Recommendations for good circular saw?

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Hi All
I'm looking for ideas for a good quality circular saw. I'm just getting started with woodworking, and aren't looking for the top of the line--but something good, with the right features, that'll last for awhile. I'm likely to buy a new one, but will also peruse Ebay to see whats there as well.
Also, what features/amps/size/etc do you feel are necessary? Until I purchase a table saw, this'll be it for now.
Lastly...best brand recommendations? All advice is appreciated!
Thanx, Dave
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On 1 Jan 2004 21:47:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (Dave) wrote:

Screw the features, shop for brands. There aren't many features on one saw rather than another, but there is a variation in manufacturer quality.
I won;t suggest brands, as you're American and I'm not familiar with the locals. But the mid-range Skil Legend / Classic is a good saw for that size range, and the thumb lift for the guard is neat.
Like all saws, they're only a motor to turn the blade. Look seriously at blade quality, because that's what really matters. A selection of blades is important if this is your only saw; rip, crosscut and plywood.
-- Congrats to STBL on his elevation from TLA to ETLA
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(Dave) wrote:

Hi, Andy.
One very useful feature is a dynamic brake- wouldn't be without it. Well-balanced motor with good torque characteristic from start (don't jump about) to full load is also a very good thing (TM M. Stewart.)
You really want to try before buy, if possible.
Some (notice I said _some_) of the Skil saws sold here in the USofA are purely disposable PsOS. Need more than brand to go by. (Like, model and today's price.)
Regards, John
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You will not go wrong with the Porter Cable or the Dewalt. I have a 10 year old Porter Cable that is great. There is no detectable end play or run out in the blade. The weak points in such saws can be the bearings (avoid one with bushings) and obviously the motor. Don't pay much attention to the advertised horsepower, but look at the rated amps. IIRC, the PC is an 11 amp machine. Hitachi has been putting out some of the highest amp rated tools recently. I have a Hitachi bayonet saw (sawzall) that is a 13 amp too;. It has been a good tool. I would not be afraid of their circular saw.

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Do NOT "screw the features"!! Take them into account & take them seriously.
Look for a good heavy base plate (shoe). Look for a decent amp rating on the motor. Look to see how the machine feels in you hand(s). Look to see where the dust shoots out from. Look at everything, for that matter -- including price! Is a left blade more comfortable to you than a right blade? Does that even matter?
I recently found a Hitachi C7SB2 saw at Lowes that met all my essential requirements and just happened to fall right on the price line sweet point.
Despite that butt-ugly pseudo-fluorescent green Hitachi uses, I bought the saw to replace my old department-store-class Skil. The Hitachi is a keeper (and was a fair buy at $85).
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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On Fri, 2 Jan 2004 09:08:01 -0700, "Steve"

Got any good way to judge the bearing quality from outside the box ?
-- Congrats to STBL on his elevation from TLA to ETLA
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My old thirty-dollar department-store Skil has gone through abuse and misuse from day one eight years ago. I've dropped it. I've cut down concrete columns with it. I've butchered lumber and sheet goods with it. I hate that saw. The damned thing won't die. I really do hate it, I do my best to kill it. It will _not_ die!
Who cares about what type of bearings are in it? (They certainly can't be of any importance when the damn saw keeps on working in spite of every effort to kill it!)
--
Steve
www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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Yeah, I've got one of those.
A contractor gave me for free (he was going to dump it in the trash) one of those cheap little benchtop table saws. I put a diamond masonary blade in it and used it to cut paving stones for my driveway (cast cement about 3 inches thick). It's a big driveway, about 70 feet long. The herringbone pattern I did required a block to be cut along each edge on almost every row. That's a lot of cement to be cut, and it made a huge mess of abrasive dust.
I was done up with respirator, face mask, and hearing protectors, but the poor saw just sucked in all that dust and kept going. I expect by now the bearings are total trash, but the saw wouldn't die.
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Are there advantages to left vs right blade saws? I'm right-handed if that matters.
--
Mike Iglesias Email: snipped-for-privacy@draco.acs.uci.edu
University of California, Irvine phone: 949-824-6926
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Well, as with chain saws, the "theory" has been that you don't wnt the cut in front of your body, so that if something does jump you're not the first thing in the way. Having had off-cuts go whizzing by my head, I will vouch that this applies to table saws, too.

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wrote:

circular saw. In all of them that I have used, the part of the blade that does the cutting is moving away from the operator. The sawdust chute is a different issue. You do want to make sure that this is pointed away from the user.
Back to the original question - I am right handed and prefer left mounted blades. This gives me better visibility of the cut. With a right mounted blade, I feel that I have to lean over to see what is happening. Also, the left mount blade gives better support for the saw in the way I frequently use one, which is with the work piece supported on saw horses or a work table and the smaller cutoff portion sticking out to the left where I can hold it with my left hand. That way, the saw base rides on the portion that is supproted.
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wrote:

when a handheld circ kicks back the saw comes flying at you, not the wood.... it also tends to flip upside down as it comes.

with a lot of sidewinders there is a line of sight available to the left side of the blade right where the teeth engage the wood.

I find that about half of the time I need to work from the other side....
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I have never had that happen, but see how it is possible.
However, you deleted the part that I was responding to where the previous poster talked about Cut-offs flying past your head. That is what I was responding to. If a cut-off does go flying, it is much more likely to go away from you.

For me, the motor is usually in the way unless I lean way over the top of the saw or get way off to the side. But with a left-hand blade, I can see most of the saw line and where the saw is currently.

Different strokes - the point is to understand your own patterns of work and pick tools that fit your style.
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Bob Haar wrote:

I knew a guy that this happened to. He was a contractor & worked with the guard pinned because it saved time. (Bad Idea.) A pinch, a flip, and .... Years later he still didn't have much grip in that hand.
-- Mark
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On Sat, 03 Jan 2004 19:43:21 GMT, "Mark Jerde"

a couple of years ago I think it was someone posted here about a skilsaw kickback death. the jobsite was rural and kind of far from emergency services. the saw got the guy in the big artery in the groin. he didn't have a chance.
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I suppose a blade brake would help in most circumstances like this.
--snip--

I try to arrange it so I can support the saw on the non-cutoff side, though it does happen that it's inconvenient sometimes to do that. But, a little while ago, you He-Men told me that's what those rippling muscles y'all have were for (to support the saw when you're riding on the cutoff side) <g>.
Renata smart, not dumb for email
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Dave-
How much $$ are you willing to spend? (that's the first question everyone will ask)
Honestly, when I was first married I bought a $50 Craftsman special (7 1/4") on sale for $35. It worked great through six years of intermittent use and about 110' of fence building. Then it started making a sorta "grindy-grindy noise". (oh, and the sparks started getting very visible through the motor housing..)
Ryobi makes a nice $50 saw that I considered, but I oped to buy a PorterCable 743K for about $120. At that price point, you pretty much have your choice of very good saws that should last a looong time and be very satisfying to use. (Porter Cable, Milwaulkie (sp?), Makita, Dewalt - take your pick) The only thing I would change about mine is the blade-height lever is placed between the motor and blade housing, and it's awkward/hard to flip it up to change the depth of cut.
Don't make your decision based on 12 vs 13 amps. 7.25" is the "standard" size. Weight may be a concern (holding a 15lb vs 10lb saw overhead to snip off fence posts did make a difference) =^)
Good luck! -Aaron
snipped-for-privacy@earthlink.net (Dave) wrote in message

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On 2 Jan 2004 08:48:12 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@ajbacker.com (aaron) wrote:

for heavy duty use the skil77 has been the choice of pros for a long time. I saw in a catalog last night that bosch has an offering in the worm drive saw market now. it looks good, as far as one could tell from looking at a picture in a catalog.... and bosch is asking two hunnert clamz for it, so I guess they want us to think it is good.
anybody here used one of these yet?     Bridger
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Most people I know don't use a circular saw for finished work. My advice is to buy a cheap one; Skil, some store-brand, whatever. Here in Canada you can get one for $20-$30 if you watch for a sale. That'll save you enough to get a couple of decent blades. Get at least one blade with a high tooth-count. By the time you have this saw worn out, you'll know exactly what you want in a saw and it will be much easier to just go out and buy it (except for the paying part, because really good is usually really expensive). I don't think a circular saw will ever really replace a table saw. Good luck.
Ed

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On Fri, 02 Jan 2004 17:34:06 +0000, Ed G wrote:

I agree that in general, the circular saw will never replace the table saw. However, it does have the capability as witnessed by many Festool owners.
-Doug
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