Circular saw recommendations and thoughts please - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 11-29-2017, 07:14 PM Thread Starter
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Circular saw recommendations and thoughts please

I have 2 circular saws, one of which I no longer use - a craftsman.

A few years ago (I think 2) based on the recommendations here I bought a Evolv circular saw. I really liked it, it was the perfect weight, I changed the blade and it cut very well.

However, during a recent project it just stopped working, poof, zip nada nothing! They no longer make the saw and the support at searsdirect tells me to just replace the switch and the brushes - yeah, easier said than done for me LOL

Anyway, I'm thinking perhaps I should have 2 circular saws to keep on hand in case something like this happens again - thoughts?

If so, what saw would you all recommend? Here are my criteria:
  • Most importantly I'm on budget - so it has to be reasonably priced (below $75.00 I'm thinking)Also it has to fairly light
  • The Evolv is a 12 amp, seems to work fine, so I doubt I need a 15 amp, 13-15 amp should be fine.
  • I've looked at the HF one for $39 but if I'm going to spend $40 bucks, I might as well spend $50-60 and get a name brand.
Thoughts?

Thanks as always in advance
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post #2 of 17 Old 11-29-2017, 08:12 PM
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Iíve been very happy with Makita.
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If you don't have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it over?
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post #3 of 17 Old 11-29-2017, 08:28 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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put away your wallet!

Look it it this way. You have a saw that doesn't work. If you take it apart and can't get it to work again, you still have a saw that doesn't work. If you take it apart, starting with the plug and working towards the switch you may find a loose wire or something simple in the cord.

You can test the switch without any danger with 12 V battery and a test light. You want to see if the wires are conducting, so hooking a battery to end of one of the wires at the plug and the test light to the other end at the switch, you will see if the light comes on.... a good thing. :smile3:Then press the switch on and see if that same wire coming off the switch will light your test light .... if it does, that not so good.

Basic electrical trouble shooting is a "must learn" if you are going to avoid spending $$ and if you intend to stay working with wood for any length of time. Motors are motors, switches are switches, wires are wires....more or less. A wire is a conductor, a switch is an interrupter/conductor and a motor converts current flow/electricity into rotational energy.

I haven't bought a corded cirular saw in eons, so all I will say is they come in 2 flavors... righty and lefty. You are either a righty or a lefty, but you may want to choose the opposite flavor of saw depending on ......

When you are making a cross cut, the weight of the saw wants to sit on top of the workpiece, not the cut off! You would like to be able to see your cut line without stretching around and leaning over the saw at an awkward angle or position. The way to find out which flavor you want is to try them out in the store. Battery powered saws come in both flavors, but you won't get one for $60.00. Would I trust a previously owned circular saw, NO, not unless it belongs to the little gray haired lady in the '62 Chevy SS down the block.

Craftsman saws have always been a good bang for the buck, although Dewalt and even Black and Decker make low end circ saws at reasonable prices. Try Amazon for the selection AND the reviews section. :smile3:
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Last edited by woodnthings; 11-29-2017 at 09:48 PM.
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post #4 of 17 Old 11-29-2017, 08:41 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
Look it it this way. You have a saw that doesn't work. If you take it apart and can't get it to work again, you still have a saw that doesn't work. If yoiu take it apart, starting with the plug and working towards the switch you may find a loose wire or something simple in the cord.

You can test the switch without any danger with 12 V battery and a test light. You want to see if the wires are conducting, so hooking a battery to end of one of the wires at the plug and the test light to the other end at the switch, you will see if the light comes on.... a good thing. :smile3:Then press the switch on and see if that same wire coming off the switch will light your test light .... if it does, that not so good.

Basic electrical trouble shooting is a "must learn" if you are going to avoid spending $$ and if you intend to stay working with wood for any length of time. Motors are motors, switches are switch wire are wires....more or less. A wire is a conductor, a switch is an interrupter/conductor and a motor converts current flow/electricity into rotational energy.

I haven't bought a corded cirular saw in eons, so all I will say is they come in 2 flavors... righty and lefty. You are either a righty or a lefty, but you may want to choose the opposite flavor of saw depending on ......

When you are making a cross cut, the weight of the saw wants to sit on top of the workpiece, not the cut off! You would like to be able to see your cut line without stretching around and leaning over the saw at an awkward angle or position. The way to find out which flavor you want is to try them out in the store. Battery powered saws come in both flavors, but you won't get one for $60.00. Would I trust a previously owned circular saw, NO, not unless it belongs to the little gray haired lady in the '62 Chevy SS down the block.

