how to use a compound miter saw

How to use a compound miter saw

One of the most important and essential tools in any woodwork is a miter saw. If you recently bought, one and you are wondering how to use a sliding compound miter saw? This article will help you in learning the basics, but before that let look at different types of miter saws.

Miter saws are useful when making mitered joints that are accurate especially when running baseboard or trimming at home. There are three commonly known types of the power miter saw. These Ares-

  • Standard miter saw-This is a basic miter saw that is capable of making perpendicular cuts onboard through angles between 45 degrees to left or right.
  • Sliding miter saw-It is a special miter saw that slides along the horizontal arm and it could be pushed towards a material to cut a wide piece of material.
  • Compound miter saw-With this type of saw you can tilt the blade at a certain angle i.e. from vertical to a compound angle.

Steps to follow when operating a miter saw

Find the right miter saw to buy or rent

Before you can begin, working on a miter saw you first need to determine the power that you require in the saw. Most electrical tools including miter saws their power rating isĀ  measured in amperage. Standard miter saw amperage rating is between 12 -15 amps. If you want to cut through large pieces of material you will need a commercial tool.

You can either purchase some of the best miter saw brands like Dewalt Dws779 or Dws 780.The saw is not a must it be brand new because you can purchase used compound miter saw that are available online on different sites. The other option of having a miter saw is renting out however this can be costly because some projects can take longer time.

Set up a mitre saw table or stand

It is more comfortable and safe operating a miter saw on a table or stand other than the floor. Even if you have large workpieces, make sure you have the right size table that you can use to operate the miter saw. Most saws do not come integrated with a stand, however; you can always purchase one or even make at home using locally available material.

Read miter saw manual

Most miter saws and circular saws from big brands always come packaged with a user manual that guides you on how to operate the tool. Miter saw safety is always the first section of a manual that contains all the rules to observe while working. Manual also helps you understand the saw requirements before you can begin operation.

Understand basic miter saw parts and their use

Miter saw comprises of several very important parts that are very useful. For example, the angle scale and angle indicator are at the front of the saw while the blade guard is in position to stop the blade in case of an accident.

Miter saw power switch and the trigger is also in a position to lock the saw when not operating. Laser guide helps saw user make precise and accurate cuts. Another important part of a miter saw is a locking clamp that helps in securing workpiece while working on it.

Learn how blade travels

After understanding miter saw basic parts, you need to get familiar with how the blade travels sawing through a piece of wood material. This helps you to avoid accidents that usually occurs when cutting.

Try cutting a piece of material on the miter saw bench

The only way you can learn how to use a miter saw is cutting a piece of material several times. Make sure the workpiece you are cutting is big enough to be secured using clamps. Make different angle cuts and join two pieces at a certain angle. For example, in order to make a square i.e. 90 degrees corner, you have to cut two pieces of wood in 45 degrees angle.

Perfect your cutting skills

Continue practicing cutting scrap material in order to perfect your cutting skills. Make sure you experiment with various miter saw functions.


It is my hope that this article has given you tips on how to operate a sliding compound miter saw. You should now grab the best miter saw from a store near you and begin practicing.


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