Well, after 6 weeks of borrowing co-workers saws to trim houses out because
I couldn't make up my mind on which saw to replace my old 12" Ridgid MS, I
made the decision yesterday to buy a new one. The choices narrowed down to
two, Hitachi's 10" slider, which I've used considerably. The Bosch 10"
slider, which I've never actually used, but the upfront bevel lock was worth
putting it at the top of the list. The new 12" DeWalt slider, which I
happened across browsing the tool section of HD earlier this week, was a
late entry in the running, but worth adding to the list.
I went out yesterday to get the Bosch. I own many Bosch tools and have
been very pleased with all of them. After playing with the Bosch a while,
basically putting the saw through the motions as I would if I were really
cutting with it, I couldn't help thinking about that DeWalt. Decisions,
Anyway, I decided to drive over to the HD to give the Dewalt a second
look. On the way there, I put together the perfect miter saw in my mind,
basically combining all the things I've liked about saws I've used over my
15 years as a carpenter into one perfect saw. Knowing I'll never find this
one, I'm gonna settle for the one that is as close as possible. Here's the
1. Tall fence - This allows cutting things standing up. Great for
baseboard. Also, I like to cut crown laying at the spring angle upside down
against the fence. This way, you only change the miter from left 45 deg to
right 45 deg. for cuts, and it doesn't matter if it's 45/45 deg crown or
52/38 deg crown. If you lay it flat, you're constantly changing the miter
and bevel for left and right cuts. Way less efficient for a production run.
This eliminated the Hitachi with it's small fence.
2. Slotted blade guard. - This is important for sighting straight down the
blade to your cut line. The Hitachi and Bosch have a clear guard similiar
to my old Ridgid which is nice for a while, but dust settles inside the
guard making it difficult to see through and hard to clean. This left me
sighting down from the side of the blade, which can be inaccurate. (A laser
may make this a moot point) The new DeWalt, like their other saws, has an
excellent slotted blade guard that you can sight down the blade easily.
3. Easy to read miter/bevel scale. - The DeWalt line, IMO, has the best
miter scales of the three. The miter scale on their new saw is the familiar
stainless one on their other saws which works very well. The bevel scales
were about the same on all 3 saws to me, none being greatly easier to read
than the other. (All 3 could improve here)
4. Easy to operate Miter/Bevel locks - The Bosch won the bevel lock with
it's upfront controls, but the DeWalt won on the miter lock. No knob to
turn to lock the miter, just push down. And the detent override was easier
to access too.
5. Smooth slide without deflection. - I felt the differrence in smoothness
between the three was negligable. All worked well. And, like any slider,
all deflected somewhat if enough pressure is applied.
6. Size does matter - I didn't measure each one, but the DeWalt seems more
compact for a 12" than the other two 10" saws. Oddly, it seems quite
"roomy" and compact (hard to explain this one).
7. Price. - The Dewalt, being a 12" was the same price as the competitors
12" saws at $650 which was a hard pill to swallow. The competitors saws
also came with a laser while the DeWalt is a $50 option. However, after
years of buying what I could afford as opposed to what I really wanted,
lately, I've been buying what I feel will help me produce the best quality
work with the least amout of fuss.
There are a number of other things on the list of the "perfect saw" such as
dust collection (which is not-so-great on all saws I've used), capacity,
accuracy, (which I'd expect on any quality saw) etc, that I can add, but the
points mentioned are the differences between them rather than what I'd
expect from all saws so I'm gonna let it go at that.
I ended up with the DeWalt as it met the most things I was looking for. Set
it up last night (well, it was put together out of the box except to attach
the dust bag and optional laser, which i purchased) and have put it to the
test today. The laser took a little time to align, but produces a nice
bright thin line. If the laser is aligned incorrectly, it will make a thick
fuzzy line, kind of like pointing a flashlight straight at the ground as
opposed to shining it at an angle with the ground, so keep that in mind if
you are setting one up. I read some reviews about the saw this morning on
this group and noticed someone mentioned the slide was difficult to use. I
did notice this on the store model and was somewhat concerned. However, my
saw slides smoothly. The store model was on a shelf considerable higher
than my stand, so I suspect the height difference may play a part in the
sliding mechanism being operated smoothly. As far as accuracy, I've cut up
some big thick stuff today, 12/4 x8 WO, 8/4 walnut etc. The saw performed
just fine. Accurate and smooth cuts, even with the factory supplied 60
tooth DeWalt blade (and I'm am not a fan of DeWalt blades either) and easy
to operate. So far, I'm very pleased. It has passed all preliminary tests.
The real test is gonna happen this week when I take it to a production
environment and see how it goes. I'll post a follow up shortly.
The salesman told me it has a 90 day money back guarantee if I don't like
it, but I think DeWalt is going to keep my money on this one. --dave