This chick is buying a saw!! decisions, decisions...could sure use the help! - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 03:29 PM Thread Starter
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This chick is buying a saw!! decisions, decisions...could sure use the help!

Newbie lady DIYer here. Iím looking into buying a saw and need some advice. I never had anyone to teach me woodworking skills but I think they are important and would like to learn and pass on some skills to my sons. I am on a limited budget but I do believe in buying smart, not just cheap so Iíve been doing some research. However all the research in the world doesnít equal real world experience so this is where I hope you guys will chime in.

I hope to complete the following projects in order: shelving/loft for shed, small deck, framing in unfinished basement walls, crown molding eventually. Yes, Iíll probably watch a lot of youtube to accomplish this. Haha I have a circular saw somewhere but misplaced it in the move. Yeah, Iím a tad disorganized. I also have basic hand tools like a drill, wrenches, sockets, etc. I think my Dad might have a jigsaw I could borrow. I have a small compressor/brad nailer I won in a silent auction(never opened). I wonít be setting up an elaborate shop but I want convenience if possible. I also wonít be able to lift/wield very large pieces of wood by myself but on the flipside Iíd prefer to not have to ask for help so Iím willing to set up tables, etc. (mobile or stationary) to help with this.

Based on all that, Iím wondering what I really really need. I want my projects to go smoothly and I know having the right tools makes the difference between being frustrated or enjoying the finished project. All the different saws (table, miter, jig, etc.) are a bit confusing to me as far as possible usage. One saw to do it all would be preferable although I know thatís probably not possible. Iím leaning toward purchasing a 12Ē dual compound miter saw. Iím just not sure if Iíll need the sliding feature or not. Any suggestions based on my proposed projects would be greatly appreciated. I donít want to overbuy but at the same time, I like convenience and the ability to be able to do things myself. If you can think of any other ďindispensibleĒ tools that would be worth considering Iíd love to hear it. Thanks so much for all your help!
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post #2 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:10 PM
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I'd think that the Harbor Freight 10" slider would probably do all you need - that's what I have. You can get a coupon to get one for $90 (I think that's the best price). I don't know much about the 12" model.

I've done trim and crown molding with mine. I did a bookshelf build thread in the projects section of this site, if you want to see the results.

My 10" model needed some tweaks to get it to cut accurately, and the less-expensive sliders are probably never going to be real accurate - there's just too much play in the mechanism. But, for doing framing/deck work, it will be fine. You'll want to spend some time setting it up when you first get it - this is probably true of any brand.

You might want to spend a bit more money and get a Dewalt or Ridgid, as I think they would be more accurate. But, you may not really need that for what you're doing.
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post #3 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:14 PM
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I think the sliding miter saw could be a great buy for what you spoke of. overkill perhaps...

As far as chopping dimensional lumber to length, any miter/chop saw can do it, a circular saw can do it. You'll be needing to do alot of this for your deck and framing job.

the molding can be done on a miter saw, dual miter saw will make crown molding easier and perhaps a bit cleaner.

Finally, a sliding miter saw can usually cut upwards of 12", which will be good for cutting shelving, as well as potentially 8-12" wide decking headers. But unless you need the cut to be precisely mitered (probably not), you could just as easily use a circular saw for these oversized jobs.

anything bigger than maybe 12" (IE sheets of plywood for instance) is going to go back to a circular saw with or without a track accessory(helps make straight cuts), or a table saw. The need for a table saw really comes down to the need for precision. If your just putting down some subflooring in the loft, precision is not required.

A circular saw can do "anything" that a miter or table saw can do, but with far less precision and probably more time(or less if it saves a trip to the miter saw). Once you exclude all the jobs that do not require an extreme level of accuracy, you may find yourself left with molding and furniture projects. I dont think anybody sweats an 1/8" or a few degrees in framing or decking. I cant see a home owner/wood worker not atleast owning a cheap corded circular saw.

Its up to you, your budget, and your goals to decide if you're willing to splurge on a fancy sliding compound miter saw to support any future project or get the minimum for the immediate needs with a cheaper miter saw.

Opinions are like thumbs, almost everyone has one so take mine with a grain of salt.

