Circular Saw Choices

RonVinyl

Member
2013-01-04 1:25 pm
So I am going to pickup a circular saw... One that I would like to keep for a while. I will be using this for my long cuts as well, do not have the money for a big table saw and refuse to use a little job site table saw...

As I see it I have three ways to go.

Get one of these circular saws and build a jig (Avg $150)

Two Question Here:
  • Is the Makita much better than the DeWalt?
  • Is an electric brake worth the extra price?

OR

Get this Makita track saw kit ($423)
 
I have a Makita, Milwaukee and a DeWalt. I use the DeWalt the most as it feels better and has the easiest adjustments. Yes get the one with the brake, it takes only one oops with a blade to more than pay for itself. The Makita is the one I use only occasionally, doesn't feel as good. Unless you know why you might want a track type saw, I wouldn't worry about it.
 

RonVinyl

Member
2013-01-04 1:25 pm
I have a Makita, Milwaukee and a DeWalt. I use the DeWalt the most as it feels better and has the easiest adjustments. Yes get the one with the brake, it takes only one oops with a blade to more than pay for itself. The Makita is the one I use only occasionally, doesn't feel as good. Unless you know why you might want a track type saw, I wouldn't worry about it.

Thanks again, just ordered the DeWalt with brake: DWE575SB
 

prairieboy

Member
Paid Member
2010-11-22 2:31 am
Ron: You might know this, but in case you don't .... You can make a simple jig for cutting straight cuts with a circular saw, or you can buy the aluminum tracks that I always find shift or bend.
To make the jig: Take a piece of 1/4" hdf (fibreboard/masonite) slightly longer than the width of the widest material you think you'll cut. Glue a wide (12" or at least wider than the width of your motor) strip of 3/4 mdf roughly parallel to the edge of the hdf at a distance greater than the width of the sole of your saw. Make sure the mdf has a straight, smooth, edge. Then, with the wide edge of the saw's sole tight against the mdf, and resting on the masonite, slide the saw along, cutting the masonite to the exact width of your saw. Now, when you want a straight cut, align the edge of the masonite to where you want your cut, clamp the jig down tightly (which is why the mdf needs to be wide enough to clear your saw's motor) and you're set.
 
if you are cutting multiple pieces of the same width, then those cheap 'table add-on's are not so bad - the type where you fasten your circular saw to the bottom. It takes some time to get it on just right, but can save time when doing multiple cuts where a high[er] degree of 'sameness' is required.

Not to talk-down to anyone here, but using the right saw blade makes a big difference...
 
About 30 years ago I bought an 8 1/2" Mikita. It's heavy but tough. I dropped it too many times to remember. I bought a very good 8" blade for it as well as some junk blades to do rough framing. I made some jigs to cut veneered plywood and I bought some clamp on saw guides as well. I also have an ok table saw. Sometimes using the Mikita with jigs/guides is better than the table saw and visa versa. It depends on what I am doing at the time and how lazy I am. If I have to do many cuts of the same size or repeat cuts, table saw wins. If one cut, Makita wins.
 
. . . Sometimes using the Mikita with jigs/guides is better than the table saw and visa versa. It depends on what I am doing at the time and how lazy I am. If I have to do many cuts of the same size or repeat cuts, table saw wins. If one cut, Makita wins.
Pretty much the same way I think. And if piece-to-piece repeatability is important, the final trim cut is usually made with the router.

Dale
 
I have been disappointed with every DeWalt I have bought. Not that they are bad, just not what I expected. My circular saw is a cheap 40 year old Craftsman, that with a good Freud blade, works quite well. I use those nifty clamp on 8, 4 and 2 foot guide clamps from Harbor Freight. It does not have any adjustments to square the foot, but I have a hammer. A slight tweak to the hinge of the height adjustment slide was all it took.

I really second the comment about the tool "feeling good". That is where confidence comes from. Setup, care, and confidence, combined with a set of blades, is enough to do fine furniture. OK, you can't do some of the fancy things I do on a table saw and router table, but doing clean, square, splinter free straight cuts is completely within the tool's capability.

The standard against all are measured is of course the Skill worm drive. But I don't cut wet 4 x 4 posts or drop mine off the roof, so what is best for builders is not best for our DIY hobby. Some saws come right or left hand.

Second on the cut oversize. But I then trim with the saw, not a router. These days that is only to partition full sheets as I bought a nice table saw a couple of years ago.