Power Saw

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jimh
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Power Saw

Postby jimh » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:18 am

This discussion is a bit tangential to the usual strictly boat oriented topics, but I would like to solicit advice from the cadre of wood-working experts that read this forum. I would like to have a power saw of some sort in my home workshop in order to do some basic carpentry work. I envision that I might be interested in:

--building my own dock sections using wood as the building material (which does have some boating connection)

--making some simple things like bookshelves to custom fit an alcove in our house

--making a workbench or work table, or other simple tables that do not need to be particularly decorative and attractive.

I am familiar with two types of power saws:

--a table saw

--a radial arm saw

I know there are other types of saws, but I am probably not sufficiently skilled to use them. Between a table saw and a radial arm saw, which would be the most appropriate to buy as the first power saw tool in the workshop for the typical uses I mention above?

timf
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Re: Power Saw

Postby timf » Fri Oct 23, 2015 11:32 am

I use a compound miter saw more often than a table saw, but the first project you have in mind might affect which you would get first.

A table saw is much better for ripping, especially long pieces.

If I were to buy a compound miter saw again, I'd stick with a 12" blade and the sliding type power head. Those give more versatility in the size of wood you can cut, especially when cutting angles.

http://www.dewalt.com/tools/saws-miter-saws-dws709.aspx

A skill saw can be very useful. Mode versatile, but less precise than a table saw in some cases.

http://www.skiltools.com/Tools/Pages/ProductDetail.aspx?model=mag77-75

flymo
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Re: Power Saw

Postby flymo » Fri Oct 23, 2015 12:56 pm

Jim, the radial arm saw has largely been replaced by the sliding compound mitre saw, which is somewhat safer, and more versatile. A 12" version will let you cut fairly wide planks to length. For the work you describe, I'd be inclined to get that plus a handheld circular saw, commonly known by the brand name Skilsaw. The latter is more portable and is mostly used for rough cuts, but with a good blade and a saw guide, it can do a reasonable job of cutting large panels to length.

One thing with Skilsaws - most of them you see are, for some reason, set up for lefties. If you're a southpaw, that's great, otherwise look around for one that has the blade on the left and the motor on the right - much easier to use when you can see what you are doing.

And since you're new to this I'll remind you - be sure to wear ear and eye protection. Other safety advice:

- do a dry run of the cut, without turning the saw on, to make sure your motion is safe, and clears all cords and obstructions.
- consider the trajectory of the board if the saw jams, either pulling the board in or throwing it out.
- on the slide saw, never put your hand in the path the saw would follow if it unintentionally moved back towards you.
- during every cut, ask yourself what would happen if the workpiece vaporized suddenly? Would your hand or other body part hit the blade?

padrefigure
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Re: Power Saw

Postby padrefigure » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:34 pm

If you aspire to any type of furniture-grade construction, then the table saw is the beginning of your purchases. But it is big, loud, dusty and it is something that you really want to move at least to mid grade at acquisition. If you want to narrow the focus to workbench quality construction, then start with good circular saw. I am partial to Makita only because of many years of service, but any of the contractor grade saws would be a good choice. Pick a think kerf carbide tipped blade designed for the material you are sawing. Look at the Festool rip fence system and knock-offs from Dewalt, Kreg and others. This will help you make long, straight cuts in Sheet goods (a basic requirement for cabinets and probably shelving units). Then consider a sliding miter for accurate cross -cuts. You might also consider a jig saw. It is lightweight, easy to handle, can cut curves if you desire, but I think it is most useful at cutting large pieces down to size before trimming accurately with one of the circular saws. Also add a couple of stout sawhorses and you are well on your way to tackling most any homeowner type project.

By the way, you first project (assuming you have space) should be a workbench with clamps for holding things and drawers for storing your tools. It can start with sheet goods and dimensional lumber and then morph as your skills and desire develop.

crabby
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Re: Power Saw

Postby crabby » Fri Oct 23, 2015 2:47 pm

I've had a radial arm saw (RAS) since I was in my teens; I'm in my 60's now. I always got by using the RAS and a 7.5 inch circular saw, sometimes augmented by other various saws (cordless circular, sawzalls, jig saws, etc.). After my house got whacked by hurricane Sandy I picked up a 10 inch miter saw, Hitachi brand, for $120, along with a nice folding DeWalt stand; this saw has become a very well used piece of equipment. Then I picked up a 10 inch DeWalt contractor's table saw that will do 24 inch rips, and this has become my go to saw for many projects.

I still have the RAS but currently it just has a sanding disc on it. It became a hassle to switch between the various setups needed and took a lot of work to achieve the accuracy and repeatability I can get from the stock movable fence on the DeWalt. I have shaved slivers off stock, made hardwood shims, ripped 4x8 sheets of plywood, and even do some simple crosscuts with the stock miter stick. Plus the DeWalt is light enough to pick up and set up most anyplace, and is pretty rugged to boot. A drawback of the DeWalt saw is that it cannot accept a dado stack, but there are workarounds for that.

The Hitachi, although not a sliding miter (which would be very nice to have), was inexpensive and was simple to adapt to the DeWalt stand with a piece of scrap plywood cut to size and mounted to the quick disconnects that came with the stand. It still has the original blade and works great for cutting up to 2x6 lumber, although I have a nice 80 tooth Diablo blade waiting for my next round of trim work. It's kind of ironic that the stand cost a bunch more than the saw, but the stand makes the saw so much more user friendly.

If I had to start over and could only purchase one saw I would start with the table saw. Then add a cordless kit that included a circular saw (and spare batteries). And keep adding on.

NOTE: I tried to add another post but it seems to have been lost. The DeWalt table saw comes with a great saw blade guard, I have it removed in the image I posted as I was ripping a tall piece of wood and could only go partially through on each pass (needed to flip it over to get the whole thing cut). You can't do that with the guard in place.
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andygere
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Re: Power Saw

Postby andygere » Fri Oct 23, 2015 4:33 pm

I have a radial arm saw, and it is great for cross cut sawing (such as cutting dock or shelf planks to length), and it is adequate for ripping long boards. If you need one saw that cross cuts quickly and easily, and rips boards occasionally, get a radial arm saw. If you have a lot of ripping to do, nothing beats a table saw, but they are inconvenient for cross cut sawing.

If you want a compact, versatile saw for cross cutting only, I'd get a compound miter saw. You can use it on a bench top, or get a folding, rolling work stand for it and move it around to where the work is. If you have the space and the funds, augment it with a high quality portable table saw. I frequently borrow a friend's DeWalt portable table saw, and it has the most precise fence of any portable I've used. Table saws are only as good as the rip fence, and there are a lot of bad ones out there. The saw I have used is similar to this current 10" model, however it's not exactly the same. The one pictured here does seem to have the same gear drive fence mechanism that works really well. http://www.dewalt.com/tools/machinery-portable-table-saws-dwe7480.aspx

My Radial arm is an older Craftsman, which I purchased used about 20 years ago for around $100. All parts are still available from Sears, although I've yet to need anything beyond new blades. I think these are good saws for the money, and are often available inexpensively via Craig's list. The major downside is that they take up a fair amount of floor space (approx 3' x 4'). The large cutting table does make a handy bench surface for other woodworking tasks. This link shows the current version of my old saw, which looks the same save for the fancy laser saw guide system. I'm amazed at how expensive a new one is, but they are always around on the used market. http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-professional-3-hp-10inch-radial-arm-saw/p-00922010000P
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ConB
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Re: Power Saw

Postby ConB » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:46 pm

Jim, you need a good circular saw and saw horses.

May be a compound miter saw.

If you are going to be a cabinet maker you will want a table saw and a joiner. Or beg and barrow for small jobs

Stay away from a radial arm saw.

Con
!987 Outrage 18 / 1987 150 hp Johnson & 1969 13 / 30hp Johnson tiller

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Don McIntyre - MI
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Don McIntyre - MI » Sat Oct 24, 2015 10:57 pm

Jim -

Ditto on what Con stated about a radial arm. Stay away.

Don

Jefecinco
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Jefecinco » Sun Oct 25, 2015 11:34 am

I'm not a woodworker. But, I've spent a lot of years in mechanical and electronic shops and a saw we probably used more than any other was a band saw. Since no one else mentioned one I thought I'd throw it into discussion.

Butch
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knothead
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Re: Power Saw

Postby knothead » Sun Oct 25, 2015 3:34 pm

Jim,
Having a workshop full of power tools these are the ones I use the most;

!. Quality 7 1/4 Circular Saw with both rip and crosscut thin kerf carbide blades. (Far and away used the most frequently)
2. Inexpensive sliding compound miter saw
3. Inexpensive table saw
4. Battery powered Sawsall

Actually the most used tool in the workshop is the battery powered drill, but I figure you already have that. If you buy a Sawsall (Recrprocating saw) buy one that uses the same battery as the cordless drill.

Craigs List is a good place to look for #2 & #3, beware of pawn shops.
Don't forget to buy a big Speed Square and 25' Stanley tape measure.

regards---knothead

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Dutchman
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Dutchman » Mon Oct 26, 2015 1:08 pm

If you want to do it all (furniture, rip, cross cut, drill, sand, etc) get a Shopsmith http://www.shopsmith.com/markvsite/
I love mine, but my most used tool is my handheld circular saw. My circular saw has light and laser guide making cuts precise. Also all these type saws come with some kind of set up for ripping (long cuts) up to 6 inches or so.
As for the lefty, righty you can opt as a lefty for buying a framers saw(wormgear) normally heavy and more expensive, or some brands offer lefty sidewinders(as regular saws are called)
Go to a good lumberyard or Sears and hold some saws and imitate a cut and see how it feels.
Bottom line no one tool can do all things you are looking for (maybe the SS being an exception) but a lot of tools can do many, therefore I recommend you get a quality sidewinder circular saw. You can even build a tabletop to convert it to a table saw.
If you need to cut anything that isn't a straight cut a good jigsaw/sawsall might be needed.
EJO
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jimp
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimp » Mon Oct 26, 2015 2:01 pm

JimH -

I'm with the Dutchman. A Shopsmith is a very versatile tool. Many say there are individual tools that are better for certain jobs, but the Shopsmith does a good job at many things. Biggest problem with it is that it takes up a lot of room, but less room than a table saw, drill press, lathe, radial arm, etc.

JimP

crabby
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Re: Power Saw

Postby crabby » Mon Oct 26, 2015 11:28 pm

For a circular saw you can't go too wrong with a Makita 5007 or one of it's variants such as 5007MG (lightweight version).

For a Shopsmith, contact my neighbor, he'd love to get rid of his. Too many set-ups, big investment in a single machine, takes up too much space, nothing but complaints from him about it, mostly because it's not portable. But he did like it when he first got it! Me, I like having my tools right at the job site and the ability to hoist them high off the ground when the waters rise.
'

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Dutchman
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Dutchman » Tue Oct 27, 2015 9:09 am

crabby wrote:For a Shopsmith, contact my neighbor, he'd love to get rid of his. Too many set-ups, big investment in a single machine, takes up too much space, nothing but complaints from him about it, mostly because it's not portable. '


They take up no more room than a let's say a bicycle against the wall. Like JimP said they take up a lot less room than all tools it represents and is, combined. I would even say less than a good table saw only. I keep my band saw always on one side and and all I have to do is slide the motor with 12" blade away to use it as a table saw or within 30 seconds change that to a disc sander. Yes there is some set up time all done within a couple of minutes. Mine comes in pretty handy for rough cutting and fine furniture cutting, horizontal drilling, vertical drilling, band sawing. and sanding. I don't even use the lathe feature maybe once every 5 years. It does all the above task more precise than my handheld tools maybe with exception of rough cutting.
I do have all the hand (portable) power tools too to take to jobs away from home, I even use a hand saws, (Japanese, back, cross cut).
I wouldn't take a table saw to a job either. The Shopsmith is a garage tool and after 30 years I still can say I use it monthly.
If furniture is to be one of my requirements I wouldn't only buy a Makita, or DeWalt, or Sears quality hand sidewinder saw.
There are many different tools on the market, WHY because each tool is good at a specific task. The OP needs to determine what is/are more important task(s) in order to make a choice.
EJO
"Clumsy Cleat"look up what it means
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kwik_wurk
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Re: Power Saw

Postby kwik_wurk » Thu Oct 29, 2015 3:53 pm

My suggestion really depends on what your long term plans are. If you plan on more DIY projects, than more specialized tools would be recommended. -- For short term projects, borrowing tools is by far the most cost effective. (I actually have a neighbors new 13” planer in my garage at the moment, still in the box when I got it, never used; since then I have run ~200’ of lumber through (multiple passes).)

Off hand, suggest three tools for the work you are describing:
-Compound miter saw & appropriate blades
-Skill saw (worm drive) & appropriate blades
-Belt sander (3”x21”) -- Only if you have finished surfaces to make.

