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An experienced novice
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
My venerable Craftsman miter ate its blade guard this afternoon. I don't know why, but luckily I was not in front of the blade. I was cutting against a stop on the right side of the blade, which left a short (3") end on the left side, so I was standing on the right side of the blade and was not injured when the guard disintegrated into a shower of sharp plastic pieces!


So, now I need to buy a new miter saw. I have limited space on my built-in miter saw table, only 24" from front edge of the table to the wall behind, which lets out most sliders. I need a shop saw only, I never go out to job sites.



I seldom cut anything bigger than a 4x4, but often cut 8" wide rough sawn planks. So a 10" saw is the minimum.


I need a saw that is easy and accurate to set up and stays accurate.


The Bosch "knuckle" action looks great but the saw has gotten poor reviews and I'm hesitant to purchase something so expensive if it won't make perfect cuts. And Festool is right out because of the price. The Hitachi has gotten good reviews on the saw but bad reviews for customer service and the lack of warranty service.


Your suggestions and recommendations are welcome.


Thanks in advance
 

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Miter saws continue to evolve. Early miters cut on a wood table which you replaced after you cut it up.
By the ‘70’s the swiveling metal tables were introduced as a major improvement.
In the ‘80’s the compound Miter was introduced as another game changer.
Today you can buy a compound Miter in 10” or 12” from any tool supplier.
My first Miter saw was a Delta but I’ve enjoyed a Makita for over 25 years.
 

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My venerable Craftsman miter ate its blade guard ... the guard disintegrated into a shower of sharp plastic pieces!
So, now I need to buy a new miter saw.

What about just getting a new blade guard? Sears is dying a long drawn out death (100 more store closures announced last week, on top of the several hundred closures already planned or executed), but Sears Parts Direct is still open selling parts until they are gone. Using the part number of your saw, you can not only search Sears Parts Direct, you might also search eBay for dead saws with good parts and eReplacement Parts for breakdowns and prices on individual parts, and Craigslist just to see what comes up. If your current saw is as 'venerable' as you describe, no sense in throwing the baby out with the bath water.


The Bosch "knuckle" action looks great but the saw has gotten poor reviews and I'm hesitant to purchase something so expensive if it won't make perfect cuts.

You can make perfect cuts with a Bosch Glide Arm saw, once you understand how you can make less than perfect cuts. I have the 12" Bosch "knuckle action" Glide saw, and once I mounted an arbor laser to it, I was able to visualize how my arm could exert influence on the glide arm. Once I saw it with the laser line glowing in action, I immediately understood how this could be a great benefit in the fit up of parts. I could make both perfect cuts, as well as purposely make imperfect cuts to cancel out imperfect circumstances in the material or in the installation, yielding a result that looks perfect where a perfect cut would look off.


Hard to visualize without a video, but just imagine pulling the arm hard to the left or to the right, to make an angle slightly more open or more close to a mere fraction of a degree too subtle to unlock and attempt to bump reset the table angle for. Once the influence of the human arm of the glide arm is understood, the human arm can then operate with a deliberate consistency to also NOT exert a lateral influence on the glide arm, achieving a perfect cut.




Festool is right out because of the price.

Not all Festools may be worth their high prices, but the Kapex in particular stands out as having several physical features that no other recently manufactured sliding compound miter saw possesses, and these physical attributes contribute to Kapex's superiority over all other similar offerings on the market. One such physical attribute is a much wider distance between the two parallel tubular rails upon which the saw carriage rides, which contributes dramatically to the Kapex's superior precision and stability along the cutting vector. Another feature is the location of the dust chute that travels with the head and is positioned directly in line with and above the chip throw of the blade gullets, a physical factor which no other similar saw has which contributes to the Kapex's superior dust control, making the saw more enjoyable to use.



So it isn't just the Festool name that makes the Kapex great... it is physical features on that tool that no other recently made compound miter saw has. There was once a very large and heavy Rockwell jobsite sliding miter saw from the late '60's or early '70's that had widely spaced parallel tubes that gave that saw rock solid stability and precision along the cutting vector, but that saw took two men to set up and break down, and occupied a footprint wider than a radial saw.



Your suggestions and recommendations are welcome.

Speaking of radial saws and suggestions... if your intended use is stationary and confined to your shop, you might find that a radial saw can give you precision and stability for much less money spent, because radial saws on Craigslist are plentiful and cheap (less than $100, and often times free).
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Mad, I appreciate the time you took to discuss my options.


One reason I like the Bosch is the foot print. My saw bench is against an exterior wall of my shop and is only 24" deep. So a slider with long rails out the back is right out. Today I saw the new Makita battery operated slider with the rails over the table for a shallow footprint, in exchange for a much higher profile. Unfortunately Makita doesn't make a 120VAC model of that saw.


I'm deathly afraid of radial arm saws, a friend cut her thumb off with hers, and another cut his arm badly when using it to rip some stock. That lack of a guard bothers me.


I think that I'm going to buy the Dewalt 12" single bevel miter saw. It's within my budget and seems to get good reviews. I hope it doesn't fail because I hear no good things about their customer service.


