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post #1 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 02:02 PM Thread Starter
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Miter saw adjust questions

I just received my first miter saw for Christmas from my wife. It's a Hitachi C12FDH. I took it out of the box and took my time getting squinted with it and trying to make sure I figure everything out. I have used other people's miter saws before but never owned one. And I have also never used a dual compound. I read about adjusting a miter saw for most accurate cuts. Right out of the box the little red indicators for bevel didn't both register 0 at the same time, well they are adjustable so I put saw straight up and put em both to zero. Then I noticed red indicator arrow for miter angle didn't line up to zero when in 0deg detent, so I adjusted that. Then I tried to figure out if blade was square with fences, with a square it looked a hair off, so I loosened two Allen head bolts on bottom side of miter adjustment lever and it gave me a little wiggle room, so I think I got it fairly close. I still don't seem to get perfect cuts, I take my Swanson speed square and make a line, cut, and it doesn't seem quite even. Now I checked with a smaller ruler square my left fence to the blade and it seems like it may be a smidge off, right fence seems good to the blade. So I haven't made any other adjustments, as I'm now lost as to where to start and what to do. I don't have a jointer or planer so getting perfectly square wood to start with is hard, so I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm a newbie and lost!
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post #2 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 02:10 PM
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Can you adjust the fence themselves?
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post #3 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mat 60 View Post
Can you adjust the fence themselves?
I think so, haven't tried yet, trying to get a plan and figure things out before making a bunch of hap-hazard adjustments since I don't know what I'm doing.

Instruction book that came with it leaves something to be desired
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post #4 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 04:06 PM
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If it's right out of the box I would put a good blade on it before I got too critical on checking the setup. I don't know how the blade on that model is but most stock blades are marginal at best and can affect the outcome of the cut.
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post #5 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 04:20 PM
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Dude.. you already made a pile of adjustments ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by 870ExpressMag View Post
I think so, haven't tried yet, trying to get a plan and figure things out before making a bunch of hap-hazard adjustments since I don't know what I'm doing.

Instruction book that came with it leaves something to be desired
They all sounded reasonable however.

First off as a check....see if the fences are in line with each other and neither is twisted in or out. That would explain some of your issues BUT to be certain, go back to the blade and square it to the left side fence by adjusting that fence. Then line up the right side fence so they are inline. Now both fences should be square to the blade.

Next see if the blade is 90 degrees to the flat face of the table ...probably so. If not, it might be difficult to correct for that, I donno?

The 45 degree miter marks are adjusted when the saw arms fall into the detents.... which are not adjustable on some saws. Check you manual. A 45 degree draftsman's triangle is a very useful tool in the shop!


See how that works for you.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #6 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 870ExpressMag View Post
I just received my first miter saw for Christmas from my wife. It's a Hitachi C12FDH. I took it out of the box and took my time getting squinted with it and trying to make sure I figure everything out.

I have used other people's miter saws before but never owned one. And I have also never used a dual compound. I read about adjusting a miter saw for most accurate cuts.

Right out of the box the little red indicators for bevel didn't both register 0 at the same time, well they are adjustable so I put saw straight up and put em both to zero. Then I noticed red indicator arrow for miter angle didn't line up to zero when in 0deg detent, so I adjusted that.

Then I tried to figure out if blade was square with fences, with a square it looked a hair off, so I loosened two Allen head bolts on bottom side of miter adjustment lever and it gave me a little wiggle room, so I think I got it fairly close.

I still don't seem to get perfect cuts, I take my Swanson speed square and make a line, cut, and it doesn't seem quite even. Now I checked with a smaller ruler square my left fence to the blade and it seems like it may be a smidge off, right fence seems good to the blade. So I haven't made any other adjustments, as I'm now lost as to where to start and what to do.

I don't have a jointer or planer so getting perfectly square wood to start with is hard, so I guess what I'm trying to say is I'm a newbie and lost!
Welcome aboard.

An introduction would be nice so that we know more about your woodworking experience level.

You wrote a lot there, but never did say exactly what it was in the end that was not correct about the cut.

Jointers and Planers do not "square wood." A jointer will square an edge to the face. A planer will make two faces parallet. That is the simple explanation.

Is it that your crosscuts with the saw do not produce a square cut under any conditions, or just certain situations? On say a 6" board that you crosscut, how much is the cut off square?

