Great saw with a few annoyances

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Review by Webb posted 12-06-2009 12:37 AM 6519 views 0 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great saw with a few annoyances No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have had this saw for about two years now and use it regularly. I have not yet bothered making a sled for the tablesaw since I tend to use this for anything narrower than about 14”. Note you can cut boards as wide as 16” but it requires messing about with the fence which I have not bothered to do.

The saw does eat up a lot of space; you need a lot of clearance on the sides plus it needs a substantial clearance behind the saw. The price for the capacity I guess. I have not permanently mounted it anywhere and I tend to move it around to use depending on the size of the lumber (the walls of the garage are taken up by storage so I don’t really get to keep a long dedicated mitre table). The saw has a small lock-pin that works very well and it is very easy to move around; it is also very self-contained and other than the power cord I never worry about bits falling off.

The saw arrived pretty much perfect out of the box and needed no calibration. The stock blade was actually very good – I replaced it with a Forrest and to be honest I did not see much of a difference (unlike on the tablesaw where my stock blade left a lot to be desired).

The saw cuts well and has proven very stable – I checked the calibration recently (first time after the purchase) and despite being moved around a lot it was still dead-on. It is also sizable enough that cuts are precise since the saw does not wobble about or shift during operation. I have the laser line thing which works well enough, but it feels like there should be something better out there – if I did not have it I might have bothered to make a better marker for exactly where the blade cuts. I can only line up cuts on one side, e.g. if I am trimming a bit off the left I have to turn the wood around to make the cut or I have to guess where the blade’s kerf will end up. Something that works on both sides would be good; I recall seeing a new one that just uses a bright light to cast a shadow from the blade instead – if anybody has one please let me know how it works.

The motor shuts off very fast and it has a blade cover that retreats as you lower the blade. I have never felt in danger from the blade. The only things I’ve done under the heading of ‘stupid’ is to trim short ends off stock which risks them being thrown about by the blade; mostly, the only way bits come back at me would be after bouncing off something at the back of the saw – alarming, but not anywhere near the agony of being hit by something off a tablesaw. Also no chance of that dragging your hand into the blade. Cuts from the saw are generally similar to a bandsaw (very clean cuts – I’m talking about the wood) – when you are done, the wood does not shift about – if you lift the blade, the two cuts just sit there which feels quite safe in use.

The insert is rather wide and small bits fall down through it quite easily (~1/8”). I may consider a zero-clearance one for safety but I do not think that would do much for chip-out since I’ve not had any problems with chip-out at the bottom – it can be a problem at the rear and when needed I use a backing-block. Being able to slide the saw backward through a cut seems to help reduce it too but once again, I have not needed to deal with it too much – having blades with 80+ teeth probably contributes (vs. the 40-odd typical on a combination tablesaw blade).

The hold-down clamp has a fairly fine thread on it. This makes it a bit of a pain to use since you have to turn the knob a lot of rotations to tighten and loosen the clamp. I recall seeing an improvement that uses a toggle clamp on a FesTool – hopefully DeWalt will do the same. This results in me not using it as often as I should; generally, only for longer pieces or other cases where I suspect that the wood might shift after the cut.

Dust collection – there is none. It comes with a small bag that seems completely useless. Replacing the bag with a vacuum does no better (dust goes there – it just goes everywhere else as well). I’d say a good 18” wide swath by the time you are 10” back from the saw, but maybe that is a slight exaggeration. I’d say the saw was definitely intended to be used either out in the open on a job site where you don’t care much or with a large shroud behind it. No idea why the small bag is shipped with the saw.

Blade changing is clearly not something done often – it is quite complex and takes a good few minutes undoing a variety of hex nuts.

View Webb's profile


46 posts in 4056 days

13 comments so far

View Mark's profile


1817 posts in 4044 days

#1 posted 12-06-2009 01:23 AM

I know what you mean with this whole description about it…maybe more…lol…I have the exact same saw. Baught it last july and I have a freud diablo blade in it. luckily i got mine with the stand it comes with because if you dont have a stand for that saw its useless. you cant cut pieces smaller than the table on it really otherewise you got wood shootin everywhere. its not good for cutting very thin/skinny wood either because it just shreads it and splits it. sometimes i think the saw is just a heavy duty construction or framing saw not meant for woodworking BUT i am a big time dewalt fan!

-- M.K.

