Need a new circular saw

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I’ve been working nights doing some carpentry and without my (relatively) luxurious and large tablesaw, I’ve come to the conclusion that my inexpensive skil circular saw is just not up to the task for practically anything. I have a nice finish blade and it cuts cleanly but I have to “test” cut practically everything to make sure the blade is in the right location.

I would like to get a saw with the following features but don’t know where to look.

Good base/fence. My biggest issue is where locating the fence. I always use a straight edge clamped to the piece I’m cutting. I have to use a magnifying glass to mark the fence location because the distance to the blade is not a whole number. It would be great if the fence location were “exactly 1-1/2” or something to that effect. For both sides of the blade (not the same distance of course, but both whole numbers easy to mark).

Beveling. When the blade is beveled, it throws the fence distance off. This absolutely requires test cutting. It’s such a pain and time waster. My table saw doesn’t require this do well should any other tilting blade require it? Also, the bevel is hard to move, has no preset detents, etc. Those are nice features I’d like.

Built in ripping fence/gauge. I saw some accessories online for this. It would be nice to have it built in our at least compatible AND be able to set the distance by markings on the fence (just like my trusty table saw) and not by guessing/using a tape measure/test cutting/etc.

I suppose different blade widths may prevent a strict “whole number” fence distance, but the beveling accuracy thing is absolutely a necessity. So what’s good out there for under $150?

-- Losing fingers since 1969

10 Replies

On second thought, I just designed a “me proof” (fool proof) plywood clamp on fence with the blade/fence distance built in. So now I’m 50/50 on spending the money. But the bevel thing is still making me think about it. Maybe 51/49 on getting a new saw.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Brian: I bought the tracksaw with the works. I was getting too old to fight 4X8 sheets onto my 12" contractors table saw. Also my allergies are getting worse so the tracksaw combined with vacuum made sense. And that I now can work inside with hardly no clean up, turned out to be a no brainer but an expensive one.

—Madts.

-- Tor and Odin are the greatest of gods.

Good idea. I didn’t think about that. I’ll look into it.

-- Losing fingers since 1969

Tracksaw is the way to go. Here’s a review from a couple of years ago of most of the major brands:
http://www.finehomebuilding.com/2015/09/16/tool-test-track-saws

Sounds like Festool is the best but $$$

-- Rob, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario

Brian:

While I have the Festool Track Saw, and am a fan of its accuracy et. al. I’m confident that the rest of the woodworking world has worthy competitors at a fraction of the price. Truth be told, I’d never take a Festool product out of my shop – there are too many real-world variables (dent, drop, get rained on, get stolen). I also have a 6" Porter Cable SawBoss (the old, gold-standard one); as well as a brutish Bosch wormdrive that ride nicely against a clamped straight-edge and bevel cut.

I’d look at the Makita and DeWalt, and perhaps Ryobi has an offering.

Mike