DeWalt 708 12" Sliding Compound Mitersaw
by Benjamin Borows


First, the disclaimer. I am not an experienced woodworker, having been working (playing) with these things for about a year. Second of all, I have never owned an expensive saw, never mind a SCMS. My experience with these things can be summed up easily ≠ I donít have any. Therefore, feel free to ignore any/all of the following.

Still with me? Good. Letís go.

Setup: There is no set-up. The saw comes fully assembled, ready to go. Lift it out of the big yellow box, and go. (From my primitive tools, I guess that the saw is properly aligned ≠ It was able to cut the miters on a picture frame quite accurately ≠ Not perfectly, but certainly serviceable enough, without any alignment work on my part.)

Impressions: The saw slides smoothly back and forth on its rail, and dips cleanly down. The table rotates back and forth smoothly enough. The toggle that holds the saw blade down works well, although I would prefer it to be able to lock the saw at a particular height. The depth of cut adjustment works smoothly and accurately.

Motor: When the motor starts, there is a slight pull on the handle, if youíve pulled it down before pressing the trigger. It gets up to speed quickly, and is quiet enough not to need ear protection. (DISCLAIMER ≠This is MY opinion ≠ Donít do this, try this, or think about this, unless you agree with me ≠ I am an accountant, not an ear doctor, and therefore blah blah cannot be held blah blah you get the picture. Donít be stupid.) Once you cut wood, however, you will need the ear protection. The electric brake stops the blade quickly and smoothly. The motor has cut, with the stock 60 tooth blade, smoothly through all of the soft wood Iíve asked it too. I havenít used hard wood yet, but expect to in the near future. Since I havenít given it a good test, I canít attest to the sufficiency of its power, although it was enough forÖ

Beveling: The saw bevels smoothly, and although you need two hands and a little care to set it properly, itís quite possible, and itís not a lengthy process. Did I mention this was my first SCMS? I was wondering why the fences were adjustable until I made my first beveled cut. The saw took a bite out of the thick, sturdy aluminum fence without hesitation. So for those of you who donít already have a SCMSÖ watch the fence. Power? It had enough to go through the fence, so Iím guessing itíll cut wood just fine.

Ergonomics: Iíll be honest. This handle feels just as good as the ones on all the other SCMSís. Since I donít really see a difference between any of them, I canít make a comment. However, when I bought the saw, I was disappointed that it didnít have a lock button to keep the motor turning. After I used it, I changed my mind, and was happy that it would ALWAYS stop spinning when I loosened my grip.

Weight: Portable, but not easily. Itís not heavy, but also not very well balanced. Get a helper, and youíll have no problems. The handle is useful, but I find myself using the top tube as well. It seems quite solid enough to do this