I need a chop saw or compound miter saw...

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Hi All,
I think my last tool ( lol ) needed is a compound miter saw - something to compliment my table saw and band saw. I'm guessing if I get a miter saw, I might as well get a compound one. I'm thinking 10 inch blade. I do some furniture and grandkid toys, so quality and precision is a factor.
Amazon has Bosch, Hitachi and Makita for $500 +/-. I'll steer clear of any off brands, but which is the current favorite brand? And am I missing any key components???
Nothing on the search here in recent years. Thanks for any comments and recomendations.
Rich.....
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On 8/29/10 3:18 PM, rich wrote:

I hate when guys come on here and try to tell posters that they need something other than what they are asking about..... but... :-)
Do you have a good table saw? Since getting a cabinet saw, I hardly ever touch my compound miter saw (which is a high quality one). With a good sled or high quality miter gauge, you can make better cuts on the table saw.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On 8/29/2010 3:52 PM, -MIKE- wrote:

What he said ... providing you have a good table saw, and are not doing trim carpenter work, I wouldn't make the ability to do compound cuts high on the list of requirements when shopping for an accurate miter saw.
With good sleds, I rarely use my Makita LS1013 for anything but rough cutting and the occasional trim work, and then rarely in "compound" mode ... so rare, it's been years since its been moved off vertical.
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I use my table saw for just about everything, and I've got a nice Delta radial arm and a fair Hitachi miter saw. It's a mid to midlow price Rigid, but it works good. I even use it for cutting aluminum. The blades seem to hold up better on it than my other saws too. Same blades. Well, not the Delta. Its bigger.
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Every tool has a job it does best, many jobs it "can" do, and some it simply is the wrong tool to use. Table saws excel in ripping, where a good fence and work support are important. To do miter cuts or cross cuts on larger length pieces and in particular compound miter cuts, they begin to have problems. OTOH, a RAS fence and table layout are perfect for crosscutting long pieces that don't exceed the capacity of the saw in depth. With effort and excessive time setting up, they can be used even as an overhead router or planer, to some small degree. Ripping with a RAS simply is something I don't care to even try. Miter cuts involve having to crank up the arm before swiveling the arm and then trying to lower it enough to cut the stock, but not really gouge into the table too much.
That's where the dedicated miter saw comes in best. It can be tilted and swiveled with the press of a lever, usually and makes rock solid cuts with ease.
In my old shop, I had a RAS built into a bench, so that the blade was in the "middle" between the walls. I could crosscut to the center of 20' material. To the right of the RAS, about a foot beyond the swing of the arm, I had a recessed area on the workbench that held the miter saw, so that the table of the miter saw was flush with the workbench top, which was also flush with the RAS table. It was a snap to slide the miter saw forward in its trough to align the saw's fence with the fence of the RAS, using stops on the trough to instantly align the frame. Since it was off center, I didn't have quite the length capacity, but it was never a problem. It was very easy to crosscut a piece to a length with the RAS, then move over to miter the other end on the miter saw.
No saw was "best" or "worse," saw in the shop. Each did its own job well, with an eye to convenience and accuracy as the goal.
Micajah
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On 8/29/10 11:25 PM, Micajah wrote:

To each is own, I guess. Not too many people are needing compound miter cuts on 20' boards. :-)
I use a hand, circular, or radial arm to cut rough lengths, then I move to the table saw with a sled or miter gauge. For that matter, the RAS with a backer board (the same type I would put on a CMS) does a great job with finish cuts. I can comfortably cut 6 or 8 foot pieces on the table saw, depending on the material. Nothing I'm building in the shop is going to be longer than that... and probably 98% will be much shorter than that.
It's not my intention to convince the OP to "do it my way," but merely to provide him as much useful info as possible so he can make an informed decision.
Like someone else wrote, if it needs to be portable, like for trim work, there's no debate, a CMS is the answer. If one already has a good cabinet saw and limited space, the money it takes to buy a quality CMS could buy/build some very high quality and super accurate jigs/sleds/miter gauges, etc.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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On 8/30/10 12:21 PM, Max wrote:

