Left tilt vs right tilt

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Forum topic by MrRon posted 04-01-2013 07:13 PM 3738 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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6088 posts in 4397 days

04-01-2013 07:13 PM

I really can’t see why everyone prefers left tilt over right tilt. I’ve always used right tilt saws for over 30 years and am comfortable with that configuration. The left tilt people say it’s safer because when cutting with the blade tilted, the work is not trapped between the blade and fence as it would be on a right tilt saw. That is not a problem with right tilt saws. You just move the fence to the left of the blade and you have the same safe configuration. I notice saw manufacturers are now making saws with left tilt only. I’m right handed and stand to the left of the blade and fence. In that position, I have a clear view of the blade and work. If the fence and work were on the left of the blade, my view would be impaired. Other than the tilt/safety issue, what else am I missing? Why are saw manufacturers endorsing left tilt?

28 replies so far

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3264 days

#1 posted 04-01-2013 07:24 PM

Having had two of each, I think it depends… I’m ambivalent.

The real benefits of left tilt are bevel rips that are wider than the left wing, and on many left tilting saws, the location of a hand wheel on most saws is better for right handed people. Also, the motor cover is on the left, so you can store more stuff under the wing.

My current left tilt saw has a hand wheel on the left, and another on the front, so the second benefit is gone, and the main motor cover is on the right, axing the third reason. I do occasionally bevel rip cabinet sides, and it works well for that. I miss having the fence cursor reference the arbor plate, not the blade (or worse, dado) thickness, as right tilt saws do.

So… I could go either way…

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

7076 posts in 3647 days

#2 posted 04-01-2013 07:28 PM

I think it’s what you get used to too. There is a way to use a shop made fence and keep the fence on the right, and still not have trapped cutoffs…but that’s an aside. Left tilt saws just gained big popularity recently. They have been available for a long time, but most sold were right tilt (again, until recently). Mine’s a RT, but I could be just as happy with LT…..but I won’t reject (or accept) a saw just because it’s one or the other. I will say this, sawing with the fence on the left side of the blade has an “unnatural” feel, at least to me.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View MrRon's profile


6088 posts in 4397 days

#3 posted 04-01-2013 07:36 PM

The biggest objection I have with left tilt is the reference of the fence cursor to the blade. Changing blades throws the cursor off, especially as you say dado blades. I believe all contractor style saws and tabletop models are still right tilt; only cabinet saws have gone left tilt.
Just for the sake of curiosity, have you ever had a saw with a tilt table? My first saw had the tilt table and later I had a Shopsmith that tilted the table. Forget about making bevel cuts.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

598 posts in 4471 days

#4 posted 04-01-2013 07:38 PM

I was told the same thing I think Barry is saying. With a workpiece so wide that you can bevel rip it only with the fence on the right side of the blade, and you’re wanting to bevel both edges, the second bevel cut happens with the tip of the first bevel solidly against the fence rather than wedged between the fence and the table.

Seems like a rather trivial reason, but that’s the reason I was given for the popularity of left-tilt saws.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View lieutenantdan's profile


176 posts in 3460 days

#5 posted 04-01-2013 07:42 PM

Since the earth tilts right on it’s axis you are better off with a left tilt saw to compensate.

-- "Of all the things I have lost in life, I miss my mind the most."

View BJODay's profile


528 posts in 3097 days

#6 posted 04-01-2013 08:09 PM

Doesn’t the earth tilt left on it’s axis in Australia?


View devann's profile


2260 posts in 3846 days

#7 posted 04-01-2013 08:24 PM

Mr.Ron, I think the answer to your last question is “to sell more saws”. My shop saw is an older model right tilt and that suits me just fine. You’re probably like me, you have been using the right tilt so long that you’ve learned how to deal with it. Then again my portable TS is a left tilt but it’s homemade and just happened to turn out that way.

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

View knotscott's profile


8421 posts in 4529 days

#8 posted 04-01-2013 08:36 PM

I’m positive that everyone doesn’t prefer left tilt saws, but some do. There are pros and cons with each. I’ve owned both, and prefer left tilt mainly because it allows me to tighten the arbor nut with my right hand using a normal threaded orientation. Tightening with my left hand in the opposite direction bugged me. If left happens to be safer, so be it….

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View joeyinsouthaustin's profile


1294 posts in 3226 days

#9 posted 04-01-2013 10:27 PM

I just have one of each ;) (tool gloat!!) However, since I work on the right side of the blade, and am used to that, the left tilt does keep the blow out on the short point of the mitre, making for a cleaner joint. (and feels safer to me) but righty is over there in the cases when I need it.

-- Who is John Galt?

View MrRon's profile


6088 posts in 4397 days

#10 posted 04-01-2013 10:37 PM

I believe Powermatic was the only cabinet saw that was left tilt when everyone else was right tilt. Now they are all left tilt.

View hotbyte's profile


1070 posts in 4129 days

#11 posted 04-01-2013 10:46 PM

Has to do with NASCAR…cut fast, tilt left!

View toolie's profile


2204 posts in 3782 days

#12 posted 04-01-2013 11:38 PM

You just move the fence to the left of the blade

how would one use this work method to bevel rip a 30” wide work piece if fences usually don’t provide for more than 12” rip capacity to the left of most (left or right tilt) blades?

Now they are all left tilt.

according to shopnotes magazine, they like the idea of left tilt to minimize the potential for trapping narrow bevel ripped work pieces between the blade and the fence. there are ways around this, like stand off fence jigs that readily address this issue, but the left tilt seems to be easier to manage where these bevel rips are concerned.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View History's profile


399 posts in 3135 days

#13 posted 04-02-2013 12:12 AM

I’m with devann, they are trying to get you to sell your right tilt for a new left tilt. No thanks, I’ll keep my American iron.

View knotscott's profile


8421 posts in 4529 days

#14 posted 04-02-2013 12:21 AM

Do people really sell right tilt saws that they’re happy with just to get left tilt, or were they looking to upgrade other aspects of their saw and simply happen to get left tilt in that process?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View OggieOglethorpe's profile


1276 posts in 3264 days

#15 posted 04-02-2013 12:40 AM

Here’s why the fence cursor is a minor annoyance and not a big issue…

My cursor is set to a 5/32” kerf, which is most all of my commonly used rip and crosscut blades. Pretty much anytime I’m using the cursor, one of these blades is installed, and the differences are not anything to worry about. If you’re one of those folks who believes table saws need to rip to 1/1000” repeatable accuracy in width, and you’re not a factory, we’ll agree to disagree.

In the case of dado or specialty blades, I’m normally cutting to a mark, and/or a stop block. So, the cursor is ignored. I did the same with my right tilt saws.

It would be NICE to use the scale, but like the motor cover, you get used to it.

showing 1 through 15 of 28 replies

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