If you are only doing the projects you mentions on a minimum budget (~$200 for tools); and not doing any finish work (trim/molding or complex furniture) - you could get away with just a good skill saw, a good selection of clamps, and a good straight edge or 6' level. -- Almost all your cuts could be managed with clamping straight edges and a skill saw.

If you are going to do a lot of cutting (for a decent sized dock and shelving units), a good quality articulating compound miter saw. This is a base tool, lets you put cuts in large stock lumber (think 4”x4” and 2”x10”), and with proper setup, really good square cuts on compound cuts. (The worst is when you have a crappy miter saw on joinery where the entry cut starts at 45, and finishes at 47 because of slop or bad setup.)

With a good skillsaw and clamps using an extra-long straight edge (or level), you can rip just about anything that you could do on a circular blade table saw. And it will be a lot more versatile for other applications. -- I suggest battery powered if light duty. Or worm drives as they are usually more robust. (However they are heavier and the center of gravity is a bit further back from the blade.)

If you don’t already have one, a belt sander (3”x21”). Any shelf/table/etc finish work is going to need sanding, take the labor out of it and belt sand. With a 220 grit belt, this can be enough for shelving and garage furniture. (Palm sanders are ok, but leave swirls what have to sanded out.) -- Another plus of a belt sander is to shave off ends of boards when few .01” is needed.

As for Shop-smiths, I have friends and co-workers that love them, some that want to get rid of them. It really depends on the amount of DIY projects you’ll continue to do. From my experience the older units (mid 80’s-90’s) are much better than the current versions, even taking the age into consideration.

For a working surface I actually use a full sheet of 1” plywood on sawhorses, with a few brace boards (and pre-drilled bolts when needed). The board is ~95% square (a little ¼” dip on corner end), and most importantly is portable and I can break it down and stow easily. If I drill through it, I don’t care, f I need to clamp/screw a board down, rather easy. And by no means am saying this is superior to true work bench in a full shop, but heavy and when braced solid enough that I can put a lot of force without it moving. (A balance between portable/saving space and having a large work surface.) I actually do most my wood work outside on this setup, as dust control in a workshop can be problematic.

Another neat budget tool is a kreg jig. For the price of basic jig and drill bit worth the price 10x over. -- I used this tool a lot more than I expected, and the HD screws are really beefy.

The one tool I bought that I have mixed feelings about is a Fein MultiMaster. I love it when I need to use if for an odd cut or sand (I mean love it); but it sits on the shelf 11 months of the year.

jimh
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimh » Thu Oct 29, 2015 5:15 pm

I was surprised by the mention of the SHOPSMITH. I remember seeing television programs back in the 1960's about the SHOPSMITH. Today we would call them Infomercials, but back then they were broadcast under the guise of do-it-yourself shows. I would not have expected the SHOPSMITH to still lumber on, and especially with a price of $5,000. Let me say that I will not be ordering a SHOPSMITH.

So far it looks to me like the compound miter saw might be the most recommended. At about $500 it seem affordable.

I appreciate the advise. Yes, I think the most economical tools are the borrowed tools.

More comments are welcomed.

Hoosier
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Hoosier » Thu Oct 29, 2015 9:51 pm

Go check Menard's house brand for the saw, I think you can find one that you won't be able to wear out for much less than $500:

https://www.menards.com/main/p-1444426413777-c-9082.htm?tid=2146959532584099389
1978 Outrage V20 with 2004 Suzuki DF-115. 1992 23 Walkaround with two 2010 Yamaha F-150s.

Brianswhaler
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Brianswhaler » Fri Oct 30, 2015 4:25 am

I was a contractor / builder for years. (1) I would recommend a good circular saw. I like to take the saw to the work in many instances. Percise no but good for rough cutting. (2) a good sliding compound miter saw. They are portable,precise and can cut accurately a wide variety of materials. If your setting up a home shop then i would purchase a good table saw with a great fence with a dust vac. System. Lastly i would buy a radial arm saw. It will collect dust. Jmho

ConB
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Re: Power Saw

Postby ConB » Fri Oct 30, 2015 8:25 am

Jim, are you thinking of a shop in your basement or are you going to have to schlep the tools out side for use? Dust in your clean basement?
The miter saw will need a stand of some kind, so how portable does it have to be for a senior citizen.

