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Miter saws with no/less back of saw space requirement

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Forum topic by Smorgasbord posted 12-04-2018 05:35 PM 648 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Smorgasbord

4 posts in 14 days


12-04-2018 05:35 PM

In the typical SCMS (Sliding Compound Miter Saw) the bars are attached to the saw head and so the bars slide back as the saw head slides back. This creates problems for people wanting to setup a miter saw station against a wall in a shop, not on a portable stand at a job site. This has changed, and is still changing. I originally went with a “plain” chop saw (non-sliding) which has meant limited width capacity, so am looking to upgrade. Weight is not an issue for me since this saw will be semi-permanently mounted in an appropriate station along a long shop wall.

The Festool Kapex was (I think) the first to have fixed bars that extend forward (towards the operator), so the saw head slides on the bars, thus no extra rear clearance is needed. This saw gets good accuracy reviews, has a vernier cursor and can cut 50 degrees to the left and 60 to the right, but there have been a large number of motor burnout reports, it needs blades with a non-US-standard bore, and it’s crazy expensive. It’s also a 10” saw, and so has some size limitations compared to 12” bladed saws. The bevel adjustment knob is front and center, and is very nice.

A few or more years back Bosch came out with what they call their “Glide” miter saws. These are also informally referred to as “Knuckle” based saws. Instead of two round poles that slide these saws have 2 perpendicular folding mechanisms that enable the saw to extend. One mechanism folds vertically while the other folds horizontally, with the effect being that the saw extends linearly. Bosch has both a 10” model (GCM10S) and a 12” model (GCM12SD). The 10” model doesn’t get good reviews overall, while the 12” gets polarized reviews: some great, some lousy. The 12” model is now reasonably priced. Capacity is good, although the vertical height on the cutoff (right) side is somewhat limited due to the belt housing. Bevel adjustment clamps are at the front, but no micro-adjust. There is no laser on the US version of the saw, but for $50 Bosch makes a replacement blade washer with a a laser (but that means you have to spin the blade to see the light, and the light is only on the left side of the cut).

Last year Hitachi came out with a “bar forward” 12” miter saw (C12RSH12). The saw it replaces was a sliding bar model, which had micro-adjustments for miter and bevel that were eliminated with this new saw. While the bars don’t slide back, they are mounted extending towards the rear so I think this saw doesn’t really save enough space over typical SCMSs. Additionally, the bevel lock knob is at the back of the saw, so you can’t even mount it right against the wall since you have to get your hand back there to adjust it. This saw has a laser, and while you can adjust the position, as you move the saw into the cut the line disappears.

Makita has had a 10” “bar forward” miter saw (LS1019l) on the market for a year or so. From what I’ve read, the bars tend to not be aligned properly, and so people have taken to loosening the assembly screws to tweak the bards appropriately. Makita just came out with a 12” version (LS1219l), that’s so new I haven’t read a review from anyone who actually owns it.

There is a complexity with sliding miter saws that regular chop saws don’t have – and that is that the blade may not be perfectly parallel to the sliding path. Many people talking about SCMS alignment don’t seem to understand this and why it means you shouldn’t measure the blade to the fence angle, but actually take test cuts.

The best way to set the 90 degree miter angle stop is with the 4-cut method. There are some videos on this, but Festool’s Kapex manual, (which is available on line at https://www.festoolusa.com/-/media/tts/festool/festool-usa/downloads/manuals/kapex-ks120-supplemental-manual.pdf ) describes how to do this on page 24. Essentially, you cut a square piece of wood four times, rotating the cut edge to lie against the fence for the next cut. After the 4th cut, you take the off-cut piece and measure width at each end with a dial caliper. The difference is 4 times the angle error. Festool’s calibration target is 0.16 degrees, btw. This tells me that even the Festool isn’t as accurate as a good crosscut slide on a tablesaw – but that sled may be impractical for boards more than 4-5 feet long, not to mention additional setup time. BTW, you can do the same 4-cut thing for zeroing the bevel angle as well.

