Miter saw features ???

What are the most important features for a miter saw? I'm not looking for a flame war on one brand vs another but rather a few features that are pretty much a 'must'. BTW, my use won't be professional or day in and day out - lighter duty hobby type stuff, room trim, bookcases etc, clean finish types of cuts mostly.
- So far an adjustable laser seems to be a concensus. - 10" vs 12" is really a matter of do I have the money for the 12".
They all seem to have dust collection, motor brakes & 15amp motors. Dual laser? Sliding unit? Fence extensions? Anything else?
Thanx, Grandpa John
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or 45 degrees, and go from there.
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wrote:

a couple of opinions formed by looking back... (the easiest kind, right?) My wife paid extra for the extension table upgrade on my CMS... which gets in the way of my building a really table and fence setup for it... we all know that if I remove the extension table, she'll notice it immediately.. If you are not planning on building or adding surface area to the saw, go for more area.. if you are, it's a mute point..
10 or 12"? 2 things occur to me here... one, of course, is price... the other is availability of other tools..
After using my CMS for a few weeks, I was thinking that a 12" would be nicer for the added cutting capacity.. then, I found a used RAS, so now 8" would probably work fine for me..
If I didn't have a table or radial saw, I'd spend the extra money and get a good 12" saw.. OTOH, if you don't need the extra cutting that the 12" brings, I'd suggest getting a really good 10" and keeping it for a lot of years..
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A laser is not at all important to me. I like my DeWalt's high back fence and 12" blade. It's perfect for cutting crown moldings. I would have eventually regretted a 10" miter. The sliding feature is nice, but that model drives up the cost and I figure a sliding feature is something else that may could get out of adjustment. I build my own miter station around the DeWalt unit and the dust is directed to the floor. Crown stops are nice, but I never bought these--the cost is high and I can use shop-made stops fastened with clamps or carpet tape.
wrote:

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I agree. I looked at the 10" as it would do the job at hand, but eventually, the 12" would be better and that has bee proven.
The laser light that comes on when the saw is started is a silly idea. I'll be damned if I'm going to start sliding the work around with a blade spinning near my hand. I real life use, I bring the blade down to the line and adjust as needed. Then I firmly hold the work with my left hand, well away from the blade, then make the cut.
The DeWalt came with a pretty good blade. I had it re=sharpened by Ridge Carbide Tool and it cambe back better that new.
Handle comfort is another factor. Many have gone to a horizontal D handle. Easier to grip the the vertical handles, IMO.
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I'll
line
I'm glad you said this Edwin. I've long thought that the laser guides feel squarely into the category of gimmick or gadget on a saw, but don't say that out loud all that often. What kills me most is Sears' most current commercial showing a guy running a cut with a circular saw with a laser on it and advertising how this will keep your cuts true. Now, someone... anyone... please explain to me how that cute little red line is going to do anything more for your cut than my ugly black line that I've used all these years? Oh well - that's advertising I guess.
--

-Mike-
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Mike Marlow responds:

Well, I can't argue with you about the arbor nut borne lasers. But the dual laser line on the Delta and Porter-Cable models is a whole different animal. Of course, P-C has something over a decade of experience in this line, so they should do it better. The dual line comes on when a switch at the top front of the handle is flicked. If it doesn't meet your current needs, flick it off and go with a pencil/,marking knife mark. But the lasers are there when the blade is up, as well as when it's down. Admittedly, they're slotted when it's up, but they still mark the whole width of the board.
I like them.
Now, as to gimmickry...yeah, I guess so. But useful and time saving gimmickry, IMO. You get a mark on both sides of the blade, so either cut-off can be the useful one with on extra calculation, and no swinging your head around to see if things line up. You KNOW the saw is going to give you a kerf right between those two lines.
Neat thing. Or so I think.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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dual
animal. Of

they
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and
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up, but

gimmickry,
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On the miter saw, I might be able to be convinced that a good (well mounted) laser could be useful. Being the old and stubborn-stuck-in-my-ways sorta guy that I am, I tend to resist some things a bit though. Especially if I get it into my head that something new serves the purpose of dumbing down the environment at hand. I know, I know, this really does not - it's just my knee jerk reaction to things. And... it's my reaction to such things as the current Sears commercial. So I get a little knee jerky from time to time...
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Mike Marlow writes:

