Best Miter Saw to buy? - Page 2 - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #21 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 02:19 PM Thread Starter
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More great responses--thanks! Like I said, my eyes have been opened to a whole new world of tools because to this point I was playing with and researching the saws at Home Depot and Lowes (a lot of which are low end). I admit I am a bit confused trying to sort through all the saws...not only are there many companies but there are also several models from the companies and I haven't become well versed in the "DW708" type lingo yet! I wish there was a list of all saws and their prices, but I know there is probably not.

I have heard many people have fallen out of love with DeWalt's power tools but it seems like their saws are a bit of an exception. A lot of people like their saws, even if they don't like their drills. Festool certainly seems to be a great product...the only thing I have to sort out is the cost effectiveness of spending that much more money.

I fully understand and appreciate the customer service aspect with Festool (I recently bought Ridgid hand tools just because of the warranty and service). However, to play devil's advocate, is the Festool easier to use or does it do a better job than saws like the DeWalt 708? As I asked previously, if I cut a board with each saw can someone look at them and tell the difference? How? The service is a nice perk but let's be honest, you could buy THREE $500 DeWalt saws for the price of the Festool! So, you could throw the DeWalt away and buy another one if it breaks and still come out ahead. If there is a quality difference, that is a different story.

To be honest, I usually end up spending extra money for top quality items in life so I lean towards the Festool. But, I want to be sure I am not just buying it because it is more expensive.

Thanks for everyone's efforts. I know it is annoying to answer "what is best" or "what should I buy" questions but I am learning a tremendous amount researching what you guys suggest so you efforts are worthwhile!
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post #22 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 02:22 PM
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I have the 708 Dewalt and 4405 Bosch

Both are older, but just fine. The DeWalt is a beast, heavy and 12" slider. The Bosch is lighter and 10" both are accurate for my needs.

Best is a trick word when it comes to tools and there is no one man's definition it seems. Budget, accuracy, weight, service are all factors. There's even someone here who likes the 12" harbor Freight with a new better blade. Go figure. I did buy a 10" HF slider and it felt gritty on the slider, so I returned it the same day. The 12" are better and smoother. I have a 10" Craftsman laser lite chop saw which is fine for totin' around to the site.
You may even find that a RAS will meet your needs.
You may also want to make a nice big sled for the table saw. The length of the piece will determine which saw I use.
Long pieces are awkward on the TS, but not for a miter or RAS with outboard supports.
Service life shouldn't be a huge factor for a home shop. Bearings and belts last a long time with occasional use.
Direct drive such as the Makita,which I think is a bevel gear direct drive, should last forever. JMO bill

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

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post #23 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 02:33 PM Thread Starter
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You hit the nail on the head with "best" being relative. And, different tools are "best" for different jobs and in different ways (portability, cost value, service, etc.)

What I am looking to sort out first and foremost is what saw(s) make the best cuts. I will factor in the service (but if it is too expensive you could buy another one), portability (will be stationary almost all of it's life), cost value (I don't want to waste money just because but do want a great saw), etc.

I honestly felt like the saw spins the blade and the blade is the most important thing in how good a cut is but it seems otherwise based on my research. But, I'm still confused as to exactly how a cut is "better" with one saw...I recognize service, how smooth the saw is, durability, weight, size, etc. are all factors but what I don't know is will the Festool make a nicer cut than a DeWalt (or Milwaukee, Ridgid, Bosch, etc.)

Thanks again....I am learning a tremendous amount and appreciate everyone's input!

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post #24 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 03:30 PM
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It all depends on your budget. I must admit to a certain amount of drool factor for the Festool, but I just can't see spending that much on a miter saw... The Bosch sounds interesting, but I have been seeing several reports of some accuracy issues with the articulated arm design. IF I had the money to outfit my shop anyway I wanted, I would put the http://www.amazon.com/Hitachi-C12RSH-12-Inch-Sliding-Compound/dp/B000E7UJRI/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1330374270&sr=8-5 at the very top of my list for miter saws. I have seen these at Lowes, and they don't take up rearward room for the slides, so they compare to the Festool that way, they get good reviews for accuracy, and well... I have had nothing but excellent experiences with Hitachi power tools... And at a little over 1/3 the price of the Festool, I could put the money other places and be just as happy...

