Skilsaw has dominated the worm-drive circular saw market for decades with their venerable 77 and Mag 77 models, but they haven’t had the same success with heavy-duty sidewinder saws. Now they’re hoping to change that with a new pro-duty sidewinder, model SPT67WM. I recently put one to work in my remodeling business and ran it through a series of tests to judge its power and ergonomics.
The SPT67WM has a new “dual-field” heat-dissapating motor and a lightweight magnesium housing and base. The manufacturer claims both features help the saw run cooler, giving it a longer life and greater durability. After installing the 24-tooth Freud Diablo blade (included with the saw) and making a slight adjustment to the 0-deg. bevel stop, the saw was ready to use. The bevel lever is easy to operate and locks securely. There’s a stop for common 45-deg.bevels, but when the stop is disengaged, the saw can bevel to 56 deg. The bevel scale was right on the money.
I measured the maximum depth of cut to be 2 5/16 in. at 0 deg. and 1 3/4 in. at 45 deg. The depth scale, which is easy to read, is marked for material (Max, 2x, 3/4 ply, 1/2 ply, 1/4 ply) rather than the actual measurement. The settings are based on the nominal material thickness plus about 3/16 in. Located between the rear handle and the blade guard, reaching the depth-of-cut locking lever when it’s unlocked is a tight squeeze. With gloves on it’s even tougher to reach. With a spindle lock and a securely-attached, on-board wrench, blade changes are fast and easy.
The motor fan, which directs a stream of air over the front of the blade, clears away sawdust and a wide opening to the left of the blade guard provides a good view of the cutline. A 14-ga., 10-ft. flexible rubber cord supplies power. The saw doesn’t have an electric brake or a rafter hook.
The saw weighs 10.7 lb. and it’s well balanced when cutting one or two handed. The front handle is mounted on the far left side of the motor housing. This causes a slight problem when I hold the blade guard open with my left thumb while holding the front handle. I use this grip when starting angled cuts and when cutting thin materials to prevent the guard from hanging up on the stock. Unfortunately, even with my large hands, it’s too big of a stretch, forcing me to grip the front handle with only my left picky finger.
To test the power of this 15-amp, 5300-rpm saw, I cut every material I could find. Using the blade provided, I couldn’t bog down the motor with any of the lumber I had at hand, so I switched to a dull blade and made the same cuts. Once again, the saw performed great. Finally, I decided to use the dull blade to make full-depth cuts in a pressure treated 4x4s. When I pushed the saw hard, I was able to slow the motor a little bit, but it made these full-depth cuts with little trouble. I’m sure with a sharp blade it would have made these difficult cuts quite easily. The combination of motor design, magnesium housing and good airflow over the motor kept the motor cool through this difficult test, which I take that as a good sign for the tool’s longevity.
In my remodeling business, I typically keep only one corded circular saw in my trailer. That saw needs to be completely reliable, accurate, and have all the features I use. When I need to replace my circular saw, I’ll consider the Skil. It’s a good saw, although I wish it had a brake and better depth-of-cut markings. You can find it online for $120, which makes it a solid value.