Need a new circular saw for cutting plywood

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Forum topic by BamaCummins posted 09-01-2008 08:42 AM 7415 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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67 posts in 3570 days

09-01-2008 08:42 AM

My 20 yr old Craftsman 7 1/4” circular saw has finally bit the dust. While cutting one of my plywood panels for a chest of drawers I’m building, I noticed the cut wasn’t staying true even though I was using as clamped straight edge to get a good cut. What I discovered was that the arbor seems to be loose allowing about 1/8” wobble in the blade. So, now I need a new saw. Any recommendations on a good saw mostly used in my shop for cutting plywood to a usable size? I had thought about the 4 1/2” Porter Cable trim saw, but it is pretty expensive.

Thanks for any advice.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

18 replies so far

View Darell's profile


434 posts in 3588 days

#1 posted 09-01-2008 09:19 AM

I’ve just got a simple Skil circular saw with the laser on it. Laser is worthless most of the time since I use a straight edge when cutting plywood. Works great, no complaints with it at all. Best of all it’s well under a hundred bucks. Lots of others out there in the same price range. But, if you’re made of money you can get a Festool for a few hundred. :-)

-- Darell, Norman, Ok.

View gusthehonky's profile


130 posts in 3736 days

#2 posted 09-01-2008 09:57 AM

I always 1/2, usually 1/4 full sheets with a circle saw, trim on table saw. My saw of choice is the Skill worm-drive 77, this could be due to me being south-pawed. The blade on left allows better view and the power factor seems to keep it on line for long cuts. I do own several sidewinders, currently a Makita is my go to, replaced a DeWalt that fell, both fine great saws, no major differences. A co-worker swears by PC, I’ve tried it, very nice, still no major difference. I really think any name brand will do, the blade will be the ultimate factor. But I have noticed, as of lately, a growing allegiance to PC on sites.

-- Ciao, gth.

View kwhit190211's profile


44 posts in 3749 days

#3 posted 09-01-2008 12:46 PM

Not to be nosey, but you say your Craftsman lasted 20 years & now your looking to buy a Porta Cable saw? Why not stick with Craftsman. If the first one lasted 20 years, why not. I have a lot of Craftsman tools & other brands as well. I don’t endorse one or the other. But, with Sears brand I can buy locallity & it it goes bad all I have to do is take it back to the store to get it repaired or even replaced. Thinking about that, why don’t you take your old saw back to the store. Maybe you’ll get something for it. Sears use to have a lifetime policy on their tools. So just maybe, who knows?? Okay??

View Callum Kendall's profile

Callum Kendall

1918 posts in 3697 days

#4 posted 09-01-2008 01:06 PM

I am looking at buying a 6 1/2” dewalt or makita, not sure wether to get the corded or cordless model.


-- For wood working podcasts with a twist check out

View snowdog's profile


1164 posts in 3976 days

#5 posted 09-01-2008 01:27 PM

I have 2 Skill worm-drive and they have both lasted 20 years, 10 years of that was on the job hard use but many workers. They are heavy as a lead brick but cut true. The triger on one needs to be replaced (or maybe just cleaned out) now but I have been very happy with them. I bought a small (cheep) battery saw for fast cuts last year. I use d that a lot also.

-- "so much to learn and so little time"..

View ToddO's profile


80 posts in 3817 days

#6 posted 09-01-2008 01:38 PM

I have the Craftsman Mini circular saw for cutting plymood panels (I did a review of it in the tool review section) The depth of cut is 5/8 max so it great for cutting 3/4” and below stock, I’m really pleased with it.

-- Todd, Richfield MN

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 3761 days

#7 posted 09-01-2008 03:26 PM

I have been pleased with my Hitachi C7582.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3738 days

#8 posted 09-01-2008 03:52 PM

I have a worm drive Craftsman saw. Looks just like the Skill. I’ve had it for about 14 years and it’s still going strong.

View DaveH's profile


400 posts in 3772 days

#9 posted 09-01-2008 04:09 PM

I’ve own 4 circular saws and grab the dewalt whenever I need to make a cut. I’m right handed and really like having the blade on the left. It’s lighter and better balanced than the skill screw drive.

-- DaveH - Boise, Idaho - “How hard can it be? It's only wood!”

View Douglas Bordner's profile

Douglas Bordner

4024 posts in 4058 days

#10 posted 09-01-2008 05:54 PM

I like my Milwaukee.

-- "Bordnerizing" perfectly good lumber for over a decade.

View sIKE's profile


1271 posts in 3748 days

#11 posted 09-01-2008 06:42 PM

I like my DeWalt DW364 with a Diablo 60 tooth 7 1/4” blade, it makes some of the straightest smoothest cuts I have seen. I use it all the time to breakdown my plygoods.

-- //FC - Round Rock, TX - "Experience is what you get just after you need it"

View BamaCummins's profile


67 posts in 3570 days

#12 posted 09-01-2008 07:40 PM

Didn’t think about taking the saw back to Sears. Yea, it’s 20 yrs old, but hasn’t been used regularly. Just a project here or there and from what I have read, Craftsman power tools are less quality than they used to be, but thanks for the suggestion. Might save me a few bucks when I all I need is a straight cut on plywood for most projects.

Thanks for all the suggestions.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

View LeeinEdmonton's profile


254 posts in 3575 days

#13 posted 09-01-2008 07:41 PM

If that’s all you use a skillsaw for why buy one at all. Sit down & draw up a cutting plan & when you purchase your sheet goods have your retailer do the cuts with their panel saw. Most will allow up to 5 free cuts & if where you buy wont…change outlets.

-- Lee

View BamaCummins's profile


67 posts in 3570 days

#14 posted 09-01-2008 09:20 PM

I may have mis typed those statements. I have used the saw plenty and defintely use it enough to need one, can’t stand the thought of someone else cutting my wood and besides the hardwood place I buy most hardwood from also sells sheet goods cheaper than HD or lowes.

-- "I don't know, we haven't played Alabama yet." -- Vince Lombardi after being asked what it felt like to be the greatest football team in the world just after winning the '66 Super Bowl.

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4119 days

#15 posted 09-02-2008 04:42 PM

I’m a Festool guy myself, and after showing it recently to a friend he asked “why would anyone buy anything else?”, but I’d go for something with an integrated rail system, especially if you’re using it primarily for cutting sheet goods. No sense in having to make two cuts where one will do. Hilti now makes a saw that’s interchangeable with the Festool rails, and I haven’t used ‘em, but lots of people say positive things about the EZ Smart rails.

And, yeah, you can complain all you want about the price of high end tools, but I just paid $50 a sheet for some fairly cheap veneered plywood (because the place with the good plywood isn’t open on weekends). If you go through two or three sheets of plywood a weekend, the capital costs of the tool that’s gonna last for a decade or two, or more, quickly disappear.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

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