How To Calibrate Miter Saw? Professional Guide

Last Updated On February 10, 2023

Is your miter saw making inaccurate cuts nowadays? Probably it’s time to calibrate the saw then.

Be it a table saw, circular saw or a compound miter saw, due to regular wear and tear it can develop alignment issues over time. In that case, it cannot deliver accurate cuts maintaining miter angle and bevel angle.

If you are wondering how to calibrate a miter saw, then worry not. It’s no rocket science with the proper tools and approach.

To calibrate a miter saw, check the blade first. It must be sharp enough to make bevel cuts and miter cuts maintaining a straight edge. Also, you need to check the accuracy of the miter saw by making test cuts on scrap wood. Use a digital angle finder to ensure that it’s not cutting crooked.

And if anything goes out of alignment, readjust the angle indicator towards the correct angles. 

Let’s discuss the method in detail below!

How to Calibrate Miter Saw: A Step-by-Step Detail

To calibrate miter saws for improving their bevel angle, blade angle, and miter angle, you need to be really careful, especially if you are a carpenter.

Even if it’s minimally out of alignment, you can face hundreds of job site hazards as it will affect the overall angle board cuts. 

However, the following steps are proven ways to get rid of any alignment issues and uneven gaps in compound miter saws.

How to calibrate a miter saw

Step 1

Start the process by cleaning up the entire saw properly. In this regard, a soft piece of cotton cloth comes in handy. 

Please remember to blow sawdust from inside and out of the saw and table. You can use an air compressor with an air nozzle for this purpose. 

Finally, a stain remover helps a lot to reduce the excessive pitch build-up on the saw. 

Step 2

Aside from having a sharp miter saw blade, it must be suitable to deliver the 

correct blade angle. So, check the side of the blade and the blade guard as well.

Most miter saws work better with the combination types of blades having 60 to 72 teeth. Although it’s always good to have a new blade for miter saws before calibrating.

Step 3

Next, it’s time to adjust the fence alignment. Prior to that, you need to make sure that the miter saw table is entirely flat.

Usually, flat table bases don’t require any adjustments and therefore, they are easier to work on.

To check whether the saw table has a flat base or not, you can place a metal straight edge or a framing square on the top of the table. 

In the same way, you can assure that the back edge saw fence is absolutely straight.

And most importantly, you need to adjust both the right fence and the left fence, until they are properly lined up with one another in one direction. 

However, to adjust the angles of the saws, you need to ensure complete contact between the fence and the table.

Step 4

Now that you know your compound miter saw is absolutely straight, set both the bevel angle and the miter angle to zero degrees. 

But before that, don’t forget to unplug the saw from the power source. If it’s battery-powered, then remove the batteries beforehand. 

After that, put a rafter layout square or a combination square on the saw table facing the front edge of the miter saw fence. Then you need to set the saw blade in the lowest position. 

In the case of most miter saws, you need to gradually raise the blade guard of the saw blade so that the combination square can reach the side of the blade. 

Most importantly, the blade should be as straight and square as possible. Therefore, try to reduce the unnecessary gaps between the fence and the saw table by tightening the knob to readjust the miter angle. 

If you find it too tight, loosen the screws on the detent plate of the saw. 

Step 5

Next comes the bevel angle adjustments which are pretty similar to checking the miter angle. 

To check the bevel stops, you need to tilt the blade to the left by manually raising the blade guard to check whether it stops at 45° or not.

If not, try to relocate the bevel stop by loosening the bevel adjustment bolt. Once you find the accurate bevel stop and tighten the bolts to secure them.

At this point, make a few test cuts both at 45° and 90° angles. With the digital angle finder, figure out if the angled cuts are okay or not.

If not, you need to move the miter saw in the opposite direction from the accurate angle of the bevel alignment. 

For example, if the saw is meant to cut 45° but cuts 46°, set the saw back at 44°. And if it cuts 44°,  then set it at 46°.

Repeat the process until you get the right bevel angle from the saw. It doesn’t matter how many test cuts you are making. It will surely be paid off by accurate cuts when you are working on a carpentry project. 

On a different note, you can also check the bevel angle by placing a square on the edge. In that regard, one edge will be placed flat and the other edge will rise straight up from the top of the table. 

In a sliding miter saw, slide the vertical edge until it’s exactly aligned with the blade. To make them lined up, you need to tighten the bolts holding the knob.

Although this process varies from model to model in terms of a sliding miter saw. 

Step 6

Finally, check out the angle pointer on the miter saw to see if it has been knocked off somehow. It’s not a common problem though. 

But once it happens, it could result in many job site hazards. So, prepare for necessary adjustments beforehand. 

If the small metal arrow in the form of an angle pointer doesn’t have the proper alignment, it will direct a different angle than your miter saw blade is actually pointed to. Then the blade will not cut smooth wooden boards.

Although you can fix the issue with a simple screwdriver very quickly, if the pointer of the miter saw is thoroughly malformed, you need to replace it.

Things to remember, you need to thoroughly check the owner’s manual for calibrating a saw for successful DIY projects.

Final Words

That’s all about how to calibrate a miter saw. Hope that helps calibrate your compound miter saw before you start an important wood project. 

Calibrating a miter saw for woodworking not only improves its accuracy but also enhances its lifespan against wear and tear. As a little bit of misalignment issue makes a huge difference in any carpentry project on the job sites, be sure to routinely calibrate the saw for maintaining an accurate cut with a proper bevel alignment. 

First, check the miter saw if it’s level or not. If not, readjust the legs to make them flat on the saw table. Then make the saw blade parallel with the back edge of the saw fence by tilting the blade. Finally, adjust the bevel stops and locate it at 45° on the left.

If you find any simpler solution in this regard, do share in the comments.

You can see the video for better understanding.

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