How to Use a Miter Saw

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A Miter saw is an indispensable tool when it comes to carpentry. Using a miter saw is very easy and straightforward; also, there are different types of miter saws that make different types of cuts. 

The thing that makes miter saws so easy to use is that you move the saw and not the piece you are cutting as it remains clamped down. This makes using a miter saw safe, so throughout this article, we will show you the best and easiest ways of using a miter saw alongside some safety precautions.

Know Your Saw

Before doing anything, you need to become familiar with your saw, and this means, of course, knowing which type it is, and most importantly, becoming familiar with it. The important thing is to test out the saw’s grip (while it is turned off) and deciding whether you feel comfortable or not.

The blade’s diameter is essential as it determines the width and size of your cut.

As we stated before, there are different types of miter saws; actually, there are three types, and they are:

  1. Standard Miter Saw
  2. Sliding Miter Saw
  3. Compound Miter Saw

The big difference between each type of these saws is the angle in which they perform the cuts. The standard miter saw cuts a board perpendicularly or at a 45 degree, while the sliding miter saw cuts horizontally, which makes it perfect for cutting wide board or pieces of wood, and finally, the compound miter saw allows you to move an angle away from the vertical angle.


Since your safety and the safety of those around is of utmost importance, we had to include the safety precautions before actually talking about making the cut. So here are the most essential safety precautions that you need to perform before making a cut:

  • Always use the blade guard when cutting.
  • Wear safety gloves and safety goggles.
  • Wear a facemask to protect your face from all the dust and splinters (if cutting wood).
  • Wear overalls to keep your clothes clean.
  • Take off any and every piece of jewelry you are wearing, even your watches and rings.
  • If you are using a corded miter saw, then make sure that the cord stays out of your way to avoid cutting it. The best way to do so is to dangle the cord over your shoulder.
  • Always make sure that the saw has come to a full halt before raising it.

The Cut

Now that we have covered everything that you need to know before you actually make a cut, we come to the actual process. Making a cut is relatively easy, as all you have to do is to:

  1. Abide by safety precautions.
  2. Mark the cut that you want to make on your board.
  3. Clamp and hold down the piece you are cutting.
  4. Turn on your miter saw, and you are good to go.

The thing is due to the miter saw being capable of cutting at different angles, you can make up to 5 different cuts, and we will discuss each cut separately.

Miter Cut

This is an angled cut that is used to form any joined corners. Performing it is quite easy as all you have to do is:

  1. Turn the miter know to 90 degrees.
  2. Slowly but firmly descend the blade’s handle to cut the piece of wood.

Bevel Cut

The bevel cut is used for making baseboards and wall corners. To perform a bevel cut, you need to:

  1. Unscrew or loosen the bevel lock knob.
  2. You will find that your blade has either leaned to the left or to the right and is ready to make an angled cut.

Compound Cut

A compound cut is a mixture of both a miter and a bevel cut, and it is used to make angled cuts along the board’s width. To perform an angled cut, you will need to:

  1. Adjust the miter by rotating the saw.
  2. Unlock the miter handle.
  3. Move the handle to choose your desirable cut.
  4. Once you decide your angle, lock the miter saw back again.
  5. While cutting, you will need to loosen the bevel lock knob and move the blade while using the bevel scale to get your desirable and angle.

Sliding Cut

This cut is used for materials thicker than wood or for really large and thick pieces of wood. To perform this cut, you need to:

  1. Unscrew and loosen the slide lock knob.
  2. Pull the saw up.
  3. Let the blade reach its maximum speed.
  4. Descend the blade towards the piece you are cutting, and you are good to go.


This is the most simple and basic of cuts. It is very straightforward to perform, and it is used to make perpendicular cuts at a perfect 90 angle. All you have to do is:

  1. Turn on your miter saw.
  2. Press the trigger so that the blade starts to spin.
  3. Let the blade reach its maximum speed, then finally lower the blade to make your pre-determined and marked cut.

Final Thoughts

Finally, it is safe to say that a miter saw is a really indispensable tool, whether you are a seasoned professional or a DIY-er. It will always come in handy due to its versatility and capability of making so many different types of cuts.

John Graham

John Graham

I am a 35-year old avid DIY-er. Ever since I was young, my father used to prompt me to help fix things around the house or even building my own cupboards and shelves.
That’s why I developed the habit of doing everything on my own. And since this is the only way to reach the unique results I really want, I don’t like depending on any services.

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