Miter saws, particularly sliding compound miter saws, are some of the most versatile tools that you can have. With the right blades, you can use them to cut wood, tile, PVC piping, metal pipes, and more.
With that being said, you do of course need to have not only the right blade but also a sharp blade that is ready to cut through anything you put in its path. In this article, we will talk about exactly that.
So, when should you change your miter saw blade and how should you do it?
When Should You Change the Blade on Your Miter Saw?
So, you have been using the same blade on your miter saw for quite some time now, and it seems to be losing functionality. How do you know when it is time to change the blade?
Below are some crucial signs that will tell you whether or not a blade change is required.
#1: Your Blade Burns the Wood
One sign that the blade on your miter saw needs changing if it starts burning the wood as you make the cut. If your miter saw blade burns the wood as you are making the cut, it means that the blade is too dull and that it is creating too much friction.
#2: Your Blade Cuts Slow
When you use a good miter saw with a nice blade, when you go to make a cut, you shouldn’t have to apply much pressure at all. That blade should cut through the material like a hot knife through melted butter. If you notice that you need to apply lots of force and if there is a lot of resistance, then it is time to change the blade.
#3: Your Saw Is Making a Lot of Noise
If your miter saw blade is old, dull, and is just not up to the task anymore, it can cause your saw to start making plenty of noise. This means that the motor of your miter saw is working overtime. It’s working too hard, harder than it should. This, in turn, can cause it to overheat and to make loud noises – high pitched whining ones in particular. If you notice this, then it’s likely time to change the blade.
#4: You Have a Difficulty Cutting Straight
The other sign that it is time to change the blade on your miter saw is if you can no longer make straight cuts along lines. The teeth on your saw blade can warp and bend, and the teeth can become very dull, both of which will result in jagged and crooked lines with lots of burrs on the finished project.
How to Change a Miter Saw Blade
Even if your miter saw blade has seen better days, fortunately, changing the blade can be done in a few easy steps. Follow the steps listed below, and you shouldn’t have any problems with the process.
Step 1: Remove the Spindle Cover and Components
In order to remove the blade on your miter saw, the first required step is to remove the spindle. First off, remove the spindle cover. You should be able to easily pop this off. You may or may not require tools for this.
Once you have done this, rotate the blade guard to the very most top position it can be moved to. Then using the adequate screwdriver, remove the screw from the spindle cover, and then allow the cover to pivot back fully on the rear screw, and then drop out fully.
Step 2: Remove the Blade
The next step here is to remove the blade. To do this, press the lock button on the spindle to lock the spindle fully into place. There are some models where the spindle cannot be fully locked. If this is the case for your miter saw, use the proper size of wrench to apply pressure to the spindle lock.
This should then allow you to pull it out so you can remove the blade. You need to remove the bolt to pull the blade out, as the bolt is what holds the blade in place. Once you have removed the bolt and washer, you can then remove the blade.
Step 3: Replace the Blade
The final step is to replace the blade. Get your new blade. Make sure it’s the right type and size. The process to attach the new blade is exactly the same (although completely in reverse), as removing the old blade.
Put the new blade in, insert the bolt and washer, press the spindle lock, and use a wrench to tighten it. Finally, replace the spindle cover screw, the cover, and the blade guard.
Other than a bit of finetuning, your miter saw is now ready for use.
DeWalt, Craftsman, Makita, and Other Brands: Are There Any Differences?
Something you may be wondering is if there is a difference in changing your miter saw blade in terms of the brand. The short answer here is no, there is really no difference between various brands, whether DeWalt, Craftsman, Makita, Porter-Cable, or anything else in between.
Now, there might be some minor difference in terms of whether you will need an 8, 10, or mm wrench for the spindle, or if the spindle bolt turns to the left or right, or other such small differences. However, in the grand scheme of things, the process is the same across all brands.
Can Miter Saw Blades be Sharpened?
Something else you might be wondering about is if you actually need to replace the blade, or if you can just sharpen it. The answer here is that yes, technically speaking, you can sharpen the circular blade on your miter saw.
That said, this is a fairly difficult and time-consuming process, and moreover, if you don’t have the proper tools or skills, it is nearly impossible. You may actually end up further damaging or dulling the blade if you don’t know what you are doing.
However, with a workbench that has clamps, a crayon, a file, and a diamond file, plus the right know-how, it is possible to sharpen the blade. Yet, if the blade is damaged or cracked in any way, it will need to be replaced.
To sum it all up, if you are having trouble following lines, you have to apply a lot of force, the wood has burn marks, or if your miter saw is making loud and funny noises, then it is time to change the blade.
Thankfully, changing a miter saw blade is very simple and quick to do.