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Old 01-10-2010, 02:21 PM   #1
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


I'd like to buy a single, new power tool that will serve me for three projects.

1- cut through existing galvanized fence posts (not sure the gage, but I gave up on the hacksaw when I realized it would take me weeks to get through one).

2- rebuild a wood deck

3- build a wood fence

Thanks.

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Old 01-10-2010, 08:30 PM   #2
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


There isn't one saw that will do all three jobs in an acceptable manner. For cutting through the galvanized posts, you basically need a reciprocating saw (Sawzall type saw). If the posts are already out of the ground and you just want to cut them down in size, you can use a chop saw with fitted with a blade to cut such metal.

As for the other projects: you'll really need both a circular saw and a jigsaw. A reciprocating saw won't help you much with projects # 2 and 3, and a circular saw and/or jigsaw won't help you much with project # 1. You can probably get away with using a jigsaw with a metal cutting blade to cut your galvanized posts, but a jigsaw alone won't really suffice for a deck and fence project; you'll need something to make long straight cuts and also notches. A handsaw would meet that need, but a circular saw will make it MUCH easier.

The bad news is you can't practically do all three jobs with just one saw. The good news is, if you do buy these three saws, you're handheld power saw needs are essentially met for the rest of your life (plus a miter saw, but that isn't handheld)

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Old 01-10-2010, 11:37 PM   #3
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


What adpanko said is totally correct. Personally i've had a Skill Mag 77 worm drive that i've beat on... lightly for the last 7 years and its still trucking. Put a composite metal blade on it and you should be able to cut the posts off no problem. A heavy saw but it is a truck. It might take you a little longer to complete your projects but it'll do.

Saw: http://www.amazon.com/Skil-HD77M-4-I.../dp/B0000223FB

Blade: http://www.shopping.com/xPO-Vermont_..._Cut_Off_Blade
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:00 PM   #4
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


Worm drive saws are a heavy tool. You can put a metal cutting blade on a regular circular saw if you're set on only one tool.
A very versatile tool is a grinder. You can use it to cut metal, tile, plaster, stone, etc. Just put on the proper blade.
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Old 01-11-2010, 04:16 PM   #5
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


Just wanted to add that cutting a vertical post with a circular saw is a very dangerous ordeal. The blade of a circular saw spins in one direction (unlike a reciprocating saw which moves back and forth), and if you are cutting through something vertical, as you make the cut, the upper portion of the post will pinch down on the blade and you'll get some nasty binding and/or kick from the circular saw. When that happens, the saw bucks and gets sort of thrown away from the cut. If you don't have a good hold on the saw, it can literally fly out of your hand. Or worse, if it bucks toward you, you'll get hit in the face/body with the saw (albeit likely with the blade gaurd already likely back in the closed position).

I was dumb enough to make this mistake once. I was cutting through a vertical stud, and instead of grabbing the reciprocating saw, or a hand saw, I went at it with the circular saw. Sure enough, half way through the cut, the stud pinched on my blade and the saw bound up and got thrown pretty hard. Fortunately I was holding onto it really well and nothing major happened.
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Old 01-11-2010, 07:12 PM   #6
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


Since getting my Sawzall I have only used the jig saw when coping crown molding. Circular saw is indispensable for making a deck though. Those two tools handle most of my cutting tasks.

It's amazing what you can free hand cut with a sawzall after a little practice. Good for pruning too.
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Old 01-11-2010, 10:34 PM   #7
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


Quote:
Originally Posted by adpanko View Post
Just wanted to add that cutting a vertical post with a circular saw is a very dangerous ordeal. The blade of a circular saw spins in one direction (unlike a reciprocating saw which moves back and forth), and if you are cutting through something vertical, as you make the cut, the upper portion of the post will pinch down on the blade and you'll get some nasty binding and/or kick from the circular saw. When that happens, the saw bucks and gets sort of thrown away from the cut. If you don't have a good hold on the saw, it can literally fly out of your hand. Or worse, if it bucks toward you, you'll get hit in the face/body with the saw (albeit likely with the blade gaurd already likely back in the closed position).

I was dumb enough to make this mistake once. I was cutting through a vertical stud, and instead of grabbing the reciprocating saw, or a hand saw, I went at it with the circular saw. Sure enough, half way through the cut, the stud pinched on my blade and the saw bound up and got thrown pretty hard. Fortunately I was holding onto it really well and nothing major happened.
Granted for most situations, the cut off blade on a circular saw is quite dangerous. Well in all situations it is dangerous but some better then others.

I have spent a good 45 hours now cutting out rod iron fences with a circular saw and a cut off blade (porter band was stolen and I did not own a recip. saw at the time) and Dad was pushing us fast to hurry up so we could get the new fence in.

I have used some of the Ryobi equipment in the past and it has been great for diy work. You can find these saws at a pretty good rate brand new or there is always craigslist/ebay.

What type of fence will be going in?

What type/style deck?
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Old 01-12-2010, 05:53 AM   #8
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Best small power saw for deck & fence construction


Quote:
Originally Posted by adpanko View Post
Just wanted to add that cutting a vertical post with a circular saw is a very dangerous ordeal. The blade of a circular saw spins in one direction (unlike a reciprocating saw which moves back and forth), and if you are cutting through something vertical, as you make the cut, the upper portion of the post will pinch down on the blade and you'll get some nasty binding and/or kick from the circular saw. When that happens, the saw bucks and gets sort of thrown away from the cut. If you don't have a good hold on the saw, it can literally fly out of your hand. Or worse, if it bucks toward you, you'll get hit in the face/body with the saw (albeit likely with the blade gaurd already likely back in the closed position).

I was dumb enough to make this mistake once. I was cutting through a vertical stud, and instead of grabbing the reciprocating saw, or a hand saw, I went at it with the circular saw. Sure enough, half way through the cut, the stud pinched on my blade and the saw bound up and got thrown pretty hard. Fortunately I was holding onto it really well and nothing major happened.
You might try cutting studs on a 45 degree angle. If there's a slight load, the stud will slide down the incline, cutting the force on the blade.
Ron

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