I have a 15 year old craftsman mitre squuare. it works like a mule but when I use it to cut a compound angle I can not get it to cut regular mitres square. When I cut a mitre the bottom of the angle is open. I have tried to zero out the saw but it seems that zero in dicator must be mis alined. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Look on top of fence see 4 holes loosen 4 bolts (probably hex wrench) and fence will loosen also framing square against loose fence and lowered blade (to re-calibrate) tighten fence,... square to blade
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normally they do
they cut at angles across the material
there is also a adjustment at the back of the slide that allows the head to be tilted
there is an angle gauge there and a pointer to give you the tilt angle
by adjusting that and the across the bed angle , you can cut compound angles
set the angle and then test cut as the angle may not always be exact ( setting it on 10 degrees on the scale may be 10 1/2
degrees in reality so testing gets it dead right)
adjust as necessary
using a set square , The angle if 45 degrees is machined into the handle draw a line at 45 degrees across the surface you wish to mitre cut
clamp a piece of timber along that line and use it as a guide to cut with the circular saw
Few budget tools and especially generic, brand engineered tools imported from the far east are superbly accurate but tend to be "near enough".
You didn't say whether it is a hand operated mitre saw or a power saw.
Most power mitre saws have a number of stops that can be adjusted or filed in order to calibrate the angles and this process should be done when the saw arrives. Once both 45 degree angles have been calibrated accurately the angles in between should fall into place fairly well.
One problem with low cost mitre (chop) saws, even some so-called professional saws is the construction is so light, when pulling down the handle the machine flexes and spoils the cut. This is especially true when the handle is not set exactly in line with the blade or when not paying full attention when making a cut.
Having experienced such saws I have learned much about them so when I visit a tool store I examine their stock by twisting, rocking and pulling the saw heads and the amount of movement in many new saws of popular brands is disgusting, even some pretending to be premium brands. So far only a few of the most expensive types have impressed me.
That doesn't mean the others are unusable and with care fairly accurate cuts can be made when a suitable technique has been developed - like using a rifle with bent sights...
cut 4 pieces of 2x2 to1.5 inches short of 2 metres. lay them out end to end to form a two metre box. it can only work one way. then take string from corner to corner to find the center, making a crosshair. then stand a level rod at the centre to the desired height and fasten equal length lines from each corner to the peak. using a compound mitre saw, place an angle finder at the bottom and top corners to give you the angle to cut your piece with the saw set at 45 degrees, to give you your compound miter for the top. just set the saw blade to line up with the angle finder to get the bottom cut. the length of your "tight" string line frome corner to peak is your length of "hip" piece
The bevel is an angle fiding tool. it consists of a wooden section about 4" long with a swivel bolt at one end connected to a slotted metal blade (similar to a 1 foot steel ruler). The bolt has a wing nut and bolt to allow loosenig to allow the blade to rotate and slide to the required angle where it is locked into position using the wing nut.
The mitre is a wooden block with slots cut into it at pre determined angles. ie 45 degrees. When cutting a mitre joint the wood is placed against the block and the saw follows the line of the slot cutting the 45 degree angle.
Hope this makes sense and good luck
Don't ever assume that the markings on the angle setting are correct and accurate. Always check squareness with a square before you use a miter saw. With almost all brands of power tools being built overseas nowadays there is unfortunately a question of accuracy on most brands. Always check.