(t Distance from front af bote to bock of tlMe.

indicated a perfect lock on the precise angle setting, but one manufacturer's rep explained that lighter detents would cause rapid wear on turntable parts.

My tcsLs also showed that relying on the detents could provide cuts that were off by a fraction of a degree when sawing 12-in.-widc boards. It's not possible to adjust the detents, but I could get accurate cuts by milking a trial cut. then readjusting the angle setting.

To adjust for bevel cuts you loosen a lock lever and tilt the cutter-head. A bevel angle scale indicates the degree of tilt. On the Makita. Sears and Hitachi, the lock lever and bevel angle scale are located at the rear of the saw (see photo, previous page) where they're hard to read while making an adjustment. Makita's scale and lever arc the most accessible of these three. (See photo, below right.)

Tile AEG's l^evel lever and scale are behind the left side of the cuttcrhcad ('see photo, next page)—more convenient than the first three. But I found it simplest to make bevel adjustments on the Ryohi because the bevel scale and lock lever are just behind the cutter-head where they're easy to see and to reach. (See photo, above right.)

Dust collection is important with these saws because they will quickly cover the surrounding area with a

Chop Saw Dust Collection

Ryohi*!« bevel »rale and lock lever are more uccessihle tliun rear-mounted ones. The cutterhcad tilts hy moving on curved trunnion*.

Chop Saw Dust Collection

Ryohi*!« bevel »rale and lock lever are more uccessihle tliun rear-mounted ones. The cutterhcad tilts hy moving on curved trunnion*.

thick layer of sawdust. The small bags supplied by some of the manufacturers make nice flags for their logos, but for dust collection, they're almost useless. They only catch a fraction of the dust, and they fill up in about five minutes of cutting. However, hooking up our V/2 HP (900 CFM) dust collector to the saws' dust collection ports made a big difference. On the Hitachi, I'd estimate the system collected 75 percent i lie .naKiia s single sliding rod i- ju?»t as rigid as the twin rods on other saws, and moves verv smoothlv. Note

• m bevel lock lever and scale at left.

Chop Saw Dust Collection

of the dust, wliile on ail the others it collected perhaps SO percent.

For this test I had installed the AEG's optional "Dust Extraction Adaptor" kit ($42), which draws dust from under the turntable as well as from the back of the saw. (Sec photo.) It helped corral a little more dust, but didn't seem worth the extra cost.

Handle position and noise level are also important if you plan to use a sliding compound miter saw frequently. To me, the handles were all about equally comfortable, but I really liked the bar-like trigger switch on the Makita's handle. And its trigger release button is positioned on top which makes it equally accessible for right-hand or left-hand use. As far as noise goes, the AEG's induction motor ran more quietly than the universal motors on the other saws.

Cutting Tests

By now you're probably asking, "which saw cuts wood best?" There were no sure winners in my tests. I found each saw had plenty of power to cut 1 V+in.-thick pine boards—crosscuts as well as miten» and bevels.

Then it got tougher. All the saws could crosscut 2-in.-thick oak, but they worked hard to get through it. And when I tried 45° bevel cuts and compound miter/bevel cuts in 1 '/»-in-thick oak, the saws slowed down significantly, forcing me to reduce the feed rate to keep the saws from stalling. (The

Auxiliary work vim* (standard on Scar* and Makita.. optional on others) kcrjw tin* .stork from shifting during tin* rut (above.)

The AEG*® optional dust eol-lection kit provide* dust pirkup—both brhind the blade and under the blade slot in the turntable. Note lievel loek lever and seale Km'IuiuI feuee (left).

Sears saw bogged down completely, almost stalling and scvcrly burning the wood. However, I found the problem was in the blade, not the saw. When I replaced the blade with another identical Sears blade, the saw cut OK.)

The AEG worked OK on soft wood, but even with its 5° negative hook blade, which is supposed to prevent it from cutting too aggressively, it tended to bite forcefully into the 2-in. oak, sometimes jerking the cutterhead toward you like a big radial arm saw would. Most of the problem was that the AEG operates like a radial arm saw—you first plunge the blade into the stock, then pull the blade toward you. A company spokesman told me you can operate the AEG like the other saws (pull out, plunge and push). That solved the jerking problem, but then the saw's carriage return springs tended to pull the pivoting cutterhead up out of the wood too soon.

There is a problem when making bevel and miter cuts in thick oak with all these saws. Thai's the stock's tendency to creep slightly along the fence during the cut. This results in ugly teeth marks on the cut end and kerfs that aren't straight. The manufacturers offer work vises (standard on Sears and Makita) that solve this problem by clamping the stock firmly against the base and turntable. (See photo.) 'Hie AEG's work vise ($32) was easiest to position and had a slick handle I could spin with one finger.

Thin-kerf carbide blades are standard on all but the Makita, which has a steel blade. The carbide blades cut fairly smoothly; the steel blade was slightly rough on tliick oak. For smoother cuts, I'd suggest using the manufacturers' optional finc-tooth carbide blades with 40, 60 or even 80 teeth. You can't use dado blades on these saws, though the saws do have depth stops that allow you to cut kerfs to precise depths.

Then vou can cut dadoes with the stan-

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Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

Woodworking Tools and Installation Tips

There are a lot of things that either needs to be repaired, or put together when youre a homeowner. If youre a new homeowner, and have just gotten out of apartment style living, you might want to take this list with you to the hardware store. From remolding jobs to putting together furniture you can use these 5 power tools to get your stuff together. Dont forget too that youll need a few extra tools for other jobs around the house.

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