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My review of the Skilsaw 12" dry cut saw

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  • #551515
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    I was selected as a tester for the new Skilsaw dry cut saw, and they asked for a review within 14 days, which I posted on their site. Here it is below, along with some of my observations from using it for about a month now on a number of different projects.

    “I received this saw a couple weeks ago and have been very impressed with it so far. It arrived very well packaged with no shipping damage and is much more solid and well made than most abrasive cut-off saws. It has a cast table with anti-skid rubber feet, tool free miter adjustment with an adjustable pointer that is very accurate. The miter adjustment lever itself is plastic, but I suppose it is preferable to replace an inexpensive part rather than damaging the table or fence by over tightening it.

    The material clamp is very simple to use and did not need to be tightened excessively to secure the material being cut. A soft start motor and ambidextrous safety make the saw smooth and easy to use, and while there is no brake, the fully enclosed blade guard prevents any possibility of contact with the blade when it is in the upward position. I cut a variety of materials with it, including 1″X1/8″ angle, 1 1/2″X3/16″ angle, 1″ and 1 1/4″ box tube, 1″X1/8″ aluminum angle, and 1 1/2″X1/4″ flat bar.

    All cuts were very smooth and quick, with very clean edges and no heat compared to an abrasive saw. On the 1/4″ thick flat bar, I did notice a few sparks and some slight scalloping of the edge, which may have been from blade deflection caused by putting a bit of pressure on the handle rather than allowing it to cut at a slower pace. The time savings from cleaning up the edges of the cuts and not waiting on material to cool down are huge benefits from this type of saw, and the cuts are significantly more accurate as well.

    Overall, I am very happy with the quality and performance of it so far, and the fact that the included blade costs over $100 makes the price easier to swallow. It would be nice to see a bit better chip collection, as the included chip tray only catches a little over 50% of the chips. I admit I have been spoiled by the fantastic dust collection systems on my woodworking tools, and metal working tools are generally devoid of any type of collection, and conventional vacuum systems shouldn’t be used with hot chips.”

    I have two small gripes that I discovered on the last project. The first just that I would like to see some support blocks offered as accessories. Due to the design of the miter feature, the saw can’t really be used with a full support table like a miter saw can, so I use it on the floor. I imagine this is how most will use it and is fine for me as I don’t have the space for another dedicated full work station, especially one that can handle 20′ sticks of metal. The table is 2 1/2″ higher than whatever it is sitting on, which could utilize some scrap pieces of 2 1/2″ box tubing for supports, but I didn’t have any, so I made some wood supports. I would like to see some blocks available made from solid plastic, wide enough to not tip over, with a non-skid rubber surface on the bottom, which would be really nice material supports. I’d buy a pair for $20.

    The second issue I discovered when mitering 1 1/2″ angle iron. When mitering them to build a desk frame, you have to flip the material over as the saw only miters one way, which is common on metal saws. This means you cut the material as an “L”, then flip it upside down so the flat edge is on the top. The issue is that there are about 1/8″ deep recessed grooves machined into the table at 45 degrees, which the angle iron tries to drop into when upside down. It can torque it away from being clamped squarely to the fence, and also allows the left side to drop lower than the right if it is not properly supported, which results in an angled vertical cut, rather than at 90 degrees. I haven’t figured out a solution to this issue yet other than wrestling it and making sure it doesn’t move.

    #551530
    kurt@welkerhomes.com
    Moderator
    Owatonna, MN - Minnesota

    Nice review. The saw certainly looks like it would be a great saw.

    #551539
    58Chev
    Pro
    Etobicoke, ON

    Great review, @jpg-woodworking.

    I wonder why they would not have the 12″ miter both ways like the 14″?

    “If you don’t pass on the knowledge you have to others, it dies with you”
    — Glenn Botting

    #551713
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    I was selected as a tester for the new Skilsaw dry cut saw,

    Thank you for sharing your review on BTP. Great review by the way.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #551862
    gomoto69
    Pro
    salmon arm, bc

    Thanks for the review, a dry cut cut off saw is something i’ve been interested in, but not sure i’d use it enough to justify the cost. What’s your impression of cutting speed compared to an abrasive saw? Are cuts on steel significantly faster than an abrasive, or is the main advantage in cleaner, more accurate cuts? For aluminum work i generally just use a non ferrous blade in my woodworking tools, and for steel i have a small impoted band saw i use a lot when i need good accuracy (but it’s slow), or just grab my 4 1/2″ grnder with cut off wheel when a quick hack job is good enough. I keep a dedicated grinder for this (and others, i have 5 grinders in total, different wheels always ready to go). I love metal working, but always seems to be something other than a dry cut saw i’d like more!

