The sliding compound miter saw combines the features of sliding miter and compound miter saws into one tool. This saw is one of the most versatile power tools and would be an indispensable addition to your workshop.
This article is a complete buying guide for the sliding compound miter saw, including its features, pros and cons, types of miter saws to consider, things to look for in a miter saw, and much more.
What is a Sliding Compound Miter Saw? Explained
A miter saw can only crosscut at an angle of 90 or 45 degrees, which is best for doorframes and light woodwork. With the sliding arm, you can accommodate wider boards. And the compound feature allows you to make bevel cuts.
The best feature of a sliding compound miter saw is the variety of cuts you can make and its razor-sharp precision. Some would say that a miter saw is better than a circular saw because it makes more accurate cuts.
With a sliding compound miter saw, you can make crosscuts, bevel cuts, compound cuts, and standard miter cuts. It has two models: a single bevel and a double bevel saw.
It is a powerful tool and should be operated safely. To do so, you must know its essential parts:
Trigger Switch and Handle
The handle is attached to the saw arm. This is the only part of the saw your arms should touch when the blade moves. A trigger switch is inside the handle to turn the saw on and off.
Blade with Blade Guard
The blade in a sliding compound miter saw is designed to cut through all kinds of materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, fiber wood, etc.
A retractable guard covers the saw blade to protect the user from accidentally touching it.
Miter Adjustment Scale
The miter scale will determine the angle of your cut. In most saws, you can tilt the base 60 degrees to one side and 45 degrees to the other.
Bevel Adjustment Dial
The bevel scale determines the tilt angle of the blade. Behind is the bevel lock, which lets you pivot the blade side-to-side to a desirable angle.
Miter Lock and Detent Locks
The miter table, which is the work surface of the saw, can be rotated to change the angle of the blade. At its edge, you will see a button and a lever. You press the miter release button to turn the base to a desirable angle. A miter lock lever will also lock the turntable in place.
As you change the miter angles, you will hear popping sounds from the detents. These are the angles most commonly used in carpentry, and when the base lands on them, it will automatically lock, making a pop sound.
The fence is located on both sides of the saw arm. You push the material against it to keep it in a straight line.
Dust Collector Port
There is a dust collector port, which you can connect to your shop vacuum to collect the sawdust and flying debris from the sawing action. Some saws have a dust collector bag at the back to collect the small wood chips.
In a sliding miter saw, the saw arm containing the blade sits on a rail, which slides towards you when you pull. This allows you to make longer cuts.
Types of Miter Saws and Which One is Best For You
There are mainly three types of miter saws, and they all have great features. Miter saws, in general, are designed to be highly functional, whether for smaller home projects or large-scale industrial applications.
The three main miter saws are compound sliding, compound, and sliding saws. Let’s take a look at their distinguishing features:
|Saw Type||Type of Cut||Pros||Cons|
|Sliding Compound Miter Saw||
|Sliding Miter Saws||
|Compound Miter Saw||
Factors to Consider When Buying Miter Saws
It can be an overwhelming task to choose from a variety of miter saws. This is why you should determine the purpose of buying the saw and look for relatable features.
Here are some of the features of a miter saw that will be pretty useful.
Some miter saws come with an in-built laser. If yours doesn’t, you can easily have it professionally installed. The laser line will show you where the blade will go to make the cut more precise.
Teeth Per Inch Count
Spring for the blades with a higher TPI count for a cleaner cut in thicker materials, such as hardwood. It will also eliminate the need to sand the material after sawing for a smooth finish. The preferable teeth count is 60 to 80.
Apart from the high TPI count, the blade type will primarily affect its ability to cut through different materials. Some of the best blades are:
- Combination Blade- This blade is best for crosscutting and beveled cuts on materials that are not pure lumber, such as plywood, hardwood, veneer, particle board, etc.
- Carbide-Tipped Blade- The carbide-tipped hooks make this blade perfect for cutting through dense hardwood.
- Crosscut Blade- This blade is ideal for softwood, plywood, and chipboards.
The 10-inch and 12-inch miter saws are the most popular choices, but it all depends on what you want to do with them.
The 10-inch saw is lighter, and due to its small size, the blade will spin faster, resulting in cleaner cuts. The 10-inch blades have more varieties, and the saw itself is much cheaper than its larger counterpart.
The 12-inch miter saw is more powerful, durable, and versatile than the 10-inch saw. You can also fit the smaller 10-inch blade in it for smoother cuts. They are best for larger and thicker pieces. But they are bulky and much more expensive.
11 Useful Tips for Handling a Miter Saw
In this section, we will go over some precautionary measures you should take to reduce the risk of electric shock, fire, and personal injury.
- Right after you buy the saw of your choice, you should read the instruction manual that comes with it. Keep the manual safe for future reference.
- If you start the saw from the middle, you will feel a kickback, and the saw will thrust upwards. This is why you should always keep the saw in the upwards position when you start it, not halfway down.
- When you turn the saw off, let the blade stop rotating entirely before pushing it upwards so that any material doesn’t get caught up in the moving parts and tossed in the back.
- Do not store the saw in damp or dark locations. And don’t expose it to rain.
- Do not wear loose clothing, necklaces, bracelets, or other jewelry items, which may get caught in the blade. Wear hair coverings to keep long hair out of the way.
- Use CE-approved safety goggles, face masks, and ear protection (ear plugs or muffs).
- Keep the saw unplugged between tasks and when the saw is not in use. Ensure the switch is off before plugging the saw into the mains supply.
- Check the saw for damaged parts every time before using it. Ensure the retracting guard works, and none of the accessories are loose.
- Pay attention to tool maintenance and keep them clean for the best and most long-lasting performance.
- Keep your hand about 4 to 6 inches away from the blade. The safest way to hold down the material is to keep your hand on the side of the wider angle.
- Keep the saw out of children’s reach. All the personnel present around you should also take these safety precautions.
Some manufacturers instruct you not to modify the tools or use them for any purpose other than for which it was designed.
Contact the manufacturers in case of any confusion about the instructions or applications of the saw.
Frequently Asked Questions
Check out the following section for answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about sliding compound miter saws:
What are Sliding Compound Miter Saws Used for?
Sliding compound miter saws come in a variety of sizes. They make precise straight cuts using which you can cut wood in same-sized blocks. They also make angled and bevel cuts, which makes them the perfect choice for cutting crown molding and fine carpentry. You can use it to cut many materials, such as metal, plastic, and bricks.
What is the Difference Between a Single and Dual Bevel Miter Saw?
As their names suggest, the single bevel miter saw can only tilt in one direction (left or right), whereas the dual bevel saw will rotate in both (left and right) directions. Typically, the tilt angle in compound miter saws is 0° to 48°. The single-bevel saws are cheaper, but your job will be much easier and faster with dual-bevel saws.
A sliding compound miter saw is more versatile and sophisticated than the standard one. It has the additional benefit of a sliding arm and a blade that can pivot to make bevel cuts.
If you are a professional woodworker, who regularly takes on new projects, the sliding compound miter saw is a perfect choice!