Craftsman saws have always been a good bang for the buck, although Dewalt and even Black and Decker make low end circ saws at reasonable prices. Try Amazon for the selection AND the reviews section. :smile3:
Unfortunately, when it comes to electrical repairs I'm not the one to turn to - last time I tried to fix something electrical which was a radio I tried to repair the antenna, I tried to solder a wire and I had to buy a new one anyway since I ran out of wire to make the connection LOL

I'm not holding my breath that I'm going to be able replace the switch on the Evolv as well as the brushes. Considering I don't even know what brushes are or look like LOL!
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post #5 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 04:49 AM
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I always make my tools pay for themselves. For example, I have been wanting a 36" chainsaw. Now I have a customer wanting a 30" round made into a table.
I quoted the table at $1,200.00, the 36" chainsaw is $1,024.00. I use the saw to cut the round, and bingo it's paid for.


Also I have my first round tools, and my second round tools.


First round tools are for fine precision work and only ever used by me. That would be my Makita stuff generally.
Second round tools are for rough work, and anything that might damage my better quality tools. That would be my Ryobi stuff generally.
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post #6 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 08:49 AM
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This one is a bit over your budget, but I love mine. I've had the previous version for quite some time. It's very light and it's pretty tough. I've used it for accurate work like cutting plywood for cabinets, ripping thin strips for mouldings, and rough work like framing. It's a 6-1/2" blade instead of your typical 7-1/4".

This got me by for years before I got a table saw. I'm no Ridgid fanboy either, I only have two orange tools besides a pipe wrench.

It looks like HD sells a recon version for $55.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-F...3204/205076385
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Last edited by sanchez; 11-30-2017 at 08:53 AM.
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post #7 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 09:36 AM
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Originally Posted by sanchez View Post
This one is a bit over your budget, but I love mine. I've had the previous version for quite some time. It's very light and it's pretty tough. I've used it for accurate work like cutting plywood for cabinets, ripping thin strips for mouldings, and rough work like framing. It's a 6-1/2" blade instead of your typical 7-1/4".

This got me by for years before I got a table saw. I'm no Ridgid fanboy either, I only have two orange tools besides a pipe wrench.

It looks like HD sells a recon version for $55.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-F...3204/205076385
What are your thoughts on 6-1/2" vs. 7-1/4"? The 7-1/4" is standard, and I'd feel somewhat hesitant to move to a different size.
That being said, my father-in-law built his house using (among other things, obviously) a 5-something inch circular saw.
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post #8 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 12:24 PM
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I believe the life of a circular saw is directionally proportional to the condition and type of the blade, a dull or improper blade will kill a saw when it starts burning rather than cutting through the wood.

I have a corded Skillsaw I bought probably 40 years ago, still works today, don't use it as much anymore now that I have a cordless Makita.
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post #9 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 01:47 PM
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I was, almost, in the same scenario as you, but I just "thought" I needed another circular saw. I have a Craftsman Professional 7 1/4" that I have had for close to 15 years. I have kept it maintained, and just recently I started paying attention to my blade choice. (Yes, I'm green to woodworking, lol) NOW, I have an appropriate blade for everything from concrete/hardi board to diamond blade for tile. That saw has definitely done its work. Recently I bought a Kreg Accu-Cut jig to break down sheet material and that has worked great for it's intended purpose. It has a sled that is attached to the saw, so I leave it attached to the corded saw now and after extensive reading and research (Thanks internet, lol) I broke down and bought a Milwaukee M18 Fuel 7 1/4" battery operated saw. OMG! How the technology has changed. I put a cheap 40T Carbide blade on it and let me tell you, it is a treat to use. No cord to get in the way, PLENTY of power, accurate and readable position markings, soft start motor, blade brake.... It was expensive at $249 bucks, but it was money well spent, IMHO.... It's always ready to go, and I don't have to have the extension cord getting hung up on EVERY SINGLE thing in the garage. I built some cabinet faces using it and a router, they were for the outdoor kitchen, but they came out just fine for that purpose. So if I were in your position, I would try to either fix, or stay using one of your corded saws, and then decide which battery powered platform you like, Rigid, Ryobi, Milwaukee, etc. and go with a battery operated model, I think you'll be glad you did. Trust me, it took me two weeks to decide and coerce myself to buy the Milwuakee, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. Again, just my .02 cents.... Good Luck.... Here are a couple of pics of the cabinet faces I made... I'm no cabinet maker, but I needed them and they are suitable for my outdoor kitchen, so don't laugh... LOL.....
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post #10 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 02:03 PM Thread Starter
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I believe the life of a circular saw is directionally proportional to the condition and type of the blade, a dull or improper blade will kill a saw when it starts burning rather than cutting through the wood.

