Chop Saw for Fine Woodworking? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 16 Old 01-24-2012, 09:00 PM Thread Starter
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Chop Saw for Fine Woodworking?

I am thinking of adding a chop/sliding compound miter saw to my shop for general cross cutting work so I can keep a dedicated rip blade on my tablesaw. I do mostly furniture making, and very little trim carpentry. My question is will a chop saw have the same acuracy and fine cross cutting ability as a table saw and is it worthwhile for fine furniture making?

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post #2 of 16 Old 01-24-2012, 10:15 PM
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A good 12" compound sliding miter starts at about $600. It better be accurate. Get a good crosscut blade (hint: if it costs 2.99, and you find it piled in a bin at the end of an aisle in Harbor Freight, and the label says "jenu-ayn karbide" it probably isn't super-high quality.) clamp that saw down tight and yes it will give nice cuts.

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post #3 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 06:50 AM
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I have a $200 Craftsman 10" saw and use it for all cross cut actions. I build pieces of furniture using it and I also cut crown molding. Accuracy is never an issue.

George
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post #4 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 08:16 AM
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I'd definately stay away from the 12" sliders for what your looking to do. I have no experience with one personally but was doing research a year ago when I was thinking of replacing my POS 10" Craftsman saw. Seemed everywhere I went to read reviews, I found people complaining about accuracy in the larger saws because theres just too much flex in the sliding mechanism. This was even in the more expensive saws such as Bosch and DeWalt. The Bosch and Makita 10" saws seemed to regularly get high marks though.

After seeing what it was going to cost me for accuracy even in a 10" saw, I just decided to build a cross cut sled for my TS. My CMS now only gets used for rough cuts and chopping turning blanks. For accuracy, I go to the TS and the Super Sled!!

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post #5 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 08:40 AM
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There is a huge difference in accuracy between a sliding compound and a chop saw.

As others have mentioned, multiple moving parts= more chance of deflection and innacuracies.

A "Chop saw" is a great addition to a shop that can make accurate cuts very fast and very easy.

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #6 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 08:54 AM
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another difference

Is some CSMS have a depth adjustment unlike a chop saw.
You can use this to make stopped cross cuts, nibble away on a rabbet or tongue.
You might consider a accurately set up RAS for those cross cut operations. I use mine for 90 degree only cuts, but 45's would not be difficult with a jig.

I hear Ya on the blade change out issue. I like to drop the arbor nut down into the dust collect immediately below the blade on my saw. 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 #7 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 08:56 AM
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I wouldn't be without a CMS. A 12" SCMS may not have the crosscut length that you are thinking of depending on. I have a dedicated RAS that I set up for accurate 90 degree crosscuts.

I use my TS for most of my crosscuts, and a shop made straightedge for my hand held circular saw.






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post #8 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 10:03 AM
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I agree with the others... I have a Milwaukee 12" SCMS and it's big enough that it flexes, particularly when cutting wide (8") stock at an angle. Perhaps a full kerf blade would assist with that, but I haven't tried it yet. It's not so inaccurate that I don't use it, but if it's something that requires dead on accuracy, I use my table saw. If there's an allowance for marginal error, the SCMS can't be beat.

As Bill said, you can, and I have, used my SCMS to make rabbits and dados, leaving the table saw ready for ripping.

I'd be lost without mine... but if you're looking for perfection, stick with the CMS and leave the sliding out.

Ut Prosim
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post #9 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 10:00 PM
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My 10" CMS is quite possibly the most used tool in my shop. Of course I generally do more home remodel stuff than fine woodworking. But it's always been accurate enough for me, and bad cuts on it tend to be completely my fault, not the saw's.
--Matt
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post #10 of 16 Old 01-25-2012, 11:52 PM
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I have an older DeWalt 12" SCMS, DW-708. With the appropriate blade fine and accurate cross cuts are not a problem. The big trick with any SCMS is to cut the top first with a light scoring cut and then cut the rest of the way through by pushing the slider rather than pull. Oh, use a ZC insert also but not for bevel cuts.

I've heard all kinds of things about the newer models of SCMS and over many brands. I don't know if these people have an ax to grind or the comments are accurate so I'll just say that I am happy with my 708.

Use the right tool for the job.

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post #11 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 05:13 AM
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From a mechanical standpoint, a CMS tends to be more precise than a slider, but the very nature of the pivot mechanisms and sliders makes them both less precise than a good stationary TS with a decent miter gauge. That doesn't mean you can't get good cuts from one with proper technique and good blades, but unless the boards are very long, I use my TS for crosscuts whenever possible.
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post #12 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrich View Post
I have an older DeWalt 12" SCMS, DW-708. With the appropriate blade fine and accurate cross cuts are not a problem. The big trick with any SCMS is to cut the top first with a light scoring cut and then cut the rest of the way through by pushing the slider rather than pull. Oh, use a ZC insert also but not for bevel cuts.

I've heard all kinds of things about the newer models of SCMS and over many brands. I don't know if these people have an ax to grind or the comments are accurate so I'll just say that I am happy with my 708.
The old 708's were the best they ever made.
They changed them a few years ago and they were never the same.
Shame on Dewalt....

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #13 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrich View Post
I have an older DeWalt 12" SCMS, DW-708. With the appropriate blade fine and accurate cross cuts are not a problem. The big trick with any SCMS is to cut the top first with a light scoring cut and then cut the rest of the way through by pushing the slider rather than pull. Oh, use a ZC insert also but not for bevel cuts.

I've heard all kinds of things about the newer models of SCMS and over many brands. I don't know if these people have an ax to grind or the comments are accurate so I'll just say that I am happy with my 708.
I agree with the 708 Dewalt, mine is dead accurate couldn't be a better saw. The newer 718s aren't near as good. The 708, Makita and Bosch are about as good as they come unless you want to pay over a $1,000, then it isn't worth the extra $ to me. A good Forest or CMT blade and you are good to go, Freud has some good blades, I don't like the Dewalt blades, I have had a couple of them wobble.

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post #14 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 11:12 AM
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Hitachi 10" here. As accurate as I need it, which isn't within really tight tolerances.

I really like Hitachi's 12" SCMS, with the way it slides, but it hasn't gotten great reviews.
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post #15 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 11:24 AM
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Every time I go to a box store, I just have to browse the tool dept!
One time I was playing with the scms's and all of them had quite a bit of deflection, when light pressure was applied to it. Made me come home and hug my ras!
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post #16 of 16 Old 01-26-2012, 12:23 PM
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I do that same thing as Pirate does: I check out the sliders and they always have side to side movement, especially at full extension.

My Ridgid 10" miter saw cuts pretty accurately, but I think my RAS does a little better. For best accuracy with my miter saw, I clamp the stock, then wait for the blade to stop at the bottom of the cut before returning the saw to the top position.

Incidentally, for really accurate work, some feel that a 10" miter saw is more accurate than a 12" due to less blade deflection.

Bill
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