George
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post #7 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 08:24 PM
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This is a very good article on how to set up a miter saw.

http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/...r-saw-tune-up/

They aren't exactly simple to set up properly, but it's worth the effort if you want accurate cuts.
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post #8 of 22 Old 12-27-2015, 09:14 PM Thread Starter
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I apologize for not giving more background info. I'm a mechanic by trade, only woodworking experience is helping an uncle occasionally do home repairs in my house, or helping a handyman friend do repairs and build deer blinds. So I am very very novice. Always had an interest in woodwork though, my late grandfather was very good at it, but I was young when he was doing his work and we lived a ways apart.

I was practicing with basically pallet wood, 1/2" to 3/4" thick by 4" wide. I would take my speed square, make a line across the 4" width, cut alongside it and the cut wasn't exactly parallel to the line I made. When I put my machinist square against blade on left side and rule against left fence, it appears to have a slight gap between rule and fence on the inboard side of left fence, when I do this on the right side, it seems good. Other thing I did was then stand a piece up on edge
And cut it straight down, and it
Appears to be cutting at a slight angle per the speed square with saw set at bevel 0.
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post #9 of 22 Old 12-28-2015, 02:55 PM
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To check the cut for square---make a cut--then turn over the board--and make a cut---just a shave--and you will see if the blade removes a perfect slice or a wedge shaped slice.

No tools used for this test.
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post #10 of 22 Old 12-28-2015, 07:30 PM Thread Starter
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I read the article posted by pweller, I want to have a chance to check all the stuff before making to many adjustments. I was able to check the flatness of the table as per the article. If I use the long side of a carpenters square, it shows the extreme outboard edges to be slightly high, if I use the short side of the square and put it across the table all except the extreme outboard edges, it is off less than the thickness of a piece of paper.


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Originally Posted by mikeswoods View Post
To check the cut for square---make a cut--then turn over the board--and make a cut---just a shave--and you will see if the blade removes a perfect slice or a wedge shaped slice.

No tools used for this test.
I had a chance to quickly try this method tonight, I used a scrap piece of plywood I had that measures 5 3/4" wide. I laid the piece flat against the table and up against the left fence, made a cut, then flipped the board and made another cut, here is what I got



It looks pretty close to me, but it makes me wonder, if the edges of my board were not exactly parallel, couldn't this cause my cut to appear square, if the amount the cut is off equals the amount my board is off? Or am I over thinking this?

Also should I try this same thing while standing the board upright? So I can check the squareness of the cut up and down?
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post #11 of 22 Old 12-28-2015, 08:35 PM
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I could be wrong but ...

I think that test only works with a one piece fence OR a fence that is straight lined. If one of the sides of the 2 piece fence is at a slight angle, your reference would be "wacky" and the cut may not be square. So, first check the fence for straight. Then square it to the blade using your framing square.

You can end up chasing your tail ......

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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post #12 of 22 Old 12-28-2015, 09:01 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
I think that test only works with a one piece fence OR a fence that is straight lined. If one of the sides of the 2 piece fence is at a slight angle, your reference would be "wacky" and the cut may not be square. So, first check the fence for straight. Then square it to the blade using your framing square.

You can end up chasing your tail ......
That's what I'm afraid of, chasing my tail.

I THINK my left fence is slightly not square to the blade, I used the type of square that slides on a steel rule, and it appeared that the left fence was set back slightly the closer it got to the blade, but the left outboard side of the fence was good, when I did the same thing on the right fence it seemed to be right on. But I have read to square left fence, then match right fence to left. So maybe my next step should be to square the fences? Like I said I haven't moved anything else yet so I don't end up "chasing my tail"
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post #13 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 08:23 PM Thread Starter
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Update- I started out with the left fence slightly off from the blade, but the right fence seemed to be on with the blade. So tonight I set out to adjust the fences to the blade, I used my combination square, with straight edge set all the way to the end of the rule, I checked it with my framing square and they match, so I locked the saw down and loosened the left fence and got it square to the blade, I took my time and made sure it was right. I then took the long side of the framing square and matched the right fence to the left fence. When I got done I checked the right side fence to the blade with the combo square, way off. So I kept trying, hour and a half of trying. Through this whole time I never moved left fence since I kept checking it to blade and it was right on, so I then took and set the right fence to the blade as well with the combo square, and now if I lay the framing square acrossed the fences I can get a noticeable teeter back and forth against fence. Seems like it's teetering on the right side fence where it gets close to blade slot. So now I'm frustrated and don't know what to do.

