Looking for advice on sliding compound miter saws

Hello, everyone -
I am in the market for a 12" SCMS and could use some advice with the purchase. I have already read every post I could find on the subject and was looking for more recent opinions (there are some newer saws out).
I'm looking for a saw that will really be a "jack of all trades". I will be using it for deck framing in the immediate future, followed by molding and trim work and some furniture work. I won't be transporting it around too much, so size is not that much of a concern. (I do plan on mounting it on Ridgid's MSUV, though, so I can wheel it around the house and store it easily when my workshop reverts back to a garage ;)
I have done a whole bunch of research and have narrowed it down to three models, each with a distinct set of advantages:
1. Ridgid MS1290LZ Pros: Big capacity, decent price, I like the big turntable, seems to have above-average dust collection capabilities, laser-guide, has all the miter and bevel detents I could want, good detent-override mechanism, good bevel lock mechanism. Cons: This sucker is huge. Dimensionally, this saw is probably 50% larger than the other two I am looking at. Comes with a so-so (60-tooth) blade. Quality of Ridgid's newer tools?
2. Makita LS1212 Pros: Compact design. Both sliders use linear bearings (most SCMSes use a nylon bushing on one). Flip-up fence feature. 96-tooth blade. Winner of a couple magazine comparisons (Workbench and Popular Mechanics). Currently comes with a bonus 14.4v drill. Cons: No bevel detents at all. No miter detents for crown molding. No laser (does that really matter, though?). Also, I question the long-term stability of the geometry of this saw. Because the rails slide into the base instead of through the neck, when the saw is locked in "chop-mode" there is an effective 12" or so lever arm from where the head assembly is supported.
3. Bosch 4412 Pros: Great ergonomics (bevel & miter locks up front, multi-position handle, etc.). Nice extra features like the table extensions, stock-stops, etc. I have had great luck w/ Bosch in the past (router & jigsaw). Decent 80-tooth blade. Cons: $100 more than the other two. Several people have mentioned non-flat tables and/or fences.
If you have experience with any of these saws, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Thanks.
- Josh
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Other criteria should be the fences, I've noticed the Bosch has rather short fences where the Dewalt much better. Now I've heard vendor's gripe about the Dewalts from a durability standpoint but the Contractors I know that use them and move them around every day really like them.
Upswept motor allows better clearance for bevel cuts to the motor side.
I wouldn't base my purchase at all on the blade, in fact most factory blades I use for things that I'd rather not cut with my good blade.
If it comes down to a tie go with the company that supports their products the best.
David

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Buy the Dewalt, you wont be disappointed. I have two of them and one I use everyday rigorously. I don't baby it and I've done nothing but change the blade. Last week I mitered some 8" oak crown and I didn't even have to fine tune the joint. Now the other one is in my shop and I do baby it. Its just a damn good saw. I've owned a Delta and a Bosch which I wouldn't spit on if someone paid me. The damn thing literally fell apart. I did try to take care of it but it just wouldn't take the abuse that a full time construction crew building log homes everyday can put it through. The Dewalt can and has so far. More money yes but worth it. About the Ridgid MSUV, I love mine use it everyday.
Jim
Joshua says...

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Jim,
Do you attribute the mitered crown fitting to be a function of the tool, or your experience and craftsmanship? Isn't knowing the correct bevel and miter angle for crown 98 percent of the battle? I recently did crown for the first time and it turned out fine, but not until I looked up the formula for calculating the B & M angles. My non slider DeWalt did only as well as my attention to detail. It worked out ok, despite my lack of experience...(which I almost made up for by reading, going slow, and making a test cut)
dave
James D Kountz wrote:

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Bay Area Dave wrote:

DeWalt makes crown stops for the 12" scms that make crown cuts easy. This saw is big enought to accept 6" crown, maybe bigger. Just remember the upside down and backwards way of cutting and you never have to worry about compound cuts and what the friggin angle it's supposed to be. Experience helps but once you cut a 16' piece of 6" oak crown wrong you won't do it again.......
Check twice cut once.
Gary
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Thanks for your insight, everyone. I have actually had occassion to use the Dewalt 708 a few times for some rough framing. It worked really well for that, but I had some reservations about its ability for precision cuts. The saw seemed to have a bit of lateral play in the head such that the blade could wiggle a bit. Indeed, at the local Borg I jiggled the head of the dewalts (they had two) on display, and both of those were easily persuaded to move back and forth a bit. The saws I tried jiggling that had horizontal rails seemed a bit firmer.
- Josh

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Joshua) wrote:

