How to Square a Miter Saw


A miter saw uses a large circular blade secured to a cutter that lowers into the material by pulling down on a handle. The material sits against a fence and rests on a metal base. This allows you to maneuver the blade at just about any angle to the material so you can achieve angled cuts in the material. Because the blade moves to different angles, squaring the miter saw so you can make a true 90-degree angle cut in your material can be a little tricky.

Things You'll Need

  • Metal square

Squaring the Blade to the Fence

  • Unplug the miter saw from the electrical outlet.

  • Loosen the miter saw angle lock on the base of the saw. The lock is usually a knob located on the lower base of the saw where you see the degree-of-angle guide. Turn the knob counterclockwise to loosen the lock.

  • Rotate the blade on the miter saw until the indicator shows the saw at a 90-degree angle. The guide gets you close, but these guides are rarely 100 percent accurate.

  • Place a metal square against the fence of the saw. The fence is the metal backplate against which you push the material when you cut it. A metal square offers a precision 90-degree angle.

  • Hold the backside of the square against the fence while you slide the other side of the angle against the blade of the saw. Be sure that the square rests on the plate of the blade, and is not deflected by one of the blade's teeth. Both the fence and the blade must line up with the square with no gaps showing.

  • Lock the saw blade in place by tightening the knob on the degree angle guide.

Squaring the Blade to the Base

  • Pull down the saw blade until it bottoms out in the slot in the base of the saw. Secure the saw blade in place with the cutter head lock while you complete the rest of the steps.

  • Place the longer side of the metal square on the left side of the saw's table and butt the other side of the square against the saw blade.

  • Release the lock that secures the head-tilting mechanism that allows you to tilt the saw right to left. The location of the lock is different depending on your model of saw, but it's usually on the housing that encloses the blade.

  • Adjust the vertical angle of the cutter head until you can see no gap between the saw blade and the edge of the metal square, and no gap between the square and the base of the saw.

  • Lock the head-tilting mechanism.

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