When you need an accurately angled cut, you can’t do much better than the trusty miter saw. A mitersaw can be fixed along any point on a 180 degree axis, allowing for precision cuts that require little effort or skill at all from the operator. When precision is foremost on a job, it pays to have a miter saw around.
A miter saw works because the blade itself is mounted to a free moving arm. The arm is connected to a heavy base that secures the saw and provides a table for the workpiece. The free moving blade arm can be secured at any point along the axis. Once the arm is secured and the workpiece is in place, the arm can be slowly lowered to do the actual cutting. Because the arm is locked in place, it guarantees a precise cut all the way through.
Miter saw features vary by model and price. Basic miter saws only rotate in one direction, while more expensive models, known as compound miter saws, will rotate in multiple directions. As the base plate of most saws is not very large, you may also want to consider buying a miter saw stand. With a stand you can operate with additional safety, as your workpieces won’t be hanging off.
Treat a miter saw much like you would a table saw when it is in operation. Keep your work area clear of any excess material that could cause an accident and be sure to wear safety glasses, as you will be working closely with the saw. When you begin cutting, press the blade down steadily while holding the workpiece firmly in place with your other hand.
If you have a miter saw that allows the blade to slide along the arm you should always be pushing the saw away from you, and never toward you. In general, you should avoid cutting anything that is twice or more than the length of the saw’s table.
The leading miters saws brands are Ryobi, Hitachi, Bosch and Makita. The Makita LS1030N is a good basic miter saw. For a compound miter saw, the Delta 36-255L Twinlaser is a good choice. The Porter-Cable 3807 is a good deal on a sliding miter saw. The Bosch 3294 is a cordless sliding compound miter saw, if you need to work with some mobility outside the shop.