Low Noise saw (any saw ;)...)

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Hi All, I'm a part time paint contractor and I'm thinking of including a laminate flooring in my services (I paint mostly condos). I have layed a couple of laminate floors myself but I used circular saw for cutting the laminate. Now, that would work if I work during regular hours, but condo corporations don't allow high noise after 5 p.m. and during the weekends, which is the time when I paint mostly. So, one option will be to do all the prep work in the evening (carpet removal, vaccuming, subfloor laying) and to hire someone to work on the laminate during the day. Or, to lay the laminate after hours using some low noise saw. I found some good looking Mastercraft mitre hand saw and it looks like that's the best option, but I still think that it must be some other power saw on the market that is not noisy. I thought to put the power saw in the bathroom, but noise is too strong even then. Any idea which low noise saw can be used for laminate besides hand saw?
Thanks in advance.
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Only type of portable power saw that I can think of that would be suitable is a chop saw and they're not known for their quietness. There's usually other options of interest than noise. Cutting laminates for floors needs usually needs an exact 90. Only other option I can think of is a handsaw for the initial cut and then some type of professional cut off box that uses a shear to cut the last 1/4" of material to size. There's a few high end sheer cutters of that type are used in picture making, maybe there's some that cut at 90.
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Upscale wrote:

Seems the best way to me, if pricey. Cut nearly to length with a hand miter saw, then shave to exact length with the Pootatuck Lion Miter Trimmer. It does do squaring. The clones out there may also do squaring. I think Grizzly distributes one.
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Seems the best way to me, if pricey. Cut nearly to length with a hand miter saw, then shave to exact length with the Pootatuck Lion Miter Trimmer. It does do squaring. The clones out there may also do squaring. I think Grizzly distributes one.
They would work with wood, but that laminate is pretty tough stuff. It will kill a carbide blade in short order. Do you think a trimmer can handle it?
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Thanks guys for all your replys. I'm thinking of testing this Bosch power hand saw (I didn't even know that something like this exists):
http://www.boschtools.com/tools/tools-detail.htm?H 5981&GT928&IU133
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Didn't you say you wanted to do flooring? It mentioned a maximum mitre of 3 5/8". That's about 4" at 90. There's flooring that's wider than that. Not saying it won't do what you'd need, but I'd examine one very closely.
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ddt_toronto wrote:

How will you rip the pieces to width along the wall?
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

I'd guess the trimmer will handle it, but sharpening the cutters might become a career. Still, it will do the job, I'm reasonably sure.
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Most portable electric saws use universal motors. That is a big noise maker by it self. Then add a blade it the sound magnifies. Bosch makes a different type of miter saw that might be quieter. Take a look here. http://www.boschtools.com/tools/tools-detail.htm?H 5981&GT928&IU133
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I wonder if you could put a router variable speed control on it to dampen the sound.
Other wise, you may want to try a jig saw or battery operated mini-circular saw with a jig to keep it cutting straight. Jig saws are pretty quiet.
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How about one of those battery powered circular saws and a good cross cut jig of some sort. You'll still have the sound of the teeth hitting the wood, but the motor noise should be much lower than a tablesaw.
Chuck
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A decent belt-drive contractor's saw with a capacitor-start motor has very low motor noise. It's those little ones with the universal motors that generate all the noise. The actual cutting noise contribution will be the same. A slow going cross-cut with a quality, fine-toothed carbide blade shouldn't be too loud.
I've used one of those battery drive circular saws and while they are quieter that their AC counterparts, they are still louder than a capacitor-start motor on a belt-drive stationary saw.
Tim Ellestad

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If low noise is critical, I'd go with the manual miter box. I've got a Craftsman that has done a wonderful job. It has a wooden base that I modified slightly and will clamp tightly in a Workmate bench. It has a "captive" blade so that once set, even a monkey could make precise cuts. Something like: http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do? BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid936343000&subcat=Miter+Boxes
(sorry about long url, it's a Craftsman Full Range Compounding Miter Box, Sears item #00936343000 Mfr. model #36343 )
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wrote:

Yep, did a lot of work that way when I was starting out. A Japanese pull saw (Dozuki) with a nice thin kerf makes it easy, if not quite as fast as a power saw.
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A query about all these suggestions of hand saws. The OP was talking about doing flooring with a quiet saw. Can hand saws, even Dozuki hand saws cut a floor board so straight at 90 and so finely finished that it's going to mate perfectly with an adjacent board? I've got to be honest here, I'm really sceptical.
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Dozuki's and other "free" hand saws take some getting used to for proper technique. The Craftsman saw I mentioned has a "captive" blade; there are four vertical posts, and a guide on the saw fits over the blades and onto the posts. Mine came with lots of hold-down and stop-block clamps. When I first got mine, I made a jig that would allow me to do resawing. *THAT* will make you break out in a sweat!
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Upscale wrote:

I doubt it. I've got an old Stanley miter saw with, IIRC, a 6" tall x 30" long backsaw. That'll do it, if he can find one in decent shape for less than a home mortgage payment. It won't do compounds, but it puts all the fragile multi-use modern stuff to shame. And it will cut flooring to about 9" wide, I believe. Sharpening is not as quick as some handsaws (laminate, of course), but is easily done.
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wrote:

Sure it can. A saw is only as good as the guy using it, true- but a good handsaw can cut just as straight as any power tool, and better than some. Couple of things make it easier to get a good cut, in fact- first, it's a lot easier to follow a line, because the saw cuts at your pace, not at the pace of the motor, and you can adjust your stance *before* the entire piece is cut. Second, a dozuki has a ton of tiny little teeth that leave an edge like a good diablo blade.
You've got to remember that people have been doing woodworking for thousands of years, and they didn't all have DeWalt and Delta. Some of that stuff they built was even sort of ok. :)
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I'll take your word for it, but I'll hat to see it to believe it. Yup, they've been building wooden floors for hundreds of years, but repeatable 90 cuts with a handsaw, (I don't care what type) without further edge treatment? Sorry, but it's just one of those things I'll have to see done to accept. Shearing an edge afterwards, plaining it and a few other ways I can think of, without them, I can't envision it. Maybe my woodworking experience has been too sheltered.
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On Thu, 11 Aug 2005 01:44:33 -0400, the opaque "Upscale"

I thought the same thing until I got and used a Japanese pull saw. Floored me, it did!
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