Circular Saw Help


Hello All,
So I am thinking of buying a second circular saw. I have a Mag77 that I bought used and have used primarily for construction type projects. When I attempt to use it for finer cuts I am usually disappointed, it's heavy the guide rail isn't parallel to the blade etc. So I am thinking of buying a second.
The primary use will be for sheet goods and the occasional glue up that is too big for the table saw. I like using the table saw mainly for rips, and joints not a big fan of using it for sheet goods.
So I have narrowed the field down somewhat. I am mostly looking at something light and highish quality like the Bosch CS20. Normal size circ saw, lighter weight, simple, hopefully square and the like. Run about 150 or so.
Or the Festool ATF55E. MUCH higher quality. Weight is up some, but still less than the Mag77. Comes with really nice guide rails. Claims to have accurate ability to set angle for mitred cuts. Cost 400. or 500 for slightly bigger blade.
So I like the idea of the festool, but am having a hard time justifying the expense increase. I support myself doing custom woodworking, so at some level the expense will be covered in a single job, but at the same time I would rather use the money for some other stuff, since I end up needing this solution infrequently.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.
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On 2 Apr 2005 02:46:47 -0800, "Tattooed and Dusty"

Take a look at the Porter-Cable 314 Trim Saw. It's a 4" blade, worm drive, right cut saw that's perfect for sheet goods and plenty high quality.
Also, for another perspective, take a look at the Porter-Cable 345 SawBoss. It's a 6" blade, left cut, traditional sidewinder design. It's also light and with the left blade will be easy for you to adapt to with your worm drive experience. The 6" blade is big enough to cut framing materials, too.
I have both, and love them both.
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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Before reading LRod's reply, I went looking for the Porter Cable trim saw too. Here is one link to it: http://store.yahoo.com/dajo/porcab412tri.html 4.5 Amp, AC/DC; 4,500 RPM; Rugged worm gear drive; 100% ball & needle bearings; Cuts 1-5/16" at 90 degrees & 1-1/16" at 45 It has a full body shoe & I'll agree that it's perfect for sheet goods. A guy I worked for had one & I liked it.
Jim
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Ditto what LRod said. I have the Saw Boss with a plywood blade and use it almost exclusively for ripping down sheet goods.
Together with a couple of saw boards I made for it, I can build cabinet boxes without using the table saw if I wanted to.
Lou

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On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 11:39:10 +0100, LRod

I have the cordless Makita 5090 and absolutely love it for precutting large sheets. It's not as high quality of a tool as the PC 314, but it has some advantages, like a $100 lower price and no cord. The PC would be much better if you're using it for long periods, with it's heavier construction, cord, and deeper cutting capacity.
My shop is a walk out basement and my driveway is on the other side of the house, one floor up. I keep two 2x8' sheets of 2" blue foam insulation up in the garage. When I arrive with a sheet load (G), I can rough cut many of the sheets, on the driveway, garage floor, or sometimes right in the trailer, before I lug them around to the back. The fact that there isn't a cord to deal with makes things all the better.
The walk involves a 35-40 degree slope, when it's wet or snowy, the saw earns the purchase price in ONE shot of not having to carry a full sheet of 3/4" MDF. <G>
If you go for the Makita, buy a $10-15 carbide blade for it right away. The stock blade is horrendous, unless you're cutting vinyl siding or luan underlayment. The carbide blade will seem to quadruple the battery life.
Barry
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LRod wrote:

Already had the Makita 9.6 volt panel(?)saw which is a very handy little devil for opening wall, ceilings or any other overhead work. However, it's for drywall or thin panel use ONLY. Not much muscle or stamina for anything else. Wanted something better than this but less than a Skilsaw which I already have.
Stopped at one of the Cash Converter's (They buy your unwanted toys, computers, tools, etc.) and resell. Mostly crap but, like a garage sale, you CAN find good deals.
Today's gloat is the PC 314 Trim saw - BRAND NEW - complete with all standard parts, accessories, manual, in the sealed bag.
$90 out the door. Not too shabby for a very nice saw (3/4 hp) 4" saw that will run you $200 or better street price through the regular channels.
I like it. Will be very handy for cutting up 4x8 sheet goods set up on saw horses, etc. due to the weight to power ratio.
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If your a pro and will use it regularly, the Festool is the way to go. I borrowed on for a job making raised panel wainscoting for a buddy's house. With the rail set up it was fast and accurate and the cut quality was great!
I have the earlier version of the left cut PC MAG-SAW; http://www.porter-cable.com/index.asp?eT7&pI42
Its fairly light, and the shoe is straight. I switched to a good quality carbide blade and I get great cuts. I'm using a Ridge Carbide blade.
The choice for me is how much I use it. If I used my saw every week, then the extra cost of the Festool would be easily justified.
Bernie

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Tattooed and Dusty wrote:

Think battery operated.
I have an 18 VDC DeWalt, it works for me, but there are others.
I backed into the battery operated unit quite by accident, was looking for a drill.
It has been a most pleasant surprise.
Add a 2x2x1/8x96 aluminum angle, a couple of 3" C-Clamps and a sheet of foam and you are all set to cut up sheet goods for a long time.
HTH
Lew
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On Sat, 02 Apr 2005 15:28:24 GMT, Lew Hodgett

Ouch.
I'll bet you got one.

Yikes! I didn't want to hear that...
--
LRod

Master Woodbutcher and seasoned termite
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(snip)

The ATF55E has been superceded by the TS 55 EQB-Plus-FS, in Europe anyway. You might want to try and get that. It does all the ATF does and then some. I've got one, can't justify it financially because I'm just a hobbiest, but without it my confidence to attack large sheets would go way down. These babies are a dream.
As regards getting the bigger bladed version (TS 65) there is a drawback in that for some reason it doesn't have the splinter guard, on the plus side you can cut through 3 sheets of 3/4 at one go - with the TS 55 on the rail you can only do 2, with zero splinters either side of the cut - top or bottom. I'm more than happy with the TS 55. Even my wife has got used to it as it lives in my office sat on top of a Festool vacuum - can't leave this stuff in a draughty garage can I...?
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On 2 Apr 2005 02:46:47 -0800, "Tattooed and Dusty"

I like the DeWalt I got four or five years ago- it was $159 then, and has never let me down. Good weight, very nice ergonomic deign, rips well with the optional rip fence attachment, and has plenty of power for anything I've used it for.
Of course, there are two useful upgrades for any circular saw- attaching a "zero clearance" plate to the base (not quite like a TS insert, which is why it is in quotes- you need to leave the back side open for the blade guard) and using best blade you can find. Doing these two things, you *might* find that a second saw is unnecessary. If find you do need a second one anyhow- I give the DeWalt high marks.

Seems excessive for a circular saw, but then again, I've never used one. For that price, you could build a couple of panel cutters. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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