Calibrating My Chop Saw to Make a Perpendicular Cut Using a Bit of Geometry

Quote of the Day

All heiresses are beautiful.

- John Dryden


One of my co-workers was very disappointed with his purchase of a DeWalt DW717 miter saw because it does not make a perpendicular cut. Figure 1 shows a picture of his saw.

Figure 1: DeWalet DW717 10-inch Miter Saw.

Figure 1: DeWalt DW717 10-inch Miter Saw.

A little while ago I needed to get a miter saw for a project I was doing. I did my research and decided to choose a cordless miter saw over a corded one because then I wouldn't be restricted. This means that I have a similar saw (12 inch version) and I am very happy with mine. I thought for a moment and asked my co-worker "Have you calibrated your saw?" He told me no and he did not know it could be calibrated. Time for a little geometry -- construction always presents me with the best classical geometry exercises.

Very few tools come from the factory accurately setup -- at least to the accuracy I expect. I regularly calibrate both the 90° and 45° settings on my miter saw. In today's post, I thought I would show how I calibrate my saw for perpendicularity (i.e. 90° cut). I will discuss how to calibrate for a 45° cut in a later post. Figure 2 illustrates my approach. I was taught this in my youth and I do not remember by whom -- my dad spent all day at a saw cutting wood with a DeWalt saw and I think he might have taught me. He loved DeWalt and I think of him every time I use a DeWalt product.

Figure 2: My 90° Calibration Process.

Figure 2: My 90° Calibration Process.

My co-worker went home and proceeded to tune up his saw nicely. He is now a happy woodworker.

 
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