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Craftsman 7 1/4" 13 amp circular saw
I was working on tearing down my old deck to prepare for the new one and in the process my trusty old Craftsman 2 hp circular saw gave up the ghost. The good news, if such a thing is possible at that point, is that my saw died after it finished the last cut I needed from it. Rest in peace, my old friend, rest in peace.
Out with the old and in with the new!
I went to Sears today and was mulling over my choices for a new circular saw. I saw the usual suspects hanging on the display wall, Skil, DeWalt, Craftsman, Porter Cable, Bosch and so on. I picked up the Evolv saw and at $40 it was sure light and anemic feeling. Skil was better and DeWalt was okay as well, but the Craftsman 13 amp saw had many more features than either of these two and the price was parked right in the middle. The choice was clear.
I got my new saw home and opened it up. According to the wife I am somewhat of an enigma in that despite the fact that I am a guy, the first thing I do is look at the owner's manual. I'm a guy who has worked as a design engineer and a tech writer and know the importance of understanding a tool before you ever employ it!
There are several features this saw boasts at the $70 price point that saws priced 50% can't claim and that's what makes this an even better bargain. How many circular saws have you seen that can cut past 45? on purpose? In other words, this saw can cut 52? and you can confirm that by looking at the bevel gauge!
A couple of other huge features for me are the adjustment levers. My old saw had small wing nuts at the points of adjustment and for a guy with big hands they were not all that easy to get to. This saw eliminates that issue for me with two large paddle style levers that are long enough to provide the torque needed to lock it in place without too much effort on the user's part! Simple, but nice!
Another key feature for me is the handle. Again, I have large hands and not all tools fit all hands! The old saw's handle was pretty thin and my fingers would wrap all the way around and using the saw would be uncomfortable after a few cuts. The new saw has a much larger grip and the front assist handle is more than just a pommel style and is well placed.
If those features were the key features of this saw then I'd still be pleased at the $70 (minus 10% for my military service) price, but, we have more to go!
The cool things about this saw that my old eyes love is the Laser Trac(C) laser and the work light! Thank you, Sears and Craftsman! How long did we have to deal with sawing a straight line and needed to see past the dust to where we're going with the blade and fund that at the end of the job we were out of breath trying to keep it in a straight line? The laser is cast forward of the blade and makes it easy in any light to see!
Some really cool things about this saw are the top mounted laser on/off switch, an onboard wrench, the spindle lock button, well marked bevel gauge and a really cool depth of cut scale on the back of the housing and an 8-foot cord! There is an optional straight edge guide slot and there is even a way to fine tune the saw to a perfect 90? cut with a set screw!
Assembly was pretty straight forward as you can imagine since the only thing you need to do is install the blade. The on board wrench locks in well and takes a little effort to draw it from it's perch (that's a good thing) and the spindle lock makes loosening/tightening the spindle clamping screw a cinch! The blade itself is carbide tipped with 24 teeth and is a general purpose blade that, while it won't win any awards, will cut through a 2x4 in a heartbeat!
Using the saw is nice s there isn't anywhere near the vibration of my old saw with a new blade in it. A few 2x4s with it and your hand tingles a bit and your arms hurt from the weight. At just over 17 pounds this saw is a good three pounds lighter than the old but that lighter weight is important after a day of use!
So many features on this saw and any other retailer might push the price to over $100 but Craftsman understands its customers and chooses to keep costs down and they did a great job with this one!