Circular saw recommendations?

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My old faithful corded circular saw finally bit the dust yesterday. Something went Pop! and it stopped running. Disassembly today shows half a dozen segments missing from the commutator; the critical parts are no longer available (after 15+ years, that's no surprise), so it's time to buy a new one.
My uses are, I think, pretty typical: framing, building decks, cutting sheet goods to manageable size.
I'm looking for something that will last a good long time. The one that died is only the second one I've ever owned; the first one lasted nearly 20 years, and I'm hoping for similar durability. The budget is large enough to include Bosch, Makita, or Milwaukee, but not Festool.
I'm looking for general recommendations in two areas: a) corded vs. cordless -- my experiences with cordless circular saws have not been positive, but they've been cheap saws, and I'm willing to be persuaded that cordless circular saws that won't drain a battery in five seconds do actually exist; and b) left blade vs. right blade. Every circular saw that I've ever used has had the blade on the right. Advertising for left-blade saws includes phrases like "gives users the clearest line of sight for easy, accurate cutting" but I just don't see how it's really any different. I'm inclined to get a right-blade saw simply because that's what I'm used to, but if there truly are advantages to having the blade on the left, I'd be much obliged if someone would explain them to me. In case it makes a difference to the recommendation, I'm right-handed.
I'm also looking for recommendations of specific brands and/or models both to seek out, and to avoid. I intend to avoid tools made in China if at all possible.
TIA... Thanks may also be expressed tangibly, in the form of a cold homebrew or three, next time you pass through Indianapolis.
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I have a Milwaukee, corded, about 7 years old. It's a great saw. Never had a problem with it bogging or wandering and I am not a gentle man with my power tools.
For any serious use, I don't see how a cordless can compete. You'd need at least three, maybe four batteries in constant rotation. Much easier, and cheaper, to run an extension cord.
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"For any serious use, I don't see how a cordless can compete."
Second that! I got one from Sears in the C-3 series 19.2 Volt. Cross cutting trim - no problem, Riping - No Way. Cutting any distance in three quarter inch material - No Way. The damned thing lies to wander.
Great little trim saw (emphasis on "little," but not much more than a toy - albeit too sharp to give to a little kid!
Two more cents
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Climbing on the roof to cut that vent into the attic. That's the biggest thing I see for those things.
------------
"Hoosierpopi" wrote in message
"For any serious use, I don't see how a cordless can compete."
Second that! I got one from Sears in the C-3 series 19.2 Volt. Cross cutting trim - no problem, Riping - No Way. Cutting any distance in three quarter inch material - No Way. The damned thing lies to wander.
Great little trim saw (emphasis on "little," but not much more than a toy - albeit too sharp to give to a little kid!
Two more cents
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On 8/4/2011 9:36 PM, Doug Miller wrote:

I own four.
~ A cordless DeWalt, which has it narrow uses, but narrow is the operative word and not a "go to" tool.
~ A Makita 5007NB which is one of the best circular saws I've ever owned, and the one I'd carry with me to most jobs if I could only take one, and for your above purposes. Light, easy to wield, and has enough power for all the above.
~ An older Skil77 worm drive, which, although I love it, is just too much saw too be carrying around unless you're a framer on the joist crew. :)
~ and of course, the Festool TS75, which is a damn fine cabinet circular saw, but not practical in price or function for most of your needs above.
FWIW, I'd still buy the Makita again if I lost it.
You're sure to get lots of advice on this one ...
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 4/15/2010
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Pretty much what I'd figured to be the case with most cordless circ saws.

Would you happen to know the differences between the 5007NB and the 5007NK?

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Looks like the NK has a 15A motor versus a 13A for the NB. The NB was much more expensive when I bought it ten or twelve years ago then the NK is today but I don't know how that speaks to quality. Sorry, just not that familiar with the NK.
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Thanks, Karl.
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Agreed. I have the DeWalt, which is a useful tool but it's not an only circular saw by any means. I also have an older Makita cordless that's good for cedar clapboards, but that's about it.

I like my Bosch CS10, too. Nice saw.

I'd rather carry a SCMS around. ;-)

I have a TS55. While I like it for paneling and plywood, it certainly doesn't have much power. It'll bog down on 3/4" hardwood ply, even. I tried to cut a 2x with it (it was out and my other saws weren't). One cut was fine but I wouldn't want to have to do too many. Is it normal for a Festool to be so under-powered?

Same with my Bosch.

One thing I made sure of is the cast shoe. I had a stamped one on my previous saw. Any little bump would whack it out of alignment.
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On Thu, 04 Aug 2011 23:09:19 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

No, it's not right to be underpowered. I've got a friend with a TS55 and he cuts veneered hardwood ply all the time and I've never seen it bog down. Agreed, it's not near as powerful as the TS75, but you shouldn't be having power problems cutting. Perhaps you should post your problem in the Festool Owner's Group.
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Thanks. See my reply to Leon. It cuts but with no "authority" at all. It's like it's not cutting straight, but it can't be since it's on the track.