Wow, that contributed a lot. Thanks so much.
Oh yeah, google "emoticon" when you get a sec.
--

-MIKE-

"Playing is not something I do at night, it's my function in life"
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Neither did I, Mike. I used it as an example mainly for the crosscut distance of the RAS, which I DID use occasionally. I made many of the Jake's Chairs in prototype and then in final versions for my own use and for neighbors. There, I'd get cypress and after planing it, would cut it to rough length on the RAS.
I think one of the "luxuries" of having a RAS, cabinet and CMS is the lack of time spent changing settings when making something, and for my own purposes, I include most of the 'sleds' used with a cabinet saw in that category.
Micajah

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On 8/30/10 2:23 PM, Micajah wrote:

Not too many of us are set up like a production factory (or Norm for that matter) to have dedicated power tools at dedicated station for dedicated tasks. :-)
--

-MIKE-

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What? No Timesaver at your shop, Mike? :-)
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Agreed, I pretty much retired my Delta 12" CMS when I up graded to a cabinet saw.
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wrote:

I graduated up to a 12" HFT slider when I started doing more deck work. I needed the capacity and portability. Once you know the saw's characteristics, you can produce accurate work even on a $160 cheapie like I got, not that I need to. Hmm, maybe I'll keep the $25 Delta 10" CMS in the shop for quick hackoffs of long stock.
For shop work, the table saw is the main go-to machine for most of us. And it's time to upgrade for me. Something I can actually install a ZCI into this time, methinks.
-- Happiness comes of the capacity to feel deeply, to enjoy simply, to think freely, to risk life, to be needed. -- Storm Jameson
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I've been seriously looking, as well. Lowes has the 12" DeWalt ($630), Bosch ($600 - was on sale for $550, grr), and Hitachi ($500) SMCSs, and a number of chop saws (not interested). A few weeks ago they had a Makita 10" SMCS, but I didn't much like it either. I think I would rather have the 10" Bosch, but no one around carries them. Of the three models at Lowes, I think the Bosch is the hands-down winner and will probably pick one up this week. It's getting cooler so I can start building my shop again.
Of course you could buy a FesteringTool Kapex for a mere $1300. ;-)
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wrote:

I would recommend the Makita. I have their LS1013. Bought it about 7 or 8 years ago and I'd buy another one.
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In a heartbeat.
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In my shop, I had both a good cabinet saw and RAS. Still, I had a bench mounted compound miter saw as well, and used it to good advantage. There's a place for all three, plus the obvious benefit of a band saw. Back then, my compound miter saw was the Sears one. It weighed a ton and was sufficiently stable that I never felt the need to bolt it into the recess I had for it on the RAS benchtop.
When I rebuilt and repurchased some tools, I bought the Makita compound sliding miter saw and would give consideration in a permanent shop to having it bench mounted to be used like a RAS. The benefit is that in a straight cross cut, I can cut to 22", where the RAS would only do 17". I cannot recall a time when I used the RAS for ripping, since that's what a cabinet saw is best doing. The RAS was primarily for crosscuts and repetitive length pieces, which the compound miter saw can do easily, plus the more complicated miter and compound miter cuts.
Micahah
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Thanks for some good ideas. I have a Griz saw that does a very good job of ripping, and I made a sled that seems to work pretty well for stuff outside of the miter. But when SHMBO parks her car in my shop!!! I have to go to a Skill saw for some cuts due to length limits. I have a long wall that I can devote to a miter saw. And I like the idea of being to cut multiple pieces to length with a stop clamped in place. Hard to do that on the table saw.
I like my Bosch Router, and I used to have a Makita 20-30 years ago. I'll look some more there. I think that sliding feature seems worth while! 22 inch cross cut!!!
Rich.....
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I've also had the Makita LS1013 for about 8 years. It gets quite a bit of use both at home and at job various sites. Dead nuts accurate even after being knocked off makeshift stands a couple of times. A great saw.
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What he said. I also have same saw and use a 60 tooth carbide blade. I would never part with it. Cross cutting long boards much easier than on my table saw. Settings rock solid. WW
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