|Review by lumberjoe||posted 04-26-2012 12:48 PM||3700 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
I picked this up at Home Depot a few weeks ago. Unfortunately I only have a benchtop table saw. That means no cross cutting or ripping sheet goods. There is only 6” in front of the throat, and anything that small gets cross cut on my sliding miter saw. So why on earth would I buy a 40.00$ saw? Well, read below. I will say this has seen some fairly heavy use in the past few weeks. Here are my observations:
1 – The blade. This is a large reason why this saw got 3 stars. Out of the box, it is probably useless. It comes with a 20 tooth steel blade. That blade is still in the protective packaging. My wife wants to make me something for my shop for me. I am going to give this to her to make a clock out of. I also bought a freud diablo 40 tooth blade at the time of purchase, so really this is a 55$ saw.
2 – Setup Pretty easy. there is a spindle lock that works really well. The included wrench stays securely in the base during operation. The blade is very easy to install/remove. Out of the box, the sole very flat, but was not 0 degrees with the blade. Unlike the crappy skil I am replacing, this is adjustable on the ryobi. I was able to square the blade by loosening a set screw. The setting holds well because there is also a nut to keep it secure. Another large reason for 3 stars is the adjustment doesn’t hold when the cut depth changed. It is easy enough to adjust, and I never will because I will never be cutting anything thicker than 4/4.
3 – Power Although 12 amps is a little on the low side, I was not able to bog down the saw, even cutting 4/4 hard maple. The wood didn’t burn either. I attribute this mostly to the blade. Yes, I had to cut beautifully figured hard maple with a circular saw after glue laminating a table top. I’m sure someone somewhere is cringing right now.
In addition I ripped down the middle of a 4 foot long by 14” wide scrap of 3/4 birch hardwood ply. No bogging, the blade did not wander, it stayed true against an edge guide the entire cut. I also had no tear out on the veneer. I did tape the bottom cut line and cut the piece on top of MDF, cutting into the MDF slightly and supporting the entire piece. I was really impressed the saw stayed right on the fence and did not wander. That is always something my old skil would NEVER do. Cross cutting the ply did produce some tear out, but I did not have the MDF under the cut, just tape. The MDF must be the key.
4 – Features None. It’s just a saw. There are no battery powered lasers that are horribly inaccurate, no cumbersome dust collection that doesn’t work anyway, and no edge guide that I have no idea how you would use while still clamping down your work piece. A case of any sort would have been nice though.
5 – operability – as expected for 40$, this thing is a screaming banshee. I won’t be using this tool past 20:00 in fear of pissing off all my neighbors. It’s not very light, but I also would not call this heavy (I am a 5’7” 170lb professional nerd, so take that under advisement). It has a slightly soft start and doesn’t “torque twist” at all. Upon releasing the trigger, the blade decelerates rapidly, which I like. I really like the handle and trigger design. It’s very comfortable. There is no safety switch/trigger lock, but the trigger itself is what I would refer to for lack of a better term as “double action”. The cord is long enough, but I wish it were a soft rubber like my skil.
6 – Overall Not too many bad things to say, so why 3 stars? Because I do not do the things a circular saw was meant to do. I’m not sure how long this would hold up being tossed around a pick-up bed and cutting hundreds of feet of dimension lumber. For my specific needs noted above, this saw performs beautifully. Again, I would have given it 4 stars had it come with a carbide tipped 24 tooth blade, and the sole would hold the 0 degree setting though blade depth changes.
I honestly wanted to hate this saw. I had budgeted spending about 100$, and would have liked to return this in exchange for the dewalt or makita I had done weeks of prior online research on. When I gave the display item a good once over and found it was adjustable the ways I needed it to be, I took a gamble. In this case it paid off. Now I get to go back to my local saw mill this weekend with an extra 60$ in my pocket.
And why is this not 1 or 2 stars? I am used to dealing with tools on the inexpensive side. One day I will find out what it is like to be able to rely on a tool to be set up correctly and retain those settings, but that day has yet to come. With some care and continuous adjustments which this saw does make provisions for, this produces accurate and efficient cuts. If you are looking for a “set it and forget it” solution, keep looking.