How to Use a Miter Saw Safely
A miter saw is one of the most versatile cutting tools. You need to take precautions when setting up your workspace and operating one. Spending a few minutes reviewing how to safely use a miter saw may save you a trip to the emergency room.
Some accidents with miter saws occur because the operator does not have the saw setup correctly. Or they try to cut a small piece and their fingers are too close to the saw. Other injuries happen when the operator believes they have proper control but they don’t and kickback happens.
Avoiding these potential hazards is accomplished when you take your time and make sure you are ready to work. Work should begin by making sure you have the equipment to protect yourself.
- Goggles: Even for quick, minor cuts you should wear goggles. One spec of wood or dust may cause damage to your eyes.
- Ear Protection: Prolonged exposure to loud noises may have long term effects on your hearing. It is a good idea to protect your ears with muff style hearing protectors or ear plugs designed to block out high noise levels.
- Gloves: Thick gloves are a must as they can reduce injury caused by a blade touching your fingers or hand.
Now that you have the right equipment and took off your jewelry before starting, you are ready to begin your project. Before you do, let’s take a look at the saw and make sure it is ready for safe operation.
First, before inspecting the saw, make sure no power is getting to it. Make sure all of the guards are in place and functional. Does the lower guard need cleaning? If so, clean it before you begin cutting.
Finally, check your blade. Are the blade and fasteners secured? Has the blade become blunt? Does it need sharpening or adjusting?
With the prep work behind us, let’s look at some tips you can use to safely operate your miter saw.
- Whenever possible, use clamps so that material is secure. If the best woodworking clamps for the job are not available or possible, make sure you have a good hold on the material. If you are cutting long material, make sure you support it at the same height as your table.
- Do not cut small pieces. You should always keep your fingers at least six inches away from the blade. This isn’t possible when cutting small pieces.
- If your lower guard is no longer allowing for proper visibility, stop your work, disconnect power and clean the guard. This allows you to see clearly and helps with movement.
- Release the trigger after completing a cut and wait for the blade to come to a complete stop before raising the blade. In addition to being a good safety tip, it helps maintain a smooth cut line.
These tips should be part of your routine whenever working with miter saws. Using these suggestions whenever you work with any power tools will lower the odds of injury and increase your overall satisfaction with your handiwork.