Note that this also applies to tablesaw miter gauges. I can’t count the number of videos showing people putting a square against the tablesaw’s blade teeth to the miter fence. This is wrong as it compounds the error of the miter gauge slot to the blade into the cutoff angle. If you want to prove it to yourself, intentionally misalign your tablesaw’s blade to miter slots by a lot. Now, use your square to set the miter gauge fence 90 degrees to the miter gauge bar, and then make a cut. You’ll see that the cut comes out square, even though the cut profile is off from the miter slot to blade angle. This is also how you get square cuts on bandsaws and router tables with miter gauges.

Where this creates a problem for sliding miter saws is when you use them in chop mode instead of sliding mode. If you lock the slide in place and then swing down to make the cut, you may get a different angle than if you move the blade out in front of the workpiece and then slid it back to make the cut. Again, this is because the blade may not be perfectly parallel to the sliding path. I don’t know of any saw that has an adjustment for this. I’d suggest aligning your saw for the widest capacity sliding cuts and then always use the sliding action, not chopping action, for your cuts even of narrower boards.

Another thing that hurts the sliding saws is deflection at full extension. Chop saws don’t have this nearly as much since they don’t have cantilevered arms (or knuckles in the case of Bosch). If you go to an unplugged SCMS and push on the handle, you can always create some visually noticeable play in the blade against the table. Some saws may be more rigid than others, with chop saws typically being the best – but that limits your width capacity. Again, a cross cut sled on a tablesaw won’t deflect nearly as much, but angles are harder and long work pieces are unwieldy. The 4-cut method has an advantage that since it’s you doing the cutting with sliding, if you always use the same arm motion you’ll get very similar deflection profiles and so this method adjusts much of that out. Bevel angles and thicker pieces will affect final accuracy, though.

One final note is that for the 12” saws, particularly with thin kerf blades, blade deflection can noticeably affect accuracy. Just putting a Forrest on my old DeWalt chop saw improved its accuracy, especially if you’re trimming just a hair (less than a kerf thickness) off a board.

Anyway, where I am in my search to replace my trusty old DeWalt 705 (which will be up for sale soon), is that I’m leaning towards the Bosch 12” glider. I’m going to see if any store local to me as the Makita 12” bar forward saw. Let me know your thoughts and experiences.


14 replies so far

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therealSteveN

1706 posts in 776 days


#1 posted 12-04-2018 08:44 PM

I had heard of a Bosch Glide a few years before the Kapex. Festool has a lot of tools introduced in Europe for a while before here, so it’s possible they were made longer, but Bosch leaps into Europe as well. I do think one or the other of them was first in the space saver line.

I am thinking Delta also has a space saver as well, the Cruzer, though they have seemingly forever lost their place in the marketing chain, due to crappy choices with product lines since being bought by B&D. CHANG TYPE Industrial Co., Ltd. has it’s work cut out for a Chinese company to bring back to greatness what Delta once was as a tool making giant. IOW they aren’t on anyone’s radar as good tools anymore.

The Makita doesn’t save any space, they say their shorter bars just stop deflection more than a longer bar, which would be true. It’s also why a miter saw, especially a sliding, articulated, or other word for it’s action never really does give accurate, or repeatable cuts like a TS and a sled can, this provided the sled is well made, and has no slop. The miter saws have so many moving parts they tend to wag like a dogs tail, especially in those who yank the blade through.

-- Think safe, be safe

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

11066 posts in 3630 days


#2 posted 12-04-2018 11:32 PM

My Bosch Glider has been going great for over five years. It’s used every day. It hasn’t lost a fraction of a degree of accuracy at any angle of which it’s capable.

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

857 posts in 1786 days


#3 posted 12-04-2018 11:56 PM

I went to the 12” Bosch and love everything about it. I do not have even one thing to complain about with this machine.

