Mitre Saw Recommendation

Need to cut up a number of 4x4's and 4x6's. I've already cut a number of 4x4's using a 7.25 inch circular saw. Found it too difficult to get a straight cut even using blocks and penciling all the edges. Being dis-mechanically inclined doesn't help.
Went to HD to check out what they had for 12" Mitre saws. Based on my needs the salesman recommended either a Rigid or a Ryobi. The Rigid came with a stand and sold for $279. The Ryobi sold for around $230. The Ryobi seemed to have a better clamping mechanism and had a basic, clearly marked ruler at the surface. The Rigid didn't seem to be clearly marked for measurement. The salesman told me the Rigid was a better seller. Probably because it come with a stand. From outward appearances the Ryobi seemed like the better unit. Then again, for $50 a stand comes with the Rigid.
I realize from reading previous posts that Ryobi generally stands for poor quality and some of you wouldn't buy Ryobi product under any circumstance. However, I don't plan to use this every day. For now I just need to cut a few 4x4's or 4x6's. Most of the cuts will be straight across a few will be at an angle. Eventually, I am sure they'll be more projects that will require some cutting.
After Google searching I came up with a sight reviewing sliding Mitre saws. They appear to be better. I presume they are different from the regular Mitre saws and more expensive. I wasn't quite certain on the concept. This may be beyond my needs.
I'm torn between getting either a Rigid or Ryobi or checking out the 'Want Ads' for a used Mitre saw. If I were going to do all my cutting in one day, I would probably rent a unit. However, I need it for a longer time frame. Any suggestions?
Also, I am not all that familiar with cutting. But, from little I've done, it seems the utility of the table or stand is almost as important as the saw. I used an old kitchen table to cut my other boards. It wasn't the easiest thing to work with. Lucky, I had someone to hold the boards for me. The salesman recommended rigging up something on my own using plywood and 2x4's. Again, suggestions are welcome.
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Yes if you're going to buy one buy the Ridgid. But more importantly at HomeDepot Rental centers you can rent th Ridgid and make sure you like it.
Never ever ever buy Roybi. Hell I'll make up the difference in pric just to make sure you buy the Ridgi
-- On My Wa ----------------------------------------------------------------------- On My Way's Profile: http://www.homeplot.com/member.php?userid=1 View this thread: http://www.homeplot.com/showthread.php?tW68
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If you are doing one or two projects, either will be just fine. If you are looking for long term use for years to come, neither is as good as a DeWalt, Bosch, Hitachi and a few others.
I'd go for the Ridgid in this case, but be sure the handle feels comfortable for you. I like a horizontal handle myself. Get a good blade, appropriate for your use. I'd rather have a lower priced saw with a very good blade than the best saw with a cheapo blade.
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The Ryobi tools I use daily have served me well. Make it easier on yourself and rig some kind of support for the stock on both sides of the saw before making many cuts.
On Sun, 28 Aug 2005 03:30:40 GMT, "Charlie S."

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It's very hard to say what's better. You can spend over $500 for the contractor's grade tools and still get a dud. Just remember that Ridgid is made by the same company (Emerson) that makes the Craftsman line for Sears and they have a very loyal following among homeowners/occassional users like yourself. If you're willing to do the work you might find a used machine that's actually better. Ask local carpenters if they're upgrading and want to unload older saws.
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Emerson makes stuff to their BUYERS specifications and a wide range can result from the same plant.

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No longer. They split a couple of years ago.
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Charlie S. wrote:

I was given an el cheapo Ryobi 10" miter saw and I haven't had a single problem with it. I don't use it much but it cuts through 4x4 pressure treated lumber just fine. You are right that for 4x6s you'd probably need a 12" though. If I were to buy a miter saw though I would go with a combination unit, and possibly a sliding one. They pretty much remove the need for a radial arm saw these days.
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To make the straight cut you may just want the speed square. It is a triangle piece of steel that you slap up against the line that you mark on the wood that is the distance from the blade to the edge of the saw and run the saw along the square.
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My framing contractor just grab a 2x4 or 2x6 and cut it in free air with a Mag 77 circular saw. Cuts it clean as fast as I could pick the wood up. There is no miter saw on the job site. That is some cutting skill I wish I had.
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You may wanty to really consider a 10" slider. The 12" blades deflect way too much to make an acurate cut.
Check out the Makita 1013LS http://www.epinions.com/content_13358960260
And make sure you get a good stand for what ever saw you choose. http://www.tracrac.com/workstation/workstation.html
I think this stand may be sold at Lowes with the hitachi brand on it. I have the older version and its great. I wouldn't own a mitre saw without one.

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Does this 10 inch slider prevent me from cutting certain sized wood?

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It allows you to cut wider boards, but at a cost in accuracy.
If you are building furniture or need really critical sizes, the slider has some built in lay that is not present in a standard saw. It is also an extra operation to slide it out for every cut.
If you go to the DeWalt web page, they show the sizes that each saw can cut.
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On Sun, 28 Aug 2005 03:30:40 GMT, "Charlie S."

