One of the most important things when working with power tools in the workshop is staying safe. When using woodworking tools, there are many accidents that can occur, and therefore you need to take all the safety measures possible.
Among the tools that call for extra safety is a miter saw. You should always remain alert and follow all the safety precautions required when using a miter saw. The safety features on your miter saw are there to minimize chances of injuries.
Here are six safety features to look for when shopping for the best miter saw.
1. Blade Guards
A blade guard is an important safety feature on any miter saw. It is meant to cover the outer edge of the saw’s blade. As the saw’s blade works on lumber, it lifts up to allow wood wastes to fall. It can either be opaque or transparent. Most woodworkers prefer transparent guards because it allows them to see where they are cutting.
2. Lockout Triggers
Most modern miter saws have a lockout trigger. It is a switch on the handle that you have to depress for the blade to spin. It prevents the saw from accidentally getting turned on. To turn your saw on, you will have to turn on the power switch and depress the lockout trigger. Without depressing this safety feature, your blade will not spin, and thus you can’t make any cuts.
3. Electric Brake
Nowadays, most of the miter saws come with an electric brake, but this feature is not present on all saws. For those who are concerned more about safety, this is one feature you need to make sure is present in your miter saw.
It causes the blade to stop rotating once you let go of the safety trigger. A spinning saw’s blade makes thousands of revolutions per minute, and therefore, having an electric blade will help you stop the blade from spinning after you have let go the safety trigger. Without it, your blade will keep spinning until it stops on itself, a process that can take a minute or longer.
4. Safety Clamps
These are one of the most important safety features in a miter saw. They help secure the lumber while cutting. If the wood you are cutting slips, there can occur an accident. Safety clamps help prevent this from occurring by keeping your wood in one fixed location, thereby allowing you to work on it without worrying about movements or slippage. This also ensures your cuts are precise and smooth since there will be no vibration.
5. Extension Cords
This is another safety feature to look out for in miter saw. Although not a standard feature in most miter saws, it is important to ensure to have one for your tool because you will need it at one time or another. For safety, ensure your extension cord is compatible and works well with your saw model.
Remember that different extension cords handle different current loads. To avoid overloading, ensure your extension cord has amperage load that matches that of your miter saw. Finally, make sure to check the number of prongs on your saw to ensure that it matches the extension cord.
Typically, a miter saw will come with a ground plug. If your tool features this prong, ensure that your extension cord has the same number of holes as your prong.
6. Dust Extraction
Most miter saws lack an effective dust collection system. A dust extraction system is an important feature when you are cutting wood, as it will prevent sawdust and debris from flying up your mouth, eyes, and ears which can prevent you from seeing where you are working on.
If your miter saw comes with a dust bag, know how to attach it to your tool. Besides shielding you against soaring sawdust, a dust extraction system can help prolong the lifespan of your saw. Failure to have one can lead to fire eruption because of sawdust accumulation in your miter saw.
Safety should be your priority when in a woodworking shop. Make sure your miter saw has many, if not all, of the above safety features to prevent injuries. Additionally, make sure you follow safety practices as stipulated in your miter saw user manual. This involves wearing protective gears and goggles to prevent your eyes from flying debris and also having your hearing protection on to prevent damaging your hearing system, especially if you are using a miter saw for an extended period. Also, keep your working area clean and free of distractions.