Miter Saw blades

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Forum topic by motownjg posted 01-28-2013 04:05 AM 1374 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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24 posts in 2157 days

01-28-2013 04:05 AM

I have an “el-cheapo” Harbor Freight compound miter saw with the original blade.

1) has anyone made their own extended fence for this miter saw? Mine seems to be a bit “off” when it comes to being at right angles to the blade.

2) what blades are people using with their miter saw? Somewhere I read that I should replace the “el-cheapo” blade with something better. So, I”m asking, what’s better than the blade it came with from the factory?

Thanks everybody.

-- John

8 replies so far

View MonteCristo's profile


2099 posts in 2243 days

#1 posted 01-28-2013 04:17 AM

I built my miter saw into a bench with an 8’ fence with a tape scale and a stop block that rides in a piece of imbedded t-slot track. The saw can be removed fairly easily if necessary.

RE: question 2: the short answer is just about anything. Odds are the blade that came with your saw is not very good. Even expensive saws often come with crappy blades. Personally, I don’t use so-called “miter saw” blades, i.e.. those with a negative rake angle on the teeth. They go dull more quickly and IMHO the risk of the saw climb cutting (trying to run thru the wood) is not as great as many would claim. I would put a good quality combination blade on the saw, one that will do the miters well and also crosscut well, like a Forrest WW II, 40 tooth. If that’s too pricey, guys like Freud make decent blades that are not as expensive, eg Freud’s Ultra Fine Crosscut blade.

-- Dwight - "Free legal advice available - contact Dewey, Cheetam & Howe""

View fuigb's profile


495 posts in 3012 days

#2 posted 01-28-2013 04:30 AM

^dang WW blade might double the investment in the saw. I agree, btw, that stock blades are usually no better than so-so, but I’d expect HF’s stock to be pretty far down the list.

How has the saw been performing, John?

-- - Crud. Go tell your mother that I need a Band-aid.

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24 posts in 2157 days

#3 posted 01-28-2013 04:55 AM

I’m an experienced DIY’er around the home, but a relatively new ‘woodworker.’

I’ve used the HF miter saw for a lot of different ‘rough’ stuff (cutting 2×4 studs and the like), but I’m finding that as I try to do really “precision” work (picture frames?) it takes me an inordinate amount of time to 1st) setup the saw at right angles to the fence it came with and then 2) slowly and deliberately make the cuts, sneaking up on the measurement, letting the blade wind down afterwards before removing the work piece to avoid tearout & chipping with the stock blade it came with. And even then I’m off on the angles, usually. I think its me, though.

What I’d like to do is improve on what was a relatively inexpensive Miter Saw to begin with. I have a habit of buying more expensive equipment with the hope that it’ll make things better. I’m sure a new 10” blade would be a positive improvement and I’ll pursue that – 40 tooth or 60, crosscut or combination. I think adding a laser attachment might help me be more accurate as would replacing the aluminum fence with something of my own making – an MDF right angle setup somehow?

Those are my thoughts.

-- John

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1643 posts in 2687 days

#4 posted 01-28-2013 05:38 AM

I just reviewed an inexpensive Craftsman miter saw here on LJ. You might take a look at that review for ideas. But here are a few thoughts.
1- the fence on my saw was mediocre at best. It was slightly cupped and pathetically short. I augmented mine with a piece of hardwood flooring to make it taller and more true. I had to drill holes in the original fence in order to mount the flooring though.
2- If you install an auxiliary fence, you can make a reference cut into the fence with whatever blade you settle on. This cut will show you exactly where the blade will cut the workpiece. I’m not a big believer in the laser thingy. The augmented fence with the reference cut pretty much eliminates any need for it.
3- Make sure the saw’s table is co-planer. The circular miter portion of my saw’s table was canted from left to right. The left side sat a hair above the machine’s base and the right side sat below. No way to get a perfectly square cut in this condition. Luckily, the fix was quick n’ easy. I separated the miter table from the machine base, found the highest points around the table, and filed them down until they were even all-around. Sounds hard, but it was easy.
4- Take a look at the “slot” in the table that runs 90 degrees to the fence. There should be two plastic strips that border the slot. I suppose you could call them zero-clearance inserts, but they are far from zero clearance. Anyway, those should be dead-even with the saw’s table. Too high or too low can cause accuracy issues. Sand or shim as necessary.
5- Arbor run out. If the blade wobbles, your accuracy will suffer. Not much you can do to correct this.
6- Blade. Generally speaking, stock blades suck. A $20-30 Freud blade will almost definitely be light years better than the stock HF blade. A 10” 40-tooth blade will like work for you.

See pic. The cut in the fence indicates where the blade will enter the workpeice on a 90 degree cut. You can also see the two symmetrical red plastic pieces I referred to earlier. Small detail, but made a big difference. This is only a 7.25” saw which is why the fence is so small. You can make it taller/wider for 10” machines.

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321 posts in 3504 days

#5 posted 01-28-2013 02:16 PM

i use a dewalt 12 inch general use blade on my saw 65.00 bucks for two on sale 99.00 regular list price, work great . and they are thin kerf so they dont overwork the saw and produce a nice cut

-- rob, ont,canada

View motownjg's profile


24 posts in 2157 days

#6 posted 01-28-2013 02:26 PM

Perfect. This is exactly what I looking for in advice. Now I have some ideas on what to do next.
I even think I have some leftover flooring in the garage.

somewhere…...... :(

Thanks everyone.

-- John

View aaroncgi's profile


33 posts in 2030 days

#7 posted 01-29-2013 06:43 AM

I had the HF 10” sliding miter saw for about 8 years. I got it before I know anything about the differing quality of saw blades, so used the supplied blade for a few years. Plus, I couldn’t rationalize spending half as much or more on a blade as I did on the entire saw. However, I eventually bit the bullet and bought the Oshlun SBW-100060N. It made a huge difference with the saw – far smoother and easier cuts than the supplied blade ever did, even though it’s not a thin kerf blade. It’s fairly reasonably priced now on Amazon, think I paid about $10 more when I bought it, years ago:

I liked it so much, that when I purchased a new miter saw last year, the Kobalt 10” slider from Lowes, I bought another of the same blade for it, passing the HF saw with older Oshlun, to my Dad. I haven’t installed the new Oshlun yet because the stock blade on the Kobalt was actually fairly decent, and I just haven’t had time for a whole lot of projects since I got the saw. I think a thin kerf could be helpful for the HF miter saw if you are cutting 8/4 hardwood or thicker. I used mine many a time to cut 4×4s in one pass. It was 50/50 whether the stock blade would make it all the way through, but no such problems with the Oshlun.

As for the fence, I didn’t have that issue, but I did have trouble with the bevel adjustment not wanting to stay at 90 degrees, and the bevel adjustment handle breaking, as well. For $100 though, I got more than my money’s worth!

-- Aaron

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24 posts in 2157 days

#8 posted 01-29-2013 12:36 PM

From everybody’s comments I’ve been carefully examining the miter saw and noticed a few things:

1) I’m still using the original blade from HF. I plan to replace that. It’s been several years and although its been OK for rough work, I’m trying to move into being more precise and make cleaner cuts, so I plan to replace it with a new one, probably from HD or Lowes.

2) The rotating table is ever so slightly higher than the surrounding fence/platform. Going to take that apart and see if I can shim one or the other to make it level all the way across. And here I thought it was my imagination when I felt the wood rock back and forth ever so slightly.

3) The adjustment indicators cannot be trusted, so a right angle square has become the order of the day whenever adjusting it 90 degrees to the fence or on a compound cut. I can live with that. It was a rather inexpensive saw, after all.


-- John

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