Learn How to Use a Miter Saw for Cleaner Faster Cuts

Learn How to Use a Miter Saw for Cleaner Faster Cuts

For most woodworkers, the miter saw is the best tool to use. There are many types of miter saws to choose from, but sliding miters are very versatile and can do a wide range of cuts, smoothly, and easily, compared to a compound miter. They’re said to be the easiest, most versatile type of miter saw available, and they offer more cutting options, which is always a plus. If you don’t know how to use a miter saw, our guide will teach you the basics regarding operation and usage, what you can expect in terms of versatility, and why this is the go-to tool for most woodworkers.

Key Takeaway: If you need a saw for your next woodworking project, the miter saw is one that can save you plenty of time while providing clean, pro quality cuts that any woodworker will appreciate. These saws are often chosen over the classic compound miter simply because they’re so versatile and you won’t have to deal with constantly resetting the saw or flipping over your material to cut a different angle. This powerful saw will quickly become an asset in your workshop.

The Basics of Operation

Working with any type of power saw can be intimidating if you don’t have much experience. Most miter saws come equipped with some great safety features and a simple, straightforward operation that makes them very easy to use and beginner-friendly.

Models such as the Bosch 120-Volt 12-Inch Dual-Bevel Glide Miter Saw GCM12SD will allow you to cut a variety of angles. The saw’s base rests on the top of your workbench, and it’s commonly used to cut lumber, large pieces of wood, crown molding, window trim, and baseboards. It’s a great tool to rely on for bigger woodworking projects and a saw that can save you a lot of time, something every woodworker can appreciate. Miters can slide by and forth by using the dial found on the back of the saw.

Why You Need a Miter

These saws are available in a variety of shapes and sizes. The size of the miter ranges from as low as seven inches, up to twelve inches. This measurement refers to the size of the saw’s blade. Keep in mind, the larger the blade, the wider the wood you can cut through. However, with a sliding miter you’ll be able to cut a few inches wider than the blade diameter.

Miters are a great option if you have large pieces of wood that your table saw can’t handle. The main reason woodworkers and handymen prefer a miter saw is because of its ability to make angled cuts easily.  This saw will give you the nice straight, clean cuts you strive for with any project.

The Anatomy of a Miter Saw

The Anatomy of a Miter Saw

Most models come with a standard twelve-inch blade, which will allow you to slice through material up to six-inches-thick. Each miter comes with a blade guard, which will slowly move away from the blade as you lower it, and will move back up as you release it.

Blade Release

To release the blade on the miter, all you have to do is push down on the saw’s handle and push the blade release button. These saws will operate by squeezing the trigger located on the handle.


The fence on the miter sticks up from where you set the material and it’s what you’ll use to push up against the material in order to ensure the cut is nice and straight. If you fail to use the fence you can end up with an uneven, rough cut.


The gauge is where you’ll find the detents so you can use a variety of cut angles. The number of detents on a miter saw can vary from model to model. Higher priced models will usually come loaded with more preloaded detents.

Cutting with a Miter

To cut with a miter saw, first, you need to determine the desired length, measure the lumber and mark it. Next, line the wood up along the miter’s fence. We recommend testing the placement of the blade. Carefully lower the blade and determine if the wood needs to be adjusted for proper placement. Obviously, this should be done before switching the saw on.

Begin by squeezing the trigger in order to start up the saw. You should wait for the saw to reach peak rotation speed before you make a cut. As the blade rotates, slowly push the saw away and back as the blade cuts through the material. Once the blade has sliced through the material you can release the trigger and raise the saw.  If you’ve lined up the wood correctly, you should end up with a perfectly clean cut.

Keep in mind, when you measure and line up the wood make sure you factor in the width of the blade. If you end up lining the wood up on the inside of the cut you can end up with a short piece of wood due to the blade.

Caring For Your Miter Saw

Without proper care and maintenance your miter saw won’t work the way it should and over time, it can cause a major issue with its performance. Because of this, regular maintenance is necessary. If you’re a first time saw owner, then we recommend reading our article on miter saw maintenance. This guide will list the steps you need to take in order to keep your saw working the way it should. Our tips can even lengthen the lifespan of your saw. To learn more click here.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to use a miter saw doesn’t have to be complicated. By following our basic steps you’ll be able to cut a wide range of angled cuts, quickly and cleanly. Most woodworkers who have used different styles of miter saws swear by the sliding miter. These saws are considered the most versatile and can provide even more cutting options. If you’d like to learn more about the leading models of sliding miters available and the features to look for, click here to read our buyer’s guide.

Learn How to Use a Miter Saw for Cleaner Faster Cuts
Article Name
Learn How to Use a Miter Saw for Cleaner Faster Cuts
Learn how to use a miter saw, find out why these saws are essential for most woodworking projects and why you'll come to rely on one in your workshop.

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