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ByronBlack

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Hi chaps

I've started to use quite a bit of sheet material for various jobs around the house, and basic cabinet/drawer making. I used to struggle by with a crappy B&D Jigsaw

I'm looking at the hitach C7BU from axminster
http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id=22304
It's currently got £25 off and a spare blade. The reason i'm looking at this tool is because its a good brand, electronic brake and is reasonably quiet.

Do you think this saw is worth the purchase over a basic Makita? And will a perform 50" guide rail be good enough to give me straight edges?

Also, what is regarded as the best blade for sheet cutting?

Thank in advance for any advice here.
 

Matt1245

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I sell Hitachi power tools (there is a pattern forming here :lol: )

The C7BU is a great saw, Hitachi tools are top quality across the range. Makita are good too, but for my money, i think the hitachi has the slight edge. Although it may come down to your personal preference, what feels right to you, if you get to have a fumble of both machines.

Freud blades, can't go wrong.

Matt.
 

ByronBlack

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Thanks again for the prompt info!

I looked at the Makita, and to be honest it felt a little 'plain' if that makes any sense, and I quite like the more advanced features of the Hitachi.

Volume being a major thing with me and tools and with your extra info, i'll go with the Hitachi - seems to be a good deal.

Where is the best place to get Freud blades?
 

jasonB

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Also worth looking at the CMT blades. A thin kerf one will reduce the load on the saw and reduce the amount of waste/sawdust. At that diameter the LU06M from Freud would be the best bet for a good finish on most boards. Machine Mart carry Freud stuff., but a bit of googling will no doubt find it for less.

Jason
 

ike

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The blade brake is a very good feature and it's a cracking deal at the moment. You won't be disappointed with Hitachi - they're proper industrial quality especially the motors as Hitachi manufacture their own unlike many others.
 

Alf

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Have the Hitachi. Love the Hitachi. Wouldn't be without a braked C/S for all the tea in China now.

Personally I'd forget the guide clamp and make yourself a couple of guides from ply/MDF/hardboard. Like this. Normally I'd no more look at "Women in Woodworking" that chop off my own hand, but it was the first article that came up now FWW have pulled their's into "pay only". Worth making a couple; one for long enough to cut down the length of an 8x4 sheet and one across. I also made one with a fence for short 90° cuts, which has proved handy. Make sure you allow enough width to the fence so your clamps will clear the body of the saw, btw. DAMHIKT...

Cheers, Alf
 

tibbs

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Alf":7kwjh9dg said:
Make sure you allow enough width to the fence so your clamps will clear the body of the saw, btw. DAMHIKT...
Been there, done that, got the T-shirt (& the scrap) :evil:

Also - Make sure you always clamp the fence to the piece you want to keep (otherwise everything ends up 3.2mm too narrow/short :evil: :evil: ) - its intuitive when trimming a small piece of waste off, but counter-intuitive when cutting off a piece to keep from a larger sheet (to me anyway).

Richard
 

Alf

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tibbs":1baz5mdu said:
Also - Make sure you always clamp the fence to the piece you want to keep (otherwise everything ends up 3.2mm too narrow/short :evil: :evil: ) - its intuitive when trimming a small piece of waste off, but counter-intuitive when cutting off a piece to keep from a larger sheet (to me anyway).
Ah yes, that's a good one, Richard. I think I have that written that in LARGE LETTERS on at least one of my guides after an unhappy bout of memory loss... :oops:

Cheers, Alf
 

pooka

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I haven't used any other circular saw, but I have used the Hitachi C7U (no electronic brake) for several years now and have been very happy with it. I replaced the stock blade with a 40-tooth Freud combination blade, made up some cutting guides (plywood and hardboard) and a sacrificial cutting table, and it turned the saw into something much more effective and useful (I get clean and accurate cuts every time).

I would find the brake a very useful addition, but unfortunately I didn't have the budget for that version of the saw at the time. The size and weight of the C7U has been ideal for me - some of the alternative saws available when I bought mine were much bigger and/or heavier.

If I were buying again now, I would consider the Festool and guide rails. Although the quality of cut from my Hitachi is excellent, I find the biggest pain to be the weight of my cutting guides (well, the 8ft one anyway - its weight makes carrying it around awkward so it is at greater risk of being bashed off things which might damage it. Part of the issue here though is the limited space that I have to work in - if I had a large workshop this would be much less of an issue). If the Festool guides live up to their widespread reputation for accuracy, then their lighter weight might sell me on them. Mind you, the extra cost of the Festool makes it anything but a simple choice.
 

ByronBlack

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wow - thanks for all this great info guy's, much appreciated.

I did look at the festool after reading a fair bit of the archived threads on here, but unfortunatly I just cannot justify the cost, espeically as i'm a relative newbie. I'm buying a bandsaw at the same time so I need to be a little economical.

Interesting tip about the straight-edge, but here's a real newbie question for you.

How I do create a length of wood to use as a straight edge, when I don't have a straight-edge to cut the afformentioned straight edge? Does that make sense?

I know I could use the side of a sheet that is already square, but what about the second piece of batten that screws on top to guide the saw? Is it possible to buy this pre-cut? My timber yard are pants for cutting sheet material, and my local B&Q charge excessively for delivery/cutting.
 

wizer

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iirc all you need to do it screw/attatch the guide rail piece to a piece of sheet material wider than your base plate, then run the saw along it. If your saw blade is exactly square to your baseplate then this should give you can accurate guide rail.

Shoot me if I am wrong, i am new too ;)
 

ByronBlack

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I see, so aslong as the top guide rail part is square to the blade, the blade will actually cut through the bottom section creating a straight edge? Am I reading you right there?
 

wizer

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yes i think thats how it goes, not tried it yet tho.
 

tim

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I see, so aslong as the top guide rail part is square to the blade, the blade will actually cut through the bottom section creating a straight edge? Am I reading you right there?
Thats exactly right. Don't forget that you may need to make a new one if you change blade esp with a thinner kerf and that you will lose depth of cut so don't make it out of inch thick stuff!

Cheers

Tim
 

ByronBlack

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tim":2d8jn2ea said:
I see, so aslong as the top guide rail part is square to the blade, the blade will actually cut through the bottom section creating a straight edge? Am I reading you right there?
Thats exactly right. Don't forget that you may need to make a new one if you change blade esp with a thinner kerf and that you will lose depth of cut so don't make it out of inch thick stuff!

Cheers

Tim
I'll buy a good blade before I do this!

Well thanks for all the tips guy's. This is probably the most friendly forum i've been on!

I've now placed an order with Axminster for the Hitachi CS -- and a JET 14" Bandsaw, so i'm going to be like kid on xmas come next week! Oh, and before anyone else says it - i've already placed an order with Dur-Edge :)
 

pooka

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Re making up the cutting guides: I made mine using 18mm birch plywood. The edges on the 8ft x 4ft sheets that I was buying were not very smooth though, so I didn't want to rely on one of those exposed edges to guide the saw base against. I had my supplier cut a strip from an 8ft sheet for me, and they produced a (fairly) clean cut which has worked out fine. I then used that to cut smaller guides.

If your supplier doesn't produce good quality cuts, maybe you could buy a well finished length of pine to act as a guide with which you can cut your own guide? I don't envy you that task though as I haven't come across many lengths of pine that would be sufficiently straight for this (and better quality wood might just be too expensive to justify buying it for this purpose).

I have toyed with the idea of gluing a strip of laminate to the plywood edge of my guides that the saw bears against, but I haven't done so yet (might just be too much trouble). If you are stuck with, using as your guide, an edge of a plywood sheet that is straight but not very smooth, it might be a (tedious/painful) way of getting around that issue.

Incidentally, the plywood strip of my guides is 8" wide, and the hardboard base extends a couple of inches on the non-cutting side. That width of plywood is probably overkill (although on the 8ft guide it seems about right, for rigidity), but it does mean that you have plenty of space to apply clamps without the clamps getting in the way of the body of the saw (the saw body overlaps the plywood by a few inches). The extra bit of hardboard on the non-cutting side is very useful for clamping too. Unfortunately though, standard hardboard is not very robust, so I end up treating my cutting guides as very fragile when moving or storing them. I have heard of "tempered hardboard", which sounds more robust, but I have never managed to find any.
 

Alf

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pooka":izqgnoz6 said:
The extra bit of hardboard on the non-cutting side is very useful for clamping too.
Or make it wide enough to accommodate your router.

Cheers, Alf
 

wizer

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Alf":fc0k08sv said:
pooka":fc0k08sv said:
The extra bit of hardboard on the non-cutting side is very useful for clamping too.
Or make it wide enough to accommodate your router.

Cheers, Alf
clever idea that
 
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