I have a corded Skillsaw I bought probably 40 years ago, still works today, don't use it as much anymore now that I have a cordless Makita.
I've seldom used the saw and put a Diablo blade on it - worked great for awhile.

I just bought a recond - ryobi - so we'll see how long that lasts
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post #11 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by gj13us View Post

What are your thoughts on 6-1/2" vs. 7-1/4"? The 7-1/4" is standard, and I'd feel somewhat hesitant to move to a different size.
That being said, my father-in-law built his house using (among other things, obviously) a 5-something inch circular saw.
I love using it. I would not go back to a 7-1/4". I had a Craftsman 7-1/4" for years before I got this one. I had no issues with that one at all.

The biggest benefit is that the small Ridgid is light and fast. I've used it to frame a garage, my basement, a shed. I was on a project with a pro framer who had a Skill worm drive. Even he liked the little Ridgid. Probably the biggest downfall is that blades are typically $20 or so.
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post #12 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 04:03 PM
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As far as the debate between blade sizes, I would have to concur with some of the thoughts that have been presented already. Even though I went with the 7 1/4" I am already looking for a smaller size to add to the collection. As far as anything I do, it is rare that I cut anything over a 2 1/2" with the circular saw anyway. So I guess the more you use a tool, the more you look for ways to be more efficient with it, and going to a smaller size that will get the job done seems like a very efficient choice. I guess it's the same as using a 3/4 drive ratchet and socket to remove a 5/16 bolt....
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post #13 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 05:26 PM
where's my table saw?
 
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the operation will determine the tool, not vice versa

If you have a bunch of small pieces to cut you will NOT be using a circular saw. If you have a large piece of plywood to break down, most likely you will use a circular saw rather than the table saw.... with some exceptions. :smile3:

If you are on a job site framing a structure, you probably will not have a table saw, unless it's a job site model. Now, you may have a choice between a miter saw and the miter gauge and job site saw for cross cutting small lengths or miters. You may choose to rip 2X stock on the job site saw or use the rip guide on your circular saw..... I've done it both ways.

So, which size circular saw do you need? What other tools do you have to choose from? Personally, I find a smaller, lighter saw easier to use for the plywood when you don't need the cutting capacity of a 7 1/4" blade. My circular saws range in size from 5 3/8" dia. to 8 1/4" dia. The small saw is battery powered and I will choose it over any other saw so long as it has the cutting capacity I need .... the operation deciding which tool to use.
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post #14 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 05:59 PM Thread Starter
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I was, almost, in the same scenario as you, but I just "thought" I needed another circular saw. I have a Craftsman Professional 7 1/4" that I have had for close to 15 years.

I have kept it maintained, and just recently I started paying attention to my blade choice. (Yes, I'm green to woodworking, lol) NOW, I have an appropriate blade for everything from concrete/hardi board to diamond blade for tile.

That saw has definitely done its work. Recently I bought a Kreg Accu-Cut jig to break down sheet material and that has worked great for it's intended purpose. It has a sled that is attached to the saw, so I leave it attached to the corded saw now and after extensive reading and research (Thanks internet, lol)

I broke down and bought a Milwaukee M18 Fuel 7 1/4" battery operated saw. OMG! How the technology has changed. I put a cheap 40T Carbide blade on it and let me tell you, it is a treat to use. No cord to get in the way, PLENTY of power, accurate and readable position markings, soft start motor, blade brake....

It was expensive at $249 bucks, but it was money well spent, IMHO.... It's always ready to go, and I don't have to have the extension cord getting hung up on EVERY SINGLE thing in the garage. I built some cabinet faces using it and a router, they were for the outdoor kitchen, but they came out just fine for that purpose.

