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A good saw...while it lasted :-(

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Review by Mark Shymanski posted 06-14-2008 05:29 AM 3986 views 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A good saw...while it lasted :-( A good saw...while it lasted :-( A good saw...while it lasted :-( Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hello all,

One of the great things about renovations is that it is really easy to rationalize a new tool purchase (or two so far). As part of the ongoing ceiling installation Jenn and I decided to buy not only the Dewalt drill, which I’ve already reviewed, but this circular saw. I did not do any research into which tool would be the best as this was more of an impulse purchase just to get the ceiling up…

Some specs: 7 1/4 inch blade 5/8 arbor weight (from the manual) 11 lbs and a straight cut depth of about 2 3/8 inches. 14 amp motor. It was the amperage that convinced me to buy this over the other tools at HD, as it was the highest amperage of the lot. My thinking is that more amps means either more cutting power when it is needed or I’m cutting at a lower percentage of the available power so the machine should last longer. I also liked the heft of the machine as some of the other machines felt lighter and more ‘plasticy’ if that is a word :-).

At this price range I don’t really expect to get a high end performing machine but I was pleasantly surprised by the ergonomics of the handles. I’d never seen a CS with two handles perpendicular to each other (as you can see in the third image). I’ve only just started using it so haven’t used an edge guide yet (although I should have on the first cut I made…but that is another story :-) but I can see that the black handle would be very useful in holding the saw against the guide while still moving along the guide. I like the base plate as it has a solid lip on it so it will not slide easily under a straightedge. You can see both the plate edges and the laser in the second image. I am not sure how useful the laser is; it was fairly bright working in the shop with all my ceiling fixtures out and just sunlight coming in through the windows. At times it seemed to ‘merge’ with my pencil line as I was cutting so it was fairly easy to follow. I’m just not sure if its a useful feature or not…it was not a selling feature to me but just one of the features the saw had.

The bevel guide, depth of cut and edge guide knobs all feel pretty robust. I’ve not tried out the included stamped metal edge guide…I suspect it is too short and narrow to be really useful but when the opportunity presents itself I’ll give it a shot. The saw felt stable while cutting and the laser was easy to turn on and off.

The little ‘dust collector’ pipe came off after about 15 seconds into the first cut as it is a snap on fitting that is very weak. The leverage from moving the saw with the shop vac in the dust collection pipe overcame the wee little tabs and out popped the pipe. I found it after my cut was done, it wasn’t broken just not strong enough to do the job.

I am undecided as to whether I like the plastic boxes that some of these tools come in (as did this saw) or are they are just space eating nuisances. I guess until I have the shop in operating order the case is nice but I kinda think it is a waste of resources for which a simple cardboard box would have done.

Overall a nice tool one I am sure will get a real shake down after I can get back into the shop and working on my ceiling.

Update 2009 December 20
This saw just upped and died on me. I was cross cutting some 3/4 maple (about a 7” board) to lengths for my vanity drawers, cut three pieces and then click, click no more noise…the laser comes on but the motor doesn’t turn. Didn’t even bog down or sound odd or anything…it just up and quit. I’m frustrated as this saw has not seen a lot of use and I expected more then just 555 days out of it.

Now I have to dig out my receipt and see if it is still under warranty.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2




View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5115 posts in 2435 days



8 comments so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2544 days


#1 posted 06-14-2008 11:00 AM

Thanks for the review, Mark. This appears to be a nice circular saw.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2490 days


#2 posted 06-14-2008 03:33 PM

that seems like a nice saw. that was one of the ones i was considering until my dad let me use his old Milwaukee and man does that think cut. thanks for the review.

View TroutGuy's profile

TroutGuy

223 posts in 2434 days


#3 posted 06-21-2008 08:24 PM

I have this same saw, and concur—it’s a great CS. Even the included blade is better than some I’ve run across.

-- There is nothing in the world more dangerous, than a woodworker who knows how to read a micrometer...

View sry's profile

sry

146 posts in 2330 days


#4 posted 09-19-2008 04:50 PM

I have this same saw as well, and agree that it works quite well. I also noticed the same thing about the little nubby thing to attach a dust collection hose. Duct tape seemed to solve that problem. It’s also taken me about 3 dozen attempts before I finally got the knack of getting the thing back into its plastic case.

One thing I’ve been wondering in general: is a laser on a tool like this really that useful? I have yet to come up with a situation where the laser is beneficial. Of course I use guides 90% of the time that I use the saw. Has anyone come up with a good use for a laser, or is it just fluff?

View Richforever's profile

Richforever

739 posts in 2442 days


#5 posted 09-21-2008 05:27 AM

Nice review. Thanks.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5115 posts in 2435 days


#6 posted 09-21-2008 08:43 PM

Hello All,

I’ve been away and out of computer range for the last while so I’ve not been reading or posting. Steve, that case is a real trial. I’ve given up (for now) trying to get the saw in the case; the fit is my only real beef about the saw beside the little exhaust nubby. Thanks for reading the review.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2395 days


#7 posted 12-29-2009 10:27 PM

Thanks for the review.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5115 posts in 2435 days


#8 posted 12-30-2009 03:43 AM

You’re welcome, I am still frustrated it quit. It has a two year warranty but I cannot find my receipt :-(

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

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