Most contractors and woodworkers claim that the miter saw is the tool they often rely on the most in their workshop. Like any type of power tool, it’s designed to help you save time, allowing you to make cleaner cuts, faster, and easier. But what many beginners don’t know is that regular miter saw maintenance is needed in order to keep the saw working in top form. Since these saws usually come with a higher price tag compared to other types of saws, providing proper care and maintenance is crucial if you don’t want to have to replace your miter once a year. This means, if you don’t take good care of your saw, you’ll end up wasting hundreds of dollars. Poor maintenance can also have a major impact on the quality of the cuts.
Key Takeaway: If you want your miter saw to last, then you need to take care of it properly in order to prevent a wide range of issues, such as sloppy cuts and overheating. Regular maintenance will keep your saw working smoothly and will also extend the lifespan of the saw.
Even if you know how to use a miter saw and take care to prevent stalling and other issues during use, if you’re sloppy with your maintenance habits, then your miter saw is in big trouble. After each use, it’s important that you clean the saw and remove any debris. Little pieces of wood and sawdust that’s left behind on the saw can promote rust on the metal parts of the saw including the blade. These small pieces can also get caught in tiny crevices in the saw, preventing it from working correctly. In order to get rid of the sawdust and debris that’s stuck in the saw you can use a blower or compressed air to quickly remove it. You can also use your wet vac to suck up these small wood particles.
It’s also important to give the miter a regular thorough cleaning weekly. To do, use a dry cloth to remove any dirt or dust. The blade should be cleaned using a special brush. When cleaning the blade you’ll want to pay special attention to the teeth of the blade. If you don’t have a special miter brush you can also use a standard soft bristled wire brush.
The table and fence of the miter will also need a little TLC. The best way to go about cleaning these components is to buff them using a scrubbing pad. You can use a cleaning oil if you want to give them a nice shine.
How to Lubricate Your Saw
After your saw has been cleaned, the gears will also need some attention in order to work well. Keeping a miter oiled is what will allow it to run smoothly and will allow you to get your work done more efficiently and quickly. The oil you use can also help to get rid of the dirt, sawdust, and debris that you missed during the first step of the maintenance process. The oil can will get rid of built-up sawdust and dirt that’s stuck in the gears. Turbine oil is recommended for this task.
The safety guard, bevel, and hinges are the most important parts of the saw that will need regular oiling. We recommend applying turbine oil to each and every moving part that’s accessible. However, try not to overdo it. Only use a small amount of oil on a clean rag. Avoid soaking the rag.
Saw Blade Maintenance
If you notice a change in your saw’s performance, the first place to look is the blade. In most cases, a dull blade can be to blame. Sharpening the blade can have a major positive impact on your saw’s performance. Before you sharpen the blade, unplug the saw and wipe down the blade with a microfiber cloth. Once the blade is clean it’s ready to be sharpened. Begin by sharpening the edge of the blade, placing a sander in the center of the blade. Doing so will allow you to evenly sharpen every segment of the saw more accurately.
Dust Collection System
Dust collection systems are a popular feature that can help keep your workpiece and workspace clean and free of dust and debris. These systems need to be cleaned out once a month to ensure that it continues to function properly. To do, remove the holders that secure the hose to the vacuum. The interior of the hose should be cleaned out thoroughly. Once you’ve cleaned out the hose remove the built-up dirt, debris, and sawdust that’s accumulated around the entry point. This is what can easily clog up the whole system and cause it to malfunction.
Like any power tool, the miter saw will experience normal wear and tear, especially if you use it often. Because of this, you should check your saw for damage on a regular basis. Once a week look for cracks, chips, and any type of breakage. If you notice any damage, repair what you can or replace components as needed. In cases of serious damage, you may need to replace the saw entirely in order to avoid not only poor quality work but serious injury as well.
Routine Tune Ups
Tuning up your miter saw will ensure that the bevel scales and miter are calibrated properly and that all of the other components on the saw are working correctly. This task should be done once every two to three months, depending on how often you use the saw. If you use it on a daily basis, it may need to be done as frequently as once a month.
When Your Saw Needs to Be Replaced
With proper can and maintenance, your miter saw can last for years. However, there will come a time when the saw needs to be replaced as most will become worn over time. As we mentioned earlier, using a saw that’s damaged is very dangerous. The DEWALT DW717 10 in. Double-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw is a great upgrade and a miter saw that has a better than average rating for durability and power.
To learn more about the leading models of miter saws click here to check out our buyer’s guide.