Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Miter Saw Tuning

Drum roll please…………

I did it.  It’s done all the pictures are done for the Miter Saw tuning post.  I can’t believe it. 


Okay So here we go. 

First and foremost when you start this process :



Okay now that I have that out of the way.  Seriously please take care of yourself and watch what you are doing. 

Squaring the Blade to the Fence:

You will need a speed square or some kind of accurate square that you can check 90° and 45°.IMG_3860_1024x768

Make sure your saw is set and locked at the 0° take your square and lay it on the table to check for 90° make sure the it is flush against the fence.  You are looking to make sure there is no gap between the square and the blade.  Make sure that you don’t put to much pressure on the blade as it can cause it to deflect. 



Now once you feel that the blade is square find a piece of scrap wood and and make a cut with the widest side laying flat on the table.


Part of the reason I included a video here was to show some safety precautions.  When you are making your cut you want to start the saw close to the the material make a slow and steady cut through the wood.  Once you have made the cut leave the blade in the down position and let the blade come to a complete stop.  This does a couple of things.  It reduces the risk of you sticking your hand in there and trying to grab the wood.  It also keeps you from possibly causing the blade to catch the wood and at best chipping at worst possibly throwing the piece at you or across the shop.  You will also notice that I keep my hand on the piece through the entire cut, I also as the blade is slowing slide the “non waste” side away from the blade.  I don’t know if this is good or not it’s just something that I gave gotten in the habit of doing.  In my mind it helps keep the blade from catching the piece as well. 

Now once you have made your cut get your straight edge out and align the two pieces against the straight edge.


You will notice that I have labeled one part with a T(top) this is just for orientation.  Now take the one piece and flip it over 180° on its top. 






Now you want to check for any kind of gap between the two pieces. 






Fortunately for me I don’t have any gaps in my pieces so I don’t need to adjust the saw.  For this cut.  If you do need to adjust this please refer to the manual for your saw.  Typically there are bolts that will allow you to adjust where the saw stops.




Checking the 45° Miter Setting:


Just as we did with the 0° setting take your square and set it to check for 45°.  Again make sure not to press to hard against the blade and keep the square flush to the fence. 







Take a try square or a combination square and check the miter for square also check to see there there are no gaps in the miter itself.  We are looking good here no adjustments needed.  If you need to make adjustments refer to the manual for your particular saw for adjustment details. 




Checking Bevel

Like checking for square set the saw to 0° and make sure you are still square.  Now take another piece of scrap and place it on edge and make your cut. Once again take those pieces and align them against a straight edge and the flip one piece like you did before and check for a gap.


Hey guess what.  I have a gap.  I will be spending a little time adjusting this.  Again if you have a gap here refer to your manual to on resolving this issue.  Now I need to go find my manual. 





You will want to perform a similar cut when you put the blade on a 45° Bevel.


  Take your piece on edge and cut a 45° in this piece and another and set up the miter similar to what we did here:






  Again make sure to check for square and gaps and refer to your manual. 





Sorry to keep telling you refer to your manual but each saw is just enough different that it is important to refer to yours so you can adjust your saw accurately. 

I hope this helps you in setting up your saw and providing a little bit of safety and usage guidance.  Please feel free to ask me any questions or if you would like to see any other photos please feel free to let me know. 

After making the adjustment needed you should have a very accurate saw that will allow you to make nice square cuts and will allow you make the nightstand with ease. 

Have a Great Day!


  1. Thanks for your sharing. I am going to buy miter saw cut metal and wood. I wonder two brand Hitachi with Dewalt from this site. You have many experience, give me your advice

  2. Hey Mary, Congrats on looking to purchase a new tool Thats always fun. I personally would choose the DeWalt they always seem to hold up well and they feel a little more substantial to me. I don't think you will go wrong with either one. One suggestion if you're not already looking at it is to get a sliding miter saw, its much easier if you are going to do boards over 6".

  3. Great post full of useful tips! My site is fairly new and I am also having a hard time getting my readers to leave comments. Analytics shows they are coming to the site but I have a feeling “nobody wants to be first”.
    Pete M. Ebel

    1. That is a very difficult part of blogging. The other part is staying current with all that life throws you. Good luck with your site let me know the url and I'll make sure to stop by and I'll comment for sure.

  4. I bought a miter saw last year that I am afraid to use. Maybe this post of yours will convince me to give it a try.

    1. Roosevelt, I understand you hesitation. Power tools can be very intimidating. The biggest thing I can impress on you is the proper setup and usage, making sure to always keep your fingers away from the blade and take your time. If it doesn't feel right don't start the blade. Find some scrap wood and just take your time and practice and if you still are unsure about using it, then I would sell it and find another tool. Its not worth using/keeping a tool that you are afraid of. I hope however that this post will give you some confidence to give it a try.

  5. Hey thanks for this great post. I am new at woodworking and I am surfing the internet for ideas about how to use different tools. From your expertise in this field, can you ask for one pretty basic lesson? What is the basic difference between miter saw and table saw?

  6. Thank for your sharing. I read information very late, your article is closed but congrats to our winner. I bought Dewalt miter saw. It very good, I think I create anything that join contest

  7. Thanks for this great post.One suggestion if you're not already looking at it is to get a sliding miter saw, its much easier if you are going to do boards over 6".

  8. Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful project! The jars are looking awesome.

  9. You have done a great job on this article. It’s very readable and highly intelligent. You have even managed to make it understandable and easy to read. You have some real writing talent. Thank you.



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