Good news! I think the Hitachi chief designer has been put on ‘gardening leave’ as the garish flashes and zigzags of black that seem to dominate anything new it launches have been removed, and this saw now looks more like then Hitachi of old, and if that matches the performance of old, then it’s a good thing in my book!
For a sami-diameter blade, this is a quick and sizable saw both in stature and cutting performance, and weighty enough to feel solid in use.
That’s down to a good build structure such as a hefty alloy base, 1300W motor and heavy-duty guarding enclosing the blade.
Tried and tested
The saw follows a traditional route, having a riving knife for additional safety to minimise binding, so there’s no plunge cutting option, although access to the knife retaining bolts is easy should you wish to remove it,
However, the base is interesting as it has an adjustable slot attachment to the side allowing it to be used on a guide rail in the same fashion as a dedicated plunge saw.
The literature states this makes it compatible with Festool, Makita and
Bosch guide rails, and you simply adjust the slot attachment and lock it off once you have It snugged up to the particular rail.
There’s also an option to recalibrate the blade for parallel to the base to ensure consistent straight rips. It’s factory set, but a useful function if it should go out of whack over the course of time,
The blade diameter of 165mm sounds limiting, but surprisingly this saw will give most 19Qmm-diameter models a run for their money in the capacity stakes, with capacities of 66mm at 90° and 46mm at 45°.
Bear in mind that like other manufacturers, these are blade projection figures so you need to knock off about 5mm or so from them to allow the saw to function properly and clear the gullets.
For sheet stock as well as general 90° ripping in 50mm stock it fits the bill perfectly, only the 45° capacity limiting it in thicker stock.
The adjustments are very good for tilting the base with front and rear locking, the front tack a top-notch alloy lever, and an equally good large locking knob for the depth of cut.
In fact, this saw bucks the trend of scrimping on the locking and adjustment knobs that I often complain about.
Even the smaller ones, where the cheap options start to rear their ugly head, are of decent quality on this saw. They look similar to those used by Elu on their routers in latter days. No bad thing, and a pleasure to see!
Using the saw for 90” work the long handlebar front grip is excellent, giving maximum control, but on an angle it can be a little restrictive, but in its favour the length allows you to move your hand along it for better comfort and control,
I still prefer the older Hitachi style where a knob was located on the base so you didn’t have to cross your hands over for bevel cuts though.
The saw comes with the usual basic fence and you have to remove the guide rail adaptor to fit it.
This fence is the downside of an otherwise excellent saw. There are twin slots in the base for the guide rail adaptor, but I would have liked to see these slots utilised with a full-length fence with dual fence arms.
You can still do the basics though, and screwing a longer timber facing to the fence will give more stability.
The saw doesn’t seem to lack power underload.
I ripped to the maximum depth -allowing for gullet clearance — with ease, no sign of faltering or struggle, so it seems to have the guts to match the capacities.
It’s no bad thing that Hitachi has gone back to what it does best, turning out good solid performers, and aside from the fence, this saw has achieved that,
The guide rail adaptor is a neat addition, which while it won’t match a full-blown dedicated plunge saw for performance in that area, it’s a handy feature — if you have a guide rail -allowing you to do maybe more robust cutting with this saw, keeping a dedicated plunge saw for the finer work.
Typical price; £140.