Question: When using a sliding miter saw, should I cut on the push stroke or the pull stroke?
-- Brendan McMillan , Wheaton , IL


Sliding miter saws are designed to cut on the push stroke. Pulling a miter saw through the cut results in a climb cut that could cause the blade to rise up out of the wood and chase after you. Also, it is important to use a blade with teeth that angle forward between 0° and 5°. The positive hook of the teeth is just aggressive enough that you can push through the wood easily and still maintain control. A blade with a more aggressive hook would be harder to control, and a blade with teeth that angle backward would require too much force.

miter saw

click to enlarge

A sliding miter saw should be pushed through the cut. Otherwise, you’ll make a climb cut, which can be dangerous.

Drawings: John Tetreault

From Fine Woodworking #213 June 3, 2010