Last edited by bauerbach; 06-04-2014 at 04:17 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:35 PM
where's my table saw?
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This is seldom mentioned

Everyone always talks about table saws, miter saws, sabre saws etc, but no one mentions a "track saw". A track saw is a dedicated circular saw that is combined with a base plate that rides in grooves on a track. The saw can only cut straight lines when on the track and there are multiple tracks 55" long, you can attach together for ripping 4 X 8 ft plywood. This combines the function of a miter saw and table saw, but you need a large area to support the work...saw horses with a old door, workbench etc. or you can work on a 4 x 8 ft piece of 2" styrofoam right on the ground....some bending over required.

Here's a reasonable one from Grizzly, Dewalt also has one:

here's how they work:

The Dewalt:

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)

Last edited by woodnthings; 06-04-2014 at 04:42 PM.
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post #5 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:37 PM
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Seems to me that you don't need as much help as you think. You picked the proper saw in my opinion. The 12" is a little bigger and will cut a wider board in one pass but for the projects you mention I wouldn't be able to justify the extra cost of a 12" over the 10". The 10" will handle the projects you mention, can be used on almost any flat surface, and is portable. You can also purchase a stand for miter saws that as wheels and folds up with the saw mounted to it and easily stowed away. The stand also will make it a lot easier to cut long lengths of boards (8,10,12 feet long) that you will probably encounter in jst about all the projects that you mentioned.

PS- I also have wonder full Bassethound!!!!!!!!
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post #6 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:43 PM
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Originally Posted by lovebassethounds
Newbie lady DIYer here.

...I hope to complete the following projects in order: shelving/loft for shed, small deck, framing in unfinished basement walls...

...If you can think of any other “indispensable” tools that would be worth considering I’d love to hear it. Thanks so much for all your help!
Another thing you should at least consider buying is a cordless drill and impact driver kit.

These will be indispensable for the above framing projects including any benches that you build.

The drill will allow you to drill pilot holes and the impact driver will allow you to drive screws and lag bolts with ease.

When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandfather did ó in his
sleep. Not yelling and screaming like the passengers in his car.

Jack Handey
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post #7 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:52 PM
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The others are correct in saying that a circular will do what you want, I just can't cut a straight line with a circular saw!!!!
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post #8 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 04:56 PM
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I'm just about to wrap up a huge deck project and I completed 95% of my cuts with a Hitachi 12" dual bevel miter (non-slider) and an 8" Skilsaw that is about 20 years old (garage sale and buy a new blade). The other 5% were cut with a good old hand saw and a jigsaw.

You can see the deck in the project showcase.
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post #9 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 05:26 PM
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If money is not a driving concern, I wouldnt hesitate to purchase a sliding compound miter saw and a circular saw.

Always hesistant to say you NEED to spend what amounts to several hundred $ when it is not STRICTLY required, especially when a budget has not been formally stated.

Tracksaws are a quirky little device IMO. they are great for what they do, but they do not replace a table saw (although they cost as much as one), I dont think they replace a circular saw either. You can also get a decent portion of their ability with a regular circular saw and something like a clamped straight edge or a kreg guide. many ways to skin that cat, it all comes down to money though. unlimited bankrolls aside, I dont own one, not for lack of interest, but its just not at the top of the wish list.
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post #10 of 11 Old 06-04-2014, 06:15 PM
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A plus for a track saw is you line up the edge on your mark and cut away. They also can cut bevels. Cross cuts are easy. Just use a framing square to make sure the track is on the mark and at 90 deg.

I have a Scheppach track saw which is identical to the Grizzly. I use it often to rip/crosscut plywood and to rip straight lines on rough lumber which is not always straight. With a straight edge, I can the either run it across the joiner or table saw.

Using a regular circular saw, a Kreg saw guide works nice for boards up to about 14 inches wide.

My circular saw is a Makita 5007 model. Plenty of power and with a Freud blade, makes smooth cuts with very little effort.

  • circular saw with guide.
  • track saw with guide
  • sliding compound miter saw
  • table saw
Several options to choose from

Good luck
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post #11 of 11 Old 06-05-2014, 09:35 AM
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Don't waste your money. For your needs and skill level either a 10" Miter Saw from Harbor Freight ($125) or the 12" Compound Miter Saw from Harbor Freight ($135) on sale. I started with the 10 inch one and then went to the 12 inch saw, so can recommend them both.
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