From rLab

Some of the tools at the Hackspace are potentially hazardous to use, for these tools members are required to have an induction before they can use them. Inductions provide the most basic information on how to safely and effectively use the simpler functions of the tools, we appreciate that some members may have professional experience on some of these tools and in this case please tell your induction provider and the induction may be very reduced and just cover any risks or procedures specific to rLab. Some tools have multiple levels of induction in order to cover more advanced uses of that tool without making the basic induction take too long, higher induction levels will introduce some of the more advanced features of the tools but as with all inductions are only intended to provide basic information on the capabilities of the tools and how to use them safely. Some members of rLab may be willing to offer more detailed tuition beyond basic induction level or offer guided practice sessions in exchange for beer money or assistance on their own projects.

For all tools you are only required to take level-1 induction before use, after that you may perform any task that you feel confident you can do safely, higher levels of induction may be useful to you in performing more advanced operations but are not required before doing tasks covered in them so long as you're confident of your ability to handle those tasks without risk to yourself, others, or the tool.

PLEASE NOTE : All induction providers are volunteers who are providing inductions to the best of their ability but are NOT qualified instructors. Inductions are provided on a best-effort basis but you and you alone are responsible for your safety while using the tools and for satisfying yourself that you can operate the tools safely. There are professional training courses available from various providers in Reading and the surrounding area if you feel they are appropriate for the level of work you intend to undertake. Reading these notes is NOT a substitute for an in-person induction.

Note for wiki editors : Please do not edit induction pages unless you are one of of the people that gives that induction


The mitre saw, also known as a chop saw, is one of the most basic bench tools in woodworking. Do not let its simplicity fool you: it is as useful a tool as it is simple. It can be used for anything from cutting long planks down to size to making accurate bevels.

Topic Detailed contents Rationale
Capabilities and limitations This tool can be used for cutting all types of timber up to a size of 300 mm for a straight cut and 200 mm for a 45 degree cut, and up to a 200 mm height. Be extremely wary of nails when using reclaimed wood, as this can rip off teeth and make the tool unbalanced and less functional. The Mitre saw can be used to cut plastics, some plastics will give better results than others so make a test cut if it's an important piece (the blade must be changed in order to do this). This tool will not cut metal and any attempt to do so will cause severe damage, if you need to cut metal then the bandsaw(requires level-2 induction) or cold-cut saw can be used Description of what the tool can and cannot safely do.
Proper clothing & PPE
  • Long hair including facial hair must be tied back.
  • No jewelry, especially no watches, rings or necklaces/pendants
  • Either tight sleeves or short sleeves or loose sleeves rolled up.
  • Mention catch points: Most notably the knobs, the guard, and the blade itself.
  • Goggles and ear protection is essential
  • For larger projects or cutting treated timbers then a dust mask is a good idea, for cutting small amounts of regular timber it's optional
  • Consider the risk of lead-based paints on reclaimed timber
  • Use the air-filter above the bench when the mitre saw is in use.
Any loose hanging clothing or hair can get tangled, either pulling someone in or immobilizing the user, PPE is needed for safety.
  • Fence
  • Bed
  • Compound rail
  • Safety catch
  • Guard
  • Handle
  • Rule
  • Bevel protractor
  • Mitre protractor
Allows for easy communication
Adjustment the saw for your cut
  • Ensure the machine is switched off prior to all adjustments, and ensure that all locks are in place prior to switching on.
  • To adjust the mitre, unscrew the knob and lift the handle at the end of the bed, adjust to a custom mitre angle between 0 and 57 degrees or use the slots at the base of the bed to adjust to 0, 15, 22.5, 30, or 45 degrees; re-tighten the knob when finished. These angles are fairly accurate, but if in doubt, use the angle gauge (found above the wood lathe).
  • To adjust the bevel angle, pull the lever located underneath the rail, then turn the unit counterclockwise until you are at the correct bevel angle. The scales are reasonably accurate but if you're trying to make tight-fitting parts then do test cuts
  • The compound slide position does not need to be adjusted, but when in use it should be extended as far out as is necessary prior to switching on, and when not in use it should be contracted as deep in as possible locked by twisting the red screw above the rail.
Getting the saw properly set up at the start is essential for safety and will make later adjustment easier
  • Consider your work area, make sure you can move your work into and out of the saw without getting caught up on anything or putting others in danger of getting hit.
  • Ensure all adjustments are complete and locked BEFORE startup.
  • Connect up the blue scheppach shopvac to the dust extract port
    • The dust extract isn't very good but it's better than nothing so use it
  • Make sure the saw is plugged in, it uses a 110 V power source, which is why it's connected to a small yellow box (the transformer). It must not be used with extension leads.
  • Position the wood in such a way that it is easily accessible and in the correct position without needing to reach in front of, under, or behind the saw.
    • Clearance needs to long items.
  • Hold the wood firmly against the fence, keeping your hands well clear of the red area, or use a clamp, and test that the blade lands in the correct position. Work must always be held firmly against the fence, freehand cutting of any sort is NOT ALLOWED.
  • Consider the forces you are exerting to hold the work securely, ensure that if you slip or fall you will not move towards the blade
  • If the work cannot be held securely against the fence in a way that can't rotate or move owing to it's size/shape/orientation, then it cannot be cut on the mitre saw, perhaps consider the table saw or bandsaw instead.
    • This means round items and bits of tree are not normally suitable for this saw, consider using the bandsaw with suitable cribbing instead
    • Plastics are especially prone to snatching and causing dangerous situations so fixing and clamping must be better then for timber
  • If the work has a high aspect ratio then consider what orientation to hold it in to avoid the saw kicking it up. Place the flattest parts of the wood on the bed and fence, with the narrowest flat side on the fence.
  • Always cut a bit before or after your line such that the edge of the blade is on the line and the centre is on the waste side, this ensures an accurate cut with minimal waste.
  • Consider where your sawdust and chips are going to go, warn people if necessary.
These considerations can significantly improve pleasantness for user, and those around them
Startup / cutting / shutdown
  • Turn on the cylinder vac
  • Start the mitre saw by clicking the red trigger. When the blade reaches maximum speed (indicated by wizzing sound becoming constant), pull the safety catch up, and gradually lower the blade onto your work, once your cut is complete then release the trigger and allow the blade to come to a complete stop before removing the blade from your work. Wait for the blade to return to the top before switching back on.
  • If you are using the slide feature, keep the trigger clicked and slide in (away from yourself). Release the trigger and allow the blade to come to a complete stop before removing the blade from your work.
  • Turn off the cylinder vac
  • Brush down the bed between cuts as a buildup of sawdust will make it harder to hold the work securely against the fence.
  • If the cut seems to take unusual force or if it burns the wood, then the blade may need replacement, post on the mailing list to get this arranged.
  • [Demonstrate straight, mitre and bevel cuts]
  • [Inductee makes at least one cut]
This ensures the correct use of the tool.
Cleaning up
  • Switch the machine off at the socket.
  • If you have large scraps, put them in the scrap bin, very large scraps go in the scrap pile by the door
  • Use the dustpan for large accumulations of sawdust.
  • Run the shopvac on and around the mitre saw, and lift the guard and clean underneath it as well.
  • Where the bags for the Henry are kept and how to empty the scheppach
  • If your timber has oily/greasy/paint-y residues on the bed the acetone can be used to clean the metal parts of the mitre saw.
Clean up ensures pleasant use and reduced fire risk.