Small circular saw for lightweight work

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Review by ferstler posted 11-24-2008 10:52 PM 15356 views 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Small circular saw for lightweight work No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have a Skil Mag-77 worm-drive saw for heavy-duty cutting. It is a bit elephantine for smaller-scale work, so I recently purchased this Craftsman 5.5-inch trim saw to fill out my saw collection. While listed as a Craftsman Professional tool, and while the build quality is terrific, it still seems a tad lightweight to be considered a pro-class tool.

The motor on this small saw is an 8-amp job, the rotational speed is 4,000 rpm, the cutting depth at 90 degrees is 1 5/8 inches (just enough for a 2×4, and the bevel guide goes out to 48 degrees. The thing weighs a fraction of what the Mag-77 comes in at, but it cuts strong and true, and like the Mag-77 it is a left-blade design that makes it easier to see the guide line when cutting right handed.

However, it also comes with a laser, which kind of negates the need to see the blade all that accurately during cuts. While I have been skeptical of laser guides in the past, this one works quite well even in daylight, although for the last inch or two of the cut the laser does not hit the wood. Then, you need to see the blade itself, and the left-blade design comes into its own. Anyway, a laser is a good idea, although for really staight cuts I will still clamp on a frence.

The only qualifier with this saw is the odd blade size. The arbor will not handle the kind of standard trim-saw blade that will fit battery powered versions, and so you have to go through the Sears Parts Department (not the store and not even Catalog Sales) to get replacements and those seem to come in only one style. The blade is technically considered a “part” of the saw and not just a blade. Well, it is a carpenter’s trim saw, and so what they offer is more than good enough. I did see a plywood blade in the correct size at the Sears store a while back and I think it would fit the saw. I might get one of those.

Blade issues notwithstanding, this is a good and useful saw if you do not need to make particularly deep cuts. It is actually rather cute.

Howard Ferstler

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