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Essential Miter Saw Safety Tips that Could Save Your Life

miter saw safety

Any craftsman knows that their greatest companion is the variety of tools they use. Keeping those tools safe is of utmost importance because they cannot do without their tools.

One such tool is the miter saw. If you’re unfamiliar with its safety, this article is for you.

Miter Saw Safety Tips

  • Switching it on and off

It’s a very thoughtful matter. You should only turn this on when you’re about to use it and release the switch immediately after using it. Unplug the saw when repairing or changing any of its parts. Forget about using it if the switch is not working because it can be dangerous.

  • Stability

Stability is of utmost importance here. If not properly fixed, this could cause serious trouble. Try to mount it on a firm leveled surface. If you’re using a table, then consider bolting in saw to fasten the saw with the table.

  • Plan your work

Make sure that you gather all the essential accessories like table clamps, sawhorses, and particularly table extensions for longer pieces.

Don’t substitute table extensions with a person stabilizing the workpieces. These long workpieces can tip, hence lifting the lower guard, and the blade will throw the cutoff pieces away.

  • Materials to cut

Miter saws are designed to deal with wooden materials; its use for metal or other hard materials with abrasive cutting blades is prohibited. Its dissenting use can cause sparking, damaging lower guard, and overloading the motor. If you still prefer using it, choose the right blade for the right material.

  • Fixing and cutting the unusual workpiece

Your workpiece’s shape can be bowed, curved, or rod-like.

For bowed or curved workpiece, ensure placing the bumpy side against the fence, leaving no gap between the fence and workpiece. Now clamp the workpiece and make a cut.

For rod-like or round workpiece, use a fixing or jag in which you fix the rod to stop it from slipping, and clamp. The rod can cause the blades to bite and pull your hand in the blade along the rod. Furthermore, don’t cut more than one piece at a time.

  • Support the workpiece with the clamps

If the workpiece is too long to hold by clamps, then you can use your hands. Don’t forget to keep your hands at least 6 inches away from the blade. Don’t use if the piece is too small to clamp, and requires your hands close to the blade.

  • Reading the instructions

An instructional book often comes with your purchase. Read and follow those instructions.

Operational Safety Rules

  • Setting up the place

Clear the saw table of all the small woodpieces or any other thing. If they get strangled in the blade, they’ll come back at you and can hurt you.

  • Safety essentials

Add glasses and ear protection in your safety essentials. For precautionary measures, don’t wear gloves or any loose stuff. These things might get tangled in the blade.

  • Routine check

Try it without the workpiece, and check if everything’s working fine. For any jammed materials, release the switch and wait for the blade to stop. Then unplug and free the unit of the material.

  • Inspecting the saw guard

Before you use the tool, check the saw guard. If the guard is not working properly (opening and coming back to its normal position), consider repairing or replacing it.

  • Securing the workpiece

Don’t use hands to hold the workpiece. Always clamp the workpiece and secure it tightly to avoid any mishap. You can use a fixture or a jig to place the uneven workpieces (curved or rod-like).

For crown molding, place the flat side against the surface, or use a jig to make a smooth and stable cut.

  • Using hands

If you have no other option than holding the workpiece with your hands, then keep them away from the intended line of cutting. Don’t cross your hands to support the workpiece, like holding the right side of the workpiece with left hand. In this way, when you bring down the blade, it will target your forearm.

  • Driving the blade

When you turn on the blade, let it run on full speed. Then bring it down to make a cut. After completing the cut, release the switch and let it stop completely, then raise the blade.

  • Pull cut on the sliding saw

Never make a pull cut on a workpiece, as it will cause kickbacks and can lead to the horrible consequences.

  • Thrusting or chopping cut

You need to tighten the side lock knob for chopping cut. With the loose lock knob, the loose head assembly will cause kickbacks and force the blade towards you.

Conclusion

These safety guidelines can help you overcome your fear of using your miter saw. It’s time to make create splinter-free and right cuts the safest way possible.

FAQs

1. Are miter saws dangerous?

Ans. They are super easy to use if you follow the instructions; otherwise, they can be tricky to handle and dangerous. Be cautious about your hands, blades, and saw guard movement: altogether, consider dry checking unit.

2. Why am I experiencing kickback?

Ans. There are a few possible reasons –

  • During a chopping cut, if your side lock knob is not tight.
  • If you thrust the blade down to make a cut instead of bringing it down smoothly on the workpiece.
  • If you try to make a pull cut on the workpiece with a sliding miter saw.

3. Why is my miter saw burning the wood?

Ans. The common reason for this type of saw burning the wood is that the blade gets dirty and dull, thus cut the wood slowly. Slow movement causes greater friction; in this way, the contaminated blade is responsible for burning the wood.

4. Can I use my miter saw on the floor?

Ans. Yes, you can use the saw on the floor for light work, but if you’re dealing with something heavy, then you should consider a stand for your saw and fasten it with bolts.

5. Why does my miter saw smoke?

Ans. Blades get heated when cutting, so melt the pitch and sap in the wood. These sticky materials on the blade slower its speed, causing more friction, burning the wood and creating smoke as a result.

About the author

Brent Butterworth

A Professional Woodworker & Custom Furniture Builder

Brent lives in Wisconsin and is a woodworker, custom cabinetmaker, interior consultant, and a freelance writer who got the opportunity to write several magazine articles for different publications on home improvement and woodworking. He’s always amazed at the depth and breadth of woodworking all over the globe, and feels proud to be a part of this great effort. Brent has built everything one can imagine, from unique art furniture to different types of home furniture to canoes and even a sailboat.

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