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Miter Saws

Miter Saws: An Introduction to This Essential Power Tool

A miter saw is an essential power tool for any serious DIYer or professional contractor. Named after the miter joint, which is a type of joinery used to link two pieces of material at a 45-degree angle, these specialized saws can make precise cuts with ease. Read on to learn more about what miter saws are and how they work.

Overview of Miter Saws

Miter saws typically come in two varieties: the larger radial arm saw, and the smaller chop saw. The chop saw is the more commonly used type of miter saw, and fits easily onto a workbench for use. It uses a round or diamond-shaped blade to make quick and accurate angled cuts, and generally has a rip fence that can be adjusted to easily keep the cut pieces straight.

These saws are often used to make cuts for picture frames, door frames, trim, molding and other projects requiring angled, non-straight cuts. The most important thing to consider when choosing a miter saw is the size and shape of the blade, as this will determine the type and size of material you can cut on it. Most miter saws have a blade diameter of 7” or 8”, but some specialty saws can have blade diameters up to 12” or even 15”. The larger the blade diameter, the larger the materials you can cut on it.

Types of Miter Saws

There are several different types of miter saws available, each suited to different applications. Standard miter saws are the most basic type, and are typically used by DIYers and professionals alike. They usually have a blade diameter of 7” or 8” and are suitable for making standard cuts on wood, plastic, and aluminum.

Compound miter saws are the most versatile type of miter saws, allowing you to make both miter and bevel cuts. This makes them particularly useful for projects with complex shapes such as crown molding, or for creating corners with multiple angles. Compound miter saws generally have blade diameters of 7”-12”.

Dual compound miter saws are even more advanced, allowing you to make both miter and bevel cuts on both sides of the material. These saws are great for making quick and accurate crosscuts, and are often used in cabinet and furniture making. Dual compound miter saws usually have blade diameters of 10”-15”.

Safety When Using Miter Saws

When using any power tool, safety is always the number one priority. It's important to follow the manufacturer's instructions and wear the appropriate safety gear such as face shields, gloves and hearing protection. Make sure to read and understand the user manual before using your miter saw, and always inspect it before use to make sure it is functioning properly.

When using a miter saw, always make sure that the blade is clear of any obstructions and that it is sharp and in good condition. Also make sure that the material being cut is securely held down on the saw table, as the rapid motion of the saw blade can cause material to move if not firmly secured.


Miter saws are essential tools for any woodworker or contractor, and can make a wide variety of angled and beveled cuts with ease and accuracy. With a little guidance and safety knowledge, you can be sure to get the most out of your miter saw and create high-quality projects. Hopefully this article has given you an introduction to this versatile and powerful tool, and you can now begin to explore the world of miter saws with confidence.

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