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Long term review, the good, and the bad.

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Review by dbhost posted 150 days ago 3432 views 1 time favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Long term review, the good, and the bad. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have had this saw for several years, and have used it quite extensively and I think I have found, and worked the bugs out of it, more or less. I have a write up on my blog of course at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com/2014/02/chicago-electric-98194-12-sliding.html but to summarize…

The blade and dust collection issues I noted early on hold as true today as they did then, which is why I built the dust hood. I don’t find the dust collection to be any worse than other sliders I have been around, but it sure could be better. The OEM blade is scary bad, at least the one I had. I opted for a Diablo D1280X, a newer option is the new Marples blade from Irwin that is getting good reviews as well, and their are much higher dollar options to boot, but I won’t even bother going into those, you won’t be looking at say a Forrest blade on a Harbor Freight miter saw I suspect…

The biggest issue I have had is the fact that the saw kept sliding out of its settings. And one of the set screws that holds the head in place fell out. I found out quickly that there was no thread locker used at the factory. Pulling the bolts, dabbing the locker on, then putting the bolts back in fixed the problem.

All in all I am happy with the saw, it cuts accurately and cleanly, I have built several mitered picture frames with it, and my corners have all been nice and tight… My 22.5s, 45s, and 90s are where I expect them, I can crosscut wide pieces. Overall I am good to go!

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com




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dbhost

5378 posts in 1831 days



13 comments so far

View steve_in_ohio's profile

steve_in_ohio

1017 posts in 209 days


#1 posted 149 days ago

I also have this saw and I do have to agree with you with your problems, with my saw the miter scale is also off a degree, but I only use it for cross cutting boards to rough length, which the saw does well at. Especially for the price, I only paid $80 for mine.

-- steve, simple and effective woodworking---

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1831 days


#2 posted 149 days ago

Do you know the miter scale is adjustable? I set the scale for a friend that has the same saw and his was off by about 3 deg…

Once dialed it though, the saw does cut really nice…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3290 posts in 1111 days


#3 posted 149 days ago

I’m sorry DB but I’m not with you on this, (Bad experience with this brand) my first and never again saw was purchased from HF also the Chicago Electric, never again will I buy anything that requires precision and accuracy when it comes to woodworking from HF or any other low end tools sales department or vendor, I’ve learned my lesson, I’m actually spending more in the long run from replacing faulty cheap equipment then if I had just started off with top high quality equipment to began with, The Chicago Electric I purchased had no fine tune on the turn table thus it was a full half scale off, I had to continually square up the blade to the fence using a framing square and rotate the table off of the 0 mark before any cutting was done, I put it out on the curb and put a take me sign on it, I now own a Dewalt DW717 a huge! difference, Now… after saying that, I’m not apposed to buying from HF just not anything that requires Precision, I’m having good luck with my DC unit from HF, I’m now in the process of replacing other machinery from HF such as the bench top drill press, it was replaced by Porter Cable floor model and am now in the process of replacing all of my Ryobi equipment.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1763 days


#4 posted 149 days ago

I think that comes under a corollary of “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix”. In this case, “if it does the job, don’t replace it”.

The only tools I have replaced over the years are battery operated hand held drills, a Skil saw that final fell apart, and a drill press that was very cheap and limited in its abilities. I took the platform off of it and screwed the rest into a pillar in the shop. Then I attached a hand set to it and used it to predrill holes for small nails that I used to build small plywood items out of nails and glue. Now…......I use a pin or brad nailer, and it has finally fallen into disuse.

The sawdust issue with your saw I suspect is universal. I have a Kapex at La Conner, and even attached to a DC it spews sawdust. That is why I was interested to see your hood. The Kapex may actually be better than average at DC for all I know, since it is the only slider I have owned. It has a very small footprint which was the main selling point for me, and I wanted to approximate the accuracy of my RAS on crosscuts. It makes a very clean cut, and is accurate…....but it does spew sawdust back of it.

Again, talking about La Conner, I purchased a plunge saw as well when I bought the Kapex, and originally thought that I would not be able to fit in a TS. I was going to try to make do with the Kapex, plunge saw, and a band saw. But once I had a temporary bench and band saw purchased, I saw I had a dead corner in my garage shop that would fit a TS with a couple of inches to spare. I find the plunge saw to be an a great addition, and wish I had one here in Anchorage.

Later….........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View Dedvw's profile

Dedvw

76 posts in 1480 days


#5 posted 149 days ago

I’m glad you fixed the problem of it falling out of alignment. I’ve read a handful of reviews regarding HF bladed tools having alignment issues. I paid $180 for a 12’ dual miter Hitachi (you can still get it on sale for that price once a year at Lowes) that I used for about 4 years. That sucker cut perfectly out of the box and every time I used it for the next 4 years. I was sad to see it go but ended up replacing it with a slider. I look at it as a couple “off” cuts on a project could easily pay the extra $100 for my Hitachi.

That being said, I’m not poo pooing on HF completely. I do own a buffer and some other things from them that I am completely happy with.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1831 days


#6 posted 149 days ago

Well, budget being what it is, I couldn’t afford the slider I wanted. I honestly would prefer the Hitachi dual bevel 12” slider with the front rails similar to the Kapex. I am NOT willing to pay Festool prices even if I won the lotto so that is kind of off the table entirely… If I come accross a good condition Hitachi, or a great sale price I will grab one, but it has to be under the $300.00 mark for me at this point.

