Uh-oh...circular saw getting ready to smoke...

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Forum topic by Charlie posted 05-11-2013 11:15 AM 6011 views 0 times favorited 38 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

05-11-2013 11:15 AM

I have an OLD Craftsman circular saw. Bought it when we bought our first house so best guess is it’s about 30 years old. Maybe 28….. whatever. I keep doing the “just get me through this one more project” kind of thing and so far it has.

But yesterday it started making really nasty whining-almost-grinding sounds and smelled a little like burnt electric stuff smells. I started quickly looking around at what’s available locally and I searched on here for other threads, reviews, and what-not..

I seem to be down to a Makita 5007MG for about $150 or the Dewalt DWE575 for about $119.
Makita weighs about a pound and a quarter more than the Dewalt. (10.1 vs 8.8)
Dewalt is a bit less money. Makita 5007F is also available but it’s over 11 pounds.

Would you think that either one of those would be a good choice? Just see which feels better in hand?

I have table saw, band saw, sliding miter on rolling folding stand (love it), sabre saw, hand saws…. so the circular saw mostly gets brought out to break down sheet goods before I carry them back to the shop, and/or a quick cut here or there when I don’t want to (or need to) set up one of the other saws. Lately I used it to cut bird’s mouth in about a dozen pairs of rafters for a shed.

thoughts and opinions welcome

38 replies so far

View Bill1225's profile


125 posts in 2396 days

#1 posted 05-11-2013 11:32 AM

Look at that rigid diablo it’s a 6 1/2” saw but it cuts like a raped ape 12 amps 6000 Rpms and its lite. The cut quality with with a 40t blade is great and with a 24 t blade it keeps up with the big boys

View JayT's profile


5626 posts in 2208 days

#2 posted 05-11-2013 11:40 AM

The Makita is a very good, time-tested saw. I haven’t used the DeWalt, just held one. It’s a newer model, but the ones it replaced were excellent, so should be similar quality. You can definitely feel right away that it is light weight. For what you are doing, I would think either would work well and would agree to go with the one that feels most comfortable.

Just to throw it out there, have you considered a cordless? I absolutely love mine for uses exactly like you describe. No cord to get tangled or fuss with when working sheet goods and much quicker to get out and use for just a few cuts.

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

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#3 posted 05-11-2013 11:49 AM

JayT, I thought about cordless, but wondered about whether or not the price is worth it. The Makita I looked at was $179 and that was without batteries or case. What cordless do you have? One reason I considered them was because the way I use the saw I think I’d be fine with just 2 batteries.

View JayT's profile


5626 posts in 2208 days

#4 posted 05-11-2013 12:18 PM

I have the DeWalt DC390. Yes they can be pricey, but if you have a cordless drill with batteries already, buying a bare saw generally isn’t too bad. 179 for the Makita seems a bit high, you can generally find the bare DeWalt or Milwaukee for 120-150 and sometimes on sale for 100 or so. I wouldn’t think a Makita should be more.

Do you already have some 18 volt cordless tools?

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

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#5 posted 05-11-2013 12:27 PM

I have an 18v dewalt drill, but the batteries don’t seem to look like the ones for the saw. I’ll have to check again

My drill batteries are kinda flat and don’t have the “post” sticking up out of them. I’ll look at the dewalt cordless saws again and look at the batteries.

Oh… my drill is a “20v MAX” so I would need a saw that uses the 20v max lithium ion batteries. Looks like the DCS391B uses the same batteries as my drill. Drill uses 1.5 aHr batteries. There are 3.aHr batteries available at nearly $100 each. Not sure cordless is going to be a great idea. :)

View JayT's profile


5626 posts in 2208 days

#6 posted 05-11-2013 12:35 PM

If you have the 20 volt max drill, which has flat top slide batteries, then look at the DCS391B for the saw.

