When using a miter saw to work on a piece of trim, there’s nothing as frustrating as finding out that your cuts are not straight. Most woodworkers face situations where corners of the wood won’t square because the bevel cut didn’t come out as perfect as it should be. This sign can slow down any woodworker; hence, the need to find the reasons why your miter saw doesn’t cut straight and tackle it.
The primary reason why a miter saw might not cut straight is an inability to clamp the material down. The machine is designed to pull the material towards the blade during each cut, and if there’s a malfunction in this process, it might result in inaccurate cuts. Other reasons are:
- damaged blade
- unstable fence
- miter gauge malfunction
- broken bevel gauge.
Errors like inaccurate cuts can scare any woodworker, especially since each job’s progress depends on how perfectly they can get their cuts. Knowing, however, that this situation can be fixed should give anyone hope.
Thankfully, tons of solutions can help eliminate the problem. It starts from knowing the exact reason why your miter saw is not cutting straight. Read on to find out what these problems are, as well as how to go about solving them and restoring your miter saw back to its working condition.
Top Reasons Why Your Miter Saw Won’t Cut Straight
The reason mentioned above is the main one why most miter saws don’t cut straight, but it is not the only reason why that happens.
There are several other causes why your miter saw would not give you straight bevel cuts. It’s even more confusing because it’s sometimes a combination of two problems that you might not notice alone.
Although sometimes incapable of affecting your cuts, these slight problems might combine to make the cuts inaccurate. So, what are these problems?
The blade is a vital part of a miter saw. It flies around at such an incredible speed that a little shift can cause damages.
This means that improper installation or any damage can give you issues in your cutting.
Therefore, the blade is the first thing that you should check when you are looking to troubleshoot a miter saw.
Although often overlooked during routine maintenance, the fence is an essential part of the miter saw.
The fence serves the purpose of holding the material square while the blade does its job. Most times, it’s difficult to tell when the fence gets out of line because of its position.
But it’s important to know that a minor issue in this part can mess your cuts up. Therefore, the fence is the second place to look at when troubleshooting your saw’s inability to cut straight.
Miter Gauge Malfunction
The next place to check is the miter gauge. While this might not be an issue when making simple cuts, it would soon become one when making compound cuts.
Apart from trying to fix an impending issue, it’s only right that you also check this part, since you would be opening all parts to check after all.
While checking, you need to ensure that the gauges are positioned rightly. Yes, there are several presets on the indicator that shows exactly where the saw needs to be set.
However, this can sometimes get shifted, forcing the miter saw not to cut straight. It’s, therefore, crucial for everything to square up at the proper angles.
Bevel Gauge Malfunction
Forget that we left it for the last, this is actually one of the most critical parts to check first. Just like the miter gauge, you should look and ensure that the angles are correctly set.
Don’t just assume that the manufacturer got it perfectly. Even if they do, you don’t expect it to stay the same forever.
Fixing The Problems Of A Miter Saw
The steps listed above are for troubleshooting a miter saw that’s not cutting properly. It is expected that the steps would reveal the problem with your miter saw. If they don’t, you don’t need to fret, as there are a few more troubleshooting that you can do.
Once you are sure about the problem, fixing it becomes easier. If, after the troubleshooting steps, however, you still can’t find the issue with your miter saw, then it’s probably a minor issue that your technician can fix.
On the other hand, it could be because you are not handling the miter saw correctly. After all, every experienced woodworker understands that it takes so much skill to use the miter saw.
Lastly, you’ll need to know the degree of error that appears on your cuts. Is it something you can notice with your naked eyes?
Will your customers know that your trim was cut with a bad saw? It is at this point that your miter saw needs urgent checks.
Although designed to be accurate, it’s important to note that miter saws are not accurate. Miter saws come with rugged designs.
It is these designs that make for great cuts, giving you great results for every cut. If you do not want any error and it seems your miter saw isn’t doing it rightly, you should consider changing tools.
Making Your Cuts Better
I’ve stated it earlier, and I mean my words – a tool cannot be better than its user.
If you are new to using miter saws or probably think that the problem with your equipment is not from any known issue, then perhaps you should consider working on getting better at it.
Here, take a look at a few tips that could help improve your cuts:
- Only make your cuts when the blade is at full speed. This is, in fact, the first answer to your problem. Don’t just start cutting immediately the saw gets turned on. Let the blade be at full speed before you make any contact with the wood. The few seconds that you’ll give your saw to get up to speed helps to ensure that the blade makes its way through the material.
- The next thing is to ensure that you are not rushing the blade. Once the blade picks up to speed, you’ll need to let the blade do the work firmly, but that doesn’t mean that you should rush it. Gently but steadily, let the blade make its way through the material. By rushing the blade, you are setting it up to wear out.
- Lastly, there’s a need for you to use a clamp. Bevel cuts are known for slight issues. The primary cause behind this is the positioning of the saw. Once you’ve put the saw into position for cutting, the blade would naturally want to pull the material towards it while making the cut. Without clamping the material down, you’ll find the material moving mid-cut, hence making the cut inaccurate. See this Heavy Duty Steel Bar Clamp from JORGENSEN on Amazon.
There you have it, top reasons why your miter saw might not cut straight. Every woodworker knows how important having a straight cut is. As we’ve seen in the article, making your cut better is essential to your craft.
Once you’ve improved your skills, the next thing you would want to do is to get equipment that would give you the right cut.
Thankfully, most of the problems can be handled. However, if the problem continues after you’ve taken these steps, then perhaps you should consider talking to a technician near you.
Cheers, tools owners!