How to Operate a Miter Saw

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When operating a miter saw, it is important to make sure the board is flat, square and true to make the straightest cuts. See how to use and adjust a miter saw with help from a custom furniture maker in this free video on woodworking tools.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, a custom furniture shop in St. Petersburg, Florida and I'm going to show you how to operate a miter saw. What I'm using today is a sliding compound miter saw but the basic features that I am going to show you work whether using a plain miter saw or a compound miter saw or anything in between. The first thing you want to make sure is your board is flat, square, and true because really all we are going to be doing here is cutting stock to length and all we're going to do here is we're going to square off this end so I don't need to measure anything yet. So all I am doing is lining up my blade to the end of that stock and I'm just going to make a cut and because I can move my blade out because of the sliding compound miter saw, I want to come out down and back. If you have a regular miter saw it's just a straight chopping saw action which this board is just a little bit too wide to do. So we'll go ahead and cut this and even though there is a blade brake and the blade guard is down to wait until everything is stopped before I let go and come in under the blade. So now we can go ahead and measure our stock to length and in this case we'll say it's 15 inches so I'll make a mark at 15 inches and the easiest way to check is to bring your blade in and remember you want your blade on the waist side of your line and just kind of eyeball that so the tooth of your blade is right on your cut line and we'll go ahead and make the second cut right here, there is just a hair of that pencil line left so that's right on where I want it to cut. There is one more thing that I really recommend you do with angle cuts and with miter saws we'll see that a lot. We'll go ahead and we'll set this at 45 degrees and again if we were cutting something a particular length we would go ahead and mark that out but we are just cutting, I'm just going to show you how to make a cut like that and one of the things you want to keep in mind is when you are making angle cuts like this as you are making your cut whether it is a slider or a straight chop saw your stock is going to want to get pulled in towards the blade and I don't care how strong you are, you can't hold that from creeping. You are not going to get that on a straight cut but you start doing angle cuts and you are going to get that creeping so if your saw came with a hold down device and most of them will these days go ahead and lock that down nice and snug and we'll go ahead and we'll make this cut, let that blade stop and if we put these together, this is the way they started, we'll put these together and we have a nice tight joint because we clamped it in place. If we didn't we would see some light on one end because that board is going to want to creep just a little and there is no way you would be able to pull that tight but by clamping it in while you cut it you get a nice clean miter cut. Simple enough, that's how to operate a miter saw. I'm Dave Trull with The Trull Gallery, the fine art of furniture making.


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