A power miter saw lends a professional touch to carpentry. It's portable, sets up in minutes and folds into a convenient package that's easy to handle. When you're ready to use it, two different locks keep the saw safe and accurate; a lock in back controls the up and down movement of the blade. A lock in front controls angles.

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credit: Wade Shaddy
Release the lock in back before plugging it in.

Down Position Lock

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credit: Wade Shaddy
Down position is locked for safety.

The blade in the down position keeps the saw safe for carrying and transporting, and whenever the saw is not in use. The guard covers the upper part of the blade. The teeth or lower body of the blade is safely tucked below the table, locked in back where the blade pivots. A single knob controls the lock.

Push or Pull

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credit: Wade Shaddy
You should feel a click when the pin disengages.

The lock consists of a knob and pin. Pull or push the knob on the end of the pin to release or lock the blade. Depending on the model, it may require twisting, but typically is only an inward, outward movement of the pin. The blade should lift up automatically when the pin is released. The guard should cover the blade as it lifts. If it doesn't, it's likely dirty or stuck and should be cleaned to move freely with the blade.

Angle Locks

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credit: Wade Shaddy
Lever and knob work together to lock degrees.

Two locks on the front of the saw control the angles. The large, horizontal knurled knob locks the left-to-right swivel action of the blade. The lever underneath the knob locks and releases presets for common angles. Depending on the model, some manufacturers place the lever on top of the knob; it works the same way. Other models may or may not have locking controls on the front, such as some models of compound miter saws.

Knurled Knob Lock

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credit: Wade Shaddy
Tighten the knob to lock, loosen it to unlock.

Twist the knurled knob counterclockwise to unlock the side-to-side swivel action of the blade.

Preset Angle Lock

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credit: Wade Shaddy
The lever requires a moderate amount of force to depress.

Depress the lever to release the preset angle. It's spring loaded; use the index or middle finger to depress it.

Swivel and Lock

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credit: Wade Shaddy
Locks can be operated by the left or right hand.

Swivel the handle while depressing the lever at the same time to adjust the angle. Stop swiveling at any time for custom angles or allow the lever to engage preset angles. You will feel and hear a click when the lever passes over the preset notches. Release the lever to engage the presets. When the angle is set, turn the knurled knob clockwise to lock it in place.