A miter saw is used to accurately cut across wooden boards. They can cut at different angles as well. But if you are getting inaccurate results on your miter saw, chances are it needs to be squared. And in this guide, we will teach you how to square your miter saw in easy steps.
A tool is only as good as the person who uses it. If you maintain it well and keep it in check, it will give you better performance. In the case of a miter saw, you need to square it if you want it to give you pinpoint accuracy. If the bevel and the miter angle scales are set to 0-degrees and you are not getting straight cuts across, your fence is not square with the blade. Or your blade is not square with the table.
There are many ways to fix that and you can find people squaring off their miter saw differently. The most accurate way to do this is by trial and error. You adjust the fence and the blade to make sure they are square.
Why Is a Miter Saw Preferred for Cutting across Wooden Boards?
When you have to cut a board across, you can easily do it with a circular saw. You can even use a jigsaw to do the job. Then why would you invest in a miter saw? What makes it so special? The answer is stability and accuracy. The kind of stability and accuracy you can achieve by using a miter saw is not possible with a circular saw and a jigsaw.
A miter saw can also cut at various angles with precision. It uses scales for measuring angles and you cannot go wrong with it. Once the saw is locked at an angle and the piece of wood is fastened on the miter table, you can cut it at the measurement you want without mistakes. If you still end up with mistakes though, chances are your miter saw is not square.
There is no one particular reason for the saw to not be square on arrival. It might have been assembled badly or it might be due to transport or delivery of the tool. But the good news is, you can fix this issue by yourself if you have the right equipment at hand.
How to Square a Miter Saw
To make your miter saw cut accurately again, you will need a square and a combination square. You will also need a piece of scrapwood for testing. The driver for loosening the screws on the fence and to change the blade is included with the saw usually. In case you do not have that tool, you might need to find a suitable screwdriver and wrench.
Unplug your miter saw from any and all power sources. Remove the power cord from any outlets and if running on a battery, remove it. You need to do this to avoid any accidental injuries since you will be working closely with the blade.
Now make sure that the miter angle and the bevel angle are at 0-degrees. You need to make sure that the scale indicator is at 0-degrees and then lock the saw in that position. To lock the saw in that position just press it down and then press the lock pin at the hinge.
Get a square and put one of its legs against the fence and the other leg should be against the blade. This should give you a general idea of the fence and whether it is attached straight to the table. If the square does not align properly, take the included tool to loosen the screws behind the fence. Adjust the fence till the square legs against the blade and the fence are properly aligned.
Once you confirm that the fences are aligned, it’s time to check if the blade is square against the table or not. You will need a combination square for this task. Place one edge of the combination square against the table and the other against the saw blade. Now if the saw blade is angling away from the table, then you need to adjust the blade since it’s not aligned properly.
Once you are done with squaring the miter saw, use a piece of scrap wood for testing. You will need to cut a thin piece off the scrap wood and check if both edges of the thin piece are straight. If one edge of the piece of scrap wood is thinner than the other, you might need more adjustment. But if you followed steps 1 through 4, you will not have this problem.
Things to Consider to Get Accurate and Precise Cuts from a Miter Saw
- If you are using a laser guide on your miter saw, make sure it is accurate. Most people do not rely on the laser guide as not all makes and models include one. But if you have one and use it frequently then make sure it is perfectly adjusted.
- Always clamp on the piece of wood that you are cutting using a vise. Some makes and models of the miter saw include a vise for fastening the piece of wood. This prevents and wobbles in the wood while the saw is cutting across it.
- Make sure to eye the miter scale and bevel scale to see if you have them right. Always lock them in place so they do not move while you are moving the handle down to cut the piece of wood.
- While touching the blade or making any adjustments to it, make sure to power it off. Also make sure to wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, a mask and earmuffs while operating the miter saw.