The miter saw is a great woodworking tool for beginners. Miter saws can either be manual or powered saws. The West Seattle Tool Library has a great collection of both manual and powered miter saws available for check-out.
Miter saws are designed to make precise crosscuts in wood. The name comes from the miter index on each saw, which is a listing of angles. The blade can move from side to side, allowing for horizontal angled cuts.
Manual miter saws are basic saws on rollers that work with a miter box. Due to their manual nature, manual miter saws are no longer popular, as they’re steadily being replaced by the powered version. Still, if you’re up for a trip down nostalgia lane, or you just need to make a few cuts, there are four manual miter saws available for check-out.
Powered miter saws, commonly called chop saws, can vary based on the features in the saw. A standard power miter saw can do horizontal angled cuts. A compound miter saw comes with a tilting blade to allow both horizontal and vertical angled cuts. A sliding compound miter saw has tracks that allow the blade to slide out and in, allowing for wider piece of wood to be cut. The Tool Library currently has two standard miter saws available for check-out, two compound miter saws available for check-out, and one sliding compound miter saw available to borrow in the community workshop.
When using all of the miter saws, safety glasses are important to protect the eyes from flying debris. If using a powered miter saw, ear protection is highly recommended as the saws are loud and could cause ear damage if used for a prolonged period. Loose clothing and an open workspace are important to prevent any collateral damage. Miter saws are capable of removing fingers if used improperly, so be sure to give the tool some respect when in use.
I own my own miter saw and have found it useful in a wide range of projects from building a chicken coop to building raised beds. I’ve also had success using the blades to slice through PVC pipe for various yard projects. Chop saws are also commonly used for cutting framing and molding in construction.
If you’d like an introduction to power tools, including miter saws, be sure to sign up for our Power Tools 101 class, scheduled for the fourth Tuesday of the month. The next class is scheduled for this Tuesday. More information and a sign-up is available here.
The West Seattle Tool Library has a collection of over 1,500 tools currently available, is free to use and run primarily on user donations. Our entire inventory is available online. For more information on becoming a member, please visit our website. If you are interested in volunteering at the Tool Library, please contact us at: email@example.com
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