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

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2293 days

#7 posted 05-11-2013 01:05 PM

I bought a Makita Magnesium – love it. Cordless are great for trim work, but cutting a lot of two by material will drain the batteries fast.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18163 posts in 1853 days

#8 posted 05-11-2013 01:09 PM

I am huge de Walt fan but when it comes to circular saw I wouldn’t use anything but a makita.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View lew's profile


12056 posts in 3752 days

#9 posted 05-11-2013 01:10 PM

Corded Makita.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4001 posts in 2231 days

#10 posted 05-11-2013 03:32 PM

put a new set of brushes in it and it will be good as new.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2967 days

#11 posted 05-11-2013 03:49 PM

I have a 35 year old Skil that is a beast. It was about a hundred bucks back 1977 when I bought it. Too bad they don’t still make saws like that. I have a friend who is a remodeler and he has a nice Mikita. Ever since he used my old Skil he has been begging me to sell it to him.

I would have to say that my next corded saw will have a left mounted blade and I will probably go with a 6 1/2” saw if I can find one with a left mounted blade. I say that since I got a Millwaukee 18V lithium battery saw. The left blade is so much better for me it makes me wonder why they ever put them on the right in the first place. I am right handed by the way.

By the way, the Milwaukee 18V cordless saw uses a different battery than the 18V drills. The drill uses the 1800 Ma Hr battery and the saw uses the 3000 Ma Hr battery. They do have a .

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2283 days

#12 posted 05-11-2013 04:15 PM

I think I’m sticking with a corded saw if this old one bites it. I love my 20v max dewalt cordless drill, but you know what? I would not be without a corded drill. If I had to choose between them I’d take the corded one. I like the idea of a cordless saw, but I think that for my own purposes, It’s more of a “want” than a “need”. If my current saw dies, I’ll get another corded saw to replace it. I’m also looking at the cordless saws and the bare saws cost as much as a corded saw and then batteries are like $100 each. I have 2 batteries for every cordless item I own. I think the cordless ones just priced themselves out of my “need” market. :)

My wife is now of the opinion that every project gets me new tools. The bigger the project, the more tools I get. The kitchen remodel got me a new table saw, planer, and jointer. We saved WAY more than the cost of the tools with me building the cabinets. Her garden shed is only 8×10 and that’s the current project. It would be nice to get through it without having to get a new saw and “break the cycle”, but if my saw goes, I need a new one like… right now. Which is why I posted this. I am kind of anal about having a backup plan heheheheh.

And, DanK, while I appreciate the thought, the old Craftsman was never a good saw. It has lasted 30 years or nearly that because I clean it off and put it back in its case when I’m done. I’ve never hauled it around by its cord and until recently, it’s never been dropped. A couple days ago I knocked it off the boards it was sitting on at the end of the saw horses and it crashed onto the concrete patio. It was after that I started noticing noises it didn’t make before.

So…. might have been my fault

View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2293 days

#13 posted 05-11-2013 04:33 PM

You may have bent the housing causing the bearings to bind up. My 1980s Skil 6.5 inch saw started making a grinding type noise and I assumed brushes, ordered some and THEN took it apart (dumb!). Brushes were fine (they weren’t replaceable without taking the unit apart) and I realized there was no way I’d be able to get the saw back together again anyway without a bunch of little elves doing it for me at night. And it was never a great saw, I just really liked it’s compact size. Replaced it with a cheap Ryobi which was great for a while but it would never maintain depth or angle of cut because wingnuts held it together. The sole plate was also so thin that it developed a nice little bow in it. Wish I had just bought the good saw up front.

View MT_Stringer's profile


3168 posts in 3228 days

#14 posted 05-11-2013 04:37 PM

@ Charlie – I have the Makita and really like it. I have only owned Craftsman through the years so this is a really nice upgrade. I had no problem cutting the maple table top to its final size (both cross cut and rip). The table is 1 5/8 inch thick.

One thing that really helps is the blade. It is a Diablo 60T thin rip from HD. Really makes smooth cuts. I only had a couple of places that needed any sanding after the cuts.

I think you would like it.

Here is the pic I took after cutting the table top to size with the Makita.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

597 posts in 3314 days

#15 posted 05-11-2013 05:00 PM

Have you talked to the Craftsman about the consequences of smoking?

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

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