Interesting. I bought my Dewalt (the 12-inch SCMS) because it had *less* lateral play than the Makita or Delta or whatever else it was I looked at. I can't claim that my method of testing was especially scientific (wiggling the handle with the saw fully up, halfway down, and fully down, in/out, et al.), but it seems to have worked for me in that the cuts I get are glass smooth and precisely on the money in terms of accuracy.
<div ="low-level rant"> I'm surprised we haven't heard from the don't-buy-Dewalt-because-they-make-toasters people in this thread. Well, Bosch makes toasters and a lot of other small kitchen appliances too, and I don't think it's hurt their woodworking tools one bit. (Hey! Was that a pun?!) Low-end Black & Decker is low end Black & Decker, and Dewalt is Dewalt. If you don't like the color yellow, buy something else--but like my ancestors say, "There's no such thing as a bad color on a good horse." But then, Finnish horses do tend to come in some ugly shades. :) </div>
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Have a look at the Makita 10" (LS1013). It's cutting capacity is close to the 12"ers but it's a lot cheaper. The prices seem to have come down on these lately and they are always highly rated tools. The cutting capacity is 3 5/8 x 12 at 90 degrees and the 12" is 3 7/8 x 12 1/4. Not a big difference. The DeWalt is a 4 x 12. It's not a big enough difference to me to justify the extra price. Blades are cheaper too. Also, have a look at http://www.powertools.info/default.asp for comparing tools. ---BeerBoy

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Thanks for that link--it is a great resource! Wish I had known about that when I bought my router, and jigsaw, and...
Have you used the Makita 10"? What are your impressions?
Thanks!
- Josh

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I bought the Makita LS1013 the begining of last summer. I had to replace my old ceder fence and planned on building my own. Lowes had these on display, which I had admired for quite some time. While picking up some last minute hardware, string and quickrete, I noticed a closeout sale normally $499.00 on sale this week for $399.00. They have quit stocking this and many other Makita products.
Don't know if this qualifies for a mini-gloat.
I have put this to a lot of use since then and am quite happy with the saw and the supplied blade. I have a replacement blade I use for the finest cuts in mouldings or when looking for a super glass smooth cut. Still cuts using the 60 tooth blade that came mounted are smooth enough for 95 percent of all my other uses.
HTH
Joe
On 19 Nov 2003 13:07:29 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Joshua) wrote:

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Buy the saw that you can set the miter and bevels most accurately. If the angle scales are to small you can't read/set to 1'deg. which is a must if you're going to do crown molding accurately. Get good after-market blade, not a thin-nerf, they flex to much unless you go slow and steady. Don't worry about the fence - add a sacrificial fence full length and use it for zero clearance on straight cuts. That Ridgid MSUV is neat. I wish I had one - got a POS portable stand.
--
Erik "Grumpa" Ahrens
Apprentice Termite
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Thanks for the advice on the blade. Why are so many manufacturers pushing their thin-kerf blades? What is their advantage? Do they cut quicker?
As for the saws, the Makita, Ridgid, and Dewalt (yeah, big yellow is now in the running again) all have really nice angle scales. The Ridgid's is probably the easiest to set (nice big easily reachable levers) followed by Makita and then Dewalt.
I like the idea of a sacrifical fence and plan on doing that. I believe all of the above saws provide holes in their fences for mounting a wood or poly fence.
Another question: does anyone have any comments about table flatness and/or fence trueness? I've heard lots of good things about the Makita, some great and some really poor things about the Dewalt, and I only have 2 data points about the Ridgid (both good). It seems to me that the Ridgid may have an easier time keeping their table flat because it is one piece (vs. a turntable inside of a table design).
- Josh
"Erik" <erikl_nospam_at_nospam_syserco.com> wrote in message

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Joshua asks:

No. And they are totally unneeded on miter saws.
Check out the Bosch 4412. Mine just got here. Not set up yet, but it is out of the box and I'm in love.
Pricey but wonderful.
I've also got an older Ridgid, but am not at all sure it is the same as that being sold now...the Bosch appears better, anyway, though the Ridgid is a damned good tool.
Charlie Self "Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance." Ambrose Bierce
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On 19 Nov 2003 13:05:59 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Joshua) wrote:

Just to confuse you up some more, I have always heard good things about the Hitachi sliders. Seems their 8 1/2"er was one of the first, and is widely considered to be a good example. Their newer C10FSB looks to be a very nice saw, and seems very reasonably priced at $399. If you like lasers, you can buy the same saw with one for a extra C-note (Model C10FSH). I'm looking to replace my crappy Craftsman with broken fence, which was a gift from my father-in-law.
Note: I am in no way connected with Hitachi. However, I have often found their tools to be right up there with the best, but priced more like the Ryobi line. Maybe its advertising and overhead. Haven't seen to many Hitachi advertisements or promos. I did buy one of the 14.4V cordless drill kits ($79 @ Lowes with 2 batteries, a kick ass flashlight, and charger) to replace an ailing, older Porter Cable, and have been amazed.
DLGlos
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(Joshua) wrote:

It was one of the first, if not thee first. But it's not that great of a saw. I've used quite a few of them and right now, the Makita ten incher is the best, IMNSHO.

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A couple of people have now recommended the Makita 10". What makes this better than the 12"? Is it considerably better than the 12"? In the near term, I will need to cut some 4x4 and 4x6 lumber.
Thanks -
- Josh
(Joshua) wrote:

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(Joshua) wrote:

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Beer Boy writes:

Can't argue the price, but I got the 4412 yesterday, and it's one helluva lot more than "nice."
One very slick, well thought out, well made tool.
Charlie Self "Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which abrogates some of the advantages of making a disagreeable person keep his distance." Ambrose Bierce
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