Why Does My Miter Saw Not Cut Straight?

It is not uncommon for a miter saw to cut crooked. There are many reasons why your blade might be cutting crooked so if you are looking for an answer to the question Why does my miter saw not cut straight? then here’s your answer:

Crooked cuts on miter saws usually occur due to damaged miter saw blades. In addition, a damaged bevel gauge and unstable fence can also prevent the tool from cutting straight.

However, there are a few things that cause this problem which sometimes ruin the whole project due to erroneous cuts. Accuracy of the tools depends upon many factors such as:

  • quality of the blade
  • perfect adjustment of the miter saw before the project
  • correct operation technique

Why does my miter saw not cut straight?

As I mentioned earlier there are a few basic reasons due to which your miter saw may not cut straight. let’s talk discuss each in detail and understand the problem from a much better angle.

Damaged Blade

why does my miter saw not cut straight

Damaged blades are one of the most common causes of a miter saw cutting crooked. It’s important to sharpen your blade regularly and replace it when you notice that it has become dull.

The blade must have a uniform thickness in order for it to cut straight. You may also notice that your “miter” or “bevel” gauge is crooked, the fence isn’t perpendicular to the blade, or that the blade guard isn’t properly adjusted.

The blade could also be touching something other than what you want cut, preventing it from making a clean cut without any damage to wood and materials.

Unstable Fence

Another issue that may result in inaccurate cuts is the unstable miter saw fence. It is because the fence must be perfectly perpendicular to the saw blade and leveled in order for it to cut straight.

Due to manufacturing flaws, sometimes even a level fence can look slanted or crooked.

Miter Gauge Malfunction

Miter gauges are usually calibrated at the factory, but they can easily get misaligned if not taken care of properly. If you’re noticing that your cuts are still crooked even after all of these steps, your miter gauge could be misaligned or damaged.

Experimentation with adjustments on alignment can help you identify the issue and fix it quickly.

The saw blade is straight and perpendicular to the work surface or face of the saw table. The fence also must be set so that it is perpendicular to the blade. It is important for the fence to be absolutely perpendicular in order for accurate cuts to take place.

Broken Bevel Gauge

A faulty bevel gauge can also lead to inaccurate cuts on a miter saw. The bevel gauge is what lets us know the angle the table should be cut at for our project. It’s a metal bar that is fixed to the table or fence and is angled in such a way that it will indicate the correct cutting angle of the blade.

Depending upon its accuracy, it must also be positioned precisely perpendicular to the blade every time you make a cut. A broken bevel gauge can often go undetected until problems start occurring with incorrect cuts being made on your workpieces of wood.

Let me tell you about some other related and interesting facts about miter saws and their accuracy.

Are Miter Saws Accurate?

Miter saws can be as accurate as 0.01 degrees. This may not sound like a lot, but it can have an influence on the cutting you do with them. For example, if you had to cut 2×4 normal wood at exactly 45 degrees, it would completely ruin the project since the angles were so close to perfect.

Manufacturers do try to be as accurate as possible and will often have an accuracy rating for their products. The most common one is 0.5 degrees or 1/4-inch which results in a wide cut of about 6 inches off the line at 45 degrees.  Now, if you’re cutting something like picture frames, this may not be a big deal at all.

However, if you’re cutting crown molding or something else for your home that relies on being as accurate as possible, it can make a difference. This is why I always recommend checking and double checking the angles of the pieces before making any cuts. 

What Is the Fence on a Miter Saw?

The fence is set on the top of your miter saw and should always remain perpendicular to the blade. The fence helps keep the material you’re cutting from moving through as you make a cut.

Each manufacturer will have a specific way that they want their fences to be placed during operation, along with how many degrees of angle they allow for the fence to be in.

For example, let’s say you have a miter saw that allows a cutting angle of -2 degrees all the way up to 45 degrees for the accuracy or perfect cuts. It would mean that the table is angled forward and backward as needed while still maintaining its position perpendicular to the blade at each given angle.

How Do You Straighten a Miter Saw Fence?

The quickest way to straighten your fence is to take it out and adjust the alignment on a flat surface. You can also set it parallel with the blade and then twist or bend it using a special tool.  

Another way is to grab hold of the stand itself, which will allow you to move the saw section either forward or backward as needed to adjust the alignment.  How you do this depends on how your miter saw is designed, along with the manufacturer of the product.

