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Help choosing circular saw

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Lijongtao

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Hello

I want to buy my son a circular saw for Christmas. I have a budget of around £250. He is just getting into carpentry and is making a shed soon. I have narrowed it down to three models, two are 240v and one battery. It will be used at home only. For the Milwaulkee I already have the batteries and charger. I haven't a clue about saws but chose these on their reviews but wanted to ask the woodworkers who will know more as I don't always trust the reviews on Amazon etc.

If anyone else can throw one into this list I'd appreciate that. Here they are.

This one.. Makita HS7601J 190 mm and this DeWalt....and the Milwaulkee

Thank you Simon
 

Coyote

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Just my opinion, as I've never used any of these saws, but if you've already got the battery platform for the Milwaukee it would make sense to go for that one. I can't imagine that there is a who lot of performance variation between the three but the added flexibility of the Milwaukee being cordless would swing it for me.
 

robgul

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I would consider a plunge/track saw as it can be used on an off the track. I'm a recent convert to tracksaws - the ability to make straight cuts, especially on larger sheet materials, is brilliant. It's worth a look at Peter Millard's 10 Minute Workshop on YouTube to see his myriad uses for this type of tool.

... and an example - yesterday I needed to cut a couple of grooves/dados/rebates (call them what you like) about 600mm long in a sheet of MDF - too lazy to get the router out so made 2 passes with the track saw on its rail for each one and hey presto I had a 4mm slot (y)
 

mynamehere

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I have the Makita that you linked to, it was my first circular saw a few years ago.
It's a nice piece of kit for £120,-, but if I had known then what I know now (not much) I would have spent a bit more and bought a track saw, since I got the track saw the circular saw hasn't seen much daylight...
You lose a bit of maximum depth of cut but it does come with some extra abilities like Rob already mentioned.

Cheers!

Ferenc
 

Oddbod70

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Just a different thought....

£250 is a funny price point for a circular saw. It‘s too much for a perfectly serviceable joinery saw - the sort of thing you’d build a shed with, and not enough for the top flight cabinets makers saws. Its kinda bullet proof trade territory.

if he’s just starting out is there something else you could get him to go with it? A decent plane, or set of chisels?

FWIW I have the earlier makita and find it a bit underpowered For the size. Dewalts are generally pretty decent, and although I’ve never used a Milwaukee they seem to have a good reputation.

i have a “cooking” evolution for rough work, a small battery dewalt for sheet material, the makita and, until some lowlife nicked it, a top of the line metabo, which i loved.

its surpising how often its the evolution that gets pulled out tho.
 

DBT85

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Having used my bosch 190 (£102 new) corded for making my workshop, easily the most use it's had, go cordless. It was just a pain skipping over the cord going from one end of a rafter to the other nearly 30 times.

If it's used in an environment where you need to use a vac to extract from it then it makes little difference.

While new is always nice, look on ebay for used ones, they go for much less and still work fine. Allowing you to maybe add in some other bits as mentioned above.

I'd not even say "nice" chisels. My cheap lidl ones worked great for making my workbench, but you also need something to hit them with, and a knife to mark with, and a square of some kind, some way of keeping them sharp etc etc.
 

Oddbod70

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I'd not even say "nice" chisels. My cheap lidl ones worked great for making my workbench, but you also need something to hit them with, and a knife to mark with, and a square of some kind, etc etc.
Of course you are absolutely right on a practical level. I was just thinking back to a gift I was given 30 years ago. A set of boxwood handled marples chisels That are still with me today. I‘ll often pick them and remember past times with the person who gave them to me. I’m not sure a circular saw would have quite the same effect! :)
 

DBT85

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Of course you are absolutely right on a practical level. I was just thinking back to a gift I was given 30 years ago. A set of boxwood handled marples chisels That are still with me today. I‘ll often pick them and remember past times with the person who gave them to me. I’m not sure a circular saw would have quite the same effect! :)
Oh I agree in that respect. Would also depend on age and ability to add to that collection mind.

If mum and dad already have the tools, you can give some nice chisels as they can still be used effectively with the other family tools. If mum and dad don't have much in that regard, a lovely set of chisels won't get him very far in the short term when that cost could have bought a few cheaper bits to get a lot further. As is always the case, it depends! Should my daughter grow up and show an interest in this stuff I would do as you suggest. She'll have an entire worshop of tools to use with those nice chisels and can carry those memories forever. My dad was never into this kind of thing. While I learnt my DIY skills as his gopher, I was only probably 15 by the time he was the gopher on site!

I don't have anything like your chisels really and only really started aquiring tools when I moved out of home and more woodworking over the last 3 years or so. I do have my trusty Bosch SDS which has seen valiant service now for about 11 years. Bought that myself though!
 

Lijongtao

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I never thought of a track saw. It makes sense really and they're safer to use. He is due money too from his Gran and I am giving him some of my gear also. I have a set of plastic-handled Marples to give him and a Makita drill. I could put his Grans money to mine and get him a better track saw.
Oddbod70 mentioned cabinet saws. Can you suggest some makes and models?
I am thinking I could get a cheaper Milwaulkee as I have the batteries. There's one at £119 in Screwfix and I have a £60 voucher already from there so that can be used for rough timber work. Then, joining gift money together I could get him a decent track saw with a budget of around £500 all in.

Thank you all. I never thought of a track saw but it makes sense. He is currently at college studying construction but his heart lies in woodworking and he loves furniture restoration and made a friends kitchen cupboard, albeit a little rough but he's only 18 but I want him to begin his career with good tools, safe tools so he can do the best job possible.

Thanks for the replies. Would love to know what you think decent track saws are? For the time being forget the budget, I can work something out with his Gran. Really appreciate the help.
 

DBT85

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If you're going down the nice tracksaw route, I got my TS55 just a month ago from PowerToolMate for £400. That included the 1400mm rail. It's currently £407 but out of stock.


The cheapest I saw when looking around.

Toolfest is listing the 576009 as superceeding the 561583 set I got just a month ago, but I have no idea what's changed apart from the number. I'll see if I can find out.

Having used a titan tracksaw for over a year, the Festool (my first) is very nice.
 

Coyote

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If you can make the stretch then there is certainly a place for both. A track saw is great for breaking down sheets accurately and cleanly but it's not great (and I would suggest more dangerous in some respects) for general construction type jobs that a circular saw excels at.
 

DBT85

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Yeah, the fact that the circular saw is already at depth before you cut means you only need to push it forward. A plunge saw needs to be plunged down and forward which is why they are so great on rails to help eliminate the need to try and focus on both.

I wouldn't have tried to use my titan tracksaw as a circ saw while doing my framing.
 

Jackbequick

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Perhaps a good present could include safety power outlets in his (if exists) workshop.If in construction he may already have safety boots. Not all chisels are made to be hammered and mine are essentially used in paring and cleaning works. Don't buy those Stanleys with the grey (?) inserts...they rot and stink. Marples are ok and come in presentation box sets....nice...What about asking him for a list of what HE'D like to have and then see what you can do.

Circular saws are highly dangerous when it and the user are not fit for purpose...and like most tools should never be forced. Yes Milwauke have come along well and I'd buy them over deWalt or Makita. Actually the 'el-cheapo' the Ryobi has inproved also. Ozito...the junk, much as find it unlikely, has also improved.

Unfortunately tools are forced because people can't relax and just do the job a step at a time and sharpen tools as needed.

A good vintage mallet might be a nice present and save his chisels from abuse. A heavier mallet as well, could be useful in wall framing instead of a lump hammer...For woodwork a gage is very useful as are good scrapers. Again find out what HE wants and see what you can do.
 

Oddbod70

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As per DBT85s advice, the Festool TS55 is definitely the one everybody thinks of. Def sound advice, you can't really go wrong with that.

The Mafell is an alternative. In my original post I said Metabo, I meant to say Mafell, really sorry. I always get those two confused.

I looked it up but the one I had doesn't seem to be made any more. the nearest seems to be the MT55 . It really was a great saw. (Not plugging the source BTW, that's just the first ref I found).

Mind you, if you are really flush there is always this o_O.
 

marcros

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I haven't made a shed so I am guessing on the uses of a circular saw. Wont most of the cuts be cross cuts to length, so a chop saw might be a better bet?

Fast forward a bit and he has built his shed. He is learning carpentry at college, enjoys woodwork and has made a kitchen unit. At 18, I wanted to earn some money whilst I was studying so I would consider the track saw. With that, a pocket hole jig, and maybe some bits like an MFT top and some dogs I am sure that he could generate a sideline making some built in furniture. It doesn't need to be the Festool (which is a great bit of kit by the way). Even if it isnt the type of woodworking that he wants to do eventually it would generate some money to pay for further tools.

Just my thoughts based on the fact that when I eventually got a track saw I wished that I had got it years ago. That and a decent cordless drill driver.
 

shed9

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You could meet in the middle of a circular and a track saw with something like a Festool HK55 (with track), it's more for carpentry than 'woodworking' but worth being aware that it is an option. Would be faster for a shed build in my opinion. That said, a TS55 and track is probably a better investment all round. With a good MFT style topped bench it becomes so much more useful as a tool.
 

DBT85

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I haven't made a shed so I am guessing on the uses of a circular saw. Wont most of the cuts be cross cuts to length, so a chop saw might be a better bet?

Fast forward a bit and he has built his shed. He is learning carpentry at college, enjoys woodwork and has made a kitchen unit. At 18, I wanted to earn some money whilst I was studying so I would consider the track saw. With that, a pocket hole jig, and maybe some bits like an MFT top and some dogs I am sure that he could generate a sideline making some built in furniture. It doesn't need to be the Festool (which is a great bit of kit by the way). Even if it isnt the type of woodworking that he wants to do eventually it would generate some money to pay for further tools.

Just my thoughts based on the fact that when I eventually got a track saw I wished that I had got it years ago. That and a decent cordless drill driver.
For framing my workshop it was a mix of cross cuts to length, and then all the cuts for rafter feet and birdsmouths. A chop/mitresaw is fine for some of those but a ballache for others. A circular saw can do them all easily.

Consider, to make one 3m rafter from one 3.6m length of 150mmx50mm, you need to potentially do 5 cuts if you want to do a seat cut at the foot of the rafter rather than leaving it all pointy.

Now, yes, most if not all could probably be done on a kapex or something, but, you'd have to either set the saw up 5 times per rafter, or do one cut, get the next rafter to do the same cut on that and so on. In my case I think 26 times. Then do it all agin for the next cut. The workload and time spent would be horrendous. The results would probably be much more accurate but its framing. It doesn't really need to be that accurate.

A circular saw can cut everything on one rafter in what, 2 minutes?

While doing mine anything that just needed a cross cut to length got batched on a mitre saw becase you cna just set a stop block and go.

Now saying all that. I do not like using a circular saw at all. Since getting mine maybe 5-10 years ago (becase I was not aware of tracksaws) the most use its had has been making my workshop. Now that its done I don't see it getting much use again.

 

AJB Temple

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If your son is going to be doing site carpentry, I would get him a battery powered circular saw. This one is good and used a lot by trades now. Hikoki 185mm. Used to be called Hitachi:

Powerful, cordless and robust. In my experience cheap circular saws (eg Screwfix cheap ones) don't last long and are not powerful enough for site work. If he is trade he will need 110v or cordless anyway, not 240v.

I do a fair bit of oak framing for myself and I use Hilti. I also have Makita and Skill corded saws and they bog down but the Hilti is bullet proof, even at full depth is seasoned oak. I bought mine second hand. Invest in good blades.

Track saws as said above by others are brilliant. Personally I use Maffell but they are even more expensive than Festool. If you want to get him a good one then the Festool TS55 is frequently used by the trades, as others have said. It is useful to have three lengths of track. This is so you can have two joined to cut the long side of sheets, then use the short one for cutting across (saves time dissembling the long track).
 

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Be aware that FFX is doing a 15% off on ebay at the moment. A bare TS55 with Systainer is going for £343 and £435 with a 1400 track included. HK55 with track is £353.
 

marcros

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what is the HK55? I have never seen a side by side comparison with the ts55.
 
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