Doing your own home construction projects is an awesome hobby but for someone who hasn’t used on, some miter saw tips are essential. They will not only help you develop another essential set of skills, but it will also help you save a lot of money from having to hire professionals. It may also help you get physically stronger. If you are really serious about anything carpentry related, or if you are doing carpentry work professionally, later down the line, you will find that you will be needing a miter saw.
What is a miter saw?
A miter saw is a power saw meant for small scale and large scale wood work projects. They help you cut quickly, efficiently and accurately at different angles and depths. The more advanced miter saws will even help you cover large surface areas very quickly.
As with any power tool, it is in your own best interest if you understand how to operate such a powerful machine and a few tips and tricks when it comes to buying them.
Types of Miter Saws
The first thing you should know is that there are different types of miter saws.
The first is a standard miter saw, which is the basic model of the power tool. Most DIYers and casual construction enthusiasts are happy enough with it, as it provides you with the basic functions, and they do the job very well.
The second type is a compound miter saw. As the name suggests, these machines will allow you to create compound cuts, as you will be able to tilt the blade as you work. This means that you will be cutting two angles in one go.
Finally, there is the slider miter saw. It has the basic functions of the standard miter saw, plus the angling capability of the compound miter saw, while adding the function of being able to extend the cut beyond the blade’s basic length using extension rods. This will allow you to cut further and wider than usual.
As you would expect, the expenses ramp up the more advanced the saw, though if you will be using the tool everyday, consider it a good investment.
How Will You Use It?
The best thing for you to do at this point is to assess the level of work you will be doing. Being able to differentiate the types of saws in accordance to what you will need is a big step forward, because from there, you can begin to narrow down your choices.
I say narrow down, because you still have a lot to consider before making a purchase. You have to decide the blade size, the brand and of course, your budget.
Once you have done your research and you get your brand new machine out of the box, then it is time to figure out just what to do with it.
How DO You Use a Miter Saw?
- First thing’s first: familiarize yourself with it. Reading the manual should be your top priority, although I have to admit that you might be too excited to do that just yet. Take a very close look at all of the parts of the miter saw. Know where all the knobs and switches are, and understand the motions of the moving parts. Memorize where the adjustment controls are located.
- Read the manual. A lot of people prefer to skip this step, and a lot of people end up with accidents. This is a large, heavy and complex machine that it meant to cut straight through all manners of hard objects. Try to let that sink in for a bit. A lot of thought and effort has gone into its creation, so the least you can do is understand it.
- Pick it up and get acquainted with its weight. You will be carrying this tool throughout the job and will be moving it up and down, and from side to side. By the time you begin working, you should already know what to expect in terms of how heavy it is.
- Check if your working area is large enough for the project. A miter saw can do a lot of damage to objects that were not even part of the project to begin with, like ceilings and walls. You will be extending your arms while holding out a long, moving blade. Make sure that none of your movement will be restricted.
- Make sure that you are wearing the proper gear for the job. This means no loose clothing and your hair is supposed to be secured. Loose hair and loose sleeves will easily get caught in the blade, and nobody would want to learn the horrors of that firsthand. Also, if possible, wear eye protection as well as hearing protection. Eye protection is quite paramount in this case, as saw dust will be flying everywhere. Losing your vision while using a miter saw can be the introduction of a horror movie. Also, some miter saws may be so loud that they damage your hearing.
The First Cut
Once you are all ready, it’s time to make the first real cut. Make sure that whatever material you will be cutting is set flat against the proper surface. Ensure that the material is completely secure, it may cause accidents if it isn’t.
Next, secure the fence. Most, if not all, miter saws come with a fence, which is meant to hold the material in place as you cut. This is both for safety and accuracy reasons. As tempting as it is to go freehand sometimes, the fence is there for a reason. Use it and learn to love it.
Finally, align the miter saw with where you are going to cut and remember very clearly the range of motion you will be needing. Some provide laser sights for you to follow. Start the machine up with the trigger and push the saw away from your body as you cut. Do this very slowly and steadily. Continue with the motion until the material is completely cut.
You have made your first cut, and you should be proud. You will only get better with practice. Make sure to maintain your miter saw properly and to always keep in mind all safety precautions.