Now since I don't have all the money in the world, I opted instead for a Chicago Electric 12" slider from Harbor Freight purchased on sale, with a coupon, fitted with a Diablo 12" 80-T blade, and about an hour of fiddling with adjustments to dial it in where I wanted it. Yes it's big, yes it's loud. But it works great, is smack on accurate, and left me money for beer and wood...

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post #25 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 03:54 PM
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First, I mentioned the OMGA mainly to point out that the Festool is not remotely the most expensive miter saw. OMGA miter and radial arm saws don't tend to be in hobby or light commercial shops, they are built like heavy and command a significant price.

One of the biggest things about a miter saw is its precision (used in the scientific sense). The Kapex is 45 degrees every time you set it in the 45 degree stop. It is engineered well and will surprise you over time with the "little things". One thing is the dual laser line, easy to adjust and when adjusted hits both sides of the saw kerf amazingly well, over and over, the laser lines also are less fuzzy than most saw lasers. Although, you did say you have plenty of room I find woodworkers tend to expand like water and take up every bit of space they have over time. The Kapex is very compact for its capacity. This compactness is part of what helps it be precise out at the end of the stroke. It is true no miter saw particluarly sliders have great dust collection, but the Kapex is better than the rest but it is not nearly as "dustless" as most other Festool tools. Also you might spend some time understanding the "system" approach Festool takes, where all the tools are designed to mate and accessories work for multiple tools and a tool bought today works with older accessories etc.

For full disclosure I don't own the Kapex, I use a radial arom saw for most of the functions of a CSMS but do have the Milwaukee I mentioned earlier for complex bevel cuts which I find quicker to set up on a CSMS.

One could also argue buying a Kapex for ones first CSMS doesn't make sense, in my world it makes perfect sense because you are either going to become a woodworker or not. If you do you have one of the best saws which will give you better results due to its precision, accuracy and ease of use, it also has a huge following that can help you if you need it, Festool has entire forums dedicated to just Festool tools. If you decide WWing isn't for you, you can sell the Kapex in a heartbeat for a much bigger percentage of your cost than any of the other machines and likely after a year and selling each the Festool will almost certainly cost you less to own.

Bottom line most Festools look stupid expensive until you use them, then you begin to see the amount of value they have. The reality is most of the people that only own one Festool just haven't had time to get back to the store yet or they are still putting pennies in the piggy bank.

PS there are lots of good videos on youtube showing the Kapex and most of the dealers will have one out to play with, the better ones can walk you through the advantages.

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post #26 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 05:09 PM
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I will say with the Festool you can't go wrong, I drool over it also but this late in life it would be a waste to spend that much on a saw I won't ever use much again.

There is definitely a difference between the DW708 and the DW718 Dewalt saw. The 708 is made in the USA and the 718 in made in Mexico. The 718 is a lighter saw and has more slop in it when fully extended and that I don't like. If a saw has even a little slop I don't want it.

For a saw blade if you get a CMT, Forest WWII, an Freud also makes a good saw blade but of them all I like the Forest WWII, it cuts so smooth and quite is is unreal. I don't like Dewalt blades at all, I have had too many wobble and you can't cut accurately with a wobbly blade.

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Last edited by BigJim; 02-27-2012 at 05:11 PM. Reason: spelling
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post #27 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 06:46 PM
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Originally Posted by jiju1943 View Post
For a saw blade if you get a CMT, Forest WWII, an Freud also makes a good saw blade but of them all I like the Forest WWII, it cuts so smooth and quite is is unreal.
If you like the WWII on a CSMS you will LOVE the Chopmaster. They are Forrest's blade designed for the miter saw, if you do lots of small work or trim try the Chopmaster signature line.
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post #28 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 10:21 PM Thread Starter
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So let me see if I understand this...one of the things that separates the Festool from other cheaper saws is precision and/or a lack of "slop." Does that mean that with a cheaper saw I might set it to cut at 45 degrees but it may cut one board at 44 degrees and the next one at 47 degrees while the Festool will cut all of them at 45 degrees? Also, I guess the cheaper the saw the more chance (in general) that the blade will wobble and not make as precise of a cut? Sounds like aside from price, no one has anything bad to say about the Festool....the only negative seems to be the price (which is a consideration since I can buy THREE of several other recommended saws for the price of the Festool). I know there have been some names thrown out above, but what do you guys think it is the closest thing to the Festool? Milwaukee? Bosch? I just want to be able to narrow down my choice to a few options and be able to do a detailed comparision. Thanks again for all the help!
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post #29 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 10:30 PM
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I really don't think there is another saw that will compare to the Kapex.

