How To Use A Miter Saw – An Ultimate Guide

For woodworkers and DIY lovers, knowing how to use a miter saw is crucial as this tool is famous for its efficiency and precision when cutting through woods. 

When using a miter saw, it can be intimidating and scary at first because its size is massive compared to a regular saw. Furthermore, the look is significantly robust and bulky with a powerful blade. 

But don’t worry! In this step-by-step guide, I will show you in detail how to use a miter saw safely and effectively so that you can make wonderful woodworking projects. Let’s dive in! 

How To Use A Miter Saw?

Step 1: Select The Right Miter Saw For You

These miter saws are available in many different functions and sizes, so choose wisely the one that best suits your needs. 

The blade diameter determines the saw size. It normally varies between 8 to 12 inches. The saw’s cutting capacity depends on its blade. The larger the blade is, the thicker and wider boards you can cut. 

For amateur woodworkers or DIY projects at home, you should choose a blade that is below 10 inches in diameter. Anything above that will be a bit dangerous and require heavy protective gear. 

Step 2: Decide How Much Horsepower Your Miter Saw Will Need

I measure the strength of the electric motor using horsepower. The greater horsepower, the more bulky and robust the tool will be. 

A standard miter saw has either a 2- or 3-horsepower motor. To cut heavy, thick wood in the factory, you need a saw with a 3- to 5- horsepower motor. However, for DIY projects at home, a 1½- or 2-horsepower motor is enough as it will ensure your safety. 

How To Use A Miter Saw

Step 3: Set Up A Solid Table To Put The Saw On

The miter saw is strong and powerful, which will create many shaky movements for the table. If the table is not solid enough, it may collapse, which poses a great danger to you! Hence, make sure to find a proper table for your woodworking project. 

For extremely long material, it would be better to work on the floor. However, with sophisticated, small-sized designs, a table with a large surface will be ideal as you can put things together right after the cut to see how well it matches. 

How To Use A Miter Saw

Step 4: Ensure Your Safety

A miter saw is useful for making cuts from 45 degrees to 90 degrees on drawers, doors, and face frames. This is a tool originally designed for factories, industrial purposes. So, a novice woodworker or hobbyist may find this saw dangerous, and it takes quite some time to get used to it. 

Provided that you have a smaller, more elegant version of it for DIY purposes, you still have to be extremely careful! Woodworkers must always put safety first and wear protective gear the entire time working with the saw. 

Below are some tips I would like to provide to keep yourself safe: 

  • Avoid wearing jewelry, any bracelets, necklaces, or long clothing when working with a miter saw. If you have long hair, tie it up! You don’t want anything dangling that could get into the blade. 
  • Always wear safety glasses or eye protection – no exceptions!
  • Please pay attention to where you should place your hand at all times (most saws include warnings on them to keep your hands a specific distance from the blade).
  • Use a hand clamp if you can afford one. This useful tool helps keep your hands away from the blade. Place the clamp at least 6 inches from the blade and tighten as hard as you could. Most clamps have a small knob so that you can adjust if necessary. 
  • Consider wearing additional PPE depending on what material you are cutting, such as gloves, dust mask, ear protection, or dust collection. 
  • Ensure the blade guards are in place and operating properly. Without turning the saw on, move the saw head up and down a few times to make sure the bottom guard is moving out of the way like it is supposed to. 

How To Use A Miter Saw

Step 5: Familiarize Yourself With The Saw

Don’t go directly to the cutting part when first using a miter saw. It would help if you got to know the tool, get the hang of it before making your first cuts. If you can find a manual, go over the instructions carefully. 

Make sure you know where all the locks and buttons are so that you can stop the machine immediately once you feel it is out of your control. 

Remember that even the most professional woodworker familiarizes themselves with the tools before getting started! So, there is no reason for you to rush into your DIY project. 

How To Use A Miter Saw

Step 6: Mark Your Material

You should measure where to cut while keeping blade width in mind. Mark where you want to cut gently with a pencil. Then, on the board, position your woodwork against the fence. 

