The Shadow Knows
Miter saws equipped with lasers to indicate the line of cut have become commonplace, but DeWalt has a new twist: instead of a laser, DeWalt has developed a super-bright LED light to cast a distinct shadow of the blade on your workpiece. Like many lasers, the shadow shows you exactly where the blade is going to cut. But there's a catch with lasers: most of them only show you where one side of the blade will cut. The shadow shows the entire kerf, so it doesn't matter whether your waste piece is on the left or right side of the blade. And unlike some lasers, this light doesn't have to be aimed–the blade's shadow is always right on the money. DeWalt calls this feature the XPS Worklight. It's available as an accessory for the DW713, DW715, DW716 and DW718 miter saws. Mounting is a cinch; it only takes a few minutes. The light has a separate on/off switch, so the blade doesn't have to be running while you position your workpiece. The one downside–and this is really a minor point–is that the blade must be placed an inch or so above the workpiece for the shadow to pop into sharp focus. DeWalt says that the light bulb should last up to 5 years. That's great, because even if you don't use the shadow technique, the light really illuminates the cut zone, making it much easier to see a fine pencil mark on your work.
DeWalt, www.dewalt.com, 800-433-9258, Miter Saw LED Worklight System, #DWS7085, $60.