Most woodworkers, both amateur and professional, have a need for a good 7 1/4" circular saw. About a year ago I had a need to replace my Porter Cable saw. I wanted to replace it with a saw that had balance, power, and could easily be used by a lefthander like myself. The Journal of Light Construction, if memory serves me, had just published a review of 7 1/4" saws and they rated the Makita 5037 as tops. Since these reviews can sometimes be biased toward a particular persons likes and preferences, I wanted to see for myself which saw would be the best for me.
I compared the saw to the Porter Cable 447, the Milwaukee, and the DeWalt. I was able to demo each of these saws at a Woodworking show. Based on that demo, the Makita performed the best and I bought it. Since that time I have used it on a number of projects and feel that I can now give a better review of it.
The saw is powered by a 14a motor. It weighs over 10.5lbs but has a good balance that makes the weight easy to handle. Suprisingly the saw came with a very good blade, that gave a fast and easy cut through a lot of 2x material before it required to be changed. When operating the saw has that high pitched continuous sound of a strong and well balanced motor. Cutting through 2x material is effortless. The saw comes with a large and thick base plate that makes cutting along the line easy. The scale in the front is also very accurate both for straight and angled cuts. Depth of cut is easily adjusted through a lever in the back of the saw. Bevel cut adjustments are simple and accurate. Loosen a lever, set the angle and retighten the lever. The saw is capable of cutting a 50 degree bevel. One feature that I really like about the saw is the dust chute is adjustable. Being left handed I can adjust the chute to deflect dust away from me. The saw I purchased has an electric brake which works quickly to stop the blade. I purchased the saw from the Wm Alden Co in MA. I paid $159. for it.
Overall Iím very pleased with the saw. While most professional framers that I know like to use worm drives, this saw would serve both amateur and professional carpenters for a wide variety of tasks.
John Renzetti - 02/10/97