Fair enough. We only get 4 channels, 3 semi-decently, and when I watch (less and less frequently as I get older, and I didn't watch much after I turned 17), not many tool commercials pop up. And I don't see many commercials anyway. Snack time, pit stop time, etc.
Charlie Self "Giving every man a vote has no more made men wise and free than Christianity has made them good." H. L. Mencken
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Charlie Self wrote:

I got an idea, why not make the laser actually do something like make the cut. Now that would be a true innovation. No more blades and probably a smoother cut.
Rich
--
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but you can't make them THINK"
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<snippage>

feel
that
do
these
Personally, I prefer my 2 black marks & cutting guide. However, for the sake of argument, if you're cutting that line free-hand, the laser pointing out in front *might* help you keep the saw following the line easier than trying to watch the line pass through the cut indicator on the front of the guide, or craning your head to watch the blade follow that black line.
--
Nahmie
The law of intelligent tinkering: save all the parts.
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On Fri, 26 Nov 2004 09:56:16 -0500, "Norman D. Crow"

Isn't the laser supposed to replace the scribe mark? I fail to see how that would help keep things lined up if the wood moves... Perhaps it would be useful on a circular saw where you've already marked the sheetgoods, though. (Sheetgoods be cause I can't see the value in having one for timbers)` It's awful easy to line up a regular mark with any miter saw I've ever used.
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In the shop when we are fitting stuff such as molding or actually anything, we first measure and cut. Then we have to fit is sometimes and that involves taking a bit off. To do this we bring down the blade on to the wood to position the cut. Not elegant but effective. I bring down that blade a lot before I cut. I imagine the laser would do the same thing once you get in sync with it. max

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other good thoughts already given.. here's mine
simple - the simplest tool that does the job
fewest bells & whistles - just something else to break or get out of alignment
if you are doing woodworking; building furniture, then you want accuracy above others; and adjustability so you can but it "back into whack"
opinions change; mine will eventually ;-)
the front mounted controls for bevels are a nice idea; for occassional use I'd label them bells & whistles - more linkages to mess up, etc, but if you run the saw everyday and really need to make bevel adjustments then maybe it's worth it. I saw them, wanted them, but in the end decided that they alone were not the real features I needed.
I'd have to believe that the 10" is more accurate - less runout - than the 12", but can you cut all the stock you need with the 10's capacity. Accuracy is only of value if you can make the cut to begin with.
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John DeBoo wrote:

For me height of fence, Handle position, horse power, table surface, locking mech. I think the lasers are a waste of time. I have two and the cheap one sits on the back of my truck almost all the time. The Dewalt sits in my shop. If you use it a lot the handle is important. If you use it for crown molding height of fence. Horse power is important for ease of cut. And of course you want it to lock and stay locked. One feature I like with the Dewalt is the adjustable blade height for cutting dadoes. I don't have a RAS.
Rich
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but you can't make them THINK"
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Question about that Rich. How effective does it cut those dados? I'm guessing that you nibble away until the dado is a suitable width. Any idea what the maximum dado is that you can cut at say 1/2" depth of cut?
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Upscale wrote:

That's what I do, not really into changing the blade. Cut on either side of kerf and nibble the middle. The depth is adjustable . You might check Dewalts site for any spec's. www.dewalt.com
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wrote:

I don't know how necessary the laser is- sounds like some of them aren't worth a damn anyhow. But I'd say a decent table (bought or shopmade makes no real difference) is almost a *must*, unless you've got plenty of adjustable roller stands. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably go for the 12" over the 10", simply for the extra cutting length when mitering, but 10" does the job most of the time anyways. A good blade is also a must, if you want clean finish cuts.

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