8 Things To Never Cut With a Miter Saw

8 Things To Never Cut With a Miter Saw

The miter saw, also known as a chop saw, is a powerful tool for cutting wood. The design of the miter saw allows it to make smooth and sleek wooden cuts effectively. Although it might be tempting to test its power on different materials, there are a few things you should never try to cut with a miter saw. 

Here are 8 things to never cut with a miter saw:

  1. Ferrous materials.
  2. Ceramic tiles.
  3. Glass.
  4. Concrete.
  5. Stone.
  6. Batteries.
  7. Greenwood.
  8. Electronic devices.

Next, we’ll dig deeper and discover why the list of things mentioned above is a bad idea to cut in your miter saw. By the end of this article, I hope to fully inform you what dangers you could potentially face when you attempt to cut these materials with a chop saw. 

1. Ferrous Materials

You should never attempt to use a miter saw to cut hard metals such as:

  • Bars
  • Rods
  • Studs
  • Nails
  • Screws

First, manufacturers design the miter saw specifically to cut dry wood, which does a fantastic job. But trying to cut metal with this power tool would not end well for you or your blade. 

It is not a good idea to use your miter saw for metals for the following reasons: 

Ferrous Materials
  • The metal would create excessive sparks. These sparks could damage the blade and compromise your saw’s overall health. Since the tool handles wood, cutting metal and its corresponding heat and spark could ultimately damage your miter saw. 
  • You could injure yourself and any bystanders with the sparks created when metal makes contact with the blade. Not to mention, you would never get a clean cut due to the rigid surface of the metal. The miter saw could also randomly launch small pieces of metal into the air, which could inflict serious injury. 
  • The miter saw and motor are only built to handle wood cuttings, not hard metal. Although manufacturers design special blades to cut ferrous materials, changing the blade is only half of the concern. The motor will undergo excessive strain when you use it on materials that the manufacturer didn’t design the tool to cut. 

2. Ceramic Tiles

Ceramic comes in different forms, such as porcelain, earthenware, and brick. It is a hardened material that usually consists of a substantial amount of crystalline compound. The material is quite brittle and shatters under pressure and force. 

Ceramic Tiles

Since ceramic can shatter under pressure, you should not cut this material using a miter saw. Not only can its pieces be launched into the miter saw and damage it, but it can also cause serious injury to the operator. 

Imagine multiple sharp pieces of this material flying about in the room at high speed. It wouldn’t yield the results you might anticipate. 

3. Glass

Glass is another red flag when cutting it in a chop saw. The results should be self-explanatory since we have a blade spinning at high speeds and glass. If it doesn’t paint a clear enough picture, let me try to explain. 

We all know glass is a very brittle material, and we are also aware by now that the blade on the miter saw spins fast, almost 2,000 – 4,000 RPM (revolutions per minute). Now imagine loading a piece of glass into the saw and pushing the saw down on it with the blade spinning at high rates of speed. 

 Glass

The outcome would not be favorable for you or your tool. Little pieces of glass will infiltrate the inner mechanics of your miter saw, and most of all, you are in danger of getting seriously hurt with the little bits of glass flying everywhere. In addition, inhaling the dust from the shattering glass could be irritating. 

4. Concrete

Concrete is usually sand and gravel mixed to form a hardened material. A lot of sources out there will tell you that with the right type of blade, you could potentially cut concrete with a miter saw. 

Concrete

However, I would relate to my earlier point that the motor on your miter saw is typically designed to cut wood, which is much softer than concrete. Attempting to cut this hard material will strain your miter saw and significantly deteriorate your power tool. 

5. Stone

Stone is harder than concrete, depending on the type of stone you are trying to cut in a miter saw. There are better tools available especially designed to cut stone. When taking on a project requiring constant or prolonged rock cutting, you shouldn’t use a device that a manufacturer does not explicitly create to cut these materials safely.  

Stone

Take the circular saw, for instance; it is a tool you can use to cut stone and make a wider range of cuts. Cuts that wouldn’t be possible with a miter saw, not to mention, a circular saw has more mobility as well. 

The Milwaukee 2730-20 Fuel Circular Saw is a battery power tool perfect for stone and concrete cutting jobs. A circular saw is a tool for you if you want something durable and practical.

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6. Batteries

It is pretty evident why you shouldn’t try to cut open any batteries with a miter saw. Although most people already know this, I’m putting this section in the article to be safe. 

Batteries

Batteries contain various acids and chemicals that can splash out and cause severe chemical burns. Having a high-speed blade cutting through a battery is a huge red flag and should never be attempted. Moreover, as a rule of thumb, you should never attempt to breach the casing of any battery by any means. 

7. Green Wood

Freshly cut wood consists of moisture, also known as green or wet wood. You should refrain from cutting this type of wood in your miter saw for several reasons:

Green Wood
  • The moisture in the wood will heat the chop saw’s blade. This abnormal heat increase will put extra strain on the motor. 
  • Green wood can cause kickbacks. A kickback is a sudden movement of the blade. Usually, the blade on the miter saw slips out of the cut and endangers the operator from being injured.  
  • Wet wood can also ooze out sap deposits that can enter your miter saw and damage it. It can also render your blade useless since manufacturers design the tool to cut dry wood.

8. Electronic Devices

Lastly, electronic devices of all kinds should never be cut open with a miter saw. The reason is that electronic devices and gadgets have tiny parts and components that can swing out with the motion of the blade and cause injury to the operator or anyone standing close by. 

You also risk getting electrocuted. In the case of a battery-operated device, it could cause additional harm to the operator. Therefore, stand clear of cutting all electronics and use a screwdriver if necessary. 

Electronic Devices

You can safely open most machines and electronics with a flat-head or a Phillips-head screwdriver. Therefore, take caution and always refrain from cutting such devices in a miter saw. 

What Type of Cut Must Never Be Made With a Miter Saw?

Freehand cuts should never be made with a miter saw or cut with your hand within 6 inches (15.2cm) of the blade. The material you intend to cut should be securely in place in a safe working area and never cut on the ground. You should also avoid cutting objects 8 inches (20.3cm). 

Whatever you are trying to cut in your miter saw, you should never attempt to cut it free-hand. Always ensure the material is clamped and resting solidly against the fence. 

About the author

David Yeoman

David Yeoman

I'm a technical writer who writes in-depth articles for readers wanting uncomplicated explanations for creative topics made difficult by industry jargon. I'm a woodworker, metalworker, landscape photographer, writer, Python and PostgreSQL programmer, and pilot. Freelance after 42 years in the corporate world, I have an MBA in Technology.

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