A miter saw is an amazing woodworking tool to cut almost all types of cuts quickly, preciously, and at different angles. It is supposed to be effortless to use.
I confirm the tool’s helpfulness; however, knowing how to use a DeWalt or Ryobi miter saw out of the box is not the case for beginners. It requires time to become familiar with the saw parts and techniques to make different cut types.
Thankfully, I publish this article to put all the necessary information for beginners to know and use miter saws from today.
Understanding of a Miter Saw Anatomy
Whenever you start learning how to use a woodworking tool, I recommend understanding its main parts and their functions first. Not all miter saws are the same; nonetheless, there are seven shared components.
A blade allows for cutting the workpiece into smaller pieces, whose performance is mostly based on size. Most saws use 7¼ or 8½-inch blades; meanwhile, bigger tools use 10-inch or 12-inch blades.
Larger diameters cut faster and more easily. Yet, you still should not use a different size blade than the recommendation of your miter saw. Without fitting securely on the hinge, the blade works unsafely and ineffectively.
A guard is usually added to cover the top half of the blade and prevent accidental touching.
You usually find a trigger-like switch directly integrated into the handle so that you can start and stop the saw at hand.
Supposing you let off the trigger, the blade will stop spinning and completely stop seconds later.
The saw sits on a large flat portion known as the table, serving as a base to mount other components. The table is also your working space where the blade contacts and cuts on the workpiece.
A miter saw comes with two fences on both sides. They are perpendicular to provide a 90-degree surface to keep the materials up against and stable.
Now, fences have become more functional – they can be adjustable to different angles or work as quick workpiece measurements.
By changing the degrees on the miter adjustment, you can decide what angle to cut on the materials. The more options in the scale, the wider range of pieces you can work on.
Some common angles to set for your miter saw are 22.5°, 45°, and 90°.
Here comes another adjustable scale commonly seen on compound miter saws. It helps determine how far your tool can tilt.
For instance, you can adjust the angle to the max and turn the board over for backward cuttings.
The rails allow your miter saw to slide back and forth to cut longer pieces if needed.
You also find additional parts that help improve the overall safety and effectiveness, namely kerf inserts, detents and lock knobs, dirt collector, etc., besides the above main components.
Miter Saw Using Guide – Examples of Dewalt and Ryobi Miter Saws
Dewalt Miter Saw
Step 1: Prepare Your Workspace And Safety Gear
Many instructions do not alert you about woodworking safety techniques. However, this is the first check when you plan to work on a miter saw.
- Always wear goggles, safety glasses, hearing protection, a dust mask, a face shield, and other PPEs to protect your eyes and ears.
- Avoid wearing jewelry, bracelets, necklaces, or long clothing when working with a miter saw. Tie your long hair up, just in case since you don’t want anything dangling that could get into the blade.
- Ensure your woodworking space is large enough to handle long and wide materials.
- Get yourself a good extension cord to power up the saw and other gear if you need to use them together.
- Have the miter saw firmly attached to a rigid frame or on a workbench around your waist.
- Lock the tool and attach all guards while not using the saw.
- Carefully read the manufacturer’s manual guy and safety instructions, if any.
Step 2: Check The Components Of The Saw
Without turning on the saw or taking out the guards, you must check all components, avoiding any loose parts or misconfigurations.
- Move the saw’s arm up and down several times so that the bottom guard moves out of the way.
- Assure that the blade and the saw table are square. Otherwise, the joints will be open and look sloppy whenever you cut the materials. You need to pull the guard out and bring the blade down in contact with the top and bottom; thus, be extra careful not to cut yourself.
- Lock the blade supposing you need to check other parts. There is a lock near the dust collector. Then, carry the handle – not any other parts, when you want to move the saw around.
- Scan all parts to ensure they are correctly assembled, and there are no rusty joints.
Step 3: Turn On The Miter Saw
The DEWALT 12-Inch DWS715 provides a safety release feature on the trigger handle. You will put two fingers on the release, one to pull the safety out of the way and the other to switch the power on.
Next, unlock the saw and move it up to insert the workpiece on the bend. You can get familiar with the cutting path by raising and lowering the handle several times before actual cuts.
Step 4: Set Up The Stock On The Bench And Make The Cuts
Keeping the helpful old saying of carpenters: “Measure twice, cut once” in mind, I recommend preparing the workpiece beforehand to enhance cutting precision. You can measure where to cut, considering the blade width and mark the cutting points with a pencil.
