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Thread: Circular saw where base edge can be adjusted parallel with blade

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Sylvania, OH
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    Circular saw where base edge can be adjusted parallel with blade

    I'm thinking of buying a new circular saw for edge guided sheet cutting. My 25 year old inexpensive Craftsman just doesn't "cut it" when trying to make straight lines. In one article I read, it was pointed out that a good circular saw should have the ability to adjust the base so that it's edge is exactly parallel to the saw blade. After researching saws, I find that the DeWalt DW364 has an adjusting screw so you can easily adjust for parallelism. Looking at the other saws in this price range, I don't seem to see any way to make this adjustment. Am I missing something? Do you have a list of circular saws in the $100 to $175 range that can be easily adjusted for parallelism? My other requirement is an electric brake. Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Feb 2006
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    David - I looked for similar features without luck. In the end, I ended up taking apart my Porter Cable 314 trim saw and filing away about 1/16" of the body where it attached to the base to bring it into square. Done once, the saw should stay in square. I suspect many circular saws are a bit out of square to the tolerances required for joinery. Since they are designed for primarily cutting framing lumber, base adjustably to the blade isn't deemed necessary.

  3. #3
    I have one of the DeWalts and a couple of the older Black and Decker Super Saw Cats that have the same feature. Bought all of them in pawn shops. Paid $10, and $25 for the B&D's and $35 for the DeWalt. These saws are "bullet proof," so I wouldn't be afraid of a used one,especially when the price is right. Be sure and build the breakdown table show in the same article in FWW. When I built mine, I used 3/4 plywood, 3 1/2" tall for, the long rails and 2 X 4's laid flat for the cross rails. I'm on my fourth set of cross rails.

  4. #4
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    May 2006
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    Puget Sound area in Washington
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    Another thing to check is the axial play in the arbor. If it isn't close to zero, you will never get a clean cut.

    I would be more concerned with this than parallel alignment of the base with the blade which can be corrected as noted above.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Loren Hedahl View Post
    Another thing to check is the axial play in the arbor. If it isn't close to zero, you will never get a clean cut.
    I am assuming that the popular saws in this price range all have close to no axial play in the arbor. This would include the Makita 5007 MGA, Milwaukee 6394-21, Porter Cable 325MAG, and the DeWalts DW364 and DW369CS. Are any of these guilty of excessive arbor play?

  6. #6
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    Jan 2005
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    Waterford, MI
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    About a year ago I realized my old CMan saw was about 1-1/2 degrees out and couldn't be adjusted to correct it. The motor housing was touching the base and it was tilted over as far as it was going to go, Just for breaking down sheet stuff to managable size for the TS I never realized it but needed something square for a project, So time for a new saw. I was astounded to find the same or similar issues on a number of saws I looked at. In the end I think I had it narrowed down to a Porter Cable and Makita. I asked the folks at Performance Tool which one they had more service issues with and ended up walking out with a Makita. They said they had never had one of those come back but did have a couple PC saws with issues come back.
    Use the fence Luke

  7. #7
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    Mar 2003
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    Redwood City, CA
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    I had a saw I adjusted like that. The shoe material was aluminum, a little less than an eighth thick. It took less than thirty minutes of filing to fix it.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Sturbridge, MA
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    85
    I own the DW364 after many years with a cheap old craftsman circular saw hand-me-down given to me by my dad years ago.

    Love the thing. A bit heavy compared to some but seems to be built like a tank. More than enough power and cuts like butter. Much quieter also than my old craftsman hand-me-down.

    The base plate is dead on square to the blade right from the factory on mine so I haven't needed to use the adjustment but that's why I got this saw, to be able to adjust it in the future.

    I even waited until Lowes carried this newer model so that I could add it to my wedding registry list. Thankfully one of my new brother-in-laws was kind enough to get it for me as a wedding gift!

  9. #9
    I've got a beat up old skilsaw. I was able to straighten the base with a couple of blows with a mallet.

    If I had the $, I'd take a different approach. I hear great things about the Makita 5007 / 5008 series.
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
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    Greenville, SC
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    When my Grandpa passed away I got his 1959 Craftsman circular saw, it is a cool looking saw, problem is it isn't strong enough to cut even a 3/4" sheet of ply without bogging down. I have since tried using my Bosch CS-20 but have given up on it, the blade isn't even close to parallel with the shoe and makes using my circular saw guide very difficult. I am currently in the market also for a better circular saw.

  11. #11
    +1 for the Dewalt 364. Ive got three of them and they are HEAVILY used on a daily basis. One of them I know has to be older than 12 years or so and I have never done a thing to them repair wise. The ability to adjust the baseplate to the blade is fantastic. When using a saw with a straighedge its a must have for me. For the money its a good buy and will last you a long time.
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  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by David Parker View Post
    I am assuming that the popular saws in this price range all have close to no axial play in the arbor. This would include the Makita 5007 MGA, Milwaukee 6394-21, Porter Cable 325MAG, and the DeWalts DW364 and DW369CS. Are any of these guilty of excessive arbor play?
    I made this assumption about the PC 447 I own (347 + brake), but as it turns out my saw has about 1/64” axial play. It also wasn’t parallel from the blade to the shoe. Not only that, but I discovered there was some flex in the shoe/depth adjustment assembly.

    Well a better saw would be nice, but until then I am getting by with a MDF “Zero Clearance” shoe that I screwed to bottom of the factory shoe. I put one screw in the MDF, aligned the edge parallel to the blade, and then secured it with 3 more screws. Picked out a blade for the saw, then I plunged the blade through the MDF.

    The MDF “Zero Clearance” shoe gives me an edge parallel to the blade, and limits the axial play to the value of the saw kerf minus the blade body thickness.

    It is a huge improvement to the cut quality, and I can use the saw to cut veneer plywood and crosscut hardwood panel glue-ups.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Carol Stream Illinois
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    592
    I bought a Makita 5008 MGA a few weeks back, great saw with good depth of cut, wanted the Makita dust collection that is in the manual, when I called my local tool supplier they had no knoweldge of the part.

    I called the local Makita number this AM, the part is only avalible overseas, would love to go to Europe (any sponsors). Just got off the the phone with Dino of EZ, the parts will ship tomorrow, shipping is close to parts cost or flying to Europe (only kidding) I just want dust collection on my tools!

    Quote Originally Posted by John Schreiber View Post
    I've got a beat up old skilsaw. I was able to straighten the base with a couple of blows with a mallet.

    If I had the $, I'd take a different approach. I hear great things about the Makita 5007 / 5008 series.
    Any thing with sharp teeth eats meat.
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  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Northern Michigan
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    3,041
    I use a 1947 SpeedMatic in the shop. They just don't make them like that anymore......

    I use Makita or Hitachi for employees and have a stash of top handle Porter Cables for my own use. I learned with top handles and like them, but the Makitas are bullet proof and the Hitachi's are nice saws as well.

    I bought a Dewalt, used it for two or three cuts, and gave it away. Clumsyist saw I ever used and the noise was annoying. They may be tough, but with a saw like that I don't consider that a plus.

  15. #15
    I still use my drop foot saws
    Millwaukee only makes my model in the 10.25 size now

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