My old Dewalt 12” compound miter – not a slider – was about to go up for local sale, when I decided it was just very nice to have to to take outside the shop and use in other locations. Now I am often quite happy to have it, and use it, but I don’t have a good place for it to be stored. It sits behind my table saw, and I have to step over it or around to from time to time. ;-D

-- Jim, Houston, TX

View BobNY's profile

BobNY

1 post in 76 days


#4 posted 12-05-2018 02:27 AM

+1 for the Bosch Glider. I bought the 12” a few months ago. It was spot on out of the box and has performed flawlessly since I got it.

View Smorgasbord's profile

Smorgasbord

4 posts in 14 days


#5 posted 12-06-2018 07:49 AM


The Makita doesn t save any space, they say their shorter bars just stop deflection more than a longer bar, which would be true.

Makita’s product page (https://www.makitatools.com/products/details/LS1219L ) says: ”Unique 2-Steel Rail Sliding System design offers single slide-glide operation; reduced saw footprint allows operation flush against a wall.

The Makitta’s 60 degree max miter angle is larger than the Bosch. I like that the Bosch fence has slotted holes for attaching sacrificial fences. Without a review of the Makita, however, it’s going to be hard for me to know which is more accurate. I would rather not buy both and then have to return the less accurate saw.


It’s also why a miter saw, especially a sliding, articulated, or other word for it’s action never really does give accurate, or repeatable cuts like a TS and a sled can

I build everything from jewlery boxes and picture frame to furniture to house trim. Tablesaw sleds are great for small to medium size things, but not so great for really long and/or heavy pieces of wood, such as the stiles on a full size entry door or 17’ long crown or baseboard molding.

I believe my expectations are in line with the capabilities – and my primary concern is choosing between the Bosch and Makita 12” saws, based primarily on accuracy.

View therealSteveN's profile

therealSteveN

1706 posts in 776 days


#6 posted 12-06-2018 08:49 AM

I’ve never seen this Makita. I just have read reviews. Nobody here has carried Makita much since they put out a lot of low quality tools back in the 90’s

I know Chris Marshall, and he doesn’t say stuff like that if it’s not what he heard. I think what you have is some flowery review done by a Makita copy writer, who is paid to make it sing and dance. but likely has never laid hands on the tool itself.

It doesn’t really save space — the saw measures about 26-1⁄2″ from the table’s front legs to the back of the posts when extended — but Makita says shorter posts help ensure against deflection

I’m happy for you if you feel a miter saw is high tech. I and countless others just view them as rough cut off tools.

-- Think safe, be safe

View kajunkraft's profile

kajunkraft

160 posts in 2412 days


#7 posted 12-06-2018 08:54 AM

Have had Bosch 12” glider for about 3 years and am completely satisfied.
Before purchasing read many reviews. Too heavy – no problem, it’s going to stay in my shop. Poor dust collection – no problem; haven’t seen a miter saw yet with great dust collection. Too expensive – no problem; a good tool is worth it (Festool ?). But no reviews citing poor cut quality, blade deflection, motor failure or problems with glide mechanism. Any time I have used a saw with laser it was just distracting, so don’t miss that. Have checked for square and seems fine. It’s not unusual to sometimes have to tweak some part of a build anyway.

View Dustin's profile

Dustin

597 posts in 942 days


#8 posted 12-06-2018 02:14 PM

I have the Delta Cruzer 10” and really like it (no, not as accurate as the Dewalt 12” non-slider it replaced, but this is for wide boards and plywood; miters are cut on a TS sled). However, I got it for about half the normal price when they introduced them last year. I think they’re back to being comparable in cost to the Bosch, in which case I’d vote Bosch.

-- "Ladies, if your husband says he'll get to it, he'll get to it. No need to remind him about it every 6 months."

View MrRon's profile

MrRon

5193 posts in 3445 days


#9 posted 12-06-2018 04:15 PM

I have an old B&D 10” chop saw and it is as accurate as a chop saw can be. I bought it new and it cost less than $100. It has served me well all these years. I don’t see any reason to replace it. I have all kinds of saws in my shop, so if I want accuracy, I use my table saw and sled. The chop saw is used for rough cuts like on 2×4’s. There are too many moving parts on a SCMS for it to be a precision cutting machine. The more moving parts involved, the less accuracy you will get. That is a plain and simple fact of machines.

View Smorgasbord's profile

Smorgasbord

4 posts in 14 days


#10 posted 12-06-2018 05:48 PM



I think what you have is some flowery review done by a Makita copy writer, who is paid to make it sing and dance. but likely has never laid hands on the tool itself.

No, what’s going on here is that you’re confusing 2015 models with sliding rails (as in that old Marshall review article) with the newer 2017/2018 models with a different design involving fixed forward facing rails. All the models I’m discussing in this thread do save space behind the saw. Check out my earlier link for not only “flowery” descriptions, but pictures and dimensions.

View Blindhog's profile

Blindhog

94 posts in 1251 days


#11 posted 12-07-2018 03:04 PM

Another vote for the Bosch 12” glider. I’ve had it for two years now and as others have stated, it works flawlessly right out of the box. I continue to be impressed with its accuracy.

-- Don't let perfection get in the way of plenty good enough

View jimintx's profile

jimintx

857 posts in 1786 days


#12 posted 12-07-2018 03:12 PM

... ... I believe my expectations are in line with the capabilities – and my primary concern is choosing between the Bosch and Makita 12” saws, based primarily on accuracy.
- Smorgasbord

This quoted sentence you wrote seems to sum up the real question you have posed. You have refined it down to the question: you want to get an accuracy comparison between the “Bosch and Makita 12” saws”.

You asked about the Makita LS1019L, which is a 10” saw, and is newly offered. There are not many reviews of it, and it seems that few people have actually seen that one. On the Toolnut site, it has 8 reviews and most like it a lot, while a couple express disappointment.

The competing Bosch 12” knuckle saw is widely reviewed with favorable comments, yet there are reviews that have cons to point out. It is true to say that such mixed comments are the case for essentially every woodworking tool that exists.

It is my own opinion that you are seeking a degree of accuracy that doesn’t really exist in one miter saw for all wood-cutting uses “from jewlery boxes and picture frame to furniture to house trim”, which might include “17’ long crown or baseboard molding”.

At this point you are facing a decision to select a saw for a very wide array of uses, based on your own assessment of the two options. Maybe you already have a standing opinion of the two brands involved. Most of us do have brands we like and tend to trust, and others we skip over.

Whatever you select, I hope you will come back to this thread and let us know your findings abut it. If you choose the new Makita we will all want to know about it. If it is the Bosch, it will be a saw that already has a huge fan base, and no one would say it was ill-conceived to pick that model.

-- Jim, Houston, TX

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YesHaveSome

128 posts in 460 days


#13 posted 12-07-2018 05:05 PM

I’d be weary of the Makita. The Wood Whisperer got one and it had a flaw that wouldnt allow a straight cut. He sent it back and got another and it had the same problem. The issue was that the bars werent straight. You could set the blade to 90 but the bars angled oh so slightly. They may have fixed it but figured I’d pass it along.

I have the Bosch glide and it’s a nice saw. The dust collection is non existent though.

-- But where does the meat go?

View Smorgasbord's profile

Smorgasbord

4 posts in 14 days


#14 posted 12-07-2018 07:14 PM


You asked about the Makita LS1019L, which is a 10” saw, and is newly offered.

Actually, the model I’m considering is the 12” version that’s even newer: model #LS1219l

Local store to me has the Bosch on special, so I may be tempted this weekend to try it and have the 30 day money back refund policy in case.

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