Dewalt miter saw with blade imposed and square around the blade.

How to square a Dewalt miter saw (PERFECT cuts every time!)

Dewalt is one of the top miter saw manufacturers in the country. Their saws are known for being very durable and easy to use.

They make a variety of different miter saws that include: double bevel, single bevel, sliding, compound, and basic. Each model of Dewalt miter saws have different features that can affect the saws ability to make perfect square cuts.

When using the Dewalt miter saw, you expect it to make perfect straight and or angled cuts every time. If you notice your miter saw is not making perfectly square cuts, do not worry we have you covered!

How to square a Dewalt miter saw

When you square your Dewalt miter saw, first unplug saw from power. Loosen four screws on detent of saw. Rotate head of saw until it locks in to 0 degree notch. Place carpenter square against the blade and fence. Tap head until the square is flush with blade. Tighten screws.

Materials needed

Tools that are required for this job.
  • Your Dewalt miter saw
  • Large framing square
  • Piece of paper
  • Machinist square
  • Tool provided with your Dewalt miter saw or torx bit
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Carpenter triangle (optional)
  • Digital angle gauge (optional)

Unplug saw from power source

Before squaring your saw, you must make sure the saw is unplugged from the power source. Dewalt makes both plug-in and battery powered miter saws. So unplug the cord or slide the battery out, depending on the saw you have.

Unplugging the Dewalt miter saw.

Make sure saw table and fences are level

It is important that before squaring your Dewalt miter saw, you MUST ensure the table and fences are level. If they are not you will just be wasting your time squaring the saw, as cuts will still come out uneven.

Dewalt miter saw with fences and table labeled.

The table, also known as the base of the saw, is where the wood sits while you are making cuts. You can check if this is level by using a large framing square or level and a piece of paper. Place the framing square or level flat on the table. Then use your piece of paper to check for any irregularities in the space between framing square and table.

Using a large framing square and piece of paper to make sure table is level.

It is important to note, the table does not have to be perfectly flat. However, if there are large gaps, this can be an issue. If you feel like there are gaps present, I recommend taking your saw to a machine shop for repair, or reach out to Dewalt customer service.

If the saws table is level, now move on to checking the fences.

The fences can be found on either side of the saw blade and run perpendicular to the table. Dewalt uses a single fence system. This means both fences are attached but are able to slide back and forth freely and independently. Below is the knob located behind the fences that allows you to move the fences.

Adjustment knobs on back of fences.
Knob found behind both fences

To check if the fences are level you will again use the large framing square or level. Place the tool you are using flat against the fences and hold it firm. Again use a piece of paper to check for any gaps between the framing square and the fence. If you notice any large gaps you will need to adjust your fences accordingly. This is something that you can easily fix on your own.

Using framing square and piece of paper to check is fences are level.

If you want to be more precise when checking your table and fences, instead of paper, you can use feeler gauges. This will allow you to measure exact gap width if you are looking for perfection. By no means is perfection necessary but just wanted to let you know of another option.

Feeler gauges fanned out.
Feeler gauges

Once you have determined that your table and fences are level, you can move on to checking your miter and bevel angles.

Check miter angle

Before checking the miter angle, it is highly recommended you put a new saw blade on. If your saw has an old blade, it may not be straight which could impact your measurements.

The miter angle is controlled by a detent plate that runs around the base of the table. For most Dewalt miter saws this will run between 50-60 degrees on either side.

Dewalt miter saw with detent plate labeled.
Miter saw detent plate

To check the miter angle, you must first loosen the four screws holding the detent plate in place. To do this, you can use the tool that came with your saw. If you no longer have this tool, you can use a T25 torx bit. You do not have to fully remove these screws, just loosen them enough so the detent can move freely. In order to loosen all four bolts you will have to adjust the miter handle to expose 1-2 screws that may be covered.

Screws holding detent plate in place labeled.
Screws holding detent in place

Once the screws are loose, now use the miter handle and rotate the blade to the 0 degree position.

Miter adjustment knob with angle set to 0 degrees.
Locked in at 0 degrees

Now place the carpenter square firmly against one of the fences, and gently against the blade. Press firmly against the fence as the fence is locked in place and will not move. The blade has some wiggle room so you do not want to press too hard and move the blade position. You will want to do this on both sides.

Carpenter square sent against the fence and blade.

It is very important to make sure there is no dirt/sawdust on the saw when your are checking the miter angle.

Next, assess for any gaps between the square and the fence/blade. If the saw is perfectly square, there should be no gaps. If you notice any gaps, an adjustment must be made.

To adjust the angle, GENTLY tap the miter handle to move the arm. Do so until there are no longer any gaps between the carpenter square and the blade/fence.

Holding carpenter square against fence and blade while taping the miter adjustment.
Tap the miter handle while holding the carpenter square in place

Once there are no gaps, tighten the screws holding the detent in place. It is important to tighten the outer two screws first. Once the outer two screws are tight, you can move the blade, and tighten the inner two screws.

For the most part, when you adjust the 0 degree miter angle all other miter angles should be goo. In order to test this, I like to make a test cut at 0 degrees and then at both 45 degrees to make sure.

Check your 0 degree cut by holding the piece of wood against the framing square and holding it up to light. There should be minimal-to-no light visible if the saw is square.

Using carpenter square against a cut piece of wood to check for light.
Perfectly squared 0 degree miter angle cut

When you make your 45 degree cuts, you should be able to place the cut edges together to make a perfect square.