Good idea. Thanks! I was considering getting one of the stores to demo a new one. Highland has a setup that looks like it's used frequently. Next time I'm up there...
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On 8/4/2011 11:09 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Welllll there is the larger and more powerful TS75 and I have that one. The TS 55 is a smaller saw for smaller demands. IIRC Swingman and I were using either his or my TS75 for cutting 2 stacked 3/4" thick sheets of plywood at the same time with no indication that the saw was being stressed or bogged down. Is your saw actually working correctly? IIRC both saws have the electronic VS that is suppose to give it more juice when necessary. AND are you using it with an extension cord that is not up to the task?
You mention hard wood plywood, are you talking about something like 3/4" thick Baltic birch? I would think that a common 3/4" plywood should not be problem with the TS 55. Give the Festool guys a call and tell them what you are experiencing.
Concerning 2x material I am not even comfortable with cutting with my TS75 with out using the track. Something about the plunge mechanism with the saw sitting on a 2x4 does not seem natural to me yet. ;~)

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I bought it to cut sheets down to size. I'm not a pro and don't do multiple sheets at a time, so didn't think I needed the TS75.

AFAIC, the electronics VS is useless. It doesn't have enough power to use it other than flat-out. Don't get me wrong, I love the way it cuts, I just expected a lot more power from an expensive tool.

Nothing fancy, 3/4" (23/32") Oak/Birch veneer ply; Lowes style. It cuts it, but not like I expect. I don't expect the RPM to vary at all.

I understand. ;-) I had a scrap to cut and just didn't want to get out the other saw. It barely made it through the 2x.
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On 8/5/2011 7:31 PM, snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

Well I generally don't cut stacked sheets either but we did on that occasion. I was strongly considering the TS55 over the TS75 but knew that I was going to end up with both the 75 &55 inch tracks sooner than later. As you know, the 75 comes with the TS75, the 55 comes with the TS55. I determined that that buying the TS75 which came with the 75 track and buying the 55 track alone, there much less of a total price difference then buying the other way around. So for me the ultimate price difference, purchased the way I did, closed the price gap considerably and I knew the extra power and capacity would one day be an advantage. All things being equal I'd probably have gone with the TS55.

Even on the TS75 I use it at full speed so I could not attest to the effectiveness of the EVS. I do know that the EVS works really well on my Rotex125. Regardless of the speed setting coupled with different grit papers and or pressure applied the motor does not ever seem to deviate in speed.

I would certainly think that whould not be a challenge. I would certainly confirm my suppositions directly with the Festool company reps. They are pretty darn eager to help, they have a reputation to uphold. :-) You should be very satisfied with your purchase.
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I considered that angle. I bought the thing last(?) summer when Festool had the "big" sale. I didn't know if I would use the 75" rail (but I want the 106"). I now wish I had the 75". The 55" rail is just a little short for a 4' cut. In the end, it was weight that really tipped me over the edge.

Thinking about it last night, I think I'll put a current/power meter on it and see if it's really taking all the power it should be when loaded.

I don't know if "challenge" is the right word. It cuts but it will bog down if I put any pressure on it. It cuts a lot slower than I expected. I'll contact Festool. Thanks for the information.
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On Sat, 06 Aug 2011 11:34:34 -0500, " snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz"

I was thinking, could the problem be your technique? When you're ripping a sheet of plywood, how much of your blade is protruding through the plywood? If your blade is protruding through the plywood an inch or more then it's too much.
It's generally accepted in Festool circles that 1-2 mm through what your cutting is the proper depth of cut.
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Could be. With the Festool, just enough to break the surface (plus maybe 1/16"). With other saws, I try to get the whole tooth out of the material. Not sure this is proper technique, either.

I figured that's why they added accurate depth control. ;-)
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One thing I made sure of is the cast shoe. I had a stamped one on my previous saw. Any little bump would whack it out of alignment. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- One thing I would add is the shoe mounting is as or more important as the shoe, I think. It is tough to knock it out of line because the mounting is so heavy. If you drop it off of the roof, all you do is straighten the shoe with a hammer and keep on rocking. The Milwaukee has the type of mount where you can tell exactly how much you are raising or lowering the blade. It also still cuts on the same place on shoe notch whether you have the saw on 0 degrees, 25 or 45 degrees.
-- Jim in NC
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Agreed, but I consider that part of the shoe.

I don't intend to drop if off a roof, so I'd rather have a stiffer, more accurate shoe (and mounting). I rarely cut anything other than a 90degree cut, so that rigidity is what I looked for. There are so many circular saws to choose from. When buying a new one, think about how you're likely to use it.

The rear-pivot DeWalt DW364 has the depth gauge, too. It's pretty slick.
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Since you ruled out Festool: Milwaukee fan here. I also prefer the left blade but for no special reason other than a better view of the cut.
Max
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