- First thing’s first: familiarize yourself with it. Reading the manual should be your top priority, although I have to admit that you might be too excited to do that just yet. Take a very close look at all of the parts of the miter saw. Know where all the knobs and switches are, and understand the motions of the moving parts. Memorize where the adjustment controls are located.
- Read the manual. A lot of people prefer to skip this step, and a lot of people end up with accidents. This is a large, heavy and complex machine that it meant to cut straight through all manners of hard objects. Try to let that sink in for a bit. A lot of thought and effort has gone into its creation, so the least you can do is understand it.
- Pick it up and get acquainted with its weight. You will be carrying this tool throughout the job and will be moving it up and down, and from side to side. By the time you begin working, you should already know what to expect in terms of how heavy it is.
- Check if your working area is large enough for the project. A miter saw can do a lot of damage to objects that were not even part of the project to begin with, like ceilings and walls. You will be extending your arms while holding out a long, moving blade. Make sure that none of your movement will be restricted.
- Make sure that you are wearing the proper gear for the job. This means no loose clothing and your hair is supposed to be secured. Loose hair and loose sleeves will easily get caught in the blade, and nobody would want to learn the horrors of that firsthand. Also, if possible, wear eye protection as well as hearing protection. Eye protection is quite paramount in this case, as saw dust will be flying everywhere. Losing your vision while using a miter saw can be the introduction of a horror movie. Also, some miter saws may be so loud that they damage your hearing.
The First Cut
Once you are all ready, it’s time to make the first real cut. Make sure that whatever material you will be cutting is set flat against the proper surface. Ensure that the material is completely secure, it may cause accidents if it isn’t.
Next, secure the fence. Most, if not all, miter saws come with a fence, which is meant to hold the material in place as you cut. This is both for safety and accuracy reasons. As tempting as it is to go freehand sometimes, the fence is there for a reason. Use it and learn to love it.
Finally, align the miter saw with where you are going to cut and remember very clearly the range of motion you will be needing. Some provide laser sights for you to follow. Start the machine up with the trigger and push the saw away from your body as you cut. Do this very slowly and steadily. Continue with the motion until the material is completely cut.
You have made your first cut, and you should be proud. You will only get better with practice. Make sure to maintain your miter saw properly and to always keep in mind all miter saw safety precautions.