Do you plan on making a hobby of using the saw, or is it just for a one-off job? I do construction for a living, and make furniture as a hobby, and I use a $99 Black and Decker chop saw with a good Freud blade at home, and it gives me the same good results as the Dewalt and Milwalkee saws at work. To be frank, I can't see why you'd need a $250+ saw for a small odd job here and there. If you're set on getting a big shiny one, I'd recommend the 12" Porter Cable compound miter saw or the equivilent Milwalkee- they're both good tools, and will look nice in your garage. You can buy a folding miter saw stand from Wolfcraft for about $60 or the Porter Cable one for $219- both of them work, but the PC is shinier. In EVERY case, it is the sawyer, not the saw, that makes the difference in the finished product- none of them will measure and lay out your work for you.
Or you can take a step back and decide what you really need, and if it's more modest than professional grade, get a cheaper one with a stand (Pro-Tech is a decent one, and very cheap) and you'll save yourself a good hunk of cash. Use a little of that cash to get a decent blade.
Here's a bit of a rundown on what you're looking at. A compound miter saw head angles two ways- it miters, and it tilts. The nice thing about this is that you can cut exterior corners for crown molding with one cut, and you can cut angled tails on soffit pieces that are too wide to stand up in the saw. If you're not doing at least one of those two things, I doubt you need the blade to tilt for any other reason. A simple miter saw only cuts miters. They're a little less common these days, but Black and Decker has one and it works and feels just like a Dewalt. Any of them will work, some may require adjusting the fence. You can still cut trim and even crown molding if you spend an hour with a coping saw and a file to learn how to install trim correctly (IE, coping the inside corners) You can cut soffit tails with the circular saw you mentioned, and by the time you'd ever get to that job, you'll know how to cut them straight, or you'll have already given up. The nice thing about the simple miter saw is that there is one less thing to check to make sure you have accurate cuts- and they are a lot less expensive.
Forget the slider unless you're planning to crosscut a whole lot of 12" planks and don't have a table saw. Be prepared to pay a lot more, and/or spend a lot of time fiddling around with it if you like accurate cuts.

A folding miter saw stand will make your life a whole lot easier. If you don't need one, the one I've got just happens to be exactly 3.5" inches from the table to the bed of the saw- which means that I can get by with a couple of 2x4s nailed together on end as a temporary *stand* for the lumber I'm cutting.
Good luck with your project- just don't get too taken in by shiny ads! Patience and thought will help you more than any tool you can run out and buy.
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You bring up a lot of points that I've been mulling around in my head. Specifically, do I really need an expensive saw for what I am doing. Not really. I was even looking at $99 model at Sears and thinking that may do the trick. It might have been a 10" saw. My main concern is finding a saw that will cut/tilt along the diagonal for I need to cut up two 4x4 or 4x6's to make a matching angle. Like this /\\.
Will I make it a hobby? It's tough to say right now. Even if I did, I wouldn't need it for any fine work, as I am not that mechanically inclined. I do need something that will cut a 4x4 or 4x6 at an angle and mitre. I will also need to cut some 2x10 or 2x12s', but like you said I could use my circular saw for that. I'll look into a folding mitre saw stand. That way it wouldn't take up too much space for storage.
Just curious, a couple people mentioned the fence in their replies to me. You mentioned 'adjust the fence'. What is the fence?
wrote:

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Ryobi or Rigid? Neither, IMO. I would recommend either Hitachi or Milwalkee, cut your budget somewhere else to save money. Ditto on a quality blade, go American or European on those. -Jitney
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On Tue, 30 Aug 2005 02:05:17 GMT, "Charlie S."

Haven't tried it recently, but I'm pretty sure a 10" saw will cut a 4x6. If it doesn't cut all the way through, you *can* flip the peice, and bring the blade down into the kerf (the area that has been sawed out) without the blade running to re-align it, lift it while holding the piece in place, and recut. It's an extra step, but pretty easy once you've done it once or twice.
The other thing to consider is replacement blades. Everywhere has 10" blades in a variety of brands and types. Most places will have one or two 12" blades on hand, but they are a lot more expensive and your options become very limited very quickly.

The fence is the vertical surface that you hold the wood against when you make the cut. To check it (once you've decided on a saw), make a sample cut (just a little sliver off the end of some scrap works fine) and check it with a square. If the sample piece isn't square, loosen the bolts on the back of the fence, and give the side that needs it a little tap, then tighten and recheck. This can get tedious, but once it's done properly, the saw will usually stay right on unless it's dropped or otherwise mishandled.
When you're mating two pieces as described, getting the fence aligned properly right away will save you a lot of headaches. Be picky when you're doing it- as an example, if you're off by 1/2 a degree when making something like a picture frame, it may not seem like much when you've got three peices laying on the table in front of you- 1/2 a degree isn't much, after all. But when you place the fourth piece in the mix, you'll find that the half degree error repeated four times ends up being three tight joints, and one with a 2 degree gap, which sticks out like a sore thumb, and makes it hard to clamp together properly.
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If you have the money to spare buy a good saw. If not look at Harbor Freight. Same saws just a few cheaper parts in them. I buy Dewalt and Ridgid because I use them everyday.
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