It will take a bit of experimenting and fine tuning to get it right every time. This can also vary from saw to saw in terms of capabilities or adjusting mechanisms that are present for making adjustments and getting your miter saw fence to the perfect alignment.  

Some will even have a small spirit level built into the stand that will help you make adjustments with absolute precision every time.

What Is a Zero Clearance Miter Saw Fence?

Zero clearance fences provide a means to make cuts in tight spaces. These fences are made with a slight setback on the side of the blade itself so that it will not hit the wood as it is being cut.

This can mean cutting right next to walls or even other pieces of material without having to stop and set your workpiece back into position.

The depth of the cut is the space between where your material is resting and the blade itself.  This can vary widely from saw to saw, so you’ll need to make sure you’re using a fence that’s adjustable for this purpose.

How Do You Make a Miter Saw Zero Clearance Fence?

When it comes to a zero clearance miter saw fence, you don’t have to do much at all. Most of them will be adjustable in some way along the side that’s next to the blade.  This can allow you to make adjustments as necessary depending on how large or small your workpiece is.

The most common size for these fences is 3 inches or 1/8th of an inch, which is the minimum size you can find.

You want to make sure it’s a small enough amount that your material will not be hit by the blade as it goes through the cut. If using plywood or something similar to create these types of cuts, that may not be an issue at all.

How Do You Align a Miter Saw?

Aligning a miter saw is really pretty easy. The first thing you want to do is make sure the blade itself is at zero degrees. This will help you get an accurate reading on your next steps, along with getting a more accurate cut overall.

If you don’t know how to check the alignment of your miter saw, refer to your owner’s manual. They’ll have a detailed guide with instructions on how to get it set up to factory standards and ready for cuts in no time at all.

You can also take a look around online or find an instructional video that will help you make those same adjustments as quickly as possible, along with checking the alignment on the table as well.

How Do You Fix a Miter Saw Angle?

If you have a miter saw where the angle isn’t adjustable, then you’ll need to fix it by adjusting the fence in order to make an accurate cut.

You may not be able to adjust your miter saw angles at all because of how it’s built. If that’s the case, then consider using another tool that is more versatile in its settings.

If you can but it’s limited, then you’ll need to make adjustments by moving the fence itself so that it is parallel with the blade.  Make these adjustments in small increments to get the best results possible.

How Do You Make a Miter Saw Cut Accurately?

Steps to Make Your Miter Saw Cut Straight

  1. Make sure the saw is turned on.
  2. Align your materials to the left side of the blade.
  3. Set your miter saw to a 45-degree angle, in order to get it lined up with the fence.
  4. Slide your workpiece against the fence and begin cutting while holding it steady against that same fence.  

How Do You Make a Miter Saw Cross Cut?

Just like any other crosscut, you need to set it up correctly in order to get your materials into the right positions. Using the fence for this purpose is really no different than using one on a table saw or circular saw.

Steps to Make Your 45-Degree Cut Accurately

This will make your cuts accurate and easy to complete in a shorter amount of time.

  1. Begin by pulling out the miter saw extension arm so it’s extended as far as it can go. This will give you more room to work with.
  2. Make sure you have your materials set up against the fence itself, where they’re parallel with one another Choose a size that works for your materials and set the blade to a 90-degree angle.
  3. Be sure to keep the saw steady while pushing through with a smooth motion to help reduce any additional noise or vibrations.

Final Words

It’s important to take care of your tools so that they work well for you. Whether it’s a saw blade, fence, or bevel gauge, if something isn’t working properly, then you need to fix it as soon as possible.

The reasons why this is the case are pretty clear: without a functioning piece of equipment, there will be no way to get accurate results when cutting wood and other materials.

It can also lead to some serious safety issues which should never happen in any situation where people are around power tools like these.  If your miter saw has a problem, contact the company that made it. They will fix it quickly and easily.

If not within the first 30 days, then you should contact the dealer where you purchased these tools in order to get that piece replaced as soon as possible.  

Follow all their instructions about how to go through the repair process so that everything is fixed and working correctly in a timely manner.

Also, be sure to properly lubricate your miter saw before each use, so it works smoothly and quietly for as long as possible. By using a fine-toothed grease on the blade shaft, you should be able to keep things going without any problems.

Lubricants are also used with the adjustment knobs and other moving parts that may experience wear over time.

I hope you have got an answer to your question: why does my miter saw not cut straight. I have also explained some basic steps that can help you make straight and accurate cuts easily.


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