How to Calibrate a Miter Saw

Tuning and adjusting miter saw for better blade accuracy.

So, you have recently bought a new miter saw, and now you need to calibrate it correctly to get the most out of it. Yet, you are at a loss as to how to calibrate it. It is understandable to feel that way whenever you do something for the first time. Fortunately, calibrating a miter saw is more straightforward than other tasks you would engage in. Besides, if you got the proper tools and the correct method of calibrating it, you could make the calibration quick and easy.

There are many other reasons your cuts get crooked using the miter saw. But one primary reason is that your miter saw is not yet calibrated. Nevertheless, before you calibrate your miter saw, ensure that you read with care the miter saw’s manual to do it right.

Steps on How to Tune and Calibrate a Miter Saw Blade

To achieve perfect cuts using the miter saw, calibrate your miter saw’s bevel and miter angles before cutting your workpieces. Calibration is a crucial step that you should not overlook. Below are the straightforward steps on how you can calibrate your miter saw:

Step 1: Prepare Your Miter Saw by Cleaning It

Before calibrating your miter saw, you need to prep it for calibration. It should become second nature to you to inspect any power tool before you even turn it on. Check for any clue of dirt and pitch buildup. Check likewise if the saw blade is curved or warped. 

It will be best to clean it well. You can clean the saw blade first using a homemade solvent for removing residues. If such is the cause of the issue, you could solve it by simply cleaning it.

You can also utilize an air compressor equipped with an air nozzle to do away with sawdust. Afterward, wipe down the unit using a newly washed cotton cloth. Inspect the different components of the miter saw as you wipe it with the cloth. 

Check likewise for excessive pitch buildup. It will be best to use a stain remover to do away with the pitch buildup.

Step 2: Utilize a Speed Square to Figure out If the Saw Blade Needs Adjustment

One helpful tool in adjusting your miter saw blade is the triangular marking tool called speed square. Before using this device, you should first disconnect the saw from the power source. Then, position the speed square uprightly on your table with its edge fitting evenly with the saw blade’s opening against the saw blade’s side. 

Let down the saw blade onto the table and set the speed square against the saw blade’s side. If you see at the bottom edge a gap, it indicates you need to adjust the saw blade.

Step 3: Make Some Adjustments on Your Miter Saw Blade

You are not getting optimum cut from your miter saw because the saw blade is loosely fitting or displaced. If such is the issue, you need to loosen its bevel handle, located at the saw’s backside. Adjust the saw blade’s bevel until the speed square perfectly fits onto the saw blade’s side. Afterward, tighten the handle. 

You should also adjust the stop bolt until it is set perfectly with the bolt. If the bevel goes back to zero, the saw blade is squared perfectly at the right angle.

Step 4: Inspect Your Table’s Position

You should test the miter saw’s table if it is set at the correct position. You can use a flat level for this purpose. Place it on edge over the saw’s table. If there’s any gap between the table and the level, you need to adjust the table. If you see a large gap between your flat level and the table edge, you might need a new table. 

There will be instances wherein you get minor errors when cutting small wood pieces. This issue might be a factory-setting issue. In such a case, you need to calibrate the components to get optimum results from your miter saw’s performance. 

Likewise, it will be best to check the saw blade if there is an issue with its level. If there are issues in the saw base, you can make a few adjustments by simply customizing the miter saw’s base or tightening screws on its base.

Step 5: Check Using the Flip Test

You can do this test by setting your miter saw at 90 degrees. Then, trim the board’s end and do a second cut a few inches longer than your previous cut. Afterward, you can flip over your second piece and position the first cut over the succeeding cuts. 

Check if the cuts are set against the fence well. If you see a trilateral gap among the pieces, you need to adjust the position of the miter saw blade. It means that the saw blade isn’t set at the right angle. You can also use a similar test with your bevel cut.

Step 6: Ensure that the Fences are Aligned

Another thing you need to align is the fences. You can utilize a level and speed square for this purpose. Ensure that you unplug the saw before tinkering with the two bolts on the fence’s left-hand side. Then, lower your saw blade and position the speed square flat adjacent to the fence. 

Adjust the fence until it comes flush with the saw blade’s side. Tighten the bolts and position a three-foot level over your fences. 

Then, make an adjustment on the right fence until it comes in complete contact with the saw’s left fence and becomes even with it. It is crucial that the two fences align with each other and the saw to achieve consistent cuts.

Step 7: Fix The Bevel Angle

To adjust the bevel angle, it will be best you use the square’s 45-degree. Then, incline your miter saw up to 45-degree. If there is a gap between your square and the saw blade, you can align the bevel adjustment bolt and bevel.

Step 8: Inspect the Table, Blade, Fence, and Bevel to Ensure They Are Squared

Ensure that you unplug the miter saw and set it flat across your table to check for gaps. If you see any gap, you may need to have the table adjusted at any machine shop. You should adjust the saw blade and the fence with a speed square. 

Afterward, tilt the saw to forty-five degrees. Position the speed square against the saw at that angle. If you see any gap, adjust the bevel adjustment bolt until you bridge the gap.


Additional Tips for Improving Your Miter Saw’s Accuracy

Aside from the abovementioned steps on how to calibrate your miter saw’s accuracy, it will also help if you will be cognizant of the following tips:

Inspect the Angle Pointer

As you inspect the components of your miter saw, you will discover that it has an angle pointer. This tiny metal arrow corresponds to the saw base’s measurements. The designers of miter saws usually position these pointers out of the way to prevent the users from knocking them around. Yet, despite the angle pointer not being designed for withstanding impacts, it might get banged sometimes. 

Any impact to this angle pointer could knock it off alignment. The pointer alignment might not be a big problem, but it will be best to have a keen eye on this angle pointer. If it is misaligned, you can easily adjust it using a screwdriver. Nevertheless, you should replace it if it is already badly damaged.

Align Your Miter Saw’s Laser

One added feature of many miter saws is the laser. It provides you with a clear line of cut. It is also there to enhance visual accuracy when cutting. Yet, Miter saw laser guide accessory can come in a variety of setups. It might sometimes get attached to the cover of the saw blade or the arbor shaft. 

Sometimes, it is out of alignment. If it is misaligned, it is useless. So, you should ensure that the laser gets correctly aligned to ensure perfect cuts.


Conclusion

As you use your miter saw often, there will come a time when it will be out of alignment. This misalignment might be due to various reasons, but if such a thing happens, you need to realign or calibrate the different components of the miter saw to get perfect cuts out of it. You can follow the abovementioned simple steps to realign or calibrate the miter saw to ensure that you’re doing it right. 

Before using any tool like the miter saw, you need to ensure that it gets calibrated. It should provide you with a clean and precise cut to help you achieve the best results for your projects. Hence, if you want to raise your woodworking activities a notch higher, you need to be cognizant of the abovementioned simple steps to calibrate your miter saw.

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