Lightweight saw cuts with power and precision

  • Advertise with us
Review by Loren posted 05-31-2008 03:12 PM 7009 views 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Lightweight saw  cuts with power and precision No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I don’t like the big 10 and 12” Slide compound saws. They are
too heavy to easily move around. I’m a relatively young man and
I am strong, but still I don’t like lifting much more than 40 lbs.
if I’m installing trim.

I bought this saw because I was doing a job where I had to miter
9” wide crown moulding and my older 12” miter saw (not a slider)
wasn’t able to do it, even on the flat.

The larger a blade on one of these sliding saws, the more it
will deflect and “flutter” in use… and a large blade magnifies
inaccuracies in the relationship between the slide and the saw
base. If sliders get dropped they can go permanently out
of whack – they aren’t adjustable the way they should be and
some are even manufactured with a “heel” in the blade… which
you might not find out until you start doing really demanding
work with the saw.

I like a light saw with a smaller blade for that reason. Much of
my work is in furniture making, not framing, so I don’t normally
need to cut thick boards with a miter saw, and if I do there
are other tools I can use.

This Dewalt saw makes acceptably accurate crosscuts. You can
make trenching cuts with it too, useful for making quick rabbets
in the ends of boards. I think it has 15 amps of power, which is
a lot more than the competing Hitachi 8.5” saw.

What I don’t like about the saw, and the reason it doesn’t merit
a 5-star (because it’s really good otherwise) is that the gauge
for tilting the saw-head is inaccurate. I think to get a 45 degree
cut you have to set it around 46 degrees on the gauge. It’s
such a minor thing that should be easy for Dewalt to get right.
It’s a design flaw they aren’t going to fix though.

Overall it’s a good tool with a strong motor and positive adjustments.
It’s sturdy-feeling too, though not too heavy at 43 lbs. Made in

View Loren's profile


10609 posts in 4504 days

7 comments so far

View teenagewoodworker's profile


2727 posts in 4624 days

#1 posted 05-31-2008 03:20 PM

looks nice. i was considering one of those but i didn’t have enough money. thanks for the review.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4678 days

#2 posted 05-31-2008 04:28 PM

Thanks for the review, Loren. I appreciated hearing about your opinion of the saw.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View USCJeff's profile


1065 posts in 4924 days

#3 posted 05-31-2008 08:00 PM

I guess bigger isn’t always better. The blade deflection comment is very true. Especially if you use a thin kerf table saw blade. I have the 12” nonslide Dewalt and it’s not the easiest thing to move around.

-- Jeff, South Carolina

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4730 days

#4 posted 06-01-2008 06:25 AM

I’ve been considering a sliding miter saw. For me, since I am not a pro, this would be , a stationary tool, so weight would not be a consideration, but blade deflection would be, so this review is of great value to me.

Thanks for the review.

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View Loren's profile


10609 posts in 4504 days

#5 posted 06-01-2008 11:11 PM

There is no doubt in my mind that for building most furniture
the most accurate solution is a decent table saw and crosscut
box or sliding table attachment.

An old Dewalt or Delta radial arm saw can also be set up
to hold close tolerances for joinery. For a Craftsman saw
or other non-industrial brands it’s pretty much hopeless.

A Radial arm saw can often be set up as an overarm router
as well – and can cut dados.

A compound miter saw is just plain useful to have close
to your workbench or assembly area. The fast set-up
time of these saws is an advantage when you need to
do miters and bevels in different configurations – and
also nibbling away at stock to get it “just right”.

I had a 12” Dewalt CMS (not a slider). It was pretty
accurate but the cutting motion was just straight down…
when you introduce the sliding motion there is more
room for deflection – that’s why I chose the DW712.

The problem with portable miter saws in general, as opposed to
heavier stationary tools, is that there isn’t enough mass
in the arbor to reduce the effect of vibration on the cut.
Chopping down seems to mitigate this somewhat, but
sliding the saw head puts a lot of pressure on that lightweight

Getting truly square crosscuts in hardwoods is always going
to be something that is best done with a heavy machine -
a sliding table saw or an old DeWalt RAS is really the ideal
choice for doing this is the shop, IMO.

I even have the Festool saw-guide system and while it performs
alright cutting sheet goods it’s light weight becomes an issue
when crosscutting 5/4 or thicker hardwood stock – even
with the great German engineering there is still enough vibration
and flutter that cuts often need to be cleaned or corrected
with a hand plane.

When making crosscuts for joinery it’s best to have wood on
both sides of the blade. When slicing off 1/16” with just the
edge of the saw blade you always introduce inaccuracy to
the cut… only a very heavy stationary tool can make this
type of cut “perfectly”, in my experience.

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4877 days

#6 posted 06-01-2008 11:55 PM

I wonder if what is being described as deviation, flutter etc is really just the board sliipping away from the cut with a thin kerf blade?

That should be easy enough to test in a shop.

I have an HItachi 12” sliider and so far so good as long as I clamp it.

Somebody mentioned chopping down which is one of the reasons that slider came into bieng.

If you have to drop the blade on your wood there are several severe forces set up before the blade entirely engages the cut.
For the record, I don’t use thin kerf blades very much any more.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View mantwi's profile


312 posts in 2752 days

#7 posted 10-08-2013 03:59 AM

I had one of the 8” Hitachi slide mitres many years ago when they first came out and your right about the quality of cut with a smaller blade being noticeably better. I hadn’t even thought of that saw until I saw this review and thank you for bringing this info back to mind for me. An 8” slider doesn’t have the capacity of a 12 but it’s still more than enough saw for the vast majority of cuts the average woodworker makes. I remember how much I loved that saw, it was state of the art at the time. Felt the same way about the Bosch 10” slider that replaced it but now that I’m older that 8” is calling to me.

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics