Circular saw cut starts wide of the mark

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Forum topic by dhazelton posted 08-03-2012 12:43 PM 3857 views 0 times favorited 26 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2789 posts in 2444 days

08-03-2012 12:43 PM

Hey folks, yesterday I was building a carcass for a window seat out of a sheet of birch ply. I clamped a straightedge onto the sheet and ripped it down to widths I needed. I noticed that on my first cut the blade actually started wide of my line despite the sole plate being tight to the straightedge, and then it settled into place. I swapped out for a new blade and same story (and yes, the straightedge is straight). I have never had this happen before so it isn’t a skill issue. The saw is a Ryobi cheapie with a Freud blade – not a lot of hours on the saw, but could the bearings be bad? Also if they are I’m open to recommendations on a good circular saw – I was thinking Makita. Please no table saw suggestions. Thanks.

26 replies so far

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Craftsman on the lake

2810 posts in 3585 days

#1 posted 08-03-2012 01:00 PM

I’ve had inexpensive circular saws. Never a ryobi though so I can’t speak to that. But, each one was more grief than I bargained for. You really have to watch the guide slot or blade to get a straight cut. They work, but even for framing lumber they can be tiresome.

A few years ago, before starting a big framing job. I got a Porter cable. Payed $129 for it at the time and wouldn’t have except I was going to be cutting a lot of 2x’s. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to cut a straight line. The saw almost seemed to follow the line by itself. I don’t know if it’s the saw, or how much you have to pay for it but in my experience a good circular saw is worth the money.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View allwood's profile


84 posts in 2311 days

#2 posted 08-03-2012 01:04 PM

i also have the porter cable saw, picked it up at canadian tire for 100 bucks and it cuts perfect every time. great saw and easy to handle, was definitelyy worth the money. i used to have the cheapest soil brand saw and it constantly had wavy cuts. definitly go with a higher end saw, the money spent ail be time enjoyed.

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2789 posts in 2444 days

#3 posted 08-03-2012 01:12 PM

I only bought the Ryobi to cut cement siding as I didn’t want to kill an expensive saw with the dust, and the Ryobi started out great – especially for the $39 I paid! But it’s gotten to the point where I always have to check the sole plate to be 90 degrees to the blade, the depth of cut moves on me and now this. The motor is strong, too bad the rest of the build quality is just not there for long-term use.

Do you guys have a newer Porter Cable? I’ve read that they aren’t what they used to be.

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Craftsman on the lake

2810 posts in 3585 days

#4 posted 08-03-2012 01:20 PM

I can’t speak for the new ones. Mine is actually about 8 yrs old. I have heard that a lot of PC stuff has been compromised. Some of the talk here on LJ’s. Sloppy router shafts and stuff. They got bought out or something I guess. Anyway, if not there are plenty of other brands to choose from. Dewalt always makes solid stuff. I’ve become particularly partial to Bosch tools in the past few years and find that my shop is being populated by more of that brand. Don’t know about the Circ. saw though.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2395 days

#5 posted 08-03-2012 01:28 PM

I have the ryobi cheapie with a Freud 40 tooth blade. Do you mean this one ? I use this a lot to rough dimension sheet goods and rough cut lumber. With a straight edge, this thing is dead on for me. I have had no issues with it at all. I check the blade against the sole for square out of habit, but it has not moved on me. This is the cheapest of cheap saws though. Maybe I just got lucky?


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A Slice of Wood Workshop

1074 posts in 3320 days

#6 posted 08-03-2012 01:38 PM

I picked up a craftsman about 2 years ago. The motor is strong on it when I’ve cut thicker material. Never had a problem cutting straight lines. With a lot of sears going out of business you might be able to find one on sale.

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Craftsman on the lake

2810 posts in 3585 days

#7 posted 08-03-2012 01:47 PM

Charles, I currently own very little newer craftsman stuff but am continually impressed that they are probably better tools than most people think they are. Not great but better than they are made out to be.

I weld a lot and cut metal with a 4” grinder. I’d burn out about one a year, Millwaukee, Hitachi, dewalt…. The gear head would fry after several months. Lots of use though, I run them a lot and run them hot. I decided to buy a craftsman one with the $7 three year warranty. I figured, I’d burn it out within 12 months and just go get a new one. I’d never have to by a grinder again. That was five years ago and I’m still using this thing. It’s beat up and the brushes must be almost gone but it’s still cutting. I wonder what they do that the others don’t?

