A Definitive Guide on: How to Unlock a Miter Saw

Just bought a shiny new toy for your woodworking needs? Don’t know how to unlock it? Worry not because this guide will teach you how to unlock a miter saw.

What is a Miter Saw?

A miter saw is a man’s best friend when it comes to woodworking. This saw, unlike the chop saw, can produce angled crosscuts. If your wood cutting task requires precision, the miter saw is for you. The miter saw can be adjusted between 0° to 90°. The workpiece is set against the saw’s fence which allows it to produce precise angled cuts. The accuracy of the miter saw is owed to the fact that it is stationary instead of being handheld.

Different Types of Miter Saws

Power Miter Saw

This is the standard miter saw which is great for making miter cuts and cross cuts fairly easily. It is a very basic piece of machinery and has no bevel, making it super simple to use. This also means that this is the cheapest of the other saws. The only drawback of this saw is that it can’t make compound angle cuts.

Compound Miter Saw

This saw, as the name suggests, allows you to make compound cuts. Compound cuts are cuts which are both angled and beveled. The blade on this device can be tilted left or right. However, this will depend on the type of compound miter saw being used.

The compound miter saw comes with either double or single bevel options. The single bevel saw can tilt in only one direction and the double bevel saw can tilt in both left and right. This tilt is what facilitates the creation of compound cuts, miter cuts, cross cuts and bevel cuts. As a result of all these additional features, the compound miter saw will be much more expensive relative to a power miter saw.

Sliding Miter Saw

The compound and power miter saw feature blades attached to an arm which is attached to a fixed base. The blade can only go up and down. That is a problem as it puts a limit on the size of the workpiece that can be worked on at a time. The sliding miter saw has the arm of the blade rests on a sliding mechanism. The blade can now go up, down, in and out. This allows for a larger range of width of workpieces that can be worked on. This saw solves problems associated with both the standard miter saw and compound miter saw. Thus, it comes with an even heavier price tag.

How to unlock a Miter saw?

Finally, let’s learn how to unlock our miter saws. The processes outlined will be similar for most saws of the same type. The procedures may differ for a few specific models of miter saws. But these methods will work for most saws in general.

Unlocking the saw head

Step 1: The head lock consists of a pin and knob. You will have to locate this pin and knob on your machine. The knob will usually be placed at the center of the base of the arm holding the blade.

Step 2: Depending on your saw’s design, you will either have to push or pull the knob at the end of the pin to release the head lock. Some models may require you to twist the knob, in most cases it will be a push or a pull.

Step 3: After pushing or pulling the knob the blade head will be locked or released according to what you are aiming to do. Upon release the blade head will lift up and the guard will automatically be deployed. If the guard does not deploy itself it is because the blade is dirty and it is stuck. Clean the blade to make sure the guard exits properly.  

Unlocking the Angle Lock

Step 1: Locate a knob in front of your blade on the base of your saw. You will see a lever underneath the knob as well. This lever will be used to adjust the base to the desired angle.

Step 2: You will have to twist this knob counterclockwise to release the base. Use the lever to adjust the base to the desired angle. Twist the knob clockwise now to lock in the angle. Sometimes the knob may not be next to the lever. In this instance you will have to search fo the knob adjacent to the lever.

Unlocking the Bevel

Step 1: This lock will be located on miter saws which come with a tilting bevel. All compound saws and sliding miter saws will have this lock. You must locate a pin or lever that will be associated with the bevel.

Step 2: Either the lever or pin will have to be pushed or pulled to release the locking mechanism, allowing you to adjust the angle of the bevel. There will be stops at angles which are commonly used. However, if you desire a different angle just release the locking mechanism at the point you desire to fix it.

Unlocking the Slider

Step 1: This lock will only be available on sliding compound saws. Locate the knob which will be on the base of the sliding mechanism of the saw.

Step 2: Twisting this knob counterclockwise will release the slider and allow you to the slide the blade arm in an out as required. After you have it in the desired position twist the knob clockwise to fix its position.

7 Best Miter Saws

These are some of the best miter saws on the market right now:

Dewalt DWS780

Hitachi C10FCG

Festool Kapex KS 120

Craftsman  Single Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw (21237)

Homecraft H26-260L

Bosch GCM12SD

Makita LS1018

Safety Precautions

Power tools should be handled with utmost caution and care, lest you want to lose portions of your body. Always wear goggles and gloves when working with wood. Be sure to switch off your saw before making any adjustments, be it major or minor. Most accidents tend to happen when people leave the saw on while making minor adjustments. Leave your saw properly locked after your task is done. Be sure to have the saw attached firmly to your workbench and try to operate the saw at waist height. Make sure that the blade is fastened in the proper direction and is fastened tight.

With this you should be able to freely slice away at your workpieces and make any adjustments necessary with ease. I hope this article was able to successfully make the operation of a miter saw much simpler for you!

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