Don’t just put the wood in the middle beneath the saw unless you want to break your fingers. Instead, you will fly the material from the fence as follows:
- Put the workpiece behind and vertically against the fence. You can even securely compress the material to the fence if you have a clamp.
- Have the thinner side exposed under the saw blade so that your cutting is clear and less vibrative.
- Hold one side of the wood while you put your fingers away from the blade.
- Let off the tool and slide the workpiece away from the blade.
- Wait to lift the saw blade until it has finished moving.
Step 5: Adjust The Bevel Of The Miter Saw
If you need to cut the materials from different angles, Dewalt allows adjusting the slope from 0 to 48 degrees to the left or 0 to 3 degrees to the right. Plus, you can use the miter adjustment scales to make various cutting angles depending on your cutting types and workpieces.
Remember to remove the fences to clear the blade’s path.
Ryobi Miter Saw
The second example I want to showcase is the Ryobi 10 Amp 7 1/4 Sliding Miter Saw. This sliding tool has some interesting parts to make your cutting more effective.
The usage of this Ryobi saw is quite similar to that of the Dewalt counterpart. You remain in the basic steps:
- Prepare the workspace and safety gear.
- Check the components in advance.
- Turn on the miter saw.
- Adjust the bevel and miter adjustment according to your preferred cutting angles.
There are differences in setting up the workpiece and making the cuts.
Although you still put the materials vertically against the fence, the Ryobi tool has a built-in clamp to secure the materials while cutting. Then, you loosen the sliding knob on the back and slide the handle instead of sliding the workpieces:
- Pull the trigger handle toward you.
- Squeeze the trigger.
- Lower the saw blade fully.
- Then, put the side rail away from you to make cuts.
How to Unlock a Miter Saw: Dewalt and Ryobi Ones?
You should lock components for safety when you do not use the miter saw or when the tool is delivered to your house. Then, it is helpful to learn how to unlock the saw and start using it.
Dewalt DWS773 Miter Saw
There is a knob at the end of the miter adjustment to lock and unlock the saw quickly. In the case of unlocking, you follow these steps:
- Push the knob up.
- Bring the miter adjustment scale to the center.
- Loosen the knob on the trigger handle.
- Also, bring the handle parallel to the rail.
- Pull the pin on the side rail.
Then, the Dewalt miter saw is ready for your next cutting task.
RYOBI TS1346 Miter Saw
Although the way to open a miter saw is similar to almost all models, the positions and number of knobs and pins might differ by brand.
Speaking of Ryobi, they have a knob on the trigger handle and another kabob behind the side ride. Those knobs are unfortunately not opened by turning back and forth. You need to know the tricks:
- First, press down the trigger handle and pull the handle’s knob out rather than turn it around.
- Screw the handle of the miter adjustment and the clamp in place.
- Adjust the miter adjustment’s handle aligned with the knob behind the side rail. Then, turn it around to adjust the angles between the blade and the saw.
You have got the unlocking work done, then.
How To Cut With A Miter Saw?
45-degree Angle Cuts
Angled cuts are effective in making joints and shaping wood for decorative purposes. Interestingly, making this type of cut with a miter saw is easy.
You can pull the miter adjustments, so the point is on the 45-degree mark, move the fence, and lower the saw’s handle to cut directly at 45 degrees on the workpiece.
Crown Molding Cuts
Apply how you deal with the 45-degree cuts to make crown molding ones. This type does not require bevel cuts, though. You simply adjust the miter adjustment to specific angles on both sides.
Crowns usually come in 52/38 degrees or 45/45 degrees.
Baseboard Trim/Quarter Round
You can use the baseboard cuts to cover the joints and uneven edges between the wall surfaces and the flow. As such, measuring the angles on the walls and marking the workpieces for cutting is necessary.
Then, you can cut the angles based on your measurements.
Note that the baseboard trim uses the quarter-round molding to be attached.
In this article, I have gone over a detailed explanation on how to cut trim, quarter round, crown molding, or baseboard with a miter saw. This tool comes in handy in many situations, whether you are a wood lover crafting at home or a professional working for factories or construction sites.
Hopefully, this step-by-step guide will support you in working with miter saws safely and effectively.