Unless you're a European "framing contractor" where timber framing is
foot-square oak, not 2x4s. Then the favoured saws are the big Makitas
- maybe a Maffell if you're rich.
For general use, Skils are pretty good.
Klein bottle for rent. Apply within.
If you're looking for one for general use, get a Porter-Cable or a non-tilting
Milwaukee (loosely based on an old Rockwell and later Bosch design). If you
want the ultimate circular saw and can put up with the weight, get a Skil77
wormdrive. Very heavy, but the best ever made.
Go for an industrial strength saw. The difference compared to a B&D or Skil
is very noticeable. Porter Cable and Dewalt are both very good. I have a
Dewalt DW364. Its a bit of an unusual design, with better than average
adjustments for making sure things are lined up. Its the only circular saw
I've seen with a screw adjustment that allows you to absolutely ensure the
blade and base are lined up with each other. Its a great saw, but perhaps a
bit heavy for use where low weight is strongly desirable.
I have that saw, the Dewalt DW364. it doesn't live up to it's promise
of a super accurate shoe adjustment, because the depth adjustment is
so sloppy that the shoe never seats at quite the same place twice.
it's not a heavy saw, certainly if compared to a skil 77. it has
plenty of power and the brake is adequate. I have had to replace the
switch on mine. I bought it because of the shoe adjustment. if it died
today I wouldn't buy another.
if you're looking for a top quality saw the industry standard is the
skil 77. built like a tank, plenty of power.... if you want a lighter
saw the porter cable or milwaukee saws should be good. any other saws
from skil (other than the 77 and it's variations) are consumer grade
Any of the major brands make good tools.
B&D Sawcat (no longer available)
B&D barrel saw
Milwaukee 8" & 7 1/4"
3 Porter Cables.
Personal favorite: old Milwaukee 7 1/4"
The key is to decide between worm drive (barrel saw) and D handle
(sidewinder) then pick one that feels good in your hand. It is a shame you
can't spend a day running several different saws. Each has a different feel
and a different balance.
Keep the whole world singing. . . .
If you don't mind going with the old stuff, Mall and Wappat both made right
side worm drives. Nice beasts as well, make a man of you with the heft- All
metal construction doncha know! Plus they were 8" or in the case of the
Wappat, up to 9" blades.
I have a Milwaukee with the movable handle and a Freud thin kerf combo blade
and it cuts doug fir, white oak, pine, anything I throw at it with no tear
on the edges. Mostly I cut down stock that is to big for my table saw or
band saw. Of course, the blade is probably the key and you wouldn't go wrong
with a PC or Dewalt, I'm sure. I've been partial to Milwaukee circular saws
since my days of doing tool repair.
My blade was 14 bucks at the now defunct Woodworkers Warehouse.
To add a couple more cents (with a bit of repeat):
Get something with a nice big square base, a blade brake, and the
blade on the left (if you're right handed). Blade on left lets you
see (better) what you're cutting.
Don't know which of the big names currently makes the best saw, but I
suspect they're all pretty decent (Porter Cable, Bosch, Makita,
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