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A miter saw is used to cut boards down to smaller lengths. It is stationary, which means you can place it on a benchtop and take the wood to it. It is capable of cutting boards with a crosscut. It can also be used to make angled cuts. Frequent use of your miter saw and constant movement from place to place, cutting a variety of materials, and many other factors may end up knocking your saw blade out of alignment. Simply put, your miter saw blade might get quite loose. Some Miter saws are already out of alignment from the onset of purchasing them.
If you’ve noticed that your miter saw doesn’t cut square or straight, it’s probably time to square it. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know to square your miter saw. Below are some steps to take when you notice that your saw doesn’t cut straight or is out of alignment. Also, check out how to use a sliding miter saw to know more about a miter saw.
HOW TO SQUARE YOUR MITER SAW
CLEAN THE SAW
Firstly, you should wipe up the saw to cleanse it. Dust from frequent sawing and other debris can be hidden in the saw and make it to trammel, contributing to the misalignment of your miter saw. It would be best if you made cleaning your saw after each use, a habit. You can make use of an air compressor coupled with an air nozzle attached to the opening of the hose to blow out debris and dust from each corner of your saw. Next, you want to wipe the entire saw with a clean cloth (preferably cotton) for a clean start and also make sure to remove any pitch build up.
CHECK THE BLADE
Just before you place your miter saw back into alignment or square, it is important that you look at the blade of the saw to see how it looks. If it isn’t clean and has gathered particles, debris, or sawdust, you should clean it up and check if the blade is dull; if it is, then you ought to sharpen it before moving to the next stage. You can remove or reduce pitch build-up by making use of stain remover. If your blade is bent or broken in any way, replace it as it may interfere with the squaring process and make it unworkable.
Most people using miter saws already set them into a working table, so you probably have used a saw table at a job sight or own one or looking forward to owning one.
Now, the table rarely goes out of alignment, but sometimes, due to constant usage and old age, it may become misaligned. It is advisable to adjust the table alignment to make sure that it’s flat. Next, place a straight edge on the table to check how it measures up to your taste. If the alignment is off, you should replace that particular section of wood. You can also add a small wedge to make a level surface once more. You can also inspect for gaps using your eyes, although it is not accurate or reliable.
Now that you’ve corrected everything you need to align on the table, it’s time to square your miter saw’s fence. The fence is located at the back end of the table. It is used to lend support to longer materials while cutting. To spot areas that are not square, simply place a straight verge just along the length of the fence. Now, if the fence is not straight, loosen the screws holding it and keep adjusting until it is square. Once it’s square enough, tighten the screws back into their position. Once you’ve made sure a side of the fence is square, you can square the other side of the fence one after the other as they may not be on the same alignment. Then inspect to see if they are both squared before moving on.
MITER ANGLE ADJUSTMENT
It is essential to ensure that angle of the miter saw is squared. For this, the blade’s level angle has to be set at 0 degrees. Next, you have to set the miter angle at 0 degrees. Note that the miter should square with the fence. Place a rafter layout or combination square on the table and make sure that it’s square. Rest one of the edges of the square against the fence’s front edge. Lower the saw to the blade’s lowest position, then slide the square to the side edge of the blade. For the blade side to be accessible, you may need to raise the blade guard.
At this juncture, the square’s edge should rest against the blade side while the other side rests against the fence. Inspect for any gaps between the fence and the blade. If there are any gaps, you will need to loosen the miter and tighten the knob. Slightly adjust the miter angle until the fence, and the blade is square to each other, then loosen the screws in the detent plate to adjust to a 0-degree position.
ADJUST YOUR BEVEL ANGLE
It is necessary that bevel angle is checked. If you have a compound miter saw or a standard miter saw, Your major concern should be putting the zero degrees angle and the table square together. Place the square on its edge, ensuring that one edge faces upward from the table and the other edge lies flat on the table. Bring down the saw blade along with the raised guard.
Shift the square to the blade until the abrupt end, and the blade is aligned to one other to check any gaps between the blade and the square. If there are gaps between the blade and the square, loosen the bevel adjustment knob, then twist it to adjust the bevel. Ensure that the saw blade and the square are aligned to one another. You may also shift the detent of the bevel, depending on the specific model of your saw.
TEST FOR ACCURACY
After making all the necessary adjustments, it’s time to test out it’s accuracy. Turn on the miter saw and use a large piece of board to create a crosscut that must be at 0 degrees miter. Next, use a level or square to check the accuracy. If it is still not square, then you need to repeat the process until it is squared. Testing for accuracy is a trial and error method, so you must keep repeating the process until it is squared.
Always ensure that you unplug your miter saw before proceeding to make any form of adjustments. Even when the miter saw is unplugged, you can still get shocked by the electrical currents running through the equipment.
Be cautious when working closely with the blade and ensure that you’re in a spacious environment where you won’t be bumped into, especially when working with the blade.
You must check and inspect your miter saw frequently. Squaring your miter saw will help to make your woodwork very accurate. Make sure to follow the manual while taking these steps and also take all the safety precautions. Please make sure you check your blade, sharpen it regularly, clean it up and square it.