Circular Saw Purchase Advice


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Was sizing plywood with my cordless Dewalt circ saw and also my bro in laws hand me down war torn Makita only to find out the battery doesn't last long long enough and I think his saw was dropped from a 40 story building.

Is worm drive the way to go? I'm left handed but can use both but prefer left. I like when the blade is closest to the right so when using my left hand I can see the blade better.

I've always liked Dewalt but are there better brands (corded)?

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The better question is what is the main function of this saw? Are you just breaking down sheet goods? If so I'd recommend a plunge cut track saw. Also, any decent worm drive circular saw is gonna run you around $225, if you're gonna be taking it with you to job sites, you might want to consider a magnesium saw for lighter weight. If you're doing on site work, perhaps the TS55 from Festool with dust collection is a good choice. 

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The better question is what is the main function of this saw? Are you just breaking down sheet goods? If so I'd recommend a plunge cut track saw. Also, any decent worm drive circular saw is gonna run you around $225, if you're gonna be taking it with you to job sites, you might want to consider a magnesium saw for lighter weight. If you're doing on site work, perhaps the TS55 from Festool with dust collection is a good choice. 

 

There's a lot to be said for that comment!  I have a track saw and use that for breaking down sheet goods and my worm drive for "construction" type use.  Now, if I didn't own a track saw and needed a good all around saw, then the worm drive would be my first choice. 

 

The magnesium is a bit lighter but, the Makita is even lighter yet.  In the end, awesome saws that flat deliver! 

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I'll say that I really like my Makita 5007MG. Very ergonomic and has never let me down. I use it for sheet goods and general construction type tasks. It's not a worm drive, but it's never been a lacking for power in anyway and I prefer the lighter feel of a sidewinder myself. I would just look at what feels like it's the most comfortable in your hand and go with that. 

 

I do use it with guide made from hardboard and strip of hardwood and its a pretty quick and cheap track saw alternative. 

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My main prolly only purpose is to break down sheet goods. I really do like the track saw but FT is really proud of theirs. I do have some of their stuff but being budget minded I was thinking quality saw and straight edge.

 

Take a look at their reconditioned stuff, the prices aren't as shocking.

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I use that little worm drive once in a while, but my favorite, go-to circular saws, are the PC 347, and 743.  They are no longer made, but strong and light magnesium sidewinders.  They are identical mirror images with one a right blade, and one a left blade.  I also have a right blade one with a brake just for trimming rafter tails to length.  Mine are probably twenty years old, have built a number of houses with them, they get used every week, and still run smooth and true.  They must have made a lot of them, because any time I look there are some on ebay in good shape.

 

For me, regular sized worm drives are mostly good for cutting on the deck, holding the board across your instep, so you don't have to bend over so far, but I almost never do that anyway.  The mag sidewinders are almost as easy to reach across a sheet of plywood with as the little sidewinder.

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My brain tends to go off at strange tangents at times

 

My suggestion is, if you don't own either, get a worm drive PC first. Everyone on the planet should own this great saw. Infact, hospitals should give them to newborns. 

My brain tends to go off at rather strange tangents at times and this prompted one.

 

I think this could help reduce the problem of absentee fathers not contributing to the well-being of their kids. Every newborn is issued with a toolkit and dad can use it only if he helps with the upbringing.

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It was barely used. My dad bought it from a hardware store that was going out of business in the 80s. It was new old stock when he got it. Paid something like $25 for it. I'm gonna say it's probably from the late 50s. The dust expulsion port that shoots a stream of dust out is less than clean. The saw has been used maybe 2 dozen times for some sheet goods and framing.

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Several of my first houses, I built with one of those 597s.  It was used when I bought it.  They kept that design for a couple of decades at least, but there became more and more plastic on them.  I have them in order hanging in a storage shed. 

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Points to ponder:

It looks like a drill motor with a worm gear. Kind of hard to do wrong.

It looks like plastic and aluminum plate settings. For accuracy this might be a drawback.

Amazon is good about returns. Unpackage carefully and examine the saw before plugging it in. If things do not seem up to par, carefully repackage and send it back.

We used battery DeWalts like this on the job all the time. That, a stack of cedar shakes, and a block plane made me lots of green. I cannot think a corded version like was linked would be worse.

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Since I'm normally only breaking down a few sheets at a time, I normally use my DeWalt 18v.

 

One thing to be aware of on cordless circular saws is that the stock blades really suck.   Adding one of these to both of my cordless saws probably quadruped the battery life.

 

Corded saws are great for building decks and continuous use, but I do very little of that...

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