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Chop Saw

Discussion in 'Tools and Materials' started by Jupiter01, 4 Jan 2019.

  1. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    I'm looking to buy a electric chop saw (mitre saw?) and am after some recommendations please. I am a DIY'er and hope to use this for cutting various timber lengths to size. Have used a mates saw for the lap fencing, decking, 4x2's but also for skirting boards. My mates chop saw didn't swivel and hence is unable to do skirting boards.

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Well, the obvious first question has to be what sort of budget do you have/think you need to have? For many tasks a 190 or 216mm sliding compound mitre saw can be a good choice, but equally if you aren't cutting such large sections a 250mm non-sliding compound mitre saw could fit the bill

    BTW woodworking mitre saws are generally what we call "compound" mitre saws. That means they can make a mitre cut (saw swivels left to right), or a bevel cut (head tilts to left) or do both together (bevel+mitre = compound cut). A sliding head pulls further out on one or more guide rails to make a longer crosscut without the need to have a much larger diameter saw blade that a non-sliding head mitre saw (where the head pivots, but cannot slide, to make a "chop" cut, which is where the nickname "chop saw" originates) woukd require. Example of a basic 254mm blade non-sliding mitre saw (the Makita MLS100) in use:



    and of a smaller (216mm blade) sliding compound mitre saw (deWalt DWS774) which also features their XPS shadow line technology to align the cut:



    Hopefully those two videos should help you define what you need from a saw
     
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  3. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    Thanks. I’d like to keep the spend under £200. I don’t think I require a sliding facility for wider cuts.

    The Makita MLS 100 has come up in a few of my searches. Interested to hear your views on this.
     
  4. scbk

    scbk

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    It won't match up to a Makita, but I've had a macallister (b&q) sliding mitre saw for a number of years and it has done some serious amount of work, both DIY and light trade use
     
  5. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    As it happens I put those two vids up just so that you could see the difference in styles of tool available. Neither was meant as a recommendation, although both saws have their merits.

    About 10 or 11 years back I actually had one for a few years as a second, lightweight saw - it was/is far smaller/lighter than the big old Makita LS1013 10in SCMS I had at the time. It ended up being my "go to" saw for quite few years until I replaced it by the deWalt DW771 I still have as my "go to" saw. The fact is it had sufficient capacity for about 75% of the cuts I was making at the time (e.g. smaller skirtings, architraves, dados, stud work, mouldings, hand rails, etc), and it was smaller and handier to use than the bigger saw - light enough to drag around from place to place on site without giving myself a hernia. Even after I replaced it for wood cutting I did keep hold of it for a while for those jobs where I needed to do a lot of cutting of aluminium and heavy plastic profile sections. It was cheap (ex-demo, just under £100, was offered £70 for it when I sold the beast) and it eventually found a good home with one of our apprentices who was nearing the end of his time. It has since found a third owner.

    On the plus side: relatively low cost, reasonable amount of power, blades easy to source at a reasonable price (250mm diam. x 30mm bore - lots of surplus Bosch, DW, Freud, Makita, etc stuff on ebay as well as Dart or Saxton so no need to buy Silverline carp), solid cast base, comes with a dust bag and left/right extension supports, cheap parts readily available (still in production, see Makita web site for details, including a down-loadable manual), solid machine - doesn't feel plasticky

    Against: screen printed mitre scale hardly the best (mine wore out and had to be replaced, but at least it was cheap), bevel scale a bit on the small side (common issue), dust extraction not brilliant (a common fault with mitre saws), no trenching facility (not an issue in my opinion, but if I don't mention it somebody will), fence awkward to adjust if it's knocked out (but accurate enough once you get it right - I resorted in the end to leaving it be and fitting a plywood sub-fence which could be adjusted using veneer shims), not quite the fit and finish you get on Japanese-made Makitas (made in PRC, but still better than many DIY saws I've seen), still fairly large and heavy in comparison to an 8-1/2in/216mm sliding compound mitre saw such as the DW773/DWS774. It would have been nicer if the mitre range went a few degrees further either side than 45 degrees, but that's a minor niggle

    In general the saw did what I asked of it. My advancing age (yes, I'm that old) combined with the need for mobility around a site and a sightly greater crosscut capacity (the MLS is limited to 75 x 50 in a single cut [Edit: that should read 120 x 75mm at 45° bevel, oops!], but can crosscut up to 150 x 45 by flipping the timber over which is good enough for joists, stud work, etc) eventually persuaded me to go for a smaller, lighter saw with bigger crosscut capacity (a deWalt DW771). Overall not a bad saw, but a little limited in capacity.

    Best price I've seen them at recently was circa £150 (and even wickes are doing them at that price with Toolstation at £160 - so if you do decide on one maybe worth buying that way as returns are fairly easy should you be dissatisfied)
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2019
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  6. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    Thanks for all the detail. I really appreciate it. Can I check that this will cut (straight and bevel) most skirting and architraves in your experience? I’m interested to hear anyone else’s opinions on the Makita MLS 100.
     
  7. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    It will do most modern 120mm mouldings (the manual I referenced earlier on says it will do 75 x 130mm at 90°, 48 x 120mm at 45° bevel angle, sorry for the brain fade when I under quoted sizes in an earlier post - told you I'm getting old ;)). To get an 18 x 150mm moulding on it you need to add a false bed, about 35 or 40mm thickness (or about two thicknesses of 18mm MDF from memory). If, on the other hand, you are dealing with a lot of 12in (300mm) Victorian moulding you'll need a somewhat larger saw. As I said, it had enough capacity to deal with run of the mill modern house mouldings. What is it that you'll be cutting?

    One point I didn't mention is that a fixed "chop" saw like the MLS100 will generally be more rigid than any sliding mitre saw making for more accurate cuts (as there are no bars to twist as torque from the cutting is transferred into the saw). Not a major point, but maybe a good reason not to go for the largest slider you can get for the money
     
    Last edited: 5 Jan 2019
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  8. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    Thanks again @JobAndKnock. I would expect to be dealing with Torus skirting and the accompanying architraves. I don't ever anticipate the need to work on Victorian sized mouldings. I think I have the all clear on the Makita LS100 :)
     
  9. catlad

    catlad

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    I have one of those saws and I can't fault it for the capacity
    it will cut, and as JK says you can flip it over for the occasional larger cut.
     
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  10. crank39

    crank39

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    Costco have a 216mm slider for £150, good when you haven't got the strength to lump out your 110v DW708
     
  11. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    Sorry for the incessant questions...
    I've been checking out youtube videos on skirting corners and there seems to be a couple of options: mitre/bevel or scribe with coping saw.

    When scribing with a coping saw, there is a straight cut that is required (after the bevelled cut) which needs to stop at the point the detail begins on the skirting. Hence the skirting needs to be cut upright. Would that be a limitation of the Makita LS100?
     
  12. Jupiter01

    Jupiter01

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    This is the cut I am referring to:
     

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  13. JobAndKnock

    JobAndKnock

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    Cutting skirting upright would be a limitation on any mitre saw. There is no real need to use the saw to make that second cut. In fact I tend to make that second cut using either a jigsaw or a hand saw because I find that it's better to put a few degrees of undercut on it (as you would do with the coping saw on the top edge profile) so that I can handle out of square corners better. I find there's little difference in the amount of time it takes because I'm not having to reset the bevel angle twice in order to make the cut.

    Edit: Should have pointed out the way I approach scribed corners. I pretty much always scribe internals (except for very shallow angles and square section skirtings) and I start by making a bevel cut. I then highlight the edge of the bevel by rubbing a pencil on it (makes it easier to read with my poor old eyes). After that I generally use a jigsaw with the base set to about 5° to 10° off plumb to cut away the vast majority of the waste - a handsaw would achieve the same result - before sawing away the top of the skirting (again with a relief angle) using either a coping saw or a jigsaw (for stuff like quarter rounds a jigsaw works just fine). One tip for jigsaw use - get yourself a T244D blade (T-shank) or U-244D blade (U-shank) and use it with the jigsaw orbit turned off, if your saw has that feature, working from the back of the material. Whatever you do keep both hands behind the saw blade at all times. For coping saw use try to get a reasonable quality saw, such as an Eclipse, Stanley or Irwin, and stick to Eclipse or irwin blades (or better still Pegas blades if you can get them - they are the best on the market - sold by Axminster)
     
    Last edited: 7 Jan 2019
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