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The Ryobi's fence is machined as a solid piece with the base of the saw. The fcncc on the one I tested was machined a bit roughly and wasn't perfectly flat.

The sliding carriage on these saws must be rigid enough to avoid sideways deflection, yet move freely forward and back. To check deflection, I fully extended each saw's cutterhead, applied a 10-lb. force sideways to the handle and measured movement with a machinist's dial indicator. The deflection readings ranged from 0.013 in. (Hitachi) to 0.024 in. (Ryobi). Deflection doesn't seem to be anything to worry about; it didn't affect the saws' performance during my tests.

Every saw s carriage moved smoothly with no detectable play. The Makita's, the only one that employs a single sliding rod, was most effortless, while the Ryobi's had the most friction. On all the saws the bearings around the sliding rods are sealed to keep out sawdust. Ryobi adds further protection by partially covering the sliding rods with a metal shroud.

Blade guards are standard on these saws—metal on the Ryobi and AEG, clear plastic on all the others. On all but the Hitachi and AEG, a mechanical linkage automatically moves the guard

Ryobi Metal Chop Saw
To adjust the bevel «'tilling angle on tin* Hitachi (shown), Sears« ami Makita »an», you have to reach to grip the rear>niounte<l bevel lock lever. The bevel scale is just left of the lever.

up as the blade plunges down, making it easier to line up your cut. The Hitachi's two-piece guard hangs loosely and moves up as it contacts the workpiece. I found it more difficult to align a cut on this saw because some pan of the guard is always covering the blade so you have to look through the guard to see the blade. On the AEG, you have to pull a large lever behind the handle to raise the guard. I found this awkward bccause you have to simultaneously push a button to release the trigger lock and pull on the trigger switch. It's a real handful.

As an added safety feature, each of these saws comes with an electronic brake that stops the blade within a few seconds when you release the trigger.

All these saws excel in making accurate miter and bevel cuts, but the ease of adjustment for these cuts varies among the saws.

To adjust for miter cuts, you rotate the saw's turntable left or right and then tighten a lock knob. 1 preferred the long front-mounted lock knobs on the Ryobi, Hitachi and Sears. I could loosen the knob and turn the turntable with one hand. The AEG also had a front-mounted lock knob, but it was so tiny it was hard to tighten. On the Makita. the lock knob is attached to the back of the fence. Adjusting it requires a double hand-motion.

Each saw has detents or "stops" for setting common miter angles. (See chart.) Hitachi, Makita and Ryobi also have detents for setting the bevel angles for compound angle cuts for crown molding.

I found the miter detents on the AEG the most positive, even though it's a bit awkward to lift the small lever under the front of the turntable (like a car's hood latch) to release the detent.

The detents fell "soft" on the Hitachi and Ryobi, and slightly soft on the Scars, so I wasn't always sure when the carriage was in position. I would have preferred a reasurring "click" that


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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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