Using a miter saw in your shop can allow you to safely make high quality, repeatable cross cuts in a highly efficiently fashion. If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to add one of these to your shop, it will be important to understand the anatomy of the tool well enough to choose one that will meet your needs, and ultimately to learn how to use a miter saw in a safe, effective fashion. There is a lot of variation in design on miter saws, and George will break it down into a few simple categories to help you narrow your search based on your requirements.
Choosing a saw
There are many options when looking at miter saws, including saws that handle different blade sizes as well as different cutting capabilities: standard miter, compound miter, and sliding compound miter. When choosing a miter saw, it is important to understand what each of these terms means, and what each capability can add to your shop so that you can buy only what is needed for your situation.
When using a miter saw, one thing that you will notice is a dramatic difference in quality depending on the blade that you use. Blade attributes such as tooth geometry and number of teeth will have direct bearing on how easily the blade cuts through your work piece, and what the cut surface looks like following the cut.
Before using a miter saw, it is important to understand how to safely use it to make cuts. The right approach will be based on the type of saw you have, and knowing the right sequence used for making a cut on a particular saw is not necessarily intuitive. But understanding the right approach for your particular saw, you will enjoy both a safer shop experience as well as higher cut quality when using a miter saw.