How to Unlock a Miter Saw – a Step by Step Guide

Do you own a miter saw but it is locked and you do not know how to unlock it? Well with this plain and easy-to-understand guide you will be able to unlock your saw. And after that, you can make quick work of crosscuts and miters on longboards with ease.

There are many types of saws out there that can be used to cut wood. Most people who are starting up usually get their hands on a circular saw. Which is not a bad choice in the least since it is pretty versatile and portable. You can rip boards with it and cut across it with a circular saw.

But soon you come to realize that you need something with more stability that can cut at an angle. That is when people start to gain experience with woodwork and purchase a miter saw.


What is a Miter Saw and how is it Different than a Circular Saw?

A modern-day miter saw is basically a circular saw that is mounted. People usually create a station for it so that they can cut boards on it with ease. The biggest advantage of using this over a normal circular saw would be its ability to cut at angles and tilts.

The biggest disadvantage of using a miter saw against a circular one is you cannot rip boards with it. But that is not what the miter saw is designed to do. If you want to cut a board at an angle or a bevel then this saw has got you covered You can adjust the angles and the tilt you want to cut in with the gauges provided on the saw.

You can use a circular saw for this as well, but you do not have the same stability. Since the miter saw has a frame that holds it steady and locks it in place. You just move the blade up and down over the board to create a cut. Some makes and models also allow you to move the blade back and forth to cut wider boards.

The frame and the stability make a miter saw faster than a circular saw to cut across aboard.


Different Types of Cuts Made by a Miter Saw

We discussed earlier that a miter saw can make various cuts across any board. The cuts depend on the angles and tilts of the blade.

Angle Cut

The name itself tells what kind of cut this is. It is basically a cut across a board at an angle. The miter saw comes with a gauge to measure the angle you are cutting in.

Bevel Cut

The miter saw can also be tilted at a certain angle. Once tilted you can use the saw’s blade to create a bevel cut. The tilt can also be measured using a gauge that is usually present under or behind the blade. Some blades also feature a double tilting feature, which means that it can tilt the other way as well. You can use it to create double bevel cuts by tilting the blade both ways.

A Compound Cut

When you combine both a bevel cut and an angle cut, you get a compound cut. You tilt your blade and also move it at an angle to achieve this cut. This can be used to create some very interesting and complex joints using boards.


How to Unlock a Miter Saw

What does it mean to unlock a miter saw? Basically, when you are trying to use a miter saw, it is fixed in its position and does not move. This means that you cannot change the blade’s angles, tilt it or move it down to cut without unlocking it. These locks are present on it for stability and safety reasons so that the blade cuts straight across the board.

Let us talk about how to unlock the board for all the different cuts you need to make.

Unlocking the Blade

The miter saw has a guard on the blade that protects you and the blade itself when it is facing up. Only when you move the blade down to make a cut is when the guard moves out of the way. But moving the blade down cannot be down without unlocking it first.

There is a knob on the saw near the handle which needs to be adjusted. Once you adjust the knob you can move the blade up and down freely without problems.

Unlocking the Angle Cut

When you are using your blade to cut at an angle, you use a knob and a handle to adjust it. The knob can be turned to lock or unlock the angular movement of the blade. The handle can be used to change the angle and when you release it, the blade locks in place.

Unlocking the Bevel Cut

For the bevel cut, you need to unlock the tilt function of the blade. Usually, this can be done by moving a knob behind the blade. The knob is placed either under the blade or behind it. By using the knob you can lock and unlock the miter saw’s bevel cut functionality.

Unlocking the Slider

Some miter saw models feature a sliding function which allows you to slide the blade out. This can help in cutting longer boards with ease by sliding them back into the fence where you place the board at.

The slider is usually locked, but there is a knob right near the slider behind the blade that can be used to unlock it. Unlock the knob and then slide the blade back and forth without problems to create cuts across wider boards.


Tips and Tricks When Using a Miter Saw

If you know how to use a miter saw, it can be your best ally. You can make cuts across boards very fast and easily with it. This will save you so much time on projects specifically if you account for the bevel and angle cuts using it. Here are a few things to help you with your projects.

  • When you are using a miter saw, always wear protective gear. This is important when you are using any and all power tools. Wear glasses, you would not want sawdust to go in your eyes. Wear something on your ears to dampen the sound to prevent damage to your ears from loud noises. Lastly, wear a mask so no dust goes in your nose or your respiratory system.
  • When you are cutting boards by measurement, always make sure to consider the KERF. That is basically the amount of wood you will be chopping off with the blade. When you are cutting a blade with a saw, you are not splitting it apart. The place where you cut will always be turned into dust. So if you want to get the right measurement, account for that cut as well.
  • Miter saws come at different prices considering the features it will have. If you know what you will be doing with the miter saw then buy the one with the features that you need. Unless you have the money and you want to take your projects in a different direction, then you can buy the best model out there with all the features.
  • Always keep an eye on the gauges when you are making angle cuts or bevel cuts. Use all of the functionalities of the miter saw to your advantage. Make sure to use the fence to hold the board in its place properly.

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