Con
!987 Outrage 18 / 1987 150 hp Johnson & 1969 13 / 30hp Johnson tiller

kwik_wurk
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Re: Power Saw

Postby kwik_wurk » Fri Oct 30, 2015 12:39 pm

And one thing that may have not been clear in my prior post, I use straight edges (long machined levels actually) more often as guides with the circular saw/skilsaw. Clamp down the straight (and board being cut), and rip a rather clean cut with no waves. Takes a minute more to set up, but worth it. (I made specific spacer blocks for quickly setting the correct off-set spacing from the actual snapped line I am going to cut - one side is dimensioned for a worm drive, the other for a 24V Dewalt.)

Binkster
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Binkster » Mon Nov 02, 2015 12:45 pm

As a lifetime professional carpenter, home builder and boat carpenter/remodeler, I would recommend three types of saws that will get you through most any carpentry job. A cutoff saw, a 10"chop saw and a table saw. With the exception of the cut off saw which should be a quality product and probably a Japanese name, I would go with Harbor Freight Tools for a chop saw and a table saw. As my high end tools finally wore out after years of constant use, and retirement set in I replaced them as needed with Harbor Freight tools. For occasional use they work fine. and will do the same job as well as the well known name tools. Don't be a tool snob unless you are doing this work as a pro. You will need other tools as well. HP's drills, and belt sanders are junk, but their 5" orbital sander is good.
One other thing, it's experience. You can't buy it, so cut up some wood, learn to follow a pencil line with the blade and BE CAREFUL.

rich

jimh
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimh » Tue Nov 03, 2015 2:44 pm

What is a "cutoff saw"?

By the way, I own a Milwaukee SAWZALL. I bought it a few months ago to trim tree branches. With the right choice of blades, it looks like a SAWZALL could cut off just about anything. So far I have not cut off any parts of my own body, and, even more encouraging, I have not fallen out of any trees while trimming them.

Binkster
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Binkster » Tue Nov 03, 2015 9:09 pm

A cutoff saw is the same thing as a circular saw. The one I have is made by Hitachi. So is my cordless drill. A sawzall is a saw used in demo work. It has no use for building things. I suppose it will trim small tree branches though. My Milwaukee sawzall wore out years ago, so I now have one from Harbor Freight, actually two, one corded and one battery powered, I used the battery powered on last summer mostly for cutting 2" PVC pipe for the plumbing of the swimming pool Mary Jane and I built at her home last summer. I have a Ryobi electric pole saw for trimming trees. I used it last week to trim a Live Oak in my yard. Even cut off some 6" thick limbs with it. The pole part is about 6 feet long. It's very cumbersome to use, not heavy, just awkward, but gets the job done. You should stand on a stepladder to use it. That way the branch you are cutting won't fall on you. I have a Delta 12" planer. I've only used it to plane rough sawn Sapele mahogany for Whaler parts. It's kind of a fun tool to use, but very loud when planeing. My Hiachi 5" orbital sander wore out, replaced by Harbor Freight 5" orbital sander, works as well. I have a Black and Decker I/2" drill. Its the only tool that makes me nervous when drilling large holes with a hole saw. Years ago I saw an electrician get his front teeth knocked out when drilling a 3" hole in plywood over his head. It locked up, spun, and the handle hit his mouth. My Senco framing guns wore out, replaced by Harbor Freight, I still have the trim gun though. I don't use them much, as I'm not interested in working on houses anymore, but I have 4 rental homes to keep up plus mine. Never use my roofing nailer, my knees can't take that anymore. My table saw is semi portable, I mean its heavy but you can carry it. I set it on saw horses. I never had a shop. You can't build houses out of a shop, and I hate to sweep up sawdust. In Florida you don't need a shop to remodel/restore Boston Whalers. I'll be looking for another 15 footer to restore soon. It will be finished as a Striper .I have a Striper side console I can build a mold from. Its an easy restore no center tunnel needed. Then I'll put it for sale.
I've been retired for over ten years, and I find I need top keep building stuff.------and bowl.

rich

jimh
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimh » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:15 pm

What is a circular saw? How many names are there for the same tool?

kwik_wurk
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Re: Power Saw

Postby kwik_wurk » Tue Nov 03, 2015 11:40 pm

Circular saw, aka Skilsaw (by specific brand called Skil) - But never heard them called a "cutoff saw".


