Miter Saws

Written by Jeremy Horelick
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Miter saws are intended for cutting at angles and splicing materials together with what are known as miter joints. Picture frames, moldings, and mattes all rely on miter saws for a solid construction that's also pleasing to the eye. But miter saws require a bit of expertise and shouldn't be picked up with a cavalier attitude, unless you're prepared to settle for a sloppy job.

Like any saw, the miter features a sharp blade, usually consisting of carbide steel teeth that can make mincemeat of hardwood. The miter is powered by a ball-bearing motor and may feature a die-cast base for added sturdiness. When operating a miter (or any woodworking power tools for that matter) there are a number of safety guidelines, some obvious, some not so obvious, to obey in order to ensure all limbs and extremities.

Safe Use of Your Miter Saw

Clearly, moving your hand anywhere near the blade while it's in motion carries the greatest risk. This is why the manufacturers of miter saws build fences and blade guards as part of their housing units. Still, there's always at least some part of the blade exposed during operation, no matter how many safeguards are in place.

As with other woodworking equipment, when your miter saw is not in use it's important to unplug the power cable. You should never employ a "cross-handed" technique when cutting either, as it's much easier to slip or lose your grip. You should always keep both feet on the ground for better leverage and be sure that the material you're cutting is long enough to fit your clamps.


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