Which power saw is the best one for you?
For the average DIY enthusiast there are many different types of power saws to choose from for cutting timber and board. But which one is the best for your particular needs?
When conducting our Beginner and Advanced Power Tool Workshops (DIY-Divas.co.za) we like to give everyone an opportunity to use various types of power saws. The reason for this is that you need confidence and practice to master the techniques for using a power saw to its full potential. With so many different types of power saws on the market for the DIY enthusiast, it helps to know which one is best for your particular project. This article is intended to provide you with enough information to make the right choice when buying a power saw.
For those with a dedicated workshop space and who enjoy making projects with lots of detail, a band saw offers plenty of versatility. The band saw is fitted with a thin blade that allow easy movement through various types of timber and board for detailed cuts. See a project here that uses a band saw to cut decorative boxes.
As a stationary power saw the design should be sturdy and provide plenty of work area on the table. There are many models to choose from and you need to look at the size of the work table and working distance from the front of the table to the cutting blade, as this will determine what type of projects you can or cannot do.
My power saw of choice when it comes to smaller DIY projects, the jigsaw is easy to use and can perform curved or rounded, detailed and straight cuts, although I would recommend a circular saw for repeated straight cuts.
What makes a jigsaw ideal for the average DIY enthusiast is it's compact size, ease of use, and the variety of materials that you can cut. Interchangeable blades allow you to cut aluminium or soft steel, PVC or acrylic, and most any type of timber and board up to varying thicknesses. The jigsaw is most definitely one power saw you should have in your tool collection.
Cut corners and curves for decor accessory and furniture projects. Use it to do decorative cut outs in panels for a headboard or screens - once you start using a quality brand jigsaw you will realise how versatile this tool actually is.
As one of the oldest power saws still in use today the circular saw remains one of the easiest ways for the DIY enthusiast to cut down or rip large sections of timber and board easily. Because of its portability it is also a great power saw where accurate repeat cuts need to be done, such as when installing decks or fencing. However, if you prefer to have all your timber or board cut to size, which can be done at your local Builders or most board suppliers, you won't really need a circular saw unless you have specific projects in mind that requires cutting of large boards or repetitive cuts.
Many beginner DIY enthusiasts are put off from using a circular saw because of the size of the blade, but these power saws are probably the safest to use when used with confidence and safety in mind. The cutting blade is totally encased within a safety guard during the cutting process.
Compound or Sliding Compound Mitre Saw
A compound mitre saw has a head that can be adjusted to be bevels or mitres up to 45-degrees. The main difference between a Compound and Sliding Compound Mitre Saw is that a compound mitre saw has a fixed head (cutting blade) while the sliding compound mitre saw has rails that allows the head to slide front to back during the cut operation, allowing for wider pieces of timber or board to be cut.
Both the sliding or fixed compound miter saw make angled and square cuts. The additional cost of buying a sliding compound miter saw is justified if you are going to routinely need to cut wider materials that can only be accommodated by this type of power saw.
Similar in design to a band saw but aimed more at the hobby enthusiast, the scroll saw is available in various options with the smallest and most recent being the Dremel Moto-Saw.
The scroll saw uses is very thin blade - which can easily be removed and replaced - that allows it to perform very tight cuts, as you would need if making a jigsaw puzzle. Designed for the hobby enthusiasts, the smaller scroll saws cannot cut through thick or hard materials, but can cut through thin sheet metal.
Considered a versatile power saw for any woodworker, a quality table saw can rip and crosscut timber and cut angle, rebates and grooves. Obviously these power saws take up more space that portable saws, but if you have the space and you do quite a few projects using timber and board, the table saw will soon be a valuable addition to your workshop.
Before buying a table saw take a look at the various options available. There are cheaper models on the market that do not offer the requisite safety features important for this type of power saw. Make sure the model is sturdy in construction, well supported and allows for cutting of materials of different lengths, short or long.
The new range of compact mini saws is perfect for those performing various DIY projects with limited space. Offering just as much cutting power as larger models, mini saws are ideal for small, occasional cutting tasks.
There are plenty of other power saws available, such as the Radial Arm Saw, Chainsaw and larger models not specifically designed for the average DIY enthusiast, but with all the choices shown above you are definitely not short of choice when it comes to selecting the right power saw for your project or workshop.