Miter saws are great to own as they have a variety of applications and can be used to easily cut wood quickly.
That being said, many people who don’t have a lot of experience with miter saws tend to get confused about its operation as well as its assembly.
In this post, we’ll go over things you should know about miter saws including how you can unlock them.
What is a Miter Saw?
Many people believe that miter saws are heavy-duty professional tools that are difficult to get the hang of.
This is completely false as there are many affordable and (relatively) light miter saws that you can purchase for projects within your own home.
Furthermore, they are also fairly simple to use and you can get the hang of it by practicing for just a few days.
A miter saw is a circular saw meant for crosscutting wood to the desired length. You use a miter saw by cutting wood perpendicular to the wood grain.
A miter saw is called that because of its ability to cut angled miters.
You can rotate it from side to side, which ensures its ability to crosscut wood at many different angles (usually ranging to about 45 degrees on each side).
Thus, you can utilize miter saws to create a number of different objects such as:
- Door frames
- Picture frames
And much more.
Two 45-degree miter cuts can join together to form a 90-degree angle. This is called a miter joint.
Miter joints are a very easy way to join two pieces of wood. However, it should be noted that a miter joint is not exactly the strongest type of joint out there.
Do not use miter joints in any case where they may come under a lot of force.
Either use some other type of joint or reinforce your miter joint so it can handle the force.
All You Need to Know About Miter Saws
In this section, we will detail everything you must know about miter saws in order to get started.
If you’re a beginner that does not know much about miter saws, then this section will definitely be of use to you.
So, without further ado, let’s get started:
Miter Saw Head
The miter saw head is the top part of the miter saw. It has a reinforced spring inside it, which ensures that the saw is kept tense and allows for easy rotation.
After you are done making an angled cut using your miter saw, the reinforced spring ensures that the miter saw returns to its original position.
Miter Saw Sizes
As you can probably imagine, miter saws are available in many different sizes.
Typically, miter saws can range from anywhere between 7 inches to 12 inches.
When we talk about miter saw sizes, the measurement that we’re referring to is the diameter of the saw blade.
The most standard miter saw you can get is typically 10 inches.
If you need it for smaller pieces of wood, then you can opt for a smaller miter saw but if you’re looking to cut large, thick pieces of wood, then you can opt for a 12-inch miter saw.
While miter saws are designed to be incredibly safe, there are still some precautions that you should definitely take before starting work with them.
Some of these precautions are:
- Wear safety goggles or some type of eye protection. This is not optional but essential as you need to protect your eyes from sawdust or splinters that may fly off as a result of the cutting.
- Wear safety gloves. While the miter saw has a blade guard to protect your hands and arms, it’s still a good idea to wear some type of reinforced gloves to ensure you’re safe in case something happens.
- Wear some type of mask or respirator to ensure you don’t breathe in sawdust. This can be highly harmful if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect your throat and lungs.
Speaking of sawdust…
Many miter saws come with vacuum chutes which collect the sawdust that’s created and pour them into a collection bag.
While many miter saws can do this fairly well, the truth is that most sawdust collection accessories that come with miter saws don’t really work well.
If this is the case with your miter saw, then there are a few things that you can do:
- Invest in some type of external sawdust collector.
- Wear a respirator or a mask to protect your lungs from sawdust
- Work in a highly ventilated area and not in a closed room.
Most miter saws come with a clamp of some sort which enables you to secure the miter saw onto your workbench or work table.
Of course, this makes the miter saw much easier to maneuver and handle.
You can also invest in extensions for miter saws which can enable you to cut much longer pieces of wood. This can be handy if you’re working on larger projects.
You can also have stops on the wood which allow you to flip it over or repeat different types of cuts.
There’s also the handle which you can think of as a screw that holds the table in place. You can loosen the handle slightly in order to swivel the table any way you want.
This allows for easier maneuvering and cutting, especially when you’re making angled cuts.
How to Unlock a Miter Saw
Unlocking a miter saw may seem like a daunting task if you’ve never done it before but the truth of the matter is that it’s incredibly easy.
Just follow these simple steps to unlock the miter saw:
Step 1: Unplug the miter saw from the power outlet.
Step 2: Grab the saw with one hand and press on it with your other hand to relieve the tension on the locking pin.
Step 3: Pull the locking pin near the table and the motorized saw head to unlock it. Slowly release the pressure of the saw head.
It’s important that this be done slowly so that the reinforced spring does not knock the saw blade over.
Step 4: Twist the handle button located on the table lever to the left. This will unlock the table hinge.
Step 5: Using the handle, turn the table either left or right (whichever side is easier for you).
Step 6: Turn the handle knob to your right in order to lock the table in place.
Step 7: Your miter saw is now unlocked and ready for cutting.
How to Lock a Miter Saw
Just like unlocking, you also need to be aware of how to lock the miter saw in order to make it safe for storage and transport.
In order to lock your miter saw, follow these steps:
Step 1: Plug the miter saw out of the power outlet after finishing your project.
Step 2: Unlock the saw from the table by using the handle knob.
Step 3: Turn the transom so that the handle is now facing the front of the bolster.
Step 4: Turn the handle knob to the right side in order to lock the table.
Step 5: Place the motorized saw head on the table using the motorized saw head manage.
Step 6: Insert the locking pin into the engine block and the switchboard and then, slowly release it from your grip.
You should hear a small click that confirms that the miter saw has been properly locked.
Step 7: Place the miter saw in storage or in any vehicle you wish to use for transport.
Important note: Be sure to never use the handle to carry the miter saw when the motor unit is unlocked and the miter saw is not in use. This can damage the miter saw.
Down Position Lock
The down position lock ensures the miter saw is safe for storage and transport whenever it’s not in use.
The blade is in the down position and the blade guard covers the top part of the blade.
The teeth and lower part of the saw blade are safely secured below the table.
There’s a single knob that controls this lock.
You can push or pull the lock in order to release or secure the blade.
Depending on the miter saw you have, you may need to twist the spindle but the movement is only inward or outward.
When the spindle is released, the saw blade should lift automatically.
There are two angle locks located on the front of the saw on each side which control the angles of the miter saw.
There’s a lever under the locks which can be unlocked to free up maneuvering for common cutting angles.
Some manufacturers have this lever at the top of the knob but they work the same way.
Knurled Lock Button
You can use the knurled lock to turn the clamping wheel.
This unlocks the action of the saw blade for side-to-side pivoting.
Preset Corner Lock
You can press the lever to release the preset angle. Remember to be careful as it’s spring-loaded.
Wrapping Things Up…
We hope you have a better understanding of how miter saws work and how you can lock and unlock them after going through this post.
Remember that miter saws are fairly easy to handle and not difficult at all to use once you do your research.
Be sure to do some practice before starting work on your actual project if you’re using a miter saw for the first time.
What was your first experience with miter saws like? Let us know in the comments below.