    #552094
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Thanks for the review, some pics would have been nice to see what you were dealing with. I would not have done the cutting on the floor. I never cut on the floor. I would put 2 planks on some saw horses and go from there. It might even go on my miter saw stand.

    #552179
    RonW
    Moderator
    Holladay, Tn

    Thanks for the review. Sounds like a good saw. I too would have liked a pic or two.

    Ron

    A Working Pro since 1994!

    Member since March 26, 2014.

    #552201

    Nice review, I keep getting tempted to broaden my interests into metal work, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but when I do I think dry cut is the way to go.

    Will

    #552204
    Jpg-woodworking
    Pro
    Tallahassee, FL

    I’ll see if I can upload some pics. DWB, it’s not really possible to attach it to a miter saw stand if you’re using the miter function, since the table itself doesn’t rotate. I also wouldn’t want mill scale all over the support arms that I rest primed crown and base on. You could build a table with a flat open surface but y would have to lift the saw, turn it, and then set it back down to miter. I was also working inside my 25’x25′ shop with 20′ lengths of steel, so it’s easier to move the saw to where the first couple cuts are.

    I would say the speed is 25-50% better than my abrasive saw, I’ll try to do some timed cuts. Cutting flat bar stood on edge there is little difference, but it is noticeable when the blade is hitting the flat part of angle or box tube, the dry cut chews through it quickly while the abrasive just sits there and grinds away.

    The biggest advantage is that pieces aren’t hot after cutting and don’t need any real clean up. A few strokes of a file and they are good to go. You still have to clean the welding areas though so it may not save a ton of time in the real world, but it is nicer to work with.

    I’ll see about uploading some pics, I took a few but don’t know what happened to them.

    #552205
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Nice review, I keep getting tempted to broaden my interests into metal work, but I haven’t taken the plunge yet, but when I do I think dry cut is the way to go.

    I think both dry cut and abrasive have their uses in a dedicated metal shop. Nice to see that Skil has incorporated dry cut technology into a bench mounted miter type of saw.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #552356
    gomoto69
    Pro
    salmon arm, bc

    Good to know on the speed and cleanliness if the cuts, no arguement here it’s a better way to cut steel. Abrasive dust is dirty, and seems to find it’s way into everything. I love metal working, and highly advize everyone to give it a try, it’s different than working with wood, wood is pretty, metal not so much. I make a lot of tools with metal, a crankshaft wrench for my daughter’s car, and a chainsaw mill to name just a couple, used the mill to cut cedar slabs for a beautiful cedar table for my son. So many things can be built with a few metal working tools and a decent mig welder

    #552702
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Abrasive dust is dirty, and seems to find it’s way into everything.

    I can second the abrasive dust issue. Another reason to step up to this type of saw.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #552937
    DirtyWhiteBoy
    Pro
    Honolulu,, Hi.

    Abrasive dust is dirty, and seems to find it’s way into everything.

    Oh man does it find it’s way every where. I know it can’t be very good for breathing.

    #552999
    theamcguy
    Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    Abrasive dust is dirty, and seems to find it’s way into everything.

    Oh man does it find it’s way every where. I know it can’t be very good for breathing.

    Yeah that it does, you can see it settle on work benches tool boxes etc. I used to have mine bolted to a work bench in the shop, but now I just take it outside and set it up to do any cutting. Less dust in the shop.

    Automotive Pro
    Fayetteville, NC

    #553473
    madman_us
    Pro
    Palm Springs, CA

    Abrasive dust is dirty, and seems to find it’s way into everything.

    I can second the abrasive dust issue. Another reason to step up to this type of saw.

    I can agree with that.
    the previous owner of this house worked with metal and probably on cars too.
    the garage walls were half ply (bottom part) and half pegboard (top half) and the fine dust was everywhere in the walls, in every little crevice. I even had to removed some of the insulation because it was just black, covered in that dust. the work benches which were in there went straight to the dump.

    "If you're going to do something, do it right the first time"
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    Palm Springs, CA

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