Let’s follow the old saying “cut once, measure twice” when using miter saws. Because the blade is around 0.12 inches thick, it is critical to consider its width when determining precise cuts. 

Step 7: Prepare For The Saw

Determine where the button is to set angle adjustments on the saw. You need to remember two things: the miter refers to the saw’s horizontal angle, and the bevel is the saw’s vertical angle.

You don’t always have to have an angle in your mind to start sawing. Set both bevel and miter to 0 degrees if you plan to saw without any edges. 

Depending on your workpieces, you may adjust both settings, one setting, or none at all. After the saw is ready, turn it on by squeezing the trigger, then accelerate the blade to maximum speed before dragging it down toward the wood. 

Step 8: Start Sawing

Moving your material from the front to the back while making cuts. This movement corresponds to the blade’s spine and prevents kickbacks. Release the trigger once you slide through the material and allow some time for the blade to stop completely. 

Miter saw might be scary when you first use it. However, don’t loosen your grab on the material just because you are scared. 

If you don’t hold on to your wood piece hard enough, you will not get the shape you want. In the worst-case scenario, the piece can be driven back by the sharp blade itself and hurt you. 

How To Use A Miter Saw

Step 9: Make A Cut

There are two types of cuts woodworkers can make with a miter saw – miter and angled cut. 

If you are looking to make a miter cut, turn the miter gauge to the desired angle and lock the lever. Luckily, most saws come with preset stops, allowing you to make cuts at common angles much easier. 

Remember, a perpendicular slide should start at 0 degrees, and then you can adjust it accordingly. Lower the blade to cut through the wood from back to front after the saw is set. 

Twist the blade arm to the table bed if you want an angled cut. This cuts a bevel and an angle at the same time. Although most saws are able to bend in both directions, some can only bevel to one side. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How Many Types Of Miter Saw Available On The Market?

There are many types of miter saw, each one offering exceptional cutting ability and functionality. 

  • Standard Miter Saw: This is the basic miter saws that offer straight cuts in various angles. Standard miter saw possesses a cutting size ranging from 90 degrees to 45 degrees angles. 
  • Compound Miter Saw: This type of saw can rotate the blade at any angle from the board, allowing you to slide through the wood beyond the basic 90 degrees. Compound miter saw allows complex, ramp-angled cuts into the woodside, which would help a lot when trimming wood at home. 
  • Dual Compound Miter Saw: It can rotate the head left and right. This becomes helpful when doing multiple types of trim work. 
  • Sliding Compound Miter Saw: You can move the saw head up and down, back and forth as it adds a radial arm saw feature, significantly increasing its cutting capacity. 

What Are Common Uses Of Miter Saw?

Miter saws are extremely useful for crafting furniture like gates, frames, ledges, boxes, or crown molding since I primarily use them to make miter cuts. 

The ability to slide and adjust angels quickly only takes users a few seconds to have the desired angles, allowing you to work on a huge amount of wood pieces in less time. 

This type of saw is popular on construction sites as well, especially in framing phases. Massive-sized miter saws are capable of trimming down wall studs, other framing components and cutting the desired angles for any of them in just a few seconds. 

Where To Buy A Miter Saw?

You can find miter saws at any hardware stores or shops for woodworking. If you don’t want to walk out of your house in this humid weather, you can order it online from the eCommerce sites. 

At See My Saw, I introduce the best types of miter saws to satisfy your need for woodworking. I always try to give the best advice regarding which shapes and sizes of miter saws you should purchase depending on your situation. 

If you are working for construction sites or factories, I recommend the most robust and massive miter saw, like the Delta 26-2251 one, which can cut through thick, heavy pieces of wood in a few minutes. 

On the other hand, if you are a woodworker who wants to make sophisticated wooden furniture for your family, I have the right one just for you – Delta S26-262L


In this article, I have gone over a detailed guide on how to use 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.

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