Circular saws: Which type to buy? Worm-drive or side-winder?


I'm soon to begin constructing a ground level (i.e. 14" above ground) cedar deck off the back of my house, and so right now I'm in the process of determining all that I will need to purchase before I begin, including a few new power tools. For example, the circular saw I have is okay for occasional use but I dread using it for a whole project, so I want to buy myself a considerably better one. Now, aside from value-per-price considerations, what should I look for in shopping for a very-good to high quality circular saw? And in particular, what should I make of "worm-drive" versus the more common, "side-winder", type saws?
A couple of acquaintances of mine praise their worm-drives as being inherently superior in every way to the ordinary (i.e. side-winder) type. But I've noticed that these worm-drive saws are comparatively heavier (which might not be ergonominally advantageous, I don't know). And the position of the handles on these saws just looks (to my minds eye, at least) to be awkward to handle and perhaps not intended for close, precision or finishing work.
Of course, since I haven't actually ever used a worm-drive saw, my untested perceptions of it don't necessarily mean a thing. Hence, I'm posting this message in the hopes someone might 'enlighten' me in this before I come to a decision what to buy. Thanks in advance...
Ken
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Worm drives have more torque and last longer so are better suited for construction. Sidewinders spin faster and leave a cleaner edge, so are better suited for woodworking.

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Now, aside from value-per-price

Got one of the Makita hypoid types about three years back - replace a 25 year old B&D. The handle design is more conducive to straight cuts with or without fence, in my opinion. Saw doesn't jump when it starts like the old one, and happily cuts whatever I feed it. Heavy it is, but that's not always bad. I'd recommend it.
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If you will always be working in a open area the sidewinder will fit. If you end up in tight spots during construction and need to cut wood after it is attached a sidewinder may not fit.
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Think of it in terms of physics. With a sidewinder your hand is more or less on top, and you have to control the motion of the saw in a plane that's parallel to the base, making the saw prone to sideways jiggling as you push it forward. This is aggravated by the lighter weight of the saw. Another problem is that, if you're right handed, you have to lean over the saw to watch the cut. With a worm drive, your hand is at the back of the saw, pushing it forward, lessening the jiggling tendency. The weight is to your advantage, because now you're more or less "pushing" the tool through the work. And your eyes are on the correct side of the blade to watch the cut. As far as the torquing factor of the saw when you turn it on, the habit of turning it on with the front of the base resting on the material while the blade is held clear is very easy to acquire.
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Doesn't matter. Get a great blade. It makes a much bigger difference. As long as 0 degrees = 0 degrees and the depth guage is accurate :)
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Well, Ken...Porter Cable makes a sidewinder where you CAN see the blade. In fact, two identical saws, but mirror imaged. Look at those.
However, worm drives feel right to me, although it has been a long time since I put in a whole day with one of those in my meathooks. They're a bit heavy, but, let the wood you're cutting carry the saw. They are easier to steer along a chalk-line, IMHO. They are far easier to hang onto when a blade jams, and they don't jam as often, 'cuz they got a lot more balls.
I like wormys.
Whatever blows up your skirt.
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For something that is intended for use and abuse, you can't beat a worm drive saw. In my years on construction, the Skil was the choice of 98% of the carpenters I knew. To make straight cuts, use striaght edges, and squares. They don't make as accurace cuts as chop saws, and table saws, but if you have a good blade, and jigs, it comes close. Thin kerf blades are nice, but for free hand cuts, you have to be very steady, because the blades can flex while cutting. robo hippy
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I think that is where the name Skil picked up much of its now-lost reputation. Damned good saw indeed. Then.
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Robatoy wrote:

Pretty common knowledge the only reason Bosch bought Skil was to get the 77.
The rest of the product line was not very impressive.
Lew
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They came, they saw.
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I've got nothing but sidewinders. My two favorite are the Makita 15-amp 7-1/4" with electric brake (blade-right) and the PC 15-amp 7-1/4" (blade left). If I need a nice straight line on a plywood panel or ripping some lumber, out comes the saw guide. I still have an older Ryobi that cuts well too. All have thin-kerf, carbide blades that produce very clean cuts. They all cut faster than I can hold them to a line, so I'm not waiting on the blade to do its work.
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I picked up a Skill 77 worm drive used...and have never looked back. I cut everything with that saw including finished cuts in plywood (with a good blade). For me, there's no going back and I can't even be bothered to use any other type of saw now.
Rob
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http://www.robswoodworking.com

"Ken Moiarty" < snipped-for-privacy@shaw.ca> wrote in message
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