deWalt 718 12" SCMS Review


Well, after 6 weeks of borrowing co-workers saws to trim houses out because I couldn't make up my mind on which saw to replace my old 12" Ridgid MS, I made the decision yesterday to buy a new one. The choices narrowed down to two, Hitachi's 10" slider, which I've used considerably. The Bosch 10" slider, which I've never actually used, but the upfront bevel lock was worth putting it at the top of the list. The new 12" DeWalt slider, which I happened across browsing the tool section of HD earlier this week, was a late entry in the running, but worth adding to the list. I went out yesterday to get the Bosch. I own many Bosch tools and have been very pleased with all of them. After playing with the Bosch a while, basically putting the saw through the motions as I would if I were really cutting with it, I couldn't help thinking about that DeWalt. Decisions, Decisions, Decisions!!! Anyway, I decided to drive over to the HD to give the Dewalt a second look. On the way there, I put together the perfect miter saw in my mind, basically combining all the things I've liked about saws I've used over my 15 years as a carpenter into one perfect saw. Knowing I'll never find this one, I'm gonna settle for the one that is as close as possible. Here's the list:
1. Tall fence - This allows cutting things standing up. Great for baseboard. Also, I like to cut crown laying at the spring angle upside down against the fence. This way, you only change the miter from left 45 deg to right 45 deg. for cuts, and it doesn't matter if it's 45/45 deg crown or 52/38 deg crown. If you lay it flat, you're constantly changing the miter and bevel for left and right cuts. Way less efficient for a production run. This eliminated the Hitachi with it's small fence.
2. Slotted blade guard. - This is important for sighting straight down the blade to your cut line. The Hitachi and Bosch have a clear guard similiar to my old Ridgid which is nice for a while, but dust settles inside the guard making it difficult to see through and hard to clean. This left me sighting down from the side of the blade, which can be inaccurate. (A laser may make this a moot point) The new DeWalt, like their other saws, has an excellent slotted blade guard that you can sight down the blade easily.
3. Easy to read miter/bevel scale. - The DeWalt line, IMO, has the best miter scales of the three. The miter scale on their new saw is the familiar stainless one on their other saws which works very well. The bevel scales were about the same on all 3 saws to me, none being greatly easier to read than the other. (All 3 could improve here)
4. Easy to operate Miter/Bevel locks - The Bosch won the bevel lock with it's upfront controls, but the DeWalt won on the miter lock. No knob to turn to lock the miter, just push down. And the detent override was easier to access too.
5. Smooth slide without deflection. - I felt the differrence in smoothness between the three was negligable. All worked well. And, like any slider, all deflected somewhat if enough pressure is applied.
6. Size does matter - I didn't measure each one, but the DeWalt seems more compact for a 12" than the other two 10" saws. Oddly, it seems quite "roomy" and compact (hard to explain this one).
7. Price. - The Dewalt, being a 12" was the same price as the competitors 12" saws at $650 which was a hard pill to swallow. The competitors saws also came with a laser while the DeWalt is a $50 option. However, after years of buying what I could afford as opposed to what I really wanted, lately, I've been buying what I feel will help me produce the best quality work with the least amout of fuss.
There are a number of other things on the list of the "perfect saw" such as dust collection (which is not-so-great on all saws I've used), capacity, accuracy, (which I'd expect on any quality saw) etc, that I can add, but the points mentioned are the differences between them rather than what I'd expect from all saws so I'm gonna let it go at that.
I ended up with the DeWalt as it met the most things I was looking for. Set it up last night (well, it was put together out of the box except to attach the dust bag and optional laser, which i purchased) and have put it to the test today. The laser took a little time to align, but produces a nice bright thin line. If the laser is aligned incorrectly, it will make a thick fuzzy line, kind of like pointing a flashlight straight at the ground as opposed to shining it at an angle with the ground, so keep that in mind if you are setting one up. I read some reviews about the saw this morning on this group and noticed someone mentioned the slide was difficult to use. I did notice this on the store model and was somewhat concerned. However, my saw slides smoothly. The store model was on a shelf considerable higher than my stand, so I suspect the height difference may play a part in the sliding mechanism being operated smoothly. As far as accuracy, I've cut up some big thick stuff today, 12/4 x8 WO, 8/4 walnut etc. The saw performed just fine. Accurate and smooth cuts, even with the factory supplied 60 tooth DeWalt blade (and I'm am not a fan of DeWalt blades either) and easy to operate. So far, I'm very pleased. It has passed all preliminary tests. The real test is gonna happen this week when I take it to a production environment and see how it goes. I'll post a follow up shortly. The salesman told me it has a 90 day money back guarantee if I don't like it, but I think DeWalt is going to keep my money on this one. --dave
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Dave Jackson wrote:

moved quite readily from the front position; the 718 takes a "jolt" to get started (I've played with TWO of the 718, in case the first one wasn't representative). Also, the 718 has a LOT more side to side play compared to the Makita or the 708
But it YOU are happy with your purchase, that's all that matters from your viewpoint!
Dave
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Good tools are a real joy arent they? I love my Bosch SCMS. It gets more use than any other tool in my shop.
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