Goodbye, Old Friend

My college graduation gift was the Porter-Cable 1-1/2 HP router kit. It came with a single motor, a D-handle base, a plunge base & a small router table. It was my first power tool. While it still serves me well, I've moved on to bigger routers with soft starts and dust collection. Router technology improved, and so did my collection.

The DeWalt 12" Dual-Bevel Sliding
Compound Miter Saw.
A few months later the first power tool I bought myself was a DeWalt 12" Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter saw. I bought it at Home Depot when my wife and I went into closing on our first house (how, after all, can anyone work on their house with a 12" dual-bevel sliding compound miter saw?). Once in the house, I built a bench for the saw. That was in early 2001. The bench was 10' long and 37" deep to accommodate the travel of the saw's rails. It served as a miter saw bench, a work bench and an assembly table.

The DeWalt takes up 37" from the
front of the handle when turned in
to the back of the rails.
Two years ago when we moved and my shop was squeezed into a 9'11" x 22' single car garage, the 37" deep bench became un-workable. There was just no way I could give up all that space along a wall. Shortly after moving I sold the bench and the 3 custom made rolling carts that fit underneath it to one of my co-workers. The saw stayed with me. It spent most time folded up in the corner. I had to unfolded it and set it on a folding table in the driveway for work.

I've known that the depth of the big old DeWalt was too much for the new shop, but when compared to the newer saws on the market today with less rear projection, I didn't see the same types of improvements as occurred in routers. I still think my 10 year old DeWalt is nicer than most saws on the market.

Packed & Ready to go.
My hesitation in replacing the DeWalt ended this week when we needed a saw at work to crosscut 12" wide strips of plywood for the 100 or so custom curbs we're building for the skylights on a condo re-roof project we're doing. I immediately offered up my 12" DeWalt, Forest Chopmaster and all. Work bought it with no haggling and the DeWalt quickly set to work making skylight curbs.

Now I approach a weekend of home improvement (PVC fascia & window trim installation) with no miter saw. I'm not sure how I'll do it. Using a track saw to cross cut 16' PVC 1x6s to length seems the most accurate way left to me and also like so much more work than with a miter saw. To remedy the situation I'll be scoping out miter saws at Woodworking in America next week (thankfully they've added power tools this year). I know Festool will be there with a Kapex and I'm hoping the new Bosch Gliding Miter Saw will make an appearance. I'll cross reference them both against the new Makitas and hopefully one will come out a winner. Then my shop won't feel so empty.

My old saw in her new home.
What power tool do you feel lost without?
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