As for buying used off CL, that's pretty much out up here in So. Oregon. If you want a used chain saw, or a rusty old POS table saw, or old logging saws, CL is the place to go, but for things like a miter or RA saw, or heaven forbid, a band saw, I'm just plain SOL. I've been looking for a decent band saw for 3 years now with no luck. But that's another story ;-)


Thanks and take care
 

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What do you use your miter saw for? I see you cut long boards down to working size but do you do anything else with it on regular bases? There is a reason I am asking these questions. I have the same Dewalt saw you are looking at and I very seldom use it. I can get more accurate cuts easier with my table saw. I don't have the room to have a miter saw station so when I need to break down longboards I use a hand saw, or a jigsaw, and I also have a Triton Track saw. I would mine selling my miter saw but I really like my track saw. It all depends on what you use it for and how much room you have.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What do you use your miter saw for? I see you cut long boards down to working size but do you do anything else with it on regular bases? There is a reason I am asking these questions. I have the same Dewalt saw you are looking at and I very seldom use it. I can get more accurate cuts easier with my table saw. I don't have the room to have a miter saw station so when I need to break down longboards I use a hand saw, or a jigsaw, and I also have a Triton Track saw. I would mine selling my miter saw but I really like my track saw. It all depends on what you use it for and how much room you have.

I have plenty of room, along the north exterior wall of my shop, more than 14 feet of wall. So length isn't a problem. Depth is the problem, my saw bench, built 3 years ago around my Craftsman 10" miter saw, is only 24" deep, so there's absolutely no room for a slider.


I use the miter saw for cross cutting everything to length. Everything from 4X4s for shop table legs to 1X8 or 1x10 oak planks for cabinet face frames. I don't have a good crosscut sled for my table saw, and don't have a lot of room on either side of the blade (~6 ft). I'd love to have a track saw for breaking down sheet goods, but it hasn't become a priority yet.
 

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I bought the Dewalt DW706XPS back last winter and am very happy with it. It's the dual bevel 12" miter saw. I know how most don't really need a dual bevel saw that often but the XPS light is far superior to every laser I've ever used. It's such a simple idea that just works great. It's available as an accessory but the one I purchased came with the XPS on the saw. It's supposedly a tad quieter than the single bevel too, but I haven't exactly had the opportunity to use them side by side..
 

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to 1X8 or 1x10 oak planks

Despite having a 12" blade, I'm not sure if a 12" chop saw can slice through a 1x10 in one cut, without building a platform to elevate the plank above the table, higher than where the blade would normally intersect with the table in the full down chop position. The widest part of the blade never makes it down as far as the area of the circle that is actually available for doing the cutting.

This might vary from saw to saw, depending on the geometry of the saw's pivot point relative to the the saw's fence position at the table, so if I were shopping for a non sliding chop saw, I'd probably bring a short slice of plank that is the width and depth (but not the length) of the stock material that is widest and deepest, and lay that short sample on the prospective chop saw tables adjacent to the blade (but not underneath it), and bring the chop head down while looking at the edge nearest you during the downstroke, to see if the diameter of the blade will encompass the entire width of the material as is, without having to build up jigs and auxiliary tables and back fences.

Naturally, with a slide or glide, this wouldn't be an issue, but since you are going with a chop, I'd probably want to compare real world material cutting width, in one stroke, with no reverse flips and no table mods, before making a final decision.

I've had a radial saw since the mid 1980s with no accidents knock on wood. I made 6 push sticks the day I got that saw, of all different depths and angles, and keep my hands away from not only the blade, but from the blade path along the entire arm. So far, so good.

I bought the sliding compound miter saw for it's mobility, and selected a 12" to cross cut 4x6 headers easily. The Glide Arm made the most sense as far as the compactness to capacity and capability ratio is concerned, and the saw is used in construction, not fine cabinetry or guitar making.

If seeking the utmost in precision, I would tend to think that a smaller 10" would offer a more naturally stable blade with less potential for deflection. You've already identified and considered the two 10" saws on the market have a zero clearance design that can be positioned flat up against a wall.

But since you want to cross cut 4x4's (how many more table legs to you need?), the 10", of any type or at any price, probably will not be as convenient as a 12", which makes mince meat out of cutting 4x material. I smile every time a slice through a 4x6 in one chop.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Yes, you are right, I should not expect a 12" saw to cut a 1X10 in one go. But thanks for the "put a board under it" tip. I have never tried or even seen that!


I work mostly with red oak, cedar, hemlock, and doug fir. The oak is available at the local hardwood dealer in widths ranging from 8-10 inches, and generally the first step in a project is to cut the plank to rough length prior to planing.



Today I was pondering the dust collection issue. The new saw has even worse dust collection capability than the Craftsman. I think a hood behind the saw with a down-draft connection to the dust collector or shop vac is in order.


Thanks for your help and suggestions.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well, I finished rebuilding the miter saw table to accommodate the new Dewalt 12" miter saw. It was a job of work partly because when I made it 3 years ago, it was my first ever "shop project." I did a lot of thing the wrong way, and some of those bit me on the butt yesterday and today, but with some work, and more than a little swearing, the saw is now in the miter saw bench and the table fence (6 ft on the infeed side, 3 ft on the outfeed) properly aligned with the saw base.


I think the current dust collection solution is going to be some kind of hood behind the saw connected to the dust collector or shop vac, which ever works best. I'll be prototyping that next week.


Thanks to all for help and encouragement
 
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