I stopped by berland's house of tools on saturday. It's a fun place
with lots of tools out on display so you can play with them. I'm sort
of shopping for a miter saw. I've considered everything from a 12"
miter saw (not sliding) to the big 12" delta radial arm saw with the
turret arm. I was able to make a few disturbing observations.
For the sliding CMSs the side to side motion when everything is locked
down seemed unacceptable to me. On most, I could deflect the blade an
1/8" with one hand grabbing it by the handle. The non sliding miter
saws were much better, but still not as rigid as I think they should
be. The real shocker for me though was the delta 12" turret arm RAS.
It was every bit as bad as the sliders. It seems the round part that
holds the motor and slides on the track has some visible play in it.
I'd say I could probably get several playing cards into the gap between
the top half and bottom half of this part. This is magnified at the
tip of the blade producing about 1/8" of play. Maybe if I found a way
to bolt that hinge in place, it wouldn't deflect. I wouldn't be able
to rip on it (who cares), but at least it would be accurate.
Am I being unreasonable here? I'd say 1/32" is acceptable play with a
fair amount of lateral force. Manufacturers go to all this trouble to
make the angle setting lock down tight, and for what? 1/8" has to
equal out to a couple degrees. How can you accurately cut crown
moulding this way? I had been seriously considering dropping $1800 on
the delta RAS to avoid this problem, but now I'm glad I didn't. Does
anyone make a miter saw that doesn't deflect?
I posted my observations (unscientific) of most of the leading brands
SCMS's side play, about a month ago. There were only 2 that I felt led
the pack. An otherwise nice unit, the Bosch was one of the sloppiest.
I was thinking about the delta RAS though, maybe there's a way to shim
the turret or tighten the center bolt to clean up the play.
Maybe the sliders have some sort of adjustment also. It's not clear to
me exactly where the play is coming from. Most likely, it's small
amounts of error added up throughout the mechanism.
From what I can see, it's just the housing, arm and slider all giving a
bit each, adding up to noticeable movement. It's NOT simply adjustments
to the slider mechanism. I WISH it were that easy. When side pressure
is placed on the saw, you can see a bending motion all along the way
from the handle, back to the pivot point.
FWIW, just about any saw I've ever used that slides, whether it be radial or
scms, will deflect if pushed in a certain direction. The operator just has
to make a smooth cut with the saw and not push it very hard to one side or
the other. Even with the tightest of saws, the blade can also deflect
(especially 12 inchers) if pushed to one side or the other creating a bad
cut, so learning to let the saw do the work and just "guide" it with the
least amount of effort has worked best for me. Granted, some saws have
more/less slop than others, but technique is very important too. --dave
I agree that technique matters a bunch, but mostly when dealing with
crosscuts. With any angled cut, the tendency for the blade is to wander as
either the right or left edge of the teeth engage the material ahead of the
opposite edge. This is where the slop will show up the most.
And this is exactly where need the rigidity the most. I've watched
norm walk up to his miter saw, cut a 45 degree angle, and end up with
perfectly mitered corners. Maybe you can do that on his older PC miter
saw, but I wouldn't rely on the ones I saw to be able to do that.
I have a cheapo delta 10" miter saw with a lot of issues. It sounds
like I'd be better off just using that to get close, then making a very
accurate miter sled for the table saw.
I have a Dewalt 12 inch non sliding right now. The cuts are dead square and
I can deflect the blade itself but not the carriage or head.
I had the 12 inch sliding Dewalt and the 10 inch sliding Hitachi and both
were tight. The Hitachi is still tight after being used in a shop for 5
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