Two pieces of wood cut at 45 degrees that make perfect square.
Perfectly square 45 degree miter angle cuts

Now that your miter angle is square, lets move on to checking and adjusting the bevel angle.

Check bevel angle

A bevel adjustment allows you to change the angle of the blade to make cuts. You are able to tilt the blade left and right. This will allow you to make cuts that move through a board at an angle from top to bottom. These cuts are commonly used to square off baseboards.

Two pieces of wood cut at bevel 45 degree angle.
Beval cuts

Most Dewalt bevel miter saws allow you to adjust the angle from 90 degrees (starting point) to 45 degrees in either direction. You will want to check the bevel angle for all three of these positions.

To do this, you can use the head of a machinist square, a carpenter triangle or a digital angle gauge.

If you are using a digital angle gauge, you will want to zero it out on the table. A digital gauge will allow for more precise angle assessment. If you do not have one of these gauges, the machinist square or carpenter triangle will suffice.

Digital angle gauge set at 0 degrees.
Digital angle gauge

On the Dewalt miter saw there are 3 screws located on the back of the saws arm. Often times they are located just in front of the bevel angle measurement tool. The center screw controls the 90 degree adjustment, while the angled screws control each 45 degree adjustment.

Dewalt miter saw with bevel angle measurement tool, 90 degree adjustment bolt and 45 degree adjustment screw labeled.
A. Bevel angle measurement tool; B. 90 degree adjustment bolt; C. 45 degree adjustment screw

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE, depending on the saw you have the screws may vary a bit in location as well as if they are a hex bolt vs torx bit screw. Dewalt has made adjustments to these miter saws throughout the years. In general the screws will be around the same location for most saws. I tried to use different models in my pictures to allow for the variation.

Lets start by checking the 90 degree angle. If you are using the digital angle gauge, place it on the blade. If the angle says 90 degrees, PERFECT you can move on to checking the 45 degree angles. If your reading gives you something other then 90 degrees, adjustments need to be made.

Digital angle gauge set on miter saw blade with 90 degrees showing.
Digital angle gauge assessing 90 degree bevel angle

If you are using a machinist square, lock the blade down in place using the locking button.

Locking pin circled on back of Dewalt miter saw.
Pin to lock blade in place

Place the machinist square on the table and slide it against the blade. Now look to see if there are any noticeable gaps. You do not need to press the square against the blade, as again this may adjust the blade position.

Machinist square set against the blade checking angle.
Machinist blade assessing 90 degree bevel angle

As you can see above, when using a machinist square there is not much surface area that will be on the blade. This can make it difficult to see any gaps. If you have a carpenter triangle this will allow a little more surface area to check the angle. If using the triangle, you will not be able to do it with the arm locked in place. THE BLADE WILL HAVE TO BE UNLOCKED.

Carpenter triangle sent against miter saw blade.
Carpenter triangle used to assess bevel angle at 90 degrees

If you find gaps between the blade and the tool you are using, you will need to adjust the angle.

First locate the 90 degree adjustment screw. Then using the necessary tool depending on your saw set up, go ahead and turn the screw. Turning the screw clockwise, the blade will tip to the left, turning the screw counterclockwise the blade will tip to the right. Make sure to keep the tool you used to assess the angle in place so you know when the blade is at a perfect 90 degree angle (there will no longer be a gap).

Tool provided with miter saw being used to adjust 90 degree bevel screw.
Using tool provided by Dewalt to adjust 90 degree bevel screw

IT IS IMPORTANT TO NOTE: A SMALL TURN GOES A LONG WAYS, so start with very small adjustments.

Once you have checked/adjusted the 90 degree angle (as necessary), lets move on to the 45 degrees.

First, you will need to loosen the bevel handle in the back of the saw. Once this is loose you can tilt the blade to either 45 degree (right of left). Make sure you lock the blade in place once it has been tilted.

Know located on back of miter saw to adjust bevel angle.
Bevel handle to adjust angle

Of note, on some Dewalt miter saws, you may have to slide the fence out of the way so the blade will not hit.

With the blade tilted to the 45 degree angle, place the machinist square or digital angle gauge on the blade. You will not be able to use a carpenter triangle in this step due to the angle of the blade. The head of the machinist square is at a perfect 45 degree angle so this makes it a great tool to use.

Machinist square set against blade with bevel angle set to 45 degrees.
Machinist square checking 45 degree bevel angle

If using the machinist square, you are checking for any gaps between the square and the blade. If using the digital angle gauge, it will tell you the exact measurement of the angle.

If there are gaps, or the angle is off you will have to make an adjustment. Locate the screw/bolt on the side that the blade is tilted to. Use the appropriate tool to make small and gradual turns until the blade is at a perfect 45 degree angle. REMEMBER: a little turn goes a long way.

Screw to adjust the 45 degree bevel angle labeled.
Screw to adjust 45 degree bevel angle

Then do this same process to check the 45 degree ion the other side. Once you have checked both 45 degree bevel angles, recheck the 90 degree measurement just to make sure it stayed true.

Once all bevel angle have been checked/adjusted it is time to make test cuts at all 3 angles.

Two pieces of wood cut at different 45 degree bevel angles making a perfect square.
45 degree bevel cuts

Below is a video that reviews the process nicely:


If you notice that your Dewalt miter saw is not making square/even cuts, there is a quick and easy way to square the blade.

  • Unplug saw from power source
  • Check if table and fences are level
  • Check and adjust miter angle
  • Check and adjust the bevel angles
  • Make a test cut

If you check all of these angles and make the necessary adjustments and your saw is still not cutting square, then you should reach out to Dewalt customer service directly.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.