Landing Page

Adjusting Miter Saws For Accurate & Square Cuts

– In today's video, you'll learn how to calibrate your miter saw so that your cuts are square and true. Calibrating your saw simply means to check or if necessary, adjust the saw so that it's cutting as it's originally designed. Now this not only needs to be checked on older saws but surprisingly on newer saws as well. The first thing we need to cover before getting started is that there's two different styles or types of fences that come on most miter saws. The first is a two fence system like what you see on this 10 inch Hitachi and that simply means that there are two completely separate fences that are not connected. And once you adjust one, you'll need to bring the other one into alignment with the first. The second most common type of fence is what you see here on the 12 inch D wall. At first glance it looks like two separate fences. But if you look behind the blade, you can see a rail that connects the right side to the left side. Why do I bring this up? Because each fence style adjusts slightly different than the other ones. So you need to make sure you know which one you have before moving on. I do wanna quickly mention that it's very important that you double check to make sure that the saw is unplugged while you're making adjustments. We're gonna be bouncing back and forth between needing the saw plugged in to make cuts and needing it unplugged to make adjustments so please just be careful. Alright, the first two things you need to check regardless of what type of fence style you have is how straight the fence is and how flat the table is. To check for both of these you can use a good straight edge like this one here, or a good quality level. Just know that the straighter your straight edge, the better your calibration will be. To check the fence on a single fence saw simply line up the straight edge and check for gaps between the fence and the straight edge. A great tool to help with that and if you wanna get that precise, is a good set of feeler gauges. A feeler gauge is a simple group of thin metal gauges that vary in size and are used to determine the sizes of small gaps. To use the feeler gauge along with the straight edge hold the straight edge up to the fence and use a thin gauge to see if you can get it between the fence and the straight edge. To check the table, it's the same process using the feeler gauges to get a sense of how flat the table is from side to side. I personally have never worried about having my fence and table absolutely perfect. Somewhere around point 008 inches or point two zero millimeters is just fine for me. If your saw is out further than that I would recommend continuing on with this calibration process. Because by the time you get to the end, you might be satisfied with the way your saw is cutting. The other options are to return this off if it's new, replace it if it's old, or look up online to learn the process of how the flattened them both. Now I personally don't think that the extra flattening is worth it. But I'll let you be the judge and the jury when it comes to your tools. Moving on to check the fence on a two fence saw, simply line up your straight edge on each fence separately and check for gaps as before. So after you've made sure that the table and the fence is flat and straight, it's time to move on and talk about another important distinction. And that is saws with adjustable detents and saws without. For those of you that do not know detents on a miter saw are use to quickly stop the saw at specific miter and bevel angles. On this double fence saw the detents are built in and cannot be adjusted. And on the DEWALT they can be adjusted by loosening the screws that hold the detent in place. Regardless of what type you have, the next adjustments are gonna focus on making sure that that zero or 90 degree detent is perfect, because if that's good, all the other angles will be perfect as well unless there's something wrong with the detent itself, which is extremely rare. So let's look at how to adjust the miters on a to fence saw. I recommend using a piece of test material that's about as wide as your saw can cut. If you have a sliding saw I would use a piece that engages the slide function about halfway. For simplicity today I'm using an eight inch or 20 centimeter wide piece to test the miter angles on both saws. Before you make your first test cut, make sure that the wood that you're using has a nice straight edge on the back. Once you're sure of that mark it with an arrow so that side always stays towards the fence. With the saw set zero make your first test cut. (saw fussing) Using the square check to cut to see how well the saw is cutting. It sometimes helps to hold the piece up to the light to see if you can see any gaps. You can also use your feeler gauges here to help check if you're having a hard time seeing. This cut is looking pretty good, but I do see a bit of light coming through on one end. At this point, let's check and verify what we're seeing on the wood here is showing up on the saw. To do that use the square and hold it against the fence. Of course after you've unplugged the saw, now lower the blade down starting by the fence side and slide the square over until it lightly touches the blade. Most of the time it will be the teeth of the blade that touch first if you're using a large square, so if that's the case, always use the teeth as your reference points on the blade. However, if you're using a small square on a large saw, it normally falls on the blade itself. So if that's the case, always use the blade as the reference point, you can use the teeth or the blade itself for calibration. Just make sure you're not on a tooth on one end and on the blade on the other because most likely that's gonna introduce an air into your calibration. Once your square is properly positioned look and listen. You can see in here the blades teeth touching by the fence but not touching away from the fence because we can't adjust the detent on this saw, you will need to adjust the fence itself because the gap was here on the square that means the fence on this side needs to move back. There are generally two bolts that hold the fence in place because we're looking to move really one side or loosen the bolt on the outside slightly and then I'll loosen the interval a little bit more. That way I can get the fence to pivot off the outer bolt. The key is not to get the bolts too loose because you wanna loosen up that you can make an adjustment but at the same time you want it tight enough that once you do make the adjustment it stays. Here's what this looks like. While holding the fence in the square together as a unit. I'll push the fence slightly away for me while at the same time watching the gap close between the blades teeth and my square. It's hard to use the feeler gauge on this 10 inch saw because of the blade size. But depending on your setup, feeler gauges may be helpful here if you're referencing off the bla

Related Articles

Back to top button