How to Use a Miter Saw? Step-by-Step Guide

How to Use a Miter Saw
Photo: Metabo HPT

The miter saw is a handy power tool to have in your workshop if you want high precision when cutting moldings and lumber, and this is more so for angular cuts.

With a good miter saw, there is a lot more you can do in your workshop. However, you need to know how to use it correctly for the best cuts.

When to Use Miter Saw?

The miter saw is a finishing power tool that is ideal for trim carpentry. That said, the saw still comes in handy for a wide variety of cuts.

You can use this saw to make angled cuts on crown moldings, rafters, trim work, door frames, picture frames, and window casings.

Read More: What is Miter Saw Used for?

When equipped with the right blade, the miter saw is also handy for making straight crosscuts, which means it is quite a versatile power tool for both DIYers and professional woodworkers.

How to Properly Use a Miter Saw?

When to Use Miter Saw
Photo: DeWalt

Step 1: Familiarize with the Tool

Before you start making those cuts with your miter saw, the first step is to familiarize yourself with the tool.

It is a great idea to go through the manual and understand how it works and what it can do and cannot do.

Additionally, make sure you master the location of all the locks and adjustment mechanisms, as this will be vital when cutting.

Remember that different types and models differ a lot, and so even if you have used one before, you still need to familiarize yourself with what you have.

Step 2: Calibrate Saw

It is hard to find a miter saw that comes calibrated and ready to use. Therefore, before making your cut, it is necessary to calibrate the saw.

Most manufacturers provide guides with step-by-step instructions on how to calibrate their miter saw, and you can also find lots of helpful information online.

Step 3: Mark the Material

Once the saw is calibrated, the next step should be to prep for the cut by marking the material. What makes this step vital is that no matter how well the saw might cut, you will not maintain good precision without knowing where you have to cut.

When marking the cut line, you must take the blade width into account as you are measuring.

A good idea is always to measure more than once to ensure maximum precision when cutting. After marking the cut line, you should then place the wood against the fence.

Step 4: Prep the Saw

Prepping the saw for a cut should not be confused with calibration. Here you have to make the miter and bevel adjustments to suit the cut you intend to make.

The bevel angle is the saw’s vertical angle, while the miter is the horizontal angle.

For cuts that do not require miter or bevel edges, you should set the angles to 0 degrees.

Once you have the desired angles, you should then power on the tool and allow the blade to attain the desired speed before pushing it down to the workpiece.

Step 5: Make the Cut

When cutting, ensure you move from the front to back and not vice versa. With this movement, you can avoid kickbacks as it matches the blade’s spin.

After cutting, you should release the trigger but make sure you wait for the blade to stop spinning before lifting the tool from the workpiece.

Important: Before using a miter saw, remember to take safety precautions like wearing safety glasses and ear protection, use good miter saw stand and secure any loose clothing or jewelry.


A miter saw is a very useful power tool in the workshop, but you need to know how to use it properly to get the best out of it.

With our step-by-step guide above, making basic cuts should now be a breeze.

However, it is essential to note that how you use the miter saw depends on the type and model, but in most cases, the overall process still entails the steps above.