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 Chris Haney - Best Circular Saw for me to purchase for the EZ-Smart System

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Dik Harrison


Posts : 233
Join date : 2008-07-01
Age : 70
Location : Evans, GA, USA

PostSubject: Chris Haney - Best Circular Saw for me to purchase for the EZ-Smart System   April 10th 2009, 5:12 pm

This thread was originally posted on SMC by Chris Haney. It is here with his permission.

I've read several posts on this system and there seem to be multiple opinions on which circular saw is the best to use so I thought I would ask the question directly. What is the best circular saw to use on the EZ-Smart system for my particular situation when considering the following:
1) I am a hobbyist w/2 young kids so shop time is limited
2) I intend to primarily (maybe exclusively) use the EZ-Smart system for sheet goods (I can't cut a straight line for the life of me)
3) Money is a factor (see #1 and #2)
4) Due to size of my basement "shop" and the difficulty of getting full-sized sheet goods inside, I will likely use this outside so dust collection, while a consideration, is not the most important factor.

First, let me say that a Hilti is out of the question due to its price and a Makita 5008MGA is pushing the budget very hard (unless someone is giving either one away for free or on the cheap). Thinking about how I am going to use this, I'm thinking 1 1/2 - 2" depth of cut would be sufficient for my needs. If I find that I need more depth of cut or start using this for more than sheet goods, I would/could then justify the cost of getting a saw with more depth of cut and/or features. I guess I've read enough opinions to accept that an electric brake is a feature that I do want. I have intentions to build a PBB but then again, if I find that it isn't
necessary for me to do what I intend to do with this system, I may put those plans on hold.

I'm considering a Porter-Cable MAG, a Makita 5007MGA (having difficulty with the 5007MGA over the 5008MGA simply because the price difference between the two is relatively small), and a Hitachi C7BMR (only because it is on the Eurekazone website so I'm assuming it must be a suitable choice ). I am open to other suggestions. I seem to remember that sometime ago, the PC was the saw of choice for this system but that seems to have changed. I'm curious as to why that happened. Are there problems with the PC or does it not fit the system well? In my mind, one thing in the PCs favor is its ready availability over the other saws (available at the BORG and Amazon - I have a $50 gift card to Amazon that could help soften the blow of this purchase).

Any opinions would be appreciated but I'm hoping not to get inundated with responses along the lines of "get a Hilti, you won't regret it". Please keep in mind that I'm not a professional woodworker and won't use this on a daily basis. Thanks in advance.

Jeff Caskie Posted:

I really like my PC.. nice weight/ergonomics/dust collection/brake. The only complaint is that it will not cut 2x while on the rail and that the brake does not always engage. I also like that the make left-blade versions...

Mike Goetzke Posted:

I currently have a 5008MGA and completely satisfied with it. I'm a hobbyist but over the past two weekends broke down 4-sheets of ply into about 30 pieces and cut 60 pieces of hardwood for a project I'm working on and it didn't skip a beat. I started with a Worx saw ($65 shipped at Amazon). With minor mods I had good dust collection and was able to cut through 2x lumber. I then upgraded to a 5007MGA due to the saw brake feature. A few months later Makita released the 5008MGA and I sold the 5007 and bought the 5008. I use my power bence so much now I have my eye on the 10" Makita.

Since you are on a tight budget and have a $50 gift card I would get the Worx saw - nice saw but no brake. You will have to let the saw spin down for a longer period of time at the end of the cut since it doesn't have a brake. If you don't you will likely damage the anti-chip edge. Not a real big deal for a hobbyist. This saw would be ideal to see how you like the EZ-Stuff. Then once you are hooked you can upgrade to another saw and use the Worx off the rail - not much $ wasted....but you will probably end up with a Makita .


Burt Waddell Posted:


Thanks for the background you gave. That really helps.

There isn't any problems with the PC Mag 325. Makita came out with the "MG series" of saws that are light, easy to handle, a Makita motor is smoother, and most importantly had better capacity than the PC.

My guess is you are thinking about this for the long haul. The added capacity of the 5008MGA seems to me to make it the better choice but the Makita 5007MGA will cut a little more than 1 1/2". Look at the cost of the two saws and the cost of blades. There is little difference in initial cost but blades are a recurring expense. The larger blade will last longer but not enough to cover the price difference.

Also, if you are like a lot of us, You may find that you use the EZ more than you expect to. From what I know of your position, I think I would go for the 5008MGA. It has enough capacity for you to grow with it.