Edit for additional info: if I make a cut acrossed a 1x8 laid flat, it doesn't make straight cuts, they aren't huge, but noticeable enough to tell its "off". I took speed square and made a line, cut next to it and you can see the cut isn't completely parallel to line. I then do the cut tricks, and they indicate not square as well

Last edited by 870ExpressMag; 12-29-2015 at 08:27 PM. Reason: Additional info
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post #14 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 08:54 PM
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Wow!

I posted this way above somewhere....
First off as a check....see if the fences are in line with each other and neither is twisted in or out. That would explain some of your issues BUT to be certain, go back to the blade and square it to the left side fence by adjusting that fence. Then line up the right side fence so they are inline. Now both fences should be square to the blade.

I would loosen both fences and start over. See what the extremes of movement are when they are loose and mark those on the table front and rear. Start in the center with the left fence ... center it between the marks. Square it to the blade. Then straight line the right fence across the "gap" with the left fence. Now check the right fence for square to the blade, making certain you are not resting on a tooth. IT should also be square to the blade. You can use an aluminum level to straight line the fences, they are quite accurate for the money and won't tip over when you let go....


If it ain't I have no clue. Square to a straight line (fence) is square any place on the line (fence)

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 12-29-2015 at 08:59 PM.
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post #15 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 09:28 PM
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Although not helpful to the OP, I feel the need to say this for anyone that might be reading and in the market for a MS.

Checking out a saw in person, especially adjustments should be pretty important on your list. Some saws have independent fences for adjustment, some a one piece fence for adjusting.

My DeWalt with a fixed fence is a breeze to square up by way of the miter detents. I wouldn't have it any other way.
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post #16 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 09:43 PM Thread Starter
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Although not helpful to the OP, I feel the need to say this for anyone that might be reading and in the market for a MS.

Checking out a saw in person, especially adjustments should be pretty important on your list. Some saws have independent fences for adjustment, some a one piece fence for adjusting.

My DeWalt with a fixed fence is a breeze to square up by way of the miter detents. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Well I picked the model I thought would give me the best bang for the buck, and features I wanted. Having no experience with miter saws previously, the best I could do is read online and read reviews. The saw I chose gets very good reviews. Before actually getting my hands on this experience and trying to adjust one, I would have never known the differences to look for that you speak of.
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post #17 of 22 Old 12-29-2015, 10:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 870ExpressMag View Post
Well I picked the model I thought would give me the best bang for the buck, and features I wanted. Having no experience with miter saws previously, the best I could do is read online and read reviews. The saw I chose gets very good reviews. Before actually getting my hands on this experience and trying to adjust one, I would have never known the differences to look for that you speak of.



I know a lot of people like to go off reviews on sellers websites. I personally do not take this approach, as there are a lot of idiots out there.

I prefer to check out tools in person, touch, feel and look them over.


I do take into suggestion opinions when it's from a specific sub-group of people such as this forum. Even then I still check out stuff in person before I buy.


It's not that hard to set up an easy to set up MS.
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post #18 of 22 Old 12-30-2015, 03:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pweller View Post
This is a very good article on how to set up a miter saw.

http://www.thisiscarpentry.com/2010/...r-saw-tune-up/

They aren't exactly simple to set up properly, but it's worth the effort if you want accurate cuts.
Thanks for posting this! Seriously, that is a fantastic read for anybody, it lays out everything you could ever want to know

I need cheaper hobby
etsy.com/shop/projectepicfail
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post #19 of 22 Old 12-30-2015, 10:10 AM Thread Starter
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i tried again this morning, squared left fence to the blade, made sure to not be touching teeth, then used long level which i checked for straight edge, and squared right fence to left fence, and right fence still doesnt match to the blade. i also notice that the laser isnt quite straight, now i have read enough to know not to totally trust a laser, so i wasnt paying attention to it, but my dad noticed that the blade was cutting "off" the same angle as the laser, so we moved the miter angle so the laser lined up with the line on my board, tried to re-align fences to the blade again, and still no go. i took the fences off, left fence seems square, right fence seems to be off a little, didnt think it looked like enough to throw everything off but maybe? i guess i dont know where to go from here
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post #20 of 22 Old 12-30-2015, 11:56 AM
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Are the fences themselves straight?

Here's the deal .... if you clamp your level to the left fence which has been squared to the blade and tightened down and THEN clamp the right fence (which has been left loose for positioining) to the level they should all be in the same plane or straight. Then tighten down the right fence.

If this doesn't work, take the damn thing back and get a different make and model.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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