No one can get more time during a day, but we can actually save some of it. For hobbyists and professional craftsmen, a compound miter saw is an indispensable tool that really makes work easy and saves a lot of time during your woodworking projects.
Compound miter saws have lots of uses and applications in the workshop. From quickly crosscutting lumber, cutting of crown moldings and decorative trim works, a compound miter saw is the best tool by a distance for the job.
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A compound miter saw is a saw which consists of a mounted circulars saw blade used to create quick and accurate crosscuts or trimming of a work piece by pulling a large circular saw blade down in a quick motion onto the work piece being worked on. It is called a compound miter saw because it cuts at different angles to the work piece other than 90 degrees.
The compound miter saw makes quick cuts on the work piece by the fast spinning motion of the circular saw blade when it is pulled down into the work piece, and saves a lot of time
One very important feature of the compound miter saw, without which the saw would not operate is the fence. The fence provides an accurate and secure working angle between the circular saw blade and the longest edge of the work piece. This angle is usually set at 90 degrees as the standard position.
Types of Compound Miter Saw
- Sliding compound miter saw
- Non-sliding compound miter saw
- Single bevel compound miter saw
- Double bevel compound miter saw
Sliding compound miter saw vs non-sliding
There are sliding compound miter saws and non-sliding ones. The sliding compound miter saw has the radial arm feature while the non-sliding one does not. The radial arm saw feature helps to move the circular saw head to and fro across the width of the board. To use the sliding feature, you have to pull the saw head all the way forward, switch on the saw and push the saw back across the width of the work piece to cut it in two.
So with the sliding compound miter saw, you can crosscut boards that are larger in size using the radial arm feature. The non-sliding compound miter saw cannot crosscut large boards because it does not have the radial arm feature which slides the circular saw head across the width of the board.
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Double bevel and single bevel compound miter saw
A compound miter saw can either be double or single bevel. The single bevel means the saw head can only be rotated in one direction. Whereas in the double bevel compound miter saw, the circular saw head can be rotated both in the left and right direction.
If you need a compound miter saw for a decorative trim work, then you have to go for the double bevel compound miter saw. When using it for decorative trim work, you don’t have to flip the board over to the other side to cut mirror angles, because the saw head rotates to both sides of your work piece.
Best compound miter saw reviews
Having learned some of the basic things you need to know about compound miter saws. We’ll be reviewing some of the best compound miter saws that are out there in the market, in order to help you choose the best one that is fit for your project.
Dewalt DWS780 12-inch Double Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review
When it comes to woodworking tools, Dewalt are fond of producing the best, and the DWS780 is another one of their best, if you’re talking about compound miter saws. It’s very obvious that Dewalt put a lot of thought into designing this saw for optimal use. The saw is a beast and very reliable just as the DWS718 compound miter saw, but far better.
Although it takes up some space, but it gets the job done in a quick, clean and neat fashion. There are many improvements on this miter saw compared to previous versions of the Dewalt miter saw. Both the power cord and the dust tube now moves along with the dual slides, which makes it more comfortable to work with it. The power cord no longer hangs down from the motor, where it normally cause a lot of mess when you cutting extreme angles with the saw.
Perhaps, the most useful feature of this compound miter saw is the new XPS led system. It is very useful and far better than having to calibrate a laser. It lights the blades from both sides to casts a shadow of the blade on exactly where the cut will take place. So, there’s no guessing. You know the exact place your blade is going to shop off. It’s also very useful for those carrying out decorative trimming work. The XPS led system makes it easy for you to set the angle when you only know the line you want to cut.
The stops that come with it are pre-aligned and they’re very accurate. You can check just to be sure using a digital protractor
The major downside to this tool is the mediocre dust collection system. It’s also very heavy. So, it’s either you start building up your muscles, or your purchase a rolling stand to place it on. Apart from that, everything else about the DWS780 compound miter saw is tip tap.
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Bosch GCM12SD Double Bevel Gliding Compound Miter Saw
The Bosch GCM12SD double bevel gliding compound miter saw is one saw out of many that will really make your dreams come true in terms of its quality. One important feature of this saw that makes it stand out is the axial glide system. The axial glide system does not use the traditional rail setup of other sliding meter saws which can get messed up and usually requires maintenance to keep working perfectly. The axial glide system also makes it possible to sit saw just against the wall of your shop, making it possible to save an extra 12” of space in your workshop. If you want to use it in a very tight garage, then you will find this feature very useful
The setup of this saw is also very easy and intuitive. It requires only minor alignment out of the box. It’s equipped with quick-release squarelock fences which come aligned out of the box at 90 degres to the saw’s table, and requires little or no adjustments. The fences make use of an easy lock and unlock feature which makes it easy to slide the fence perfectly into position for easy and accurate alignment of the work piece.
The saw comes with a 60 tooth Bosh carbide blade which cuts very fast and smooth for a 60 tooth blade. The blade might not be adequate or may not provide the cut quality and smoothness required by those carrying out cabinet or furniture work. But it’s still very smooth, and you won’t have any problems at all with this blade if you’re into framing and deck building. However, you desire more quality in the cuts, then you can purchase 96 tooth Freud or Forest blade which will give you that extra cut-quality you desire.
The downside the Bosch gliding compound miter saw is the lack of laser lighting to guide your cuts. But you can actually do without the laser if you know what you’re doing. The dust bag is also not topnotch, but you can do well to connect a vacuum for better dust collection. The saw is also fairly big and heavy, making it an excellent choice as a workshop miter saw rather than a jobsite saw.
Overall, this saw is a top notch saw and will get the job done quickly and with great accuracy. It’s a wise investment.
Makita LS1016L Dual Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw Review
If you’ve had the Makita LS1013, then you will actually be thrilled with the new Makita LS1016L. The Makita LS1016L dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is actually an advance upgraded version of the LS1013 model.
As competitor manufacturers are making major improvements in their tools, Makita also stepped up their game with the LS1016L compound miter saw. The LS1016 is a very good quality saw with a very reasonable cutting capacity.
Compared to the LS1013, this saw is lighter making it suitable as a jobsite saw as it be easily transported from one position/location to another. The handles in the base of this saw are rounded, large and are very easy on the hands when carrying it around. It still weights a little over 50lbs
One feature that may give you some a reason for concern at first is the slide action of this saw. It is a little bit rough at first because the upper rail does not travel along very well, but it smooths out after several use. So, it’s not something of a big deal.
There’s also a laser that shows you were your cut will take place, which is one feature I really appreciate about this miter saw.
The miter table and lock system of the Makita LS1016L works like a dream. All you have to do is set it to the angle you desire and turn the knob anticlockwise, a spring loaded lock pops into place and you have a solid setup right away.
One very important feature that sets this compound miter saw from other miters saws is the characteristic soft start of the blade. The blade does not just start turning at constant speed but it accelerates from rest and quickly into full speed with absolute smoothness. You won’t even notice any recoil on saw as the blade starts to spin.
Another important feature of this saw is that it automatically increases its torque to overcome the resistance of cutting through the material. This means the harder the material, the more torque the saw produces to overcome the resistance.
One other feature you’re absolutely love about the Makita LS1016L compound miter saw is its quietness during operation. It does not use the belt to transfer torque from the motor to the blade. Makita chose to use a sealed gearbox instead, resulting in a very quiet machine during operation.
Is the cuts produce on by this saw smooth? Absolutely. It cuts polish smooth. You just don’t have to force it. Just lower the saw head on the work piece and allow the machine to work its magic.
The only downside to the Makita LS1016L compound miter saw is the initially rough rail movement noticed at first, which also smoothens out within several use of the machine; and the shabby dust collection system that comes with it. The dust hood that comes with it is nothing to write about. You can just remove it and connect the machine to your shop vac and you’re good to go.
Overall, the Makita LS1016L dual bevel sliding compound miter saw is an excellent choice and will live up to the hype if you happen to purchase it, and it will serve you for a very long time.
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