As most craftsmen will attest, miter saws will prove to be the life blood of your work. Whether it will be professional job or a simple, personal project, a miter saw is the hard spine and the back bone of the craft. However, without a doubt, a lot of us do not give the proper attention to these awesome tools. Like every relationship, compromise is important, and give and take is key for something that can potentially last for years. A miter saw requires some loving from its owner, though by far a lot less effort than an actual relationship. Here are some tips of how to take care of a miter saw and to make sure that you can get the most of it for a long time.
First and foremost, you have to make sure that your first pass on your miter saw is smooth. This means that there should not be any debris on it left over from the last job. A miter saw has a lot of small, moving machinations that are all used for its precise cutting power, which makes it easy for gunk to get stuck.
This is especially true for saw dust, which flies everywhere during a job. If left alone, this could lower its durability and longevity considerably. Remove them using compressed air or blow tools, which are available in many hardware stores. After you are sure that you blew everything off, wipe the saw down in a loving manner.
Buffing and Shining
Next is a crucial step in the overall maintenance of a miter saw, which is the buffing job. A Scotch-Bright pad is a miter saw owner’s best friend. You won’t have much trouble finding one, especially since a lot of craftsmen are inclined to visit hardware shops quite regularly. Use it plain or with cutting oil, and clean the metal thoroughly with the pad, preferably until it shines bright, not quite like a diamond but prettier to those who use them. An electric hand polisher may be in order if you really want to go all out.
The saw is now primed for more in depth maintenance, though keep in mind that cleaning is a huge part of keeping it in good shape. The moving parts on the outer side of the saw are very important, and if you don’t pay enough attention to them, it could spell disaster. Lubricant should be applied regularly to keep movement as smooth as possible. Apply it on the back hinge, the miter and bevel, safety guard and other moving parts on your saw.
Usual miter saw lubricants include turbine and air tool oil. Lubrication will keep the saw moving, the job easier and the end result cleaner. It will also protect it from degradation.
I hate to repeat myself, but cleanliness is truly next to godliness. People underestimate the power of cleaning tools and how much that can impact durability. If you are willing to invest a little more, there are cleaners made especially for power tools and miter saws specifically, which will definitely do the job they were made for very well.
However, you can always use a toilet cleaner, undiluted, and use a wire brush with it. Try to choose a brush that is not so harsh, yet at the same time, will get the job done. After cleaning, dry it off very thoroughly.
Regular Check Up and General Observation
Of course, regular check up is a huge part of maintenance. It’s one thing to do general cleaning and lubrication, but you really have to understand and observe for any problem areas that will eventually come up after long use. After all, a miter saw works very hard, and just like us, may have some kinks that need to be worked out after a couple of jobs well done.
The Power Cord
The power cord is certainly the easiest to observe and the quickest for spotting any problems. Any cracks or rips on the power cord must be taken care of accordingly. While it certainly is the easiest to observe, any power cord problems can be very dangerous to a user. Having that fixed should always be your top priority.
The Surface Area and the Rest of the Machine
Of course, check the surface of the blade for chips, the small moving parts, the kerf boards, the fence and hinges for general wear and tear. If you know your way around the machine, then by all means, do your best to get the fix done as soon as possible. However, sometimes it’s just best to trust professionals and take it to a service center.
Rinse and Repeat
Finally, the most important part of maintenance is repetition. Doing it once and leaving at that will completely undermine all your efforts down the line. This includes cleaning, which is something you really have to do as often as possible, because every job you do will build up gunk and debris on the machine. Do some light cleaning every time you finish work.
This also includes regular check ups, which I have to stress, are as important as everything else. Every project takes a heroic effort from both the user and the power tool, and one of you may not come out shiny and new afterwards. Just like you have to do some stretches, take water breaks and get some food to refill your energy bar, your miter saw needs some attention as well.
Polishing and shining, while helping aesthetically, will also keep its overall operation sharp and efficient. This goes double for lubrication, as the moving parts of the saw are what gives them power and motion. Rust and friction are the enemies of any metal machine, and for a tool that works very hard during a project, it could make an incredible difference.
That’s pretty much it for general maintenance. It is really not much effort as compared to a lot of people think, though can make a world of difference when it comes to operation and durability. Give your miter saw the loving it deserves.