I think all the saws in the 500-700 dollar range are on par with each other.

I have had a lot of miter saws over the years, I always had to make sure to go over them about once a week or things would get out of whack.

In over 2 years, I haven't had to touch any of the adjustments on my Kapex.

It has more bells and whistles compared to anything else too.

Variable speed
Dual lasers that turn on with a press of a button
counter balanced head for bevels (release the lock and the head will not fall to one side)
Fine adjustment knob to dial in the correct bevel.
It comes with the best hold down clamp I have ever seen with a miter saw.
Soft start, great blade break.
I could go on.
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post #30 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 10:38 PM
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The miter saw I would put next in line to the festool would be Makita, then Bosch, then the DW708 Dewalt. Some of the saws will hold the angles over and over and be dead on, then the ones with slop will very a fraction of a degree. That don't sound like a lot but try making a hex and see how the joints don't fit tight. The cheaper saws, ones that are on down the line from the ones mentioned here will hold up fairly well for a hobbyist or weekend warriors but for everyday use as a professional uses they won't last long. The list I have here are not all the good saws, this is just MHO and experience with the saws.

The reason I didn't buy the Makita is I don't like the sound they make, I don't like the way a Bosch is set up and the Hitachi aren't as good as they use to be so I went with the DW708, it is dead accurate and as good a saw out there. That is about it for my opinion.

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post #31 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 10:58 PM
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I really don't think there is another saw that will compare to the Kapex.

I think all the saws in the 500-700 dollar range are on par with each other.

I have had a lot of miter saws over the years, I always had to make sure to go over them about once a week or things would get out of whack.

In over 2 years, I haven't had to touch any of the adjustments on my Kapex.

It has more bells and whistles compared to anything else too.

Variable speed
Dual lasers that turn on with a press of a button
counter balanced head for bevels (release the lock and the head will not fall to one side)
Fine adjustment knob to dial in the correct bevel.
It comes with the best hold down clamp I have ever seen with a miter saw.
Soft start, great blade break.
I could go on.
Have you ever used the variable speed and if so, on what? I can't say I've ever used it and forget it's there most of the time.
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post #32 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 11:24 PM
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Have you ever used the variable speed and if so, on what? I can't say I've ever used it and forget it's there most of the time.
Just the other day I did.

I was cross cutting a 3" thick, laminated reclaimed oak table top that someone brought over to the shop for me to finish plane and cross cut.

I had to flip it since it was about 24" wide.

I dialed it down to 3 and made a wonderful cut in that old timber.

Only took a second to tune up the end grain on my edge sander.

I have cut aluminum extrusions with it too on speed 2-3.
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post #33 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 11:26 PM
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong..but doesn't the Kapex have a feature that allows the head to be locked in position to make dados?
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post #34 of 72 Old 02-27-2012, 11:30 PM
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong..but doesn't the Kapex have a feature that allows the head to be locked in position to make dados?
Yes it has a trenching feature, I forgot about that.

It actually works well and has came in handy when I was out on an install and did not have another means to do it.
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post #35 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 01:15 AM
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The thing about the Kapex is, you tend to take the features for granted after a while. Superior dust collection, setting a stop for trenching, how quiet it is compared to other units, consistent, accurate, clean cutting, excellent technical support. The list goes on. Adjustable speed so you can mitre trays for boxes with ease.Which is why people talk about quality remaining long after price is forgotten. The Kapex is my go to Mitre saw and I love my Makita, so that tells you a lot!

