The saw’s construction consists mostly of alloy castings and extrusions. A large knob at the front of the table enables it to be rotated as required, and a button to the rear of the fence secures it in place. There are slops at the main angles, and a protractor scale on the front of the base casting with an adjustable pointer on the edge of the turntable, The table and the base together provide 500mm of support for material being sawn, and there are outrigger supports which extend this to 1000mm.,
The fence is fixed, with the right-hand half having a length scale embossed in the face. While this is a useful feature, it is inevitably limited in length and therefore has restricted use.
A work cramp Is included; this will locate on either side of the fence, and is especially useful when bevel cuts are being made.
Without a cramp, such cuts have a tendency to push the wood slightly to the left, resulting in a marginally inaccurate angle.
The on-off switch is moulded directly into the handle, along with a safety button which has to be depressed to start the saw. Also in the handle is the switch for the laser — a useful bonus, but at its best when the ambient light is only moderate.. Before the head can be lowered, a simple clip has to be pressed to release the guard.
There’s a rotating plunger which is brought into use to lock the head in the lowered position — essential when the machine is being moved. To help with this, a carrying handle is built into the head.
Also located in the head is a depth stop. This is normally set so that the teeth of the blade will just penetrate the material being cut, but the stop allows this be restricted so as to cut only part-way through. Thus the saw can be used for cutting joints such as tenons, half laps, trenches and rebates across the end of the wood. There is no scale to this; setting the stop has to be done by trial and error.
The head tilts to the left for bevel sawing, A large ratchet locking handle holds it firmly in place at the required angle, with a protractor scale showing the chosen angle. There are adjustable stops at both limits of the tilt range, which ensure accurate setting at 90° and 45°, The whole of the head is mounted on two bars which provide the sliding action, and the movement is effortless,
A better blade
The blade provided as standard with this saw has 80 crosscut teeth, giving good results with wood and man-made boards. However, an even better blade is the 80-tooth negative-rake type, specially developed for cross cutting and giving exceptionally smooth surfaces. There is also far less chance of the blade snatching the wood, thus making the sawing action both easier and safer. Blades with negative rake aren’t suitable for ripping, however.
Using the saw
When using a mitre saw, it’s best to draw the head forward first and to carry out the cutting by slowly moving it back to the rear position. This reduces further any tendency of snatching, and allows for better control
So with the negative-rake blade fitted to the saw, I carried out a series of tests, starting with square cross cutting on wood of various sections. Then I moved on to tackle some mitre sawing, both to left and right, followed by some bevel cutting. This can only take place with the head tilted to the left, and this is when the work clamp is especially useful, The results were all perfectly satisfactory.
Compound cuts combine a mitre and a bevel cut, but in practice these are rarely needed. Because the head wiil tilt only to the left, the range of possible compound cuts is somewhat restricted.