Pint-size miter saw
7-1/4-in. Miter saw with laser trac
• Manufactured by Craftsman
• 800-377-7414; www.craftsman.com
• Cost: $90
I own three miter saws, so buying a fourth was not high on my priority list—until I recently had to rebuild a fancy cupola on a garage roof.
The project involved lots of molding, and I was not looking forward to a dozen trips up and down a ladder to make the required cuts. Then I remembered a thread on the “Breaktime” forum (www.finehomebuilding.com) mentioning a new small, lightweight Craftsman miter saw. Given the relatively low price, I decided to buy one for this project. After using the saw for a couple of months, I can say this is one tool that Craftsman got right.
The left-tilt, single-bevel saw comes with a good-quality 71/4-in. 40-tooth blade that makes smooth cuts. I found the cutting capacities to be somewhat less than advertised: 31/2-in.-wide by 3-in. depth of cut at 90°, and 45° miters limited to 3 in. wide. Still, the cuts suited my needs. My favorite thing about the saw is that it weighs just 16 lb., about the same as a worm-drive circular saw, so it’s easy to tote with one hand.
I took the saw to the roof and set it up on some roof jacks for my cupola project. It saved me countless trips up and down the ladder, and I finished the job in about half the time I expected.
I don’t like that pivoting the table requires me to lower the saw and push the handle right or left. Another gripe: The saw’s switch-on laser isn’t very reliable and requires periodic fiddling to keep it accurate.
Just the same, when I have to run shoe molding in a second-floor bedroom, you can guess which saw I will carry to the job.