Circular Saws- Who is Using What These Days, July 2020

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by ricochetrider, Jul 21, 2020.

  1. ricochetrider

    ricochetrider MotoMojo

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2011
    Oddometer:
    3,252
    Location:
    Out There Somewhere
    Hi guys. SO this covid thing has me thinking I'll dust off my carpentry tools and get back to doing some woodwork, home jobs, remodel, etc.

    But I haven't done much if any carpentry in about 14 years, so my old circular saw needs to be replaced with something modern. Ultimately, my new saw would be heavy duty, industrial grade, with a foot that isn't going to bend the first time I set the saw down -or the 10th, 100th, or 1000th time for that matter.

    Oh and it has to last the rest of my working lifetime. I'm 63 so that might not be forever! :lol3
    But I don't want some toy that's going to melt down.

    FYI my "current" saw, I bought in or about 1987 or 1988. It's a Porter Cable saw with a drop foot. The saw was once dubbed "The Prince Of The Drop Foot Saws" by Fine Woodworking Magazine. Unfortunately it has a "star" nut that holds the blade on. This "nut" goes on atop a bronze "washer" of sorts. The trouble is that the star nut has weakened over the years, and the motor always outstarts the blade's spinning. IOW the motor spins BEFORE the blade does and the blade has to "catch up". AND if the blade binds at all, it'll stop while the saw motor keeps running.

    SO it's kind of awkward, if not 95% functional.

    Being a bit out of touch, to put it mildly, I'm wondering what the best circ saw investment is going to be?

    ALSO:

    Corded, or Battery powered?

    Whatcha got? Cost is no option, I will happily spend money on the best possible tools. But I won't put a single dime into cheap, crap tools.
    #1
  2. Honolulubimmer

    Honolulubimmer island-locked 20x40

    Joined:
    May 27, 2016
    Oddometer:
    17
    Location:
    Honolulu Hawaii
    You want a tough circular saw, nowadays that will be worm drive a.k.a. hypoid drive. All the usual suspects make them... Skilsaw, Milwaukee, Makita, DeWalt, Bosch (no preference expressed here) but beware that they may all be made in the same factory(ies) in China.

    I was musing about one several years ago and received a brand new Milwaukee for Christmas. Rethinking my needs being much less than a new $150 saw, I returned it and kept my cheapo saw (brand forgotten). That saw is $200 now. Since I have a 12" compound miter saw (another Christmas gift) and a cheap contractor grade table saw (another Christmas gift) and they have made many short sticks from long ones, I will manage without a worm drive.

    The downside is that they are heavy (13 - 15 pounds). Magnesium castings reduce tool and wallet weight. Any of them will take off a finger or a hand in the blink of an eye, so y'all be cautious, okay?

    Check amp rating, weight, vibration levels, ergos, blade speed, blade change difficulty level, depth of cut, max bevel capacity...

    They are on ebay, Craigslist or Facebook marketplace, among others, if you don't want to drop $200 for a new one. There are plenty of "Best Saw" reviews online.
    #2
  3. Ironhorse 332

    Ironhorse 332 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    May 6, 2018
    Oddometer:
    132
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Still using the worm drive Skilsaw purchased around 1984.
    #3
  4. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    Corded all the way for the circular saw. No replacement for the unlimited power offered up by being plugged into the grid.
    #4
    Tmaximusv likes this.
  5. groundrules

    groundrules Long timer

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,819
    Location:
    Oh hiya
    i kinda feel like there's room for both. I use a 12v cordless for the quick 'shit, i need a lump of 2x4 to hold up this swingarm' duties- I can grab it off the shelf and lop a board over the trash can and have the saw put back on the shelf before you can even say "extension cord". It's also nice when you've got a long rip on plywood and you don't have to manage a cord. But yeah, you're correct that if you're doing a task where you're repeating cuts, cutting pressure-treated wood, 4x4s, etc. it's nice to have unlimited power.

    I would say this- if you already have a cordless battery platform that you're using with other tools, adding a cordless circ saw makes extra sense. You'll use it. maybe not EVERY time, but you'll grab it a lot.
    #5
  6. Solaros1

    Solaros1 Long timer

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,216
    Location:
    Roswell, GA
    I'm still rocking the old Makita that I bought around thirty years ago. A friend of mine dropped his two stories onto a concrete floor (he was cutting rebar with it) and he climbed down, picked up and went back to work with it.
    #6
  7. 51%

    51% ReadyToRide

    Joined:
    Nov 17, 2011
    Oddometer:
    540
    Location:
    Somewhere in North America. Probably.
    I have a Makita that I have used and abused for decades. If I was buying for today I’d give cordless a hard look.
    #7
  8. longwaypyder

    longwaypyder Been here awhile Supporter

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2014
    Oddometer:
    343
    Location:
    Clover South Carolina
    Yeah, me too with a Diablo blade. Makes wrong cuts faster and easier.
    David
    #8
    straightrod and ausfahrt like this.
  9. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,350
    Location:
    Boise, ID
    I agree and have both. But if I could only have one, it would be a corded version.
    #9
  10. _Harry_

    _Harry_ Redneck Emeritus Supporter

    Joined:
    Sep 20, 2006
    Oddometer:
    5,234
    Location:
    Not New, Not Mexico
    Was running a Rigid cordless for several years but it was lacking in power and the 5.5' blades were expensive and wore quickly.

    I've since migrated to Makita 18V LXT cordless tools - don't have the circular saw yet but they look pretty good and have good reviews.

    I got a Skil Sidewinder a few years back and will stick with the cord for now. It's a great saw.

    [​IMG]
    #10
    ausfahrt and Ducky 149 like this.
  11. Bigfeet428

    Bigfeet428 Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2011
    Oddometer:
    163
    Still have and use the Milwaukee drop foot I bought new in 1987-88 and I also like the rigid 18v that I bought on a whim. I like the cordless a lot more than I thought I would!
    #11
    ricochetrider likes this.
  12. thumpism

    thumpism Between bikes

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2005
    Oddometer:
    6,383
    Location:
    Richmond, Virginia
    Been using a corded Makita for the last twenty years but I'm thinking of supplementing with a cordless Dewalt to take advantage of the batteries I have as a result of the Christmas present form my wife, Dewalt drill and driver and reciprocating saw. The circular saw would be very handy. The guy who built our deck had the whole cordless group and I was impressed with it.
    #12
  13. SnipTheDog

    SnipTheDog Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2015
    Oddometer:
    763
    Location:
    San Jose
    Same here!
    #13
  14. lowriderglen

    lowriderglen Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Oddometer:
    180
    I built my house with a corded Dewalt that has a blade brake. After using a saw with a brake I would never use anything else. And yes I also have an unused worm drive.....no brake.
    #14
    StittWall likes this.
  15. clintnz

    clintnz Trans-Global Chook Chaser

    Joined:
    May 17, 2004
    Oddometer:
    5,026
    Location:
    Rotoiti, North Is, New Zealand
    I have had a Makita 5008MG for about 10 years & it's been a great tool. It's a good solid pro grade unit & has had no issue with my heavy DIY use, I have a bench set up to clip it under so it does duty as my table saw also. The 8.25" size is big enough to cut a 4x2 on a 45deg without being stupid heavy. The ergonomics are good & the adjustments all just work nicely. I would definitely recommend it. Looks like the US version is pretty similar but with an electric brake.

    [​IMG]

    Cheers
    Clint
    #15
    Slash likes this.
  16. BigKev72

    BigKev72 ANZAC

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2009
    Oddometer:
    1,299
    Location:
    Waco, TX
    Corded Makita, about 20 years old and still cutting well. Looks like the one above.
    #16
  17. Sabre

    Sabre Prêt? Allez! Supporter

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2004
    Oddometer:
    15,161
    Location:
    NW Washington State
    While I can't argue with any of the suggestions above, I would be sourcing a new bronze washer (or perhaps a shim) to give that excellent Porter Cable new life.
    #17
  18. 9Realms

    9Realms Drawn in by the complex plot

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2010
    Oddometer:
    6,067
    Location:
    Central Minn.
    This cordless Bauer from H. F. is on my wish list.
    Shares the same battery/charger as some other Bauer goods I have.
    Not likely to build a house anymore, had several, now pretty much retired, just need to cut stuff to a more manageable size here and there, and I don't have 'lectricity in one of my (rental) garages.

    63634_W21.jpg
    #18
  19. DirtyOldMan

    DirtyOldMan Motorsickle enthusiast

    Joined:
    May 2, 2006
    Oddometer:
    2,650
    Location:
    Cass Co MO
    I have, I believe, the same porter cable saw bought new in 1985. I had trouble with the blade tightening a time or two. I think I filed a washer and put on it.
    Also have a mag77 for rougher work.
    I used a small lightweight porter cable with a left side blade I liked really well. If I bought a new one that’s what I’d look for.
    #19
    ricochetrider likes this.
  20. victor441

    victor441 Long timer

    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2009
    Oddometer:
    2,763
    Location:
    Sonoma Co., Calif.
    Only an amateur, but still using a Skil Mag 77 I bought years ago and it has served me well...
    #20