Safety and You: Compound Miter Saws
Photo Courtesy of Best Miter Saw Guide
Compound miter saws continue to be the tool of choice for many woodworkers, carpenters and DIY enthusiasts. Its versatility, precision and reliability are unquestioned and the miter saw is a good tool to accomplish a number of tasks. However, as with all tools, it’s important to remember that if not operated correctly…the miter saw can seriously injure the operator. Accidents can happen, but if you remember some quick safety tips…you can reduce the chances of an accident and risk of injury.
The Toolbarn staff have come up with some easy to remember tips to keep you safe while enjoying the use of the saw.
1.) Wear Safety Glasses
This one is a no-brainer. You only have one set of eye balls and you should do everything you can to protect them. It’s a good habit to wear your safety glasses as soon as you’re prepared to do woodworking. Now, some of you who wear glasses already probably think that’s good enough. Trust us, it’s not! Safety glasses are actually created in a way to deflect glass in case of an accident. Regular glasses aren’t meant to absorb impact and could actually shatter into your eyes. Wear safety glasses and if needed, wear prescription safety glasses.
2.) Don’t Tamper With Your Blade Guard
Photo Courtesy of Pro Tool Reviews
The blade guard is your friend. It protects you from the spinning blade and if your guard is disabled…it doesn’t take much imagination to think of things that can go wrong, does it? In all seriousness, make sure your blade guard is working properly. Check it to make sure working properly when you’re cutting material. You want make sure it doesn’t bind when you raise or lower your saw.
3.) Don’t Wear Loose Clothing
Photo Courtesy of the Wood Whisperer
This doesn’t mean you need to wear flannel shirts or super-tight fitting clothing, but you should wear clothing that provides good coverage over your whole body to protect you from wood chips or other flying debris. You also want to wear clothing that’s tight enough so your clothes don’t get caught inside the machinery. Many injuries can be attributed to loose clothing as well as jewelry or other fashion accessories. Use common sense and you should be fine.
4.) Make Sure Your Fence is Appropriately Adjusted
Photo Courtesy of This Is Carpentry
Many miter saws have an adjustable fence and if you’re cutting material, it’s important to make sure that the stock is secure. NEVER, EVER “freehand” a cut. It’s extremely dangerous. It can harm you and others nearby. Use a clamp to secure the material against the fence and the table. It just makes sense.
5.) Keep Your Saw Clean
Photo Courtesy of Just Saw Blades
Another no-brainer, right? Make sure you keep the little cut-offs from previous cuts and excessive amount of sawdust can hamper your saw blade. It’s a good practice to have a nearby bucket to deposit your trimmings. Also, if you need to clear a jam near your miter saw, make sure the blade comes to a complete stop and then unplug it. That way, no malfunction can occur. If you keep your work area clean, it will not only keep you safe…but will improve your results.
6.) Be Aware of the Blade, Keep Your Fingers Away
Photo Courtesy of This Is Carpentry
When working with a miter saw, make sure you keep your fingers at least 6 inches away from the blade’s path. Some saws have an actual 6 inch danger zone marked on it. Use clamps and to make sure your material is secure. As long as your keep your hands and fingers away from the saw blade, you should be fine.
The compound miter saw is very useful and can be a lot of fun if used properly. As long as you use common sense and these general safety tips…you should be fine. We’ve also provided a helpful video from the Power Tool Institute for other useful tips too.
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