I have always associated a cutoff saw and chop saw to be rigid swing arm saws not capable of doing miters or compound miters (technically a miter + bevel cut). Basically good for square cuts or cutting re-bar (with an abrasion blade).

Binkster
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Binkster » Wed Nov 04, 2015 1:04 pm

Back in the day, 50's, 60s, circular saws were also called cutoff saws, at least were I learned carpentry from- Long Island. I never saw the need for a modern "cut off " saw. Just stick a steel cutting blade in a "circular" saw. I have an old Ryobi 7 1/4" circular saw I use for that purpose. It was a great saw, a lot lighter than my Hitachi, but got dropped off a roof onto concrete and knocked the deck out of alignment, so you could not make really square cuts with it, and no one could fix it.
When the day comes that I can't do this kind of work anymore, I'll sell al my tools, buy a 60" TV, and watch reruns of This Old House, and Ship Shape TV. I wonder how Norm ios doing these days? He hasn't aged much on TV.

rich

ConB
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Re: Power Saw

Postby ConB » Wed Nov 04, 2015 4:30 pm

Just heard a story today at the club about a guy over 60 on a ladder pruning a tree. Limb broke of in unexpected direction, knocked ladder out from under the guy. He has broken back and other less serious broken bones. In hospital for 2 weeks and counting.

Be careful out there, Con
!987 Outrage 18 / 1987 150 hp Johnson & 1969 13 / 30hp Johnson tiller

cgenner111
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Re: Power Saw

Postby cgenner111 » Fri Nov 13, 2015 7:29 pm

The best bet is a Dewalt 12" sliding compound miter chop saw with stand.

contender
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Re: Power Saw

Postby contender » Sun Nov 15, 2015 7:05 pm

I thought a cut off saw was for cutting steel, and pipe. Its a saw that looks like a compound saw, but only does 90 degree cuts mostly for metal...Saws that I know that are used for wood: circular saw or carpenters saw, saws all, table saw, fret saw, oscillating saw, jig saw, band saw, scroll saw, hack saw, compund miter saw, and the hand saw...PS chain saw...

jimh
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimh » Sun Nov 15, 2015 11:11 pm

The best bet is a Dewalt 12" sliding compound miter chop saw with stand.


I am leaning in that direction, although the Dewalt brand may be too professional and pricey.

Qtrmeg
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Qtrmeg » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:31 am

I am a professional trained carpenter and have been doing high end work for over 40 years. I say all that so you might place a little extra weight on what advice I have for you.

You should buy a good quality circular saw, like the Makita 5007. Also purchase a speed square, a couple quick clamps and a good set of saw horses. The only thing you won't be able to do well would be dados & rabbets, but for that sort of thing you really should get a small router.

The Makita 5007 is the only saw I buy, but this is very much a personal preference. I have used nearly every saw made and if I thought one was better I would buy & recommend that one. You do want to make sure you buy one with the full base plate like this one >>>
Circular Saw

That saw comes with a nice blade but you will eventually want a cheap blade for work that will most likely damage the blade, and maybe a 40 tooth blade for a better cut. They also have composite blades for metal or concrete & diamond blades for granite, concrete, tile or whatever. You get the point, the choice of blades add to the versatility of the saw.

The speed square's primary purpose is to use as a cut off guide, but it has many more uses. Once you mark your board for length you hold the speed square on the board and run the saw along it to keep your cut square. You'll notice most saws have an indicator on the base plate to show you where the blade will cut, you align this with your mark and slide the speed square up to the base plate. Here is a common speed square >>>
Speed Square

Most circular saws come with an edge guide for ripping but they are limited in use & accuracy. This is what the quick clamps are for, (as well as their many other uses). Clamp a straight edge to the material you want to cut and run the saw along it. The best way to buy these is in a value pack like this one >>>
Quick Clamps

You will find that a pair of saw horses will make a handy work surface, and should be wide enough to work on 4x8 sheet material. I have a pair of metal folding ones that I am not fond of but they don't take a lot of room in the truck. I have a design for a pair of wooden ones, that stack when you aren't using them, that would probably be good for you.

With everything above I could build a house, and have. I get the feeling you want something more so I recommend a table saw. You will want one with a large table, not a compact saw. It is safer & more capable. If you are willing to watch Craigslist for a used saw Sears used to make a very good table saw, and they come up for sale on a regular basis. Homeowners generally don't use them very much and you can find them in like new condition. The savings over a new saw will also pay for everything previously mentioned.

