I just purchased a Dewalt DWS715 miter saw. I have never used one in my life, so naturally I am carefully reading the entire manual (here) first.

There is "miter lock knob" which securely locks the miter adjustment in place (note that this is in addition to the detents at various angle which also to some extent fix the miter, though less securely). On page 4 of the manual, it says to lock a handful of various lock knobs before transporting the saw. Then it says:

WARNING: The miter lock knob should be used only when carrying or storing the saw. NEVER use the lock knob for any cutting operation.

I thought this was weird when I first read it. Now I've got further in the manual where they describe actual cutting, and there are multiple places where it makes it sound like you should use that lock knob when cutting, which seems like a direct contradiction to the above. On page 6, explaining how to set your miter:

Miter Control (Fig. A) The miter lock knob 5 and miter detent latch 6 allow you to miter your saw 50° left and right. To miter the saw, unlock miter lock knob 5 by rotating the knob counterclockwise, squeeze the miter detent latch 6 and set the miter angle desired on the miter scale. Lock miter lock knob by rotating clockwise until tight.

And on page 7, explaining cutting operations:

Miter crosscuts are made with the miter arm at some angle other than zero. This angle is often 45° for making corners, but can be set anywhere from zero to 50° left or right. After selecting the desired miter angle, be sure to lock miter lock knob. Make the cut as described above.

I am going to assume that I should tighten the miter lock knob before every cut. Correct? Any idea what the bit on page 4 is trying to say?

  • 1
    Hi, welcome to Woodworking. Sorry, can't help you with this but hopefully someone with experience of mitre saws will be along to help clarify these very confusing manual entries! Gah, don't you just hate badly written manuals when you're an RTFM type? ^_^
    – Graphus
    Dec 28 '20 at 9:21

I have a similar saw and looking at your manual I think they meant to say don't use the head lock knob / lock down pin while cutting. That pin is meant to lock the arm in place in the down position so it can't move (which would make cutting impossible, and the only ways I can think to even try would be very dangerous). You push that pin in (and lock the arm) when you aren't using the saw or when you want to pick the saw up by the handle on top of the arm.

Basically, someone didn't double check what they labeled everything vs how they referred to it in the manual. Also, I found some other versions of the manual online and they appear to have removed that section and corrected it in other places.

  • Just for more info, this saw has a pin with a yellow handle on it near the pivot point. You lock and unlock the head by pulling the handle out, rotating 90 degrees, and releasing. I'm fairly certain that you're right and this is what they were referring to. Dec 28 '20 at 16:40
  • Sounds about right. Thanks!
    – The111
    Dec 29 '20 at 7:08
  • 2
    I did think of one possibility for their warning. If you are lifting the head up (after storing/disuse) to use the saw for the first time in a while, and you forget to rotate the head lock knob 1/4 turn (instead only pulling it to release), that means when you complete your first cut (assuming you do no practice cuts) you'll be surprised to find the head locked down. Perhaps they were trying (poorly) to warn against this? In any case, it is indeed important to remember that 1/4 turn.
    – The111
    Dec 29 '20 at 8:48

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