handy little guy

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Review by glen posted 04-09-2012 03:15 AM 6204 views 1 time favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
handy little guy No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Well, i’ve had this handy little guy lying around for a couple months now and I think I’ve put it through its paces for wood. I bought it because sometimes my circular saw is a little overkilll. Also, I have a few jobs I need to do that would require me to hold a circular saw over my head (eg. trimming some lengths of already installed fence boards), something that i’m not totally comfortable with.

For those that don’t know, this is a mini-circular saw, set up for plunge cuts, to a maximum depth of just over 1 inch. It’s light and can be operated with 1 hand easily.

Out of the box, everything is ready to go. I checked the lazer and it was spot on for the cut. The baseplate has a removable non-marring shoe that helps for some finer work, and while you can’t see the blade when you cut, the guide on the base is a good solid reference.

The saw has a spring loaded plunge mechanism that worked silky smooth until it saw sawdust. Now, the plunge motion has become a bit sticky, which can make starting a cut awkward, especially if you’re doing a rip and not a plunge. Basically, you have to balance the saw more on the front of the machine to get the plunge to go down, and then level it out. Combine with that the somewhat klunky safety switch, and it takes a bit of getting used to. Maybe I’m just not 100% used to where the blade is exactly in respect to the baseplate – I’ll write an update if starting cuts gets easier with time… and cleaning.

Once going though, this baby cuts like butter. I’ve used it for trimming up some maple hardwood flooring, shaving a bit off the end of some doors that were the wrong size, cutting a bunch of ply and MDF, and it just goes with ease. I haven’t tried the steel or diamond blades yet, but I’ve got some tile cutting coming up and I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this thin. With what I’ve been cutting, i’ve had no problems with it wanting to bind or the motor slowing down.

There’s a simple straight edge attachment that comes with it and it works well once set up. The only thing to watch for is that it secures itself using a screw that has a tendency to push the guide as you tighten it.

Adjusting the depth is quite easy with the lock on the side. Unfortunately, there’s no bevel on this saw. The carrying case is a soft-sided canvas case that fits the saw, blades, keys and guide easily.

Overall, at the $120 that I paid for it, I’m happy. I feel a lot better about holding this guy over my head for some small jobs rather than my heavier circular saw. It’s a quick tool to whip out and just get some things done. I certainly wouldn’t use it for very precise woodworking, but for the run-of-the-mill quick cuts, especially in awkward spaces, this guy is really great.

View glen's profile


175 posts in 3765 days

7 comments so far

View ChunkyC's profile


856 posts in 4467 days

#1 posted 04-09-2012 02:34 PM

What’s the power like? I have a 28 V LiIon Milwaukee circular saw that I don’t think has the power to handle even the smallest of jobs.


-- Chunk's Workshop pictures:

View glen's profile


175 posts in 3765 days

#2 posted 04-09-2012 02:45 PM

It’s a 4 amp motor, no load speed of 3500rpm. I haven’t cut much beyond 3/4” sheet goods with it, but like i said, it hasn’t waivered. It also worked like a charm on some somewhat soaked pressure treated posts I was notching out.

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

3875 posts in 4650 days

#3 posted 04-10-2012 02:50 PM

I don’t have one of these but to continue with the answer from ChunkyC…. The small blade should give it a decided mechanical advantage. Try putting a 7 1/2” circular saw blade in your 10” table saw. You have limited blade height but suddenly you seem to have twice the power. It has the same effect as changing the pulley size. I’d imagine this smaller blade would behave well with batteries.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View a1Jim's profile


118200 posts in 4789 days

#4 posted 04-10-2012 03:12 PM

One of my students had bought a Rockwell like yours and brought it to class I was unerwellmed with it’s overall feel and power and found the plunging action to be annoying. It sounds like you have used yours much more than the few test cuts I tried with with my student so you have a better basis to review this saw than I do. I’m a contractor of many years and I’m probable a saw snob owning no less the 6 circular saws at a time. The small saw I use is more of a traditional style trim saw I’ve used for years and found it to do a good job in tight spaces.


View glen's profile


175 posts in 3765 days

#5 posted 04-10-2012 06:52 PM

a1Jim – yeah, I agree, it’s a bit awkward at first. For starting cuts, I definitely prefer a 2-handed start, and then just finish the cut with 1 hand. It provides a little more stability. The tool isn’t perfect, but so far I have been impressed with its cutting power, and it’s fairly light and easy for me to maneuver, so for those quick and awkward jobs, I think it excels. Definitely though, the PC that you linked to would likely be easier to initiate a cut, especially if you’re a person who routinely turns to their circular saw.

View RussellAP's profile


3105 posts in 3499 days

#6 posted 05-08-2012 01:11 PM

I have one and love it. It’ll rip a 4×8 sheet or get you out of a tight spot.
I used mine to install a soffet vent on my house. Made the job a snap.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View woodklutz's profile


221 posts in 3981 days

#7 posted 12-10-2012 02:15 PM

I have this saw and it is easy and versatile. I ripped 1/8” straight as an arrow. Just waiting for someone to come up with a jig or two. A note, use the vacuum with this.

-- honing my craft one mistake at a time.

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