Why don't I recommend a miter or sliding miter saw? I just recommend that you buy all of the above first. If you find that you need one I recommend this discontinued model, found regularly on Craigslist>>>
Makita Sliding Miter Saw

Whatever you buy I strongly recommend that you buy quality tools, and not buy anything like Harbor Freight quality because the price is attractive. I don't buy the tools I do because I have too much money, I buy them because there is a difference, and you don't have to sink to the level of Harbor Freight to notice.

ConB
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Re: Power Saw

Postby ConB » Mon Nov 16, 2015 11:59 am

I agree almost totally with Qtrmeg and my work experience is the same. My last post disappeared but I would add that a DeWalt 12"single compound miter saw may be desirable.

Con
!987 Outrage 18 / 1987 150 hp Johnson & 1969 13 / 30hp Johnson tiller

jimh
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Re: Power Saw

Postby jimh » Mon Nov 16, 2015 12:54 pm

Con--there is a recent post from you in the thread a few articles earlier.

QTR'--I prefer good tools, too. I don't buy stuff at Harbor Freight unless I think I might only use it once or twice. I will revisit your advice.

Binkster
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Binkster » Tue Nov 17, 2015 2:04 pm

jimh, The basic tool you need for building a deck or dock is a circular saw. The Makita 7 1/4" one mentioned above is the one that most professional carpenters use, and is the one I dropped of a roof a few years ago and wrecked, not a Ryobi that I think I mentioned. O f course you'll need a speed square and an aluminum framing square, and of course a 25ft. Stanley Power Lock tape measure. No one here has mentioned a cordless drill/screw driver. Get an 18volt one with a Asian name. Makita was one of the first ones out years ago, but others are just as good. I wouldn't work around water with a corded drill, I don't know what your skill level is with these tools, but it might be a good thing to hire an actual real carpenter to work with you. These tools can be dangerous in inexperienced hands
Non of the tools mentioned above would I buy from Harbor Freight, but the do sell a really good 10" compound miter saw. It even has a laser. Buy the way, don't buy any tools that make you press a button before you pull a trigger.

rich

mtown
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Re: Power Saw

Postby mtown » Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:11 pm

Jim,
Milwaukee makes an excellent 7 1/4" circular saw. For what you describe it will be fine. Easy to carry to where you want to use it, no real space requirements to use or store.
It can be used to rip or crosscut up to 4" thick lumber if you flip the board and cut from both sides. Blades are also inexpensive and easy to change.

Only draw back is if you are unfamiliar with using one it can seem awkward. Borrow one and get a few cuts done. They are a very versatile tool.
You could probably find one or another brand re-built on Big Sky Tools site.

Binkster
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Re: Power Saw

Postby Binkster » Thu Nov 19, 2015 10:56 am

jimh [you must mean someone else, as I did not make this comment--jimh], your comment regarding Milwaukee circular saws. "Only draw back is if you are unfamiliar with using one it can seem awkward". Milwaukee makes a lot of circular saws. What one have you looked at? They make a lot of left blade saws and also worm drive left blade saws. I hope you didn't buy one, they are really awkward. As far as I'm concerned a worm drive circular saw is only good for cutting up floors, and they are really heavy. Buy a right blade saw, its easy to use, and with some practice you can rip plywood and lumber up to about 3" wide using your left hand index finger as a guide. That's close enough for construction carpentry, use a table saw for furniture or Whaler mahogany.
Should I start a thread on tools needed to build a mahogany interior for a small Whaler?

rich

mtown
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Re: Power Saw

Postby mtown » Thu Nov 19, 2015 7:56 pm

Go to Milwaukee site, 6390 circular saw would be fine. Do not buy worm drive saw, it will be way to heavy for your uses. The minimum amps for a good saw is probably 13 amp. As you see the MW is 15 amp which is good. Not bashing Makita or others, I have owned almost all in my years.
I will say again, buy used and you will never wear a good saw out.
I have less than 10 basket cases and that is 30+ years with 15-50 carpenters using them all day every day.

mtown
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Re: Power Saw

Postby mtown » Thu Nov 19, 2015 8:00 pm

Sorry, I just saw qtr.'s picture of a saw. That would be perfect for what you describe.
Powerful and light weight.