Overall, once the alignment issues and the lousy blade were squared away, I have been happy with the saw. I totally agree with Blackie_ if I wasn’t able to get this thing lined up, it would have gone back to HF and I would have gone looking elsewhere…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1831 days


#7 posted 149 days ago

Blackie_ FWIW, I usually agree with you on the HF and items that need accuracy issue. A friend has the 10” version of this saw, so I kind of knew the issues going in and was willing to gamble.

I do wonder if the Chicago Electric saw you had was the one with the Orange motor cover. I am not familiar with those, but I know mine has adjustments for dang near everything. It takes some finesse to get it lined up, and tightened down… The lack of thread locker was a real bonehead move on their part…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View Richard's profile

Richard

789 posts in 1289 days


#8 posted 149 days ago

I have the same saw now for a little of 2 years and had the same issues as you and the same fixes and it has been dead on now since. And this is even with having to haul it out of storage in the apartment and drag it out to my work area in the parking lot every time I need to use it and then drag it back into the apartment when done. And yes that stock blade is BAD .
Thier new model looks to have a smaller motor but it could be as powerful or even more with the improvements in motor designs over the years.

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5378 posts in 1831 days


#9 posted 149 days ago

I have been annoyed by the new model. I wanted a double bevel but really couldn’t afford one when I bought my slider, and then 3 years later out comes the double bevel at a good price… I am not convinced of a need for it now though. I am happy enough that if I upgrade off of this one, there are really only 2 choices, a Festool Kapex, which I already said I won’t pay for, or the Hitachi double bevel with the front facing slides…

I do think the problem a lot of folks have with this saw is the fact that yeah, you do have to fiddle with it once the dumb thing goes out of adjustment because of the thread locker not being used… But once that is fixed and given a new blade, I am happy with it anyway…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View cutworm's profile

cutworm

1060 posts in 1392 days


#10 posted 149 days ago

Thanks for the post. After reading your blog – OEM blades are not good on most saws. Not sure why they call it dust collection on miter saws. The little bag is more of a decoration. My Ridgid and others I have owned all perform poorly here. I usually wheel my saw over by the garage door and open it. Sawdust goes out in the driveway. Blow it off when finished.
I guess the loose bolts would be my only negative comments based on your blog. Sounds like a decent saw to me.
I would have rated it a 4.
Thanks again.

-- Steve - "Never Give Up"

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3290 posts in 1111 days


#11 posted 149 days ago

Any and all cutting blades of any kind including drill bits purchased from HF, I’ve found to be dual or defective, so it’s not just OEM, well excluding router bits, I’ve not had any issues with those.

DB, yes I had the sliding orange 10” one, as for as the DW 717 I replaced it with, it is a slider with double bevel but it’s only a 10” which serves me well, I got it on a clearance from Lowes at around $420.00. On a side note I also just replaced my Ryobi 13” 1301 planer with a Dewalt as well, the Ryobi did what it was expected to do but it gave up after 5 years, motor gave out a couple months later after replacing brushes, all of my Ryobi routers have been replaced with Dewalt and Porter Cable.

I understand that what I do with my woodworking may not be what a lot of others do as for as what we can afford, just one box that I made after selling it paid for the DW717 in one turn, all of the higher end equipment, Grizzly, Ridgid, Dewalt, Porter Cable, etc… that I’ve purchased for my shop replacing faulty equipment has already been paid off several times over in one years time period, if you are just a hobbyist then yea I can understand spending only what your budget allows, everything that I make is on the market and customer related and so I can’t afford mistakes of any kind.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3290 posts in 1111 days


#12 posted 149 days ago

Ooops meant dull not dual.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

3622 posts in 1763 days


#13 posted 148 days ago

I suspect that there are many differences between what professional woodworkers versus hobbyist woodworkers do with power tools. The size, meaning the length and thickness of the pieces of raw material are more likely to be larger for the professional. The intensity of use, meaning the likelihood that the motors will be stressed is also more likely in the professional. And of course, the hours of use will accumulate much faster with the pro. For instance, there was a very large amount of Jatoba used in the remodeling of each of the floors of the older part of our house. It would be unlikely that a hobbyist would ever mill and cut that amount of a very heavy, hard, and oily wood. One of the mill shops that our contractor used said they would never mill large amounts of Jatoba again….....it was too hard on his machines.

I definitely have some cheap power tools that I will outlive, not because they are so wonderful, but because the hours of use will be accumulated slowly. The best power tools I own are in my vacation home, where space was a premium, and dust collection important.

So I suspect dbhost will be able to get by with that Chicago Electric slider, but he will have to do more fussing, and it will probably just take more time to do a job. But if your livelihood depends on a machine, then down time for repairs, or redo’s of some cuts would be costly. I have an ultrasound machine in my job that costs me over $1000 a month for a maintenance contract. But I don’t have any duplicate machines because of the high initial cost, and down time of over a day is unacceptable. If I have a transducer go bad, I call the repair people, they instantly FedEx me a new one overnight, and I send back the old one in the box that the new one came in.

It is hard for a casual user to evaluate power tools and make a review. Here, dbhost essentially told us you can make this saw work for you if you are a hobbyist. He probably doesn’t know if it would work for a professional. Blackie tells us, you are better off with a different grade of machine if you are a professional. That’s why I always read the comments as well as the review of the power tools I buy. You get more than one perspective when you read the comments, and the comments can be decisive in a purchase.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

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