Are Working On
While some miter saws might come with a dust collection system, not all saws have a system that lets you tidy up your working area. Due to this, you have to take things into your own hands and clean the area you were working on.
Safety Tips While Using a Mitre Saw
These are some of the safety precautions that you should follow while using a mitre saw:
Use a Safety Clamp to Secure the Piece of Wood in One Location
A safety clamp can secure the workpiece that you are working on in one position and minimize movements. If a workpiece slips while you are working, it might cause some injuries. To prevent this from happening, you have to use a safety clamp while cutting any timber.
As the name hints, this is a special trigger that locks the saw and minimizes the risk of accidents. You can also use it to prevent children from using your mitre saw. The saw won’t start if the lockout trigger locks it.
Make sure that you use the lockout trigger once you finish cutting a particular piece of wood. It can also stop the saw from starting if you press the power trigger accidentally.
While this feature might not be present in all the mitre saws, it can minimize the risks of injuries. An electric brake stops the rotary movement of the blade once you release the power trigger. In some models, the blade might continue to rotate for a few minutes even if you have removed your hand from the power trigger. This might be quite risky and dangerous.
An electric brake takes a few seconds to stop the rotary movement of the blade.
Be Wary Of Long Power Cords
Long power cords can help you position your mitre saw on different spots in your workshop. However, if you not keen while walking, you might trip over a power cord. Position your power cord on a place that doesn’t have high foot traffic.
Since a power cord conducts electricity from one point to another, you should not place it on a wet surface. Make sure that the power cord rests on a dry surface. If the workshop floor is wet, wait for it to dry first before you start to use your mitre saw.
Furthermore, if you plan to use an extension cord, you have to check whether it is compatible with your mitre saw or not. The instructions on the user guide might guide you as you are choosing an extension cable for your mitre saw.
Using a Mitre Is Quite Easy
— Olly Parry-Jones (@OllyPJ) February 4, 2015
Learning how to use a mitre saw as a tool to cut planks of wood is not as difficult as it sounds. However, you have to take some precautionary measures while cutting planks of wood with a mitre saw. Hopefully, our guide here was able to help you.
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