How to Use a Miter Saw? (Easy Guide)

Let’s start with the basics and then proceed to the tips and tricks section to learn how to use the miter saw to get the best results.

What Does a Miter Saw Do?

A miter saw is a nifty power tool with which you can cut boards, woodworking, trim, install baseboards, and cut crown molding. They are also useful for remodeling and flooring work.

If you are a DIY enthusiast doing small crafts and woodworking projects, a miter saw could be the best investment you will ever make.
Read the miter saw buying guide to learn more.

Miter Saw Basic Operations

If you are a miter saw beginner, start with this video. The video explains what you can do with a miter saw, how to operate it, and how to perform the 4 basic cuts.

After watching the videos, you should have a clear understanding of the basic operations of a miter saw and how to make miter cuts, crosscuts, bevel cuts, and compound cuts.

How to unlock a miter saw

To prevent the saw from damage, most miter saws are designed with a lock. When you fold the saw arm, the locking pin engages automatically to keep it in position.
Manufacturers ship the saw in locked condition. So if you have received the shipment and just unboxed it only to find it in the locked position, here is how you unlock it.
Miter Saw Unlocking illustration


  • 1. Hold the operating handle and push the arm gently.
  • 2. Pull the locking pin out. For some models, you may have to twist the knob and pull the pin out.
  • 3. Release the operating handle slowly.
  • 4. Hold the handle until the blade comes out and the arm is in the up position.

Safety tips: Once the lock-down pin is released, the blade will get lifted up automatically to its normal position. If you do not hold the operating handle, the sudden release can cause injury.
Now that you got the basics right let’s learn how to get the best out of your saw.

Cutting on Miter Saw: Tips & Tricks

As you get more and more experienced using a power tool, you will pick up some tips and tricks that will make your work easier. Thanks to the experts and professional carpenters who shared the following tips on youtube. I have picked a couple of excellent tips, and you can watch the videos below.

How to cut any angle on a miter saw?

Here is an excellent tutorial on cutting more angles using a miter saw.

The video explains why you should always start with a cut list before you start cutting moldings with the miter saw. The instructor explains the creep method very well. If you are someone interested in installing baseboards and would love to learn how to efficiently use a miter saw, then watch the above video.

Trick to cut acute angle with a miter saw

This is a pretty simple method to cut to an angle more than what your miter saw allows you to.


If you prefer to read, then here are the steps.

  1. Get an aluminum or wooden block of 1×2
  2. Apply instant glue like CA Glue (Cyanoacrylate adhesive) on the bed closer to the miter saw fence.
  3. Fix the block with the glue with its back against the fence. Alternatively, you can use clamps to hold the hold, in case you are worried about the application of glue.
  4. Rotate your miter saw to make a 45-degree angle on the left and another 45-degree to the right.
    Now you have a nice V-shaped cut with an included angle of 90 degrees. Use this V-block jig to act as your fence to keep the workpiece against.
  5. Now, if you set your miter angle to 0 and cut a workpiece by butting it against the surface of one of the V, then you will get a 45-degree angle on the piece.
  6. Set your miter to a 20-degree angle and do the cut. The resulting angle would be 65 degrees (45+20).
    Want to cut a 70-degree angle? Set the miter angle to 20 degrees. In short, the formula to set the angle is AW-45=MA, where AW is Angle required on Workpiece and MA is the miter angle.
  7. You can set the miter angle to anywhere from 0 to 45-degree to cut from 45-degree up to 90-degrees on the workpiece.

This is a simple yet very useful method to use your miter saw to cut nearly any angle you want to.
However, there is a downside to this method:
You can’t cut long workpieces in the middle but only do the miter angle on the edges. The solution is before you make the V-block; cut your workpiece closer to the desired length.
Also, since the effective fence (v-block) area is less, you should be careful to hold the molding or workpiece firmly during cutting to prevent it from getting pulled towards inside.

Tip: Make a DIY miter saw fence.

Are you going to use this method on and off frequently?
Drill 2 holes on the left and right fence. Fix a long aluminum block against the fence and transfer these holes to it. Fix the aluminum block onto the fence using 4 screws. Make the two 45-degree cuts in both directions. Now you can take it off and fix it back easily with the screws. Just make sure that you mark which one is left and which one is right.

Hope you learned something new about a miter saw from the above tutorials. I will add more tips and tricks if there is enough interest from readers.