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View JayT's profile


5880 posts in 2358 days

#8 posted 08-03-2012 02:10 PM

My first choice in saws right now, without spending an arm and a leg, is the DeWalt DW369CSK. Other current models I like are the DeWalt DW368, the Makita 5007 and the Milwaukee 6390. There are surely others at the same level, I just don’t have experience with them to make a recommendation. I own a Worx WT431K Revolver that is a surprisingly good tool. I picked it up on clearance for less than half of new, but if buying at full retail, it is the same price as the others above and I like those just a bit better.

The new Porter Cable circular saws are definitely not the same as the ones from several years ago. The 743 model saws were awesome and the 423 just a tick down from that. The new version, well, you get what you pay for. They are decent saws, but just aren’t built for contractor/construction quality use any more. I would place the new saws in quality as a step above the Skil sidewinders, but not nearly the level of other professional choices.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5072 posts in 4108 days

#9 posted 08-03-2012 02:25 PM

I have the PC 347K (right side blade) that I bought about 10 years ago. It as been a GOOD cir. saw. New ones from PC? Hmmm? Lots of questions about PC today.


View dhazelton's profile


2789 posts in 2444 days

#10 posted 08-03-2012 02:30 PM

I think my sole plate is not square to the motor housing anymore. Never dropped or abused, just cheap build quality. If I freehand the cut I can make the blade go where it’s supposed to, but that’s not the most accurate. I’ll look at the saws JayT mentioned.

@Tim – I have some older (90’s) Craftsman stuff and it’s good. There are just so many more choices now than there was back when Sears was the only option for a weekender. I’ll take another look.

View dbhost's profile


5767 posts in 3379 days

#11 posted 08-03-2012 02:34 PM

I have a lot of Ryobi equipment, and while it’s generally not top end stuff, it does the job just fine…

Do you have any noticeable runout on the blade? Perhaps slop in the bearings?

As the saw ever been dropped on the blade, so maybe a bent arbor?

My circ saw is an old, probably 20 years now, Skil 13 amp model that was made in USA. Probably one of the last ones. But it’s the cheap model. Absolutely no frills whatsoever. Just a motor that spins a blade, a guard, and an adjustable shoe… If I recall correctly, there is a tendency for circular saws to “walk” slightly at the beginning of a cut, I think they try walking to the left, which is why I always set up my cutting guide on the left side of the blade. Never have your issue…

I have had the Ryobi cheapie as well. Bought it to work on a job in Huntsville Texas instead of driving 2 hours to get my Skil then drive back… It worked okay. The friend I was helping actually bought the saw, still has the thing and knocks the junk out of it all the time. Never a problem with the cuts or blade wander…

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View Nicky's profile


695 posts in 4239 days

#12 posted 08-03-2012 02:45 PM

In reading through you post it sounds as if the saw blade is not parallel with the saw’s base plate (heeling).

Anything loose on the base?

I bought a skill saw about 30 years ago. It was cheap, but that s what I could afford at the time. About 20 years ago I realized the saw blade was not parallel to the base, and actually ground it parallel (saw had no adjustment for this.) It’s been going strong for many years and used 99% of the time cutting down sheet goods

-- Nicky

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2412 days

#13 posted 08-03-2012 03:06 PM

I would say if you were ripping wood that would cause the issue, but seems like what you should be doing should produce straight cuts. I’m sure you’ve figured out it’s an issue of the quality of components, assembly, and adjustments by now.

I have an old Porter Cable (early 2000’s or so) and it works just fine. It’s a little under-powered I think, but I’m a little biased on things like that. I have use a newer PC PC13CSL. Motor feels like it has a little more umph! and the handles are great on it IMO.

The other saw that I have that keeps me thinking those two are underpowered is a Skil SHD77M. Yes, I know it’s not fair to compare its 15A motor to the others’ 13A (or less) motors, but that thing feels like a beast when it’s cutting.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Finisher's profile


31 posts in 2285 days

#14 posted 08-03-2012 03:25 PM

It sounds like to me that the bushings are wore in your saw or you should double check that the blade is installed properly. I have a Makita, ten years old. It’s the best saw I have ever owned. Cuts straight everytime.

-- James, Michigan

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4464 posts in 3889 days

#15 posted 08-03-2012 03:38 PM

Sounds like end to end play. Not the bearings themselves per se, but with the blade brake you my find that the saw STOPS the blade farther away from the motor, but once started it pulls in.

Sort of like the backlash in a screw, when spinning under power, the sawblad is pulled in tight and follows you line.

Check for play in the shaft (does it move in and out) and is it just the shaft or does the whole motor move within the plastic housing. Sometimes from the heat of the motor, the plastic will melt a bit around the pins to keep it in place and get sloppy.

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

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