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post #36 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 02:05 AM
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So let me see if I understand this...one of the things that separates the Festool from other cheaper saws is precision and/or a lack of "slop." Does that mean that with a cheaper saw I might set it to cut at 45 degrees but it may cut one board at 44 degrees and the next one at 47 degrees while the Festool will cut all of them at 45 degrees? Also, I guess the cheaper the saw the more chance (in general) that the blade will wobble and not make as precise of a cut? Sounds like aside from price, no one has anything bad to say about the Festool....the only negative seems to be the price (which is a consideration since I can buy THREE of several other recommended saws for the price of the Festool). I know there have been some names thrown out above, but what do you guys think it is the closest thing to the Festool? Milwaukee? Bosch? I just want to be able to narrow down my choice to a few options and be able to do a detailed comparision. Thanks again for all the help!
I think you're getting a little off track from all recommendations. (which can easily happen from all info being thrown at you.) To think that anything below a Festool product will wobble and not be accurate is simply not true. I know professional home builders who use 12" sliding miter saws like Dewalt all day long. They even make custom kitchen cabinetry and other various custom furniture using a brand like Dewalt. They are the type of guys who would be the first to get rid of a bad tool right away that wobbled or didn't hold it's settings. I look at it like this. A 12" sliding miter saw in a Ryobi or Harber Freight in my mind would be a Geo Metro. A Bosch, Dewalt, Milwaukee, Ridgid would be a Cadillac and a Festool would be a Lamborghini. Prob not the best explanation but that's just how I look at it.
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post #37 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 03:54 AM
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To think that anything below a Festool product will wobble and not be accurate is simply not true. I know professional home builders who use 12" sliding miter saws like Dewalt all day long. They even make custom kitchen cabinetry and other various custom furniture using a brand like Dewalt. They are the type of guys who would be the first to get rid of a bad tool right away that wobbled or didn't hold it's settings. .
You are correct. One must look for their personal point of diminishing returns for every tool and every purchase. My Milwaukee can be just as accurate as a Kapex but it nor any other miter saw I have used is as precise, even with the Milwaukee's digital readout and micro-adjust. Further, it is the easiest to obtain that accuracy of any of the miter saws I have used. Let us not forget this quote from the OP "I am willing and able to spend whatever necessary to have the best quality". With that taken to heart I think it is hard NOT to recommend the Festool.

BTW I would compare the Kapex more to a Lexus, you wouldn't have to worry about how much time your Kapex was in the shop, like the Italian tractor builder you compared it to...
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post #38 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 09:01 AM
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Someone correct me if I'm wrong..but doesn't the Kapex have a feature that allows the head to be locked in position to make dados?
So does a DW708.
There was only one saw I had to retune years back, didn't keep it long, the other saws I had never had to be readjusted.

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post #39 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 07:58 PM
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So, what's the final decision??
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post #40 of 72 Old 02-28-2012, 08:19 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks so much to everyone who has weighed in thus far. You guys have really taught me a lot and I am so very appreciative! It sounds like most everyone agrees that at worst, the Kapex is just as good as most any other saw. The question is whether or not it is worth an extra $600, which we could debate all day and everyone has a different opinion. I'm pretty sure that Kapex is at least slightly better in many ways than the $500-$700 saws...but the question is would you rather have a Kapex than TWO of the other saws (which would cost the same thing). My gut feeling is that I will probably get a Kapex and know that I got top notch quality since we are talking about a difference of hundreds of dollars. For that price, I would rather know that I got the best and have more options and less to worry about (assuming my research and personal tests do support that a Kapex is the "best") If the difference were more money (such as the OMGA saws, which are thousands more) I would be less likely to say it is worth it. On the flip side, it does sound like a number of saws with do quite a nice job (even for less money) and many people believe the differences are minimal at best so I'll be keeping all that in mind as well as I go try them out and continue researching. With that said, I research everything thoroughly before making a purchase and will probably research this for another month or so before making a purchase so if anyone has a different opinion (or the same one) please do let me know!
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