View Rick Boyett's profile

Rick Boyett

167 posts in 3983 days

#2 posted 12-06-2009 05:57 AM

I’ve got the previous generation of this saw and it sucks to see that DeWalt has yet to figure out that dust collection is important. Otherwise it is an outstanding saw.


I haven’t had any issues cutting thin strips of wood. I find myself using my saw all the time. One thing you could try is to put a piece of painters masking tape over the area to be cut. That will definitely prevent any tear out from the stock. I believe there is also a clamp attachment available for holding smaller stock to the table.

View sidestepmcgee's profile


158 posts in 4495 days

#3 posted 12-06-2009 04:37 PM

best saw i own,use everyday for work very easy to fix if something breaks.other saws are not so easy to repair.solid construction which is why i love ,i can put this saw in the truck and not worry about it getting hurt.

-- eric post, tallahassee FL

View Mark's profile


1817 posts in 4044 days

#4 posted 12-06-2009 06:47 PM

ya but the clamps are too far to hold some of my cuts lol…thx rick

-- M.K.

View a1Jim's profile


118065 posts in 4347 days

#5 posted 12-06-2009 06:55 PM

I had the older version of this saw for years and worked well on many jobs for many years. the festool comparision is kind of a tough one given that festool sells for $ 1300 about twice of the dewalt. Thanks for the review.


View Frankie Talarico Jr.'s profile

Frankie Talarico Jr.

353 posts in 4127 days

#6 posted 12-06-2009 07:10 PM

it is a pretty heavy saw at that. But it doesn’t shift around so thats good. Must have a storng back to move it constantly. I’m not that big so maybe it’s just me.

-- Live by what you believe, not what they want you to believe.

View sidestepmcgee's profile


158 posts in 4495 days

#7 posted 12-07-2009 12:12 AM

it is hard to fine tune,I take mine apart once every 6 months and retighten everything and put locktite on the screws.I just had to do a 2 year checkup from the build up of metal dust from the miter slide ,man does she sing now.I seen every other brand fail to keep up with a construction pace,doesnt mean that I wont get the bosch for the shop and only for the shop.

-- eric post, tallahassee FL

View WilliamEarl's profile


7 posts in 3863 days

#8 posted 12-07-2009 10:50 PM

I’ve never had to tune mine extensively and have been very happy with the performance. I was able to get better cut line position by making up a hardwood zero clearance type insert and following the cut lines on either side of the blade. I do have to replace it as it wears a bit in service. I have tamed the dust issue, mostly by brute force. None of the add ons worked. I constructed an enclosure (out of double wall cardboard) that encloses the rear area of the saw travel with minimal extra volume. I then added a dust collector entry (6” x 8”) located in the path of the saw dust throw. My system gathers all of the light dust that normally flies around and ends up in your lungs. Heavies fall to the bottom of the enclosure. The advantage I have is that my dust collector is a 3 HP Oneida that pulls like a force of nature.

View robogreg's profile


5 posts in 3862 days

#9 posted 12-08-2009 07:43 PM

I have this same saw and for dust collection I use one of these hoods, It works greats.

View Webb's profile


46 posts in 4056 days

#10 posted 12-09-2009 05:08 AM

Wow – that is one serious dust hood!!

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4664 days

#11 posted 12-09-2009 03:48 PM

I’ve also had the older version for about six years now. I have ZERO complaints except the dust extraction which is virtually useless.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View Jim's profile


80 posts in 4848 days

#12 posted 12-10-2009 04:17 AM

My dust ‘collection’ for this saw consists of using it outside my shop underneath an overhang! Seriously, I tried to build a hood for it but the saw is too big for an effective hood (at least a homebuilt one). So I just gave up and moved it outdoors. Fortunately I live where the weather allows me this luxury.

-- Jim,

View michstairguy's profile


21 posts in 4014 days

#13 posted 12-11-2009 07:10 PM

I have the 10in version of this saw. I love it! The dust bag is worthless as well and this is something that noone seems to get right. Hooking a vac up to the outlet helps a bit but not perfect. If anyone is looking at the 717 or 718 think real hard about the led worklight that connects to it, way better than any laser as you dont need to make any adjustments it casts a shadow from the blade to exactly where the blade is gonna cut on the workpiece its flawless. Overall a top notch product that the boys at Dewalt should be proud of. I will post a review of the dw717after having it for a few months.

-- There is no growing in knowing where your going

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