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Table saw vs miter saw vs just a circular saw

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Forum topic by ekrphoto posted 1089 days ago 12552 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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ekrphoto

1 post in 1089 days


1089 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: miter saw tablesaw circular saw joining modern asian

Hello good people of LumberJocks,

I’m about to embark on my first large scale woodworking project, building a low to the ground multilevel deck, simple-ish modern Asian looking pergola, and vertical garden wall. I’m also going to install a new handrail with one 45 degree angle.

So, the question lies here: what is the best and most cost effective saw to buy for the job? I have a basement where I can store and work on a table saw, but I’m not sure if that’s necessary. I also want to use something that’s safe for someone, me, that doesn’t have much electric saw experience, but is a quick study.

Any and all constructive advice is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,

Eric

Also, if you have a good saw in great shape I’m looking to make a purchase very soon.


18 replies so far

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1279 posts in 1395 days


#1 posted 1089 days ago

circular saw for sure based on your job description.

View DinoWalk's profile

DinoWalk

28 posts in 1146 days


#2 posted 1089 days ago

Yeah my first reaction was also circular saw for you.

-- http://thedinosaurwalk.com/woodworkerswarehouse/

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15627 posts in 2805 days


#3 posted 1089 days ago

I’ve seen plans for decks that call for cutting some pieces to length with a circular saw after installation. For times like those, you really need a circular saw. Personally, though, I wouldn’t want to undertake a deck without a portable miter saw. For $300 or less, you can get both. That’s the route I would take.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5355 posts in 1962 days


#4 posted 1089 days ago

Sliding miter saw and circular saw is what I’d want for your projects.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13337 posts in 2259 days


#5 posted 1089 days ago

You need a circular saw.

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View TheWoodNerd's profile

TheWoodNerd

288 posts in 1778 days


#6 posted 1089 days ago

I’d go with the miter saw. Far more useful in the future than a circ saw.

-- The Wood Nerd -- http://www.workshopaholic.net

View Mark's profile

Mark

1787 posts in 1860 days


#7 posted 1089 days ago

based on what you’re building, circular….any finer work like furniture or something then you need to have a table saw and mitre

-- My purpose in life: Making sawdust

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2245 posts in 1469 days


#8 posted 1089 days ago

A circular saw can do what a mitre saw and a table saw can do, just a mitre saw and a table saw tend to be more accurate, and I find that a mitre saw is WAY quicker for making cross cuts than a circ. saw. A circ. saw is great for cutting boards too wide to cut on a mitre saw or for making long rip cuts. I prefer using a mitre saw though for making cross cuts; your typical 10” mitre saw will cross cut wood up to 8” or 10-12” if a sliding mitre saw. Depending on your deck construction my first choice would be a mitre saw; likely the deck is made with dimensional lumber (2×4, 2×6 2×8 etc) which will need to be cut to length; a circ. saw can do this, but as I said, I’ve found a mitre saw an easier choice for this sort of work.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

233 posts in 1157 days


#9 posted 1089 days ago

as others commented, usually when you build a deck, you install the decking left a little long, then snap a chalk line & cut it all at once with a circular saw. No matter how accurate you try to be with your cuts, cutting boards to the exact length before screwing down is just asking for trouble.

A couple things to consider – often, you have at least one board (that butts up to the house) needs to be ripped to the correct width. You can do it with a circular saw, but will need to set up a straight edge, have something to clamp it to, etc. A table saw would make that much easier.

Most deck boards are 6” wide. Unless you get a really small one (not likely), any miter saw would handle that just fine. The structural components are another story. If you’re using 2×10 or 2×12, you’re not getting through that with a miter saw. A table saw would handle these things, plus any miters you need to cut.

To me, a combo of circular saw & table saw would be best. Of course, if this is the only thing you plan to use the saw for, it may be tough to justify buying. You may want to consider renting a saw for a weekend. If you want to buy, look on craigslist for used saws – I’ve gotten several really nice things there…

View Arch_E's profile

Arch_E

47 posts in 1108 days


#10 posted 1089 days ago

Won’t deny that the circular saw is totally more versatile for deck building. Please do get a good one—Makita, Dewalt, Bosch, Milwalkee (in no particular order, plus there are others)! But, a QUALITY 10” compound miter saw (not slider) is hard to beat. Why? Because it cuts square!!!! That’s not necessarily true for those learning to use the circular saw. When needed, precision beats convenience!

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3633 posts in 2249 days


#11 posted 1089 days ago

I won’t cut pressure-treated lumber on my table saw … that AC2 pressure-treated stuff can’t be good for the tool.

I’ve done a fair amount of deck work (all three of the decks on our house had to be replaced after we bought the place in 2002) ... used 2 circular saws.

One is a 7 1/2” Skil for rough cutting, the other is a Ridgid Fuego 6 1/2” framing saw. I used a Wolfcraft guide/fence on the Skil for ripping boards to width. My decks are ‘picture-framed’, meaning there are two courses of deck boards around the perimeters with 45-degree mitered corners, and no cut end grain visible … that’s where the Fuego is nice (it is light-weight, easy to handle, and cuts straight as a string).

Those 2 saws, a set of sturdy sawhorses, a screw gun, a framing square, a rafter square (for the 45-degree cuts) and a boat load of Irwin quick grip clamps were all I needed … along with ample Miller Lite for lubricant.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7169 posts in 2234 days


#12 posted 1089 days ago

I’d use both a miter saw and a circular saw on most deck and
pergola projects. You’ll also want a saber saw or a handsaw for
notching cuts.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View StephenO's profile

StephenO

37 posts in 1132 days


#13 posted 1089 days ago

You can do an awful lot with a circular saw, a cordless drill, and a speed square and framing square. Given the choice I would also have the miter saw available, but if you’re limited to what you can use the list above will do the job.

-- -Steve, Seattle

View crank49's profile

crank49

3325 posts in 1557 days


#14 posted 1088 days ago

Dane, don’t you know that Miller Light will rust your pipes. Never tackle a deck without a Bud. :^)

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

3633 posts in 2249 days


#15 posted 1088 days ago

Crank—I’ve heard that, but I try to support local workers (Miller is brewed here in Wisconsin, you know).

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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