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A pivoting action allows the power miter box blade to swing down onto the workpiece. This is why a power miter box is often called a "chop saw."

Make quick work of your crosscutting with a portable power miter box. The power miter box is one of the handiest portable saws you can own. Like the radial-arm saw, it makes accurate crosscuts, miter-cuts, and bevel cuts. However, the power miter box costs less, is safer to use, and needs adjustment less frequently than a radial-arm saw.
Power miter boxes, available in many styles, come in 8", 10", and 12" models. The simplest type, the angle-only power miter box, works well for cutoff work and making simple miter and bevel cuts. Compound and sliding compound power miter boxes also cut compound angles (miters and bevels simultaneously). Sliding compound power miter boxes have a larger crosscutting capacity, typically 12" wide, instead of 6" wide on a standard 10" saw.

The power miter box is essentially a circular saw mounted on a light aluminum, cast-iron, or plastic worktable. Compact size and accurate miter and bevel scales all contribute to this tool's efficiency and precision.
• Check the cutting capacity, as You consider each model. The 10" model is a fairly standard size. For specialized usage, other models are available with a greater or lesser cutting capacity.
• Choose a model with a dust collection port for proper sawdust removal. Dust bag packages are commonly available as accessory items.
• Get a model with an efective blade guard that giives you a clear view of the cutting point and doesn't interfere with your cuts.
• You can keep your power miter box portable yet stable by making a platform, for it. Attach the saw to a plywood base of at least 1/2" thickness using screws through the holes machined into the feet. You can quickly clamp the base to any flat work surface.
• You can crosscut a workpiece wider than the capacity of the saw by cutting.fom two directions. Make one crosscut, then turn the workpiece over. Carefully align the blade with the kerf bef bre making the second cut.
• To increase your cutting capacity, raise the work by inserting an auxiliary table. With the work raised, more of the saw blade's diameter is used, lengthening the cutting line. The table should not exceed 1/4" thickness.
Most models have quick-release clamps or levers to adjust the saw easily for miter and bevel cuts. The blade can be set and locked at any angle position from 0° to 45° for both miter and bevel cuts. Most models have preset stops for common miter and bevel angles, and very sophisticated models even feature laser-guided cut lines.
Power miter boxes usually have an automatic braking system that stops the blade a few seconds after shutoff.

Saw blades
The power miter box uses the same type of blades as those used in tablesaws and circular saws.

Setting up
Several of the power miter box's movable parts need periodic inspection and adjustment. To verify that the blade is set perpendicular to the table, set the blade in the zero

Check the angle of the blade in relation to the table. With the blade set at zero position, the square should be perpendicular to the table. Position and place a precision square on the table bed. Press the square against the blade, but do not touch the teeth with the square. Examine the angle and adjust it as needed. To check the angle of the blade in relation to the fence, set the blade in zero miter position. Place one edge of a precision square against the fence, and the other upward against the blade, again without touching the teeth. Check the angle and make any needed adjustments. Also, check the accuracy of the miter and bevel gauges by making test cuts on scrapwood, then verifying the angles using a protractor. Refer to the manufacturer's instructions for information on adjustments.

Using the power miter box
Follow these directions in crosscutting.
1 Clamp or hold the workpiece against the fence, with your hands well clear of the cutting area. Always clamp small workpieces.
2 Set the blade at zero on the miter scale for a straight crosscut. Line up the blade at the cutting mark on the workpiece, placing the kerf on the waste side of the mark.
3 Turn the power on and let the blade reach full speed. Lower the blade slowly to make the cut. (For a sliding compound miter saw, grasp the handle firmly and pull it at an upward angle before turning on the blade and lowering it into the workpiece.) A slow and even cutting stroke produces the cleanest cuts. Cutting too fast can cause tearout.
4 As soon as you finish the cut, release the on/off switch and raise the arm to the neutral position. Make sure the blade is raised and stopped before handling the workpiece.

Cutting miters: The procedures for miter-cutting and crosscutting are the same. However, the saw's miter-cutting capacity is shorter than its crosscutting capacity. To cut miters, loosen the miter clamp knob and release the miter latch. Turn the miter arm to the desired angle by sliding the miter clamp knob to the left or right. Lock the miter arm position by tightening the miter clamp knob. Then make your cut.

Cutting bevels: With the saw unplugged, loosen the bevel clamp knob and tilt the saw to the desired bevel angle. Lock in the desired angle on the scale with the bevel clamp knob. Lower the blade to check for cutting clearance. On a compound miter saw you may have to adjust the left fence to give the blade guard clearance. Plug in the saw and lower the blade to cut.

To cut compound angles, set and lock the miter arm at the desired miter angle. Set and lock the bevel angle according to the bevel scale. Then make your cut.

When cutting crown molding on an angleonly miter saw, make sure the flat pieces on the back (which will press against the ceiling and wall) are pressed against the fence and table. You can use a filler block for support. Cutting compound angles: Cutting accurate compound angles for making frames or boxes with slanted sides can be difficult. The compound power miter box works well because it cuts miters and bevels easily and adjusts precisely. Run test cuts on scrapwood to ensure correct settings.

Cutting crown molding: The compound power miter box cuts any type of crown molding well. Draw cutlines on your workpiece, make test cuts on scrapwood, and cut the molding. It is possible to cut compound angles on an angle-only miter saw. For example, to cut crown molding with an angle-only power miter box, you must flip the piece upside down, with the finished side still facing you. To cut a lefthand angle, put the molding in this position and make a right-handed cut (see Photo, left). To cut a righthand angle, you must flip the piece upside down, with the finished side still facing you, and make a left-handed cut.

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Updated: 02/2018   copyright 2012 U-Repair.com