So if I were in your position, I would try to either fix, or stay using one of your corded saws, and then decide which battery powered platform you like, Rigid, Ryobi, Milwaukee, etc. and go with a battery operated model, I think you'll be glad you did. Trust me, it took me two weeks to decide and coerce myself to buy the Milwuakee, but I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Again, just my .02 cents.... Good Luck.... Here are a couple of pics of the cabinet faces I made... I'm no cabinet maker, but I needed them and they are suitable for my outdoor kitchen, so don't laugh... LOL.....
I don't know but IMO those are pretty nice cabinet doors!

I've not attempted anything close to that level of detail

As for the cordless - they are still out of reach of my budget.

I currently have 2 battery systems - B & D and Dewalt - both 18v the dewalt has become my favorite and consequently I bought a dewalt corded drill on sale as well so I'm leaning towards that mfg for other things

I had 3 battery systems but I've shut down the Makita as they kept changing battery styles and now the batteries are way overpriced for my old units. I don't even know why I'm keeping them as the batteries are now dead and junk!

I actually have a B&D cordless but it drains the batteries way to fast - I can just about get in 2-3 cuts and the battery is done!

That's pretty much why I prefer corded saws - no batteries!

I've been pricing cordless saws and I like the dewalt best. I settled on an inexpensive corded Ryobi as a backup it weighs in at 7 lbs, my Craftsman model #315109231 circular saw weights about 12 lbs and is much too heavy for me.

I also have the kreg cross cut jig - I always forget I have it LOL and end up using a 6' level clamped as a guide!

Oh and FYI - paragraphs are your friend - it's just easier for others to read when you write long posts.

Thanks for your response and information
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post #15 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 06:40 PM
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I don't know but IMO those are pretty nice cabinet doors!

I've not attempted anything close to that level of detail

As for the cordless - they are still out of reach of my budget.

I currently have 2 battery systems - B & D and Dewalt - both 18v the dewalt has become my favorite and consequently I bought a dewalt corded drill on sale as well so I'm leaning towards that mfg for other things

I had 3 battery systems but I've shut down the Makita as they kept changing battery styles and now the batteries are way overpriced for my old units. I don't even know why I'm keeping them as the batteries are now dead and junk!

I actually have a B&D cordless but it drains the batteries way to fast - I can just about get in 2-3 cuts and the battery is done!

That's pretty much why I prefer corded saws - no batteries!

I've been pricing cordless saws and I like the dewalt best. I settled on an inexpensive corded Ryobi as a backup it weighs in at 7 lbs, my Craftsman model #315109231 circular saw weights about 12 lbs and is much too heavy for me.

I also have the kreg cross cut jig - I always forget I have it LOL and end up using a 6' level clamped as a guide!

Oh and FYI - paragraphs are your friend - it's just easier for others to read when you write long posts.

Thanks for your response and information
HAHA! Sorry, I got excited and long winded....

Check out this video
This is where I got the idea for the cabinet doors.

And you are correct, the reason I broke down and bought the Milwuakee, is because of all the brands I had before.... Milwaukee tools haven't failed me yet, I have the M12 drill and driver and now the M18 for the circular saw. But like has been stated, the best way is to gauge your needs for the circ saw and then buy based on that. Doesn't make sense for us to overpay for a tool that we will never use the full capacity of.

Good luck, and make you some cabinet doors, it was SUPER easy......
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post #16 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 06:48 PM
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https://www.lowes.com/pd/Hitachi-15-...ar-Saw/1057439

I've been using my Hitachi for the last number of years and I have never even considered a different one since i bought it. Holds easily in my hands and the blade safety is easy enough to move out of the way even still holding the saw properly for my drop in cuts. Often on sale for 79 bucks at lowes. But I highly suggest on top of these suggestions go find stores with them and actually hold them in your hands make sure they feel right for you. I was going to get a Dewalt and when i held it, it just felt wrong.
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post #17 of 17 Old 11-30-2017, 07:23 PM Thread Starter
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HAHA! Sorry, I got excited and long winded....
Nah, no worries - it happens - it was just an fyi
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Check out this video Making $10 Cabinet Doors - YouTube This is where I got the idea for the cabinet doors.
That's a good find thanks, that might just come in handy!

I actually will need to make some kitchen cabinets at some point as I had a renter who painted all my wood kitchen cabinets BLACK and cheap black at that!

So rather than buy new cabs, I've been thinking I should make them myself!
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