If your work mostly involves creating decorative wooden pieces that require angled cuts with high-quality finishes, then you need a miter saw.
This saw can be defined as a tool that is specifically designed for making short length cuts such as cross cuts and of course, miter cuts.
It consists of a round blade that is mounted on a pivoting arm, an angle scale and a small base with a fence for supporting the board.
Along the scale are positive stops at common angles and these vary depending on the saw you buy.
Types of Miter Saw
That said, there are four main types of miter saws and these are:
1) Standard Miter Saw
This is the most basic type and features a pivoting arm along the horizontal axis for making crosscuts and miter cuts.
2) Compound Miter Saw
Apart from pivoting along the horizontal axis, the arm in a compound miter saw also pivots along the vertical axis on one side.
With this, you can make crosscuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts.
3) Dual Compound Miter Saw
A dual compound miter saw adds onto the functionality of a compound miter saw by having the blade’s arm pivoting on both the left and right sides.
This means you don’t have to flip the workpiece when you want to make an angled cut on the other side.
4) Sliding Miter Saw
Most sliding miter saws are dual compound types but have an extendable arm feature that slides the blade back and forth.
This makes it possible to make longer crosscuts, miter cuts, and bevel cuts.
What is a Miter Saw Used For?
This is a very common type of cut and it is done at a 90˚ angle (across the wood grain).
Miter saws are ideal for making this type of cut because they have a heavy, stationary design that is very stable.
Sliding miter saws are better off because they enable you to make longer crosscuts.
2) Angled Cut
Angled cuts are also called miter cuts and are the main reason behind this saw’s name. They are made by turning the blade to the side on the horizontal plane so that the cut is at any angle apart from 90˚ across the board’s width.
These saws have an angle scale to guide you as you make this tilting adjustment while positive stops at the common angles (22.5˚, 30˚, 45˚, 60˚ and 67.5˚) make it easy to set up.
3) Bevel Cut
Bevel cuts are cuts done on the workpiece’s thickness at any other angle that is not 90˚. Only compound miter saws can make this type of cut. In fact, in most cases, bevel cuts are done together with miter cuts to create compound cuts.
Compound cuts are usually used for decorative work such as in crown molding and picture framing.
Safety Tips When Using a Miter Saw
- If working on a very large workpiece, use a stand for support as you feed it to the blade.
- Use a blade with many teeth (over 90) for fine cuts. For construction cuts, use a blade with fewer teeth (50-90) as this puts less strain on the motor.
- Wear protective equipment such as goggles and earplugs. Avoid gloves and loose clothing that might be pulled in by the blade.
To conclude, a miter saw is highly recommended for making short length angled cuts, which are ideal for decorative purposes.
Therefore, if you are working on decorative finishes as part of your project, you need to buy a miter saw.