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I am thinking about buying my first mitre saw/compound saw. Maybe not this model, but something similar to this:

Ryobi 1400W 210mm Compound Mitre Saw with Laser

I note that some models come with a built-in material clamp that presses the work down, some come with a built-in material clamp that presses the work horizontally towards the fence, and some, like the one pictured, offer neither. (It doesn't seem to be related to the price.)

If I bought the model shown, I can't see how to conveniently and safely clamp the work before cutting. The fence has plastic catches behind the fence (to allow it to be turned), so clamping there will be a fiddly matter. There is very little space underneath the base to slide a G-clamp or similar to allow a vertical clamp. If there are holes that are intended to insert a clamp, I can't see which they are.

Are there clamps that attach to the side extensions? They seem too flimsy.

I fear I am missing something that will seem stupidly obvious when it is explained to me.

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    I've only ever seen guys use their hands as clamps. – Tester101 May 4 '15 at 15:50
  • @Tester101: This very earnest safety video warns against using your hands for small pieces. – Oddthinking May 4 '15 at 15:57
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    My first thought is that if you are cutting something so small that it would be dangerous to use your hand, it's probably not the right tool for the job – Steven May 4 '15 at 17:24
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    Your video states it - "don't use the saw to cut pieces too small to be safely clamped" - if your saw can't clamp, then the piece shouldn't be cut using the saw. I've never clamped anything other than a stop block when using a miter saw. – Raystafarian May 4 '15 at 18:00
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    Tester 101 is right about buying the saw you want... a bunch of well intentioned folks on the internet can't decide for you what is or isn't safe enough. (That said, however, you might get your saw home and find that the clamps are (a) a pain, and (b) not necessary.) – Aloysius Defenestrate May 5 '15 at 1:47
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here is a saw with an integrated clamp.

enter image description here enter image description here

The clamp is useful when you have a large/unwieldy workpiece. For example a 10-12 ft long trim piece. You can use both hands to get it positioned where you want, then clamp it in place and run the saw.

It is also useful as noted in comments, if you are doing a bunch of cuts all the same you can clamp a stop block in place.

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If you want clamps on your saw, buy a saw with clamps.

  • Ha! I thought you would answer more along the lines "Clamps are not required to use a mitre saw", rather than this tautology. My assumption was, looking at the range, that the choice was "Buy one with clamps, or buy one without clamps and buy suitable clamps separately" and I couldn't figure out what I would need to buy. Telling me I don't need clamps is helping. Telling me to make an uninformed decision isn't helping much. – Oddthinking May 5 '15 at 1:58
  • @Oddthinking Clamps may or may not be required, it depends completely on what you're doing and how safely you want to do it. The fact is, if you want a saw with a specific feature, buy a saw with that feature. – Tester101 May 5 '15 at 2:02
  • Buying a saw with clamps designed to work with it, will be safer than using clamps that are not designed to work with the saw. If you want to work safely and you want to use clamps, buy a saw with clamps built in. – Tester101 May 5 '15 at 2:08
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I've successfully used duct tape on flat work. Make sure there's plenty of tape on the saw bed. I use a slow pull and my fingers don't go near the work.

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