Skil Worm gear saw

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Review by Don K. posted 04-25-2009 06:53 AM 15145 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Skil Worm gear saw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I know many woodworkers do not use a “Worm gear” saw because it is not precise enough for fine detail cutting. But at times I still find I need to use one (other than in my remodel business). A few weeks ago, (before easter) I was asked to build a project for my church (A 20ft tall mountain for a Easter play) and I pulled out my trusty 20+ year old Skil worm drive saw to begin work. Guess what, didn’t work anymore. So I jumped in my truck and head down to my local Lowe’s to by a new one.

Enter the Mag77 Worm Drive – Mag77 – Magnesium Worm Drive Circular Saw, I had read the reviews on this saw….and they did not lie. It is much lighter than the old worm gear saw, but feels like it is a tank. Power ? I have used cheap table saws that did not have as much power as this monster. Very easy to use, well balanced, and the top handle is postioned just right (I do hear it is awkward to use for left handed people). The base plate looks like it could take a real beating and never bend.

All in all this is a great worm gear saw for those in the market.There is one small problem I have found with the saw. The factory preset postions are not accurate at 90deg. Like all hand held saws, these are not adjustable settings, you flip the lever and go back and forth between 45 and 90 degree untill you hit a metal tab that stops the saw. I was making my project for the church with my new saw, when I noticed the cuts were at a slight angle. I played with the adjusting lever, but no mater what I did, it would not sit at a exact 90, close, but not dead on.

The project I was working on was not that critical, so I finished cutting with it, and the next day took it back to the store and got a exchange. Thinking it was nothing more than a slight factory blim, I grabed my new one and out the door I went. Imagine my surprise when I got home, took it out of the box, and the blade still went past 90 at the 90 deg. stop.

As I said, it is close, and for framing work and the such, it is just fine. But if your going to use it for some more precise cutting, don’t trust the factory stop, it goes a few degrees PAST 90, you will need to use a small square to set it at 90.

This is not a big deal, and I highly recomend this saw for anyone wanting a true power house to do rough cutting, framing etc.

-- Don S.E. OK

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Don K.

1075 posts in 4175 days

16 comments so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4613 days

#1 posted 04-25-2009 02:57 PM

If I needed precise cutting, a jobsite circular saw isn’t what I’d be reaching for.

View patron's profile


13708 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 04-25-2009 03:23 PM

after 30 years with my skill 77 , i got the new one too ! ( old one sparked way much , armature worn ) .
to me it’s still the only saw i will use .
i can see my cut line ! i still wonder why they even make saws that you cant see cut line .
as with some tools that are some off ( eventualy they all get that way ) , i find some way to dental glue
a spacer ( washer , metal rod ,some kind of stop ) some where on tool to correct this .
in my fast paced work world inovation is the only fix i get , as many of my jobs are remote , and i can’t take the time to stop and go to town for relief .
thats why i still have my hand tools with me , theres always a way to get the job done !
in todays disposable world you get what they make , unless you can afford what you want !
everything is generic , and corporate greed dictates that they compet (?) with each other , not satisfy our needs .
you got shoe salesmen managing factorys , and pig farmers designing tools , go figure !

good luck to you , we do the best we can !

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jimmy's profile


44 posts in 4189 days

#3 posted 04-25-2009 06:19 PM

hello i just bought one of these at sears on the clearance rack for $51. i got it home plugged it in and it doesnt seem to work. when i pull the switch it doesnt start. any suggestions? i think it is supposed to have brushes and they arent in it. would that be the problem? any help would be great.

-- 20 year old new woodworker. advice and tools much appreciated.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4613 days

#4 posted 04-25-2009 06:44 PM

LOL, it never ceases to amaze me.

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 4602 days

#5 posted 04-26-2009 05:59 AM

I have for over 20 years used my skill 77 for more projects than I can count. even wet cutting cinder blocks. It now looks like hell but I still use it for cutting panels before they come into the shop. Great saw.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View POPSHOP's profile


125 posts in 4100 days

#6 posted 07-03-2009 04:14 AM

I own 2 and the oldest is 16 yrs old and still singing . I am gonna build a 10 inch bigfoot saw soon with the same skill as a base assy. Nobody I know will borrow mine cause they weigh 21 pounds. LOL .I dont mind either !!!!!!


View Karson's profile


35225 posts in 5249 days

#7 posted 07-03-2009 05:21 AM

I’ve got the skill 77 and it’s a great saw. i bought it on ebay and haven’t used it much. But when you need the power it’s there.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View JMG's profile


45 posts in 4098 days

#8 posted 07-05-2009 01:22 AM

What’s the difference in a worm drive saw and a normal circular saw? I like my trusty old Makita circular saw. I can see my cut line just fine with it.

-- -Jon

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4175 days

#9 posted 07-05-2009 01:38 AM

Worm gear just has more torq and power…and will last several times longer than a normal circular saw. It also runs in oil Vs. a sealed bearing that circular saws have. Nothing wrong with a Circular saw….I have a few myself.

-- Don S.E. OK

View a1Jim's profile


118134 posts in 4426 days

#10 posted 07-05-2009 03:27 AM

Hey Don
Is this the one you cut your dovetails with? :))


View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 4175 days

#11 posted 07-05-2009 03:29 AM

Why sure jim…works well…lol

-- Don S.E. OK

View devann's profile


2250 posts in 3541 days

#12 posted 02-21-2011 09:03 AM

Model 77s Have been my staple ciicular saw for 30 years. I’ve been through a few of them and they are the most durable saw around. Still have one, and I keep the 8 1/4” model though I only use it for cutting jackrafters for bastard hips and valleys. It can cut the 60 degree bevel necessary for a proper fit.
How a saw fits your hand is important The better the fit the safer you’ll be. Some of the Jap saws are just to small and uncomfortable for me.
I have had many “carpenters” claiming to be framers whine about how heavy model 77s are so I let them use my sidewinder saws, you know the one with the blade on the wrong side. Truth be told I always thought that a framer outta have enough stamina not to complain about such trivial things. But I do find that no matter which kind of saw you prefer you have to have both a wormgear and a “sidewinder”. Once in a blue moon you are going to have to make a notched cut at an angle and there is going to be a left and a right condition. Example: a handrail cap on a deck going from a newel post to a handrail post at the top of the stairs with handrails on both the left and right sides.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Grit's profile


44 posts in 3430 days

#13 posted 05-07-2011 04:11 AM

I won one at a Scouting event about five years ago. It was a tool that I wanted because I know they are smoother than the standard circular saws.
I often use long pieces of red oak to make make bar tops, mantles and such. I made a jig that gives me a quick and very accurate 90 degree cut. I use a Freud blade for finish work. My cuts have had to be very tight. Once the Mag starts, it gently goes through the wood with very little effort.

This saw is a bull. I installed four tons of rough slate in my backyard. I cut pieces of slate with a diamond blade on this beast all day long.


-- "Be more human."

View cabmaker's profile


1745 posts in 3658 days

#14 posted 05-07-2011 04:31 AM

I made a living with those things early on and also had the 8 1/4 as mentioned above. Mine were very precise and rugged. Also as mentioned they really earned there keep on rafter cutting. we used them for cornice as well but they were not for nancy boys.

View PghTileGuy's profile


2 posts in 2991 days

#15 posted 07-15-2012 04:53 AM

I have the Skil 825. When cutting granite, yup granite, I use this monster. It’s old but so am I. It’s circa 1958. I give it a thorough cleaning each year and monitor the “oil” level. If you even think you’ll ever need to cut something that will require true heavy duty, find one on CL. Absolutely awesome.

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