Owning a heavy-duty power tool is a great thing, regardless of your experience, previous expertize, or how frequently you use it. Miter saws are useful tools for a vast variety of applications.

For example, if you’re planning on cutting picture frames, crown mold, door frames, or anything else that requires precision and smooth angles – a miter saw is your safest bet.

Now, many people decide to give up before they even take a look around the market because most of them are under the impression that these machines cost a fortune.

unlocked yellow dewalt miter saw
There are, in fact, some models that come with a particularly hefty price, but there are also quite a bit of affordable ones.

If you’re an absolute beginner and you aren’t aware of the capabilities of your new tool, take a moment and check this article out. This guide is designed to help you get started without having to waste hours on figuring out how things work. If you ever had problems to unlock a miter saw, this is the article you should refer to in the future.

What is a miter saw?

Contrary to popular belief, these machines aren’t hard to get the hang of at all. A lot of people that decide to conduct research and find out whether or not they need a saw in their lives usually find out how straightforward and simple these machines actually are. They are most often used for angled cuts and during projects that require extra precision.

The Process

The process of unlocking a saw is pretty simple and straightforward. Depending on the type you own, there are a couple of steps you should take in order to unlock your machine. People usually lock their units due to safety reasons. There are also some other factors involved, but they aren’t as important as the safety element.

Unlocking the Head

In order to unlock the head of a miter saw, you need to put some pressure on it and look for a lever, pin, or anything that looks like a moving part that’s designed to hold certain parts together. Most modern units have a knob or a pin that’s designed to block the mechanical ankle. It is usually positioned right behind the blade near the center point of the main base.

All you have to do is pull that pin out and the head should be unlocked. If you have a sliding model, there should be a lock on the slide that needs to be loosened in order to get the mechanism moving back and forth.

unlocking the base of a miter saw

Unlocking the table/base

Once you’ve unlocked the head, the table should be the next element. Most modern units have a visible knob integrated into the base. Needless to say, its purpose is pretty clear – it allows you to move the base and find the angle you’re looking for. Furthermore, a lot of nowadays models come already marked with commonly used angles such as 45 and 90 degrees.

In simpler words, instead of using different ways of figuring out the right angle, all you have to do is align the rotating part of the base with the static one that contains pre-set angle positions.

Locking the Bevel

Not all models come with a moving bevel. Therefore, if you own a model that is not foreseen for tilting, this step isn’t too important for you. On the other hand, a vast majority of nowadays units feature a tilting bevel, so there’s a good chance you own one of those.

In order to adjust and fine-tune the tilt, you have to slide the integrated stop located somewhere near the base. Some models have drilled holes that are designed to stop the head from tilting further and are also pre-set to a certain angle.

In simpler words, some units have 45 and 90 degrees markings on the base so that you can adjust the machine without having to hassle with figuring out the right angles.

worker with helmet and goggles woodcutting blocks with dewalt miter saw

Quick Tips and Tricks

A lot of people choose to neglect the mandatory safety precautions and most of them consequently end up either hurting themselves or damaging the machine. As you can assume, both of these scenarios are quite unfavorable for an average user.

The most important thing you should remember is to wear safety equipment at all times. That includes goggles, ear protection, and gloves. Also, remember to plug the machine out every time you decide to make an adjustment, even if it’s a minor one. In fact, most people get hurt while making minor adjustments because they fail to recognize the potential risk of leaving the machine on.

While there are several safety mechanisms that are designed to prevent a saw from accidentally turning on, you can never be completely sure and safe. The key is in lowering the potential risks instead of neglecting a potentially bad outcome.

Make sure your machine is always clean and residue-free. Some units have a vacuum attachment that comes in handy for these situations, but one must have an industrial vacuum in order to utilize the feature. Needless to say, a vast majority of beginners and enthusiasts don’t utilize the vacuum function.

The Conclusion

As you can tell, unlocking and adjusting an average miter saw isn’t a big deal whatsoever. On the other hand, it’s extremely important that you know what you are doing while re-adjusting the machine in order to prevent bad things from happening. Most people decide to neglect the risks and some of them consequently end up being hurt.

If your unit requires professional intervention, don’t hesitate to hire someone or ask some of your more experienced friends for help. Don’t try to DIY something you’re not sure about because it can end up being a huge mistake and a potentially lethal one as well.

Bear in mind that there are hundreds of models available on the market, and not all of them work and perform the same. Therefore, before doing anything, make sure you read the included user manual and get familiar with some of the basic concepts.