Best small saw to buy?

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by DreamingBig, Nov 6, 2004.

  1. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    Hi all! I need a power saw and hope you can recommend the best kind and brand to get. I used to have a circ saw, which I never liked much--kinda scary to use and horribly loud--but it burned out cutting some plywood. Is a jigsaw a good choice? I'd be using it to build a chicken coop, so it would need to cut plywood and framing pieces up to 2x4. I'm not very strong, can't hold up a heavy saw for very long. I have a 14" electric chainsaw (I can hear the groans, guys! ;) ) and can handle that. I don't find it scary, either!

    Chris
     
  2. agmantoo

    agmantoo agmantoo Supporter

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    You need to stick to a circular saw in the range of the 7 1/4 inch for that type of task. Get some ear plugs and safety goggles. Practice with the saw until you become comfortable using it. I am a dedicated Dewalt power tool user.
     

  3. Manny

    Manny Well-Known Member

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    By all means the best choice is a portable circular saw. I just built a chicken house and would have been up the crick without my circular saw. I would strongly suggest that you go to your "do it yourself" home supply center and heft all to the available models to see what is the most comfortable for you AND be sure and buy a book on how to use the saw because it will give you so many suggestions on saw techniques and all the usefull "jigs" you can buy or build. My saw is a cheapy "Skill" brand but it seems to do everything that I've asked it to do.
     
  4. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    makita makes a variety of circular saws in a range of prices - they have a good reputation for reliiability and they make a couple that are extremely light and easy to handle -
    i agree with what others have said - go to several stores, handle ALL the saws on display and listen for the one that says "take me home"
     
  5. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    Well OK, circ saw it is, I guess. It was handy. I had a book on how to support the wood so it wouldn't grab but it happened anyway. I already have some earplugs, so I will get over to the store and heft those saws. Thanks guys! :)

    Chris
     
  6. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Sawing tip, when cutting plywood set the blades depth only about 1/8th deeper than needed, if its set too deep it will overheat and warp while your cutting. This makes the saw want to jump out of the cutting kerf; kerf, the name of the missing wood that is consumed while cutting which becomes the sawdust.

    Also see to it that the blade is a'combination' type which will cut both 2 x 4's and plywood. Make sure the blades teeth are pointing forward underneath the saw, I have seen them in stores assembled backwards
     
  7. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    A circular saw is going to do the best job but if you're particularly careful a reciprocating saw would rip the plywood almost as well. It won't cut studs squarely very often though. You could cut the 2x4's with a hand saw!
     
  8. uncle Will in In.

    uncle Will in In. Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I put up a new garage door the other day, and my helper had a battery powered cicular saw. I was surprised at how fast it would cut. It didn't look as scary as the electric saws, and you didn't have to mess with the cord.
     
  9. Herb.

    Herb. Well-Known Member

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    I used to have a 5 1/2" Black and Decker circular saw, it was very handy for homeowner type projects, pretty light too.
     
  10. DreamingBig

    DreamingBig Well-Known Member

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    Wow, even more info. Thank you so much! :worship: I went to Home Depot yesterday and found all the circs to be much too heavy except their own brand Ryobi 5.5" cordless 18V. I have some carpal tunnel damage and that one was nice and light, and I do like cordless tools. I thought I'd better check with you all, though, before buying it. What do you think? It would be for light carpentry work; I doubt I'll ever build anything larger than a storage shed. They have other tools, too, that work with the same charger system. How do you like that line?

    It's just amazing what a great resource this forum and all the members are. It is SO nice to be able to come here and ask questions, and even give the occasional helpful answer. :cool:

    Chris
     
  11. Kirk

    Kirk Well-Known Member

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    Had to cut out a very wet floor with my circular saw recently. Burned upaw the bearings in the saw. went and bought a new circ saw but bought a $15 blade to go with it. The blade claimed to be good for wet wood. I have done lots of small building projects and used dozens of different circ saws. Most had eithter the factory new blade or one of the $3.99 replacement blades. This blade I bought changed the way I think about circ saws. Buy a blade designed to cut what you are cutting and buy the best blade you can. It makes the saw!!!!!!
     
  12. HermitJohn

    HermitJohn Well-Known Member

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    Way back I had a 6 1/2 inch circular saw that I inherited from Dad. It was made before 7 1/4 inch became the standard. It was lighter than most modern circular saws and could still saw a modern 2x4 (1 1/2x 3 1/2).

    I'm not much for cordless because one has to hassle keeping batteries charged, but I have friend in KS with one and she says its easy for her to handle and does what she needs it to do. You'd have to make two passes to cut a 2x4 with one of these.

    Yep, blade is most important. As long as its sharp and proper blade for the job, should do fine. I've found the cheapy $1 to $3 carbide tipped combination blades to work fine. Toss when they dull. Sharp, clean blade would be especially important on a small cordless saw I would think. And as others said, dont overextend the blade. If you are cutting plywood, you only need blade to extend tiniest bit below the work. Using full depth on thin material is dangerous (blade can bind in the work easier or grab clothing/flesh) and requires more power from the saw.
     
  13. gilberte

    gilberte Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Sounds to me like the saw would be getting limited use, and obviously you are not too comfortable around power tools. Cordless is definitely the way for you to go, no cord to worry about cutting or otherwise getting in the way.
     
  14. blanknoone

    blanknoone Member

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    I have a lot of experience with the DeWalt 18V system, which is probably about as good as any cordless. I have used cheaper ones too...including one that was real cheap from Harbor Freight. There was a real difference in power between the two. That said even the DeWalt 18V circ saw is a little on the weak side. The other 18V tools are all great, but the circ is a little lacking. For anything other than a tiny job, I want a real (corded) circular saw.

    That said, it seems like you only want to do little jobs and very intermittantly. Go cordless; it is not a great saw, but it can cut. And if you are comfortable with it, that is the most important criteria.
     
  15. mightybooboo

    mightybooboo Well-Known Member

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    Have to ask,how long do those battery last?Both in use on the job and lifespan?
    Thanks,
    BooBoo
     
  16. goggleye57

    goggleye57 Active Member

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  17. Yukon Mike

    Yukon Mike Well-Known Member

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    I "used to have" a 7 1/4 inch circ and after I wore it out and wore me out, I bought a Craftsman 5 1/2. The best thing I ever did, it's light, easy to control, powerful as the bigger one and handles the 2x's lumber. You need to do yourself a favor and check it out!