July 1, 2022

Miter saw not cutting square

Possible reasons a miter saw may not be cutting square

When the saw machine fails to pull material towards the blade during each cut, it is a malfunction in the process. It might also be due to a damaged blade, unstable fence, miter gauge malfunction, or a broken bevel gauge. Below is a detailed summary of each possible problem.

Damaged Blade

The blade is the heart of the saw. It works so fast that a little shift can cause harm. Avoid improper installation at all costs because it will give you inaccurate cutting. Check the blade when you are looking to troubleshoot a miter saw.

Unstable Fence

When it comes to maintenance, do not forget to check the miter saw fence. It holds the material square while the blade cuts. It is difficult to tell when the saw fence gets out of line because of its position. A saw fence keeps your board in place as you make a rip cut along the grain.

Miter Gauge Malfunction

If your fence is stable, a check is the miter gauge. That can go unnoticed when making simple cuts, unlike compound cuts. You should not fix a problem without checking the miter Gauge since you will be opening all parts.

Ensure that the gauges are in position. It is easy since several presets on the indicator shows where the saw needs to be set.

However, this can be shifted, forcing the miter saw not to cut straight. The material has to square up at the proper angles.

Bevel Gauge Malfunction

The angles should be set even if it is coming from the manufacturer. In most cases, it shifts.

Bosch miter saw not cutting square

If your Bosch miter is not cutting square, it might be the blade or the fence. The saw fence fails to adjust enough in one direction as it requires the user to elongate the hole where it needs more travel using a small rat-tail file. If the cut is not square at the end as shown. 

There may be something wrong at the end of the arm or in the pivot and carriage mechanism. It takes a mechanic to fix if the parts are worn or misaligned. The workpiece might have shifted, so taping or spraying adhesive on some 100 grit sandpaper on the fence should fix that.

If the blade has any gum or pitch, clean it off by soaking it with a brass brush. If not careful, you will loosen the sliding mechanism by dropping the saw. The way you operate the saw matters since the operation has to start at the near end or in the center with a partial cut. Push the blade down further until you complete the cut.

The problem from the blade or table shifting to the fence arises when you tighten the locking dial. The device you are using to check for square is square. Flip it on a straight surface and draw one line over the other. 

The blade plate sometimes is not parallel to the slider tubes, meaning no adjustment existed. When the saw is off, following a line, it appears square. When you cut, there will be some burning, and the cut is not square.

Chicago electric miter saw not cutting square

If your Chicago electric miter saw is not cutting square, it might be the play in the fence. When loosened, it is not square to the blade cut. Pay attention to squaring the saw fence. When loosened to the blade, cut as you move the saw fence to its maximum flex point to get a near-perfect square cut. 

If you do not clamp the workpiece enough to the fence, it can move when you bring the rotating blade down into it. The saw blade has to rotate the workpiece back and tilt forward as it spins into the wood.

Dewalt compound miter saw not cutting square

If your compound miter saw has been used on a job site, it may have been bumped around getting it into and out of a truck. It is out of alignment. Even if the alignment issue does not affect its safety, it affects the accuracy of the compound miter saw. 

If your compound miter saw fails to cut square, it might be dirty. Give it a thorough cleaning using a compressor with a nozzle. Also, check if the blade is clean and sharp. Make sure the size and style of the saw blade match your project. 

Alignment issues are likely to cause failure in cutting square. The saw table has to be flat and sturdy. If the saw table is solid and flat, the fence along the back edge of the table is straightforward. Compound miter saws have their blade mounted to the arm for a downward cutting motion (Homedepot.ca).

How to adjust the miter saw for accurate cuts?

Check your saw for accuracy even when your saw is still new. During shipping, your saw is likely to move disturbing aligned parts. The fact that saws are set at the factory should not matter anymore. You also have to check for accuracy when you have a kickback. 

When you hit a knot in the wood, the saw kicks back. That is when you have to check your saw. Make it a habit to practice checking the saw a few times throughout the year, because they can come out of adjustment during use.

To check and adjust the saw, you need a speed square. Start by setting your saw on a stable work surface or miter saw stand. Check if the saw blade is square or 90 degrees to the table. Disconnect the power and hold the blade guard out of the way.

Place a speed square flat on the miter saw table. Lower the saw blade down towards the table. Move the speed square against the side of the saw blade, making sure to avoid the teeth. The saw blade is adjusted when we sight down the saw blade, and the edge of the speed square makes complete contact with the side of the blade.

If there is a gap at the top of the bottom edge of the speed square, the saw blade is not square to the table and adjusted. Make an adjustment to the blade when you sight down the saw blade, and the edge of the speed square makes complete contact with the side of the blade. Adjust the saw fence, so the speed square makes contact with the side of the saw blade and tightens the bolts.

David D. Hughes

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