Dik Harrison Posted:

I have a huge PBB, but still use the WORX I bought from Amazon. I cut sheet goods and oak with no problems. I think it is an ideal saw for one just getting started, even if it doesn't have a brake. Eventually, I 'll probably get a 5008.

Randal Stevenson Posted:

The only factor I fail to see mentioned is which hand is your dominant one, right or left? If you go with a Cabinetmaker setup, you will want the square on the side that you grab for it naturally.

Otherwise, the only factors I would add is go for a saw with a brake (you never know when the kids could come up and grab you). And figure out what projects you would use this for (if only plywood the 7 1/4" is fine, if thinking of hardwood later, or 2x, go ahead and consider the squeeze of the 5008).

Tom Lauder Posted:

Hi Chris
I am a total beginnermyself and in a similiar position to you and have recently bought a saw. I ended up getting a makita 5007FA It was a very highly rated saw here until the MGA came along. I couldnt afford the MGA and like you I am only a weekend warrior so it seemed to tick all my boxes. there is a 5008FA as well if you want the deeper cut. The 5008FA comes in about $160 from what I can tell.

Hope that helps


Chris Haney Replied:

"The only factor I fail to see mentioned is which hand is your dominant one, right or left?"

Good catch (I thought I had covered everything with my lengthy post). I am left-handed and prefer to use a saw with my left hand for better control; however, like most left-handers living in a right-handed world, I am able to use my right hand fairly well. I was thinking with a guided system like the EZ Smart, all my "saw" hand needs to do is hold the trigger and move the saw along the guide so control isn't that necessary is it? You do make a good point about the cabinetmaker setup. My natural inclination would be to hold something with my right hand and move the saw with my left.

Would I need a different base for a left-handed saw than I would need for a right-handed saw? Is there any disadvantage to using a left-handed saw on the EZ Smart system that would make me consider learning to adapt using a right-handed saw?

Thanks for the replies. I will be out of town for a few days (like I said, I have two young kids and we are going to take them on a little trip for a few days) so I may not be able to respond while I am out.

Jeff Caskie Replied:

The left-hand/left-blade EZ Base is a bit different from the standard base. It typically consists of a separate block of UMHW that is screwed to an upside-down smart base. This block provides the anti-chip capability to the outside of the blade while it is on the rail and replaces the standard anti-chip pieces that snap into the base. The downside to this solution is having to take it on/off in cases when you want to use the saw off the rails. I also believe you cannot use the other (off-rail) anti-chip insert.. but for some reason I am foggy on that. I have to go look at my setup to confirm.

I am still hoping that there will be a truly ambi solution some day that will allow you to take advantage of all the EZ features. That being said, it is still the best thing going for those that want to use a left-blade saw imo.

Dino Makropoulos Replied:

"My natural inclination would be to hold something with my right hand and move the saw with my left."

Hi Chris.
Anything less than natural is unergonomic.
And that leads to problems and natural mistakes.
The ez system is two-directional with a centered guide rail.
ALL ez smart stuff are bi-directional.
No more twisting your body to work on the wrong side of the rail.
In order to gain all the ez smart benefits,
you (a natural lefty) better go with a left bladed saw.
Not only you have the most ergonomic system but the safest to.

"Would I need a different base for a left-handed saw than I would need
for a right-handed saw? Is there any disadvantage to using a
left-handed saw on the EZ Smart system that would make me consider
learning to adapt using a right-handed saw? "

Only one minor problem. You can't use the standard AC-1.
The AC-1 provides antichip protection on the freehand cuts.
( When you need to use the saw without the guide rail)
The other benefits of the left saw for you are much greater than losing the AC-1 ...for now. ( working on it)

Enjoy the trip and the kids.


Did I say that?

My right hand is out of comission due to a shoulder surgery.
( few screws to hold it in place )

Today, I was using my left hand and the accident come ...very natural.
Poor reaction and coordination lead to a clamping air cylinder ( foot activated)
to do what it was designed to do.
Flatten one of my fingers.

Get a left bladed saw and use it accordingly to your natural inclination.

Chris Haney Replied:

Thanks to everyone for your input. Mr. Gates also helped me with my decision. With the 30% cashback offer from Live Search, I picked up a Makita 5008MGA from eBay. Now, what to do with that $50 Amazon giftcard.......

Have fun...

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