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Saws Buying Guide – Stationary Saws

Stationary and portable saws make DIY projects easier. But you have to make sure you’re getting the right saw, for the right situation.


Stationary Saws

Mitre Saws

Mitre saws are another near-necessity for the DIY-er due to its compact design and overall versatility – think of them as highly-portable table saws. Mitre saws are ideal for people who are looking for a table saw, but who will also need to make some more accurate cuts. Mitre saws make accurate crosscuts and mitre cuts, as well as bevel and compound cuts. If you’re making a picture-frame, cutting door and window trim, crown mouldings or framing lumber, a mitre saw will make a great choice as an addition to your workroom.

When buying a mitre saw, you should keep the blade sizes in mind. The sizes usually range from 8”-12”. The bigger the blade, the larger the wood you can cut through.

Mitre saws are available in standard and sliding versions. Sliding ones allow you to cut larger (but not thicker) pieces of wood. Sliding mitre saws are heavier, though, thus making them less portable.

Table Saws

Table saws are quite often the most-used power tool in any workshop due in large part to its versatility. They allow you to quickly and easily break down larger pieces of wood to smaller, more manageable pieces. Table saws allow you to make any number of often-used cuts, including rip, crosscut, mitre, bevel and compound, in addition to more obscure and less used cuts such as dado cuts. A table saw will provide straight, smooth and accurate cuts in lumber, wood-based materials (like plywood or chipboard) and even some types of plastic. They are ideal for almost all tasks, from building to remodeling your home, to making furniture or cabinets.

Similar to mitre saws and circular saws, the size you see on table saws refers to the diameter of the blade it holds. The most common sizes are 8" (for thinner materials) and 10" (for angled cuts and thicker materials). Either size would suit a casual user. You’ll also want to look for a larger “table”, which will allow you to start with larger pieces of wood.

Band Saws

A band saw is ideal for cutting curves through thicker, but smaller, pieces of wood. You should be able to cut through wood up to 4” or 6” thick. The size of wood you can cut is dependant on the “Throat Capacity”, which is the distance between the saw's blade and back frame. Band saws can also be used for ripping, cross cutting and beveling wood, aluminum and plastic.

Band saws come in both sturdy, stationary models, and portable models that can be easily moved and placed on a workbench or tabletop.

Scroll Saws

Scroll saws look similar to band saws but differ in the sense that they do not feature continuous blades. In addition to traditional external cuts, you can use your scroll saw for interior cuts as well. All you have to do is create an entry hole in your wood with a drill, then thread your scroll saw blade through the hole and begin cutting. They offer a depth of cut around 2”.

Scroll saws allow you to make cuts on a variety of materials, including wood, plastic and some metals as well. Different materials require different speeds, so a saw with variable-speed control and a wide range of settings will make your saw more versatile.

Wet Tile Saws

Wet tile saws use water as a coolant to make cutting tiles easier, and ensure the tiles are less likely to break during the cutting process. Jets of water shoot towards the blade as it cuts the tile, keeping it cool and cutting down on friction. Wet tile saws are great for making both straight cuts and mitered cuts.

Wet saws come in a variety of blade sizes, usually from 4½” - 10” blades, but a 7” blade is suitable for most general home uses. You'll want to make sure that you get the most powerful saw within your budget, so look for higher horsepower. Some tables come equipped with laser guides, which will make your job much easier and help with the accuracy of your cuts.