12″ Sliding Compound Miter Saws

Testing the ultimate crosscut saws.
By Robert W. Lang
Pages: 42-47

From the December 2008 Issue #173
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Thirty years ago, there weren’t many options for making wide crosscuts. The machine to use was a radial-arm saw. Expensive, fussy to set up, hardly portable and touted as a “do-it-all” device, the saw’s head could turn and twist to make compound-miter cuts in wide material. Repeating a setup for a mating piece, however, took a long time.

Then Delta came out with the Sawbuck, a small saw mounted on rails, supported at the front and back of a rotating table. This was a great leap forward, but was short-lived. Something better was on the eastern horizon. Hitachi effectively made Delta’s tool obsolete with the introduction of the sliding compound-miter saw. This was an instant jobsite favorite, and its most important feature was its accuracy and repeatability.

Makita followed with a 10″ version, and since then manufacturers have competed to make saws to make complex miter cuts on larger and larger mouldings, such as crown moulding. The saws in this test are designed to make life easier for the trim carpenter.

In the shop, however, the benefit depends on the types of cuts commonly made. Furniture makers and cabinetmakers can go years without needing to make a compound cut in wide material, and the features of these saws that allow that could be something paid for but never used.

From the December 2008 issue #173
Buy this issue now