For those of us who enjoy craftsmanship, a miter saw is irreplaceable. No other tool can match the accuracy and precision of a quality MS. Of course, to make a perfectly angled cut you need a saw to match. Sure, many models are capable of achieving accurate results right out-of-the-box but, after a few years of wear, any miter saw occasionally starts missing the target angle.
Miter saw replacement parts can be quite expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to be a trained technician to perform some basic testing and maintenance. If you notice that your saw has been losing precision, use the following tips and tricks to help restore or even maximize its accuracy.
Test Your Technique
We’re all human. So first off, make sure you haven’t accidentally readjusted any settings. After that, spend a bit of time analysing your cuts and try using different movements. The first thing to try is making slower cuts. Some saws aren’t powerful enough to make a clean cut as fast as others. Also, wait a few seconds after lowering the blade completely – pulling it back up right away can result in splinters and torn edges.
Try a Different Blade
The blade included with a meter saw at purchase is usually not the type meant for high-precision jobs. Use that 20-60 tooth blade for decking, framing, etc. For finer jobs, buy an additional 80-100 tooth blade (preferably one with carbide coating). Also, make sure you choose a blade that has a negative hook direction. Ideally, it should have a hook angle of 10 degrees (max.)
The support table isn’t as solid as it may look. By making all those miter and bevel cuts, you effectively increase the gap, which diminishing the table’s support structure. If you own a less expensive saw, chances the table is destabilized after just 2-3 months of use. Even a zero-clearance support table will only hold for about 10-15 months, before starting to give in to the constant, repetitive pressure.
The DIY solution is making a wooden support structure for the saw’s table. If you have the space, make a small auxiliary stand with a horizontal beam on the top, left side. By propping your saw up against the beam, you’ll decrease the gradual splitting. Find a way to fixate the unit in place and your saw will be as sturdy as when you first bought it!
Check for Dents
Start with the fence. The extendable parts tend to bend easily. If your measurements confirm that the fence isn’t totally straight, use a pry bar to straighten it. Just don’t forget to loosen the screws, or at least the two located near the gap. This is a much simpler task if you have another person to hold the fence in place.
Though modern miter saws have come a long way, they’re still nowhere near perfection. No matter how much technology advances, having the right know-how will always come in handy. So, before you toss your saw to the curb, make sure you aren’t throwing away a fully-functional tool that just needs a bit of maintenance.