Why You Need a Miter Saw in Your Woodworking Shop
What is a miter saw and why do you need one in your workshop? Read on and learn more about this wonderful carpentry tool that will make your woodworking projects much easier and more enjoyable.
The Miter Saw and Its Uses
To answer the first question, a miter saw is a specialized woodworking tool that will help you cut wood at different angles. The miter saw is particularly designed for making crosscuts (wood cuts across the width of the wood), miter cuts (wood cuts done across the width of the wood but at an angle), bevel cuts (straight wood cuts that are done at an angle through the depth of the wood), and compound cuts (a combination of the miter and the bevel cut, or angled cuts done at an angle through the depth of the wood).
Because the miter saw is made to cut wood at different angles, this carpentry tool is perfect for making baseboards and crown moldings, as well as for assembling picture frames, cabinet molding, furniture, decorative wall panels, chevron flooring, and any other woodworking project that requires angled pieces.
A typical miter saw possesses the following basic features:
- The blade for cutting the wood. The miter saw blade can move up and down and swivel from side to side for crosscuts and miter cuts. In some kinds of miter saws, the blade can be tilted at an angle to create bevel cuts. Also, the bigger the blade, the longer the cuts you can make.
- Miter and bevel stops for setting the angle of the cut. These stops position the blade where you want it so you can get the miter or bevel cut you need at the angle you want it.
- Depth stops for controlling the height of the blade. The depth stops allow you to make deep or shallow cuts depending on your needs.
- Positive stops for effortless blade settings. Positive stops are factory-set stops set at specific angles. These allow you to spend less time measuring your cuts and work on your projects more quickly.
- Locks for holding the wood in place while it is being cut so it will not slide off to give you an incorrect cut or cause accidents. These locks can be spindle or shaft locks.
- The fence for supporting the wood stock. The fence ensures that the wood to be cut is stacked correctly and will not move while it is worked on. You get to slide them out when making bevel cuts.
- Table extensions for supporting longer pieces of wood. It’s difficult to get an accurate cut with longer wood pieces if the piece is just hanging there.
- Brake and trigger for controlling the blade. This is a push-on-push-off mechanism that allows you to stop and start the blade.
- Dust bags for collecting saw dust, so you won’t have to exert a lot of effort cleaning up after you’re done using your miter saw.
When you use a miter saw in assembling your multiple-piece projects, you guarantee that the pieces you use will fit together to a tee. This tool takes away the guesswork that is often required in old-school carpentry. Moreover, a miter saw allows you to tackle more creative projects that would normally take more time and effort with the use of more traditional carpentry tools.
What Kind of Miter Saw Would You Need?
Do you see now why you may need a miter saw in your workshop? It will really help you work on your carpentry projects more quickly and easily. However, don’t just rush to the nearest hardware store to get a miter saw. There are different kinds of miter saws and you need to know first just what kind of miter saw you would need, depending on the woodworking projects you typically work on.
The first kind of miter saw is the basic miter saw. As its name implies, it’s the simplest of miter saw types. That’s because its blade can only move vertically. Because you can only move the blade up and down, it’s only good for making crosscuts and miter cuts. It’s a great beginners’ miter saw if you’re just dabbling with woodworking.
The second kind of miter saw is called the compound miter saw. This is the miter saw for the more serious woodworkers. That’s because the compound miter saw is a lot more versatile than the standard miter saw. Not only can the blade move up and down, but it can also move to one side if it’s a single-action blade, or from one side to another if it’s dual-action. The blade can also tilt horizontally. Thus, the compound miter saw is great for creating horizontally angling cuts like the bevel cuts and the compound cuts.
The third kind of miter saw is called the sliding compound miter saw. This is the miter saw you will need to invest on if you’re a professional woodworker. The sliding compound miter saw is just like the compound miter saw. The difference is the table is bigger and the blade can slide back and forth. This saw is good for cutting larger and wider pieces of wood.
Other types of miter saws include portable miter saws, which can work even without a power cord. So you won’t have to be dependent on AC/DC power to get it up and running. There are also miter saws that come with laser or shadow guides that let you cut your wood pieces more precisely. Some miter saws also come with digital displays to help you set the miter saw to create truly accurate cuts.
Now that you know what a miter saw is, can you now see why you need one in your woodworking shop? Whether you are a professional woodworker or just a serious woodworking DIYer, investing in a good miter saw can make your woodworking projects a lot easier and less time-consuming. You will also become more able to tackle more creative and complicated woodworking projects with the help of a miter saw. Just decide what kind of woodworking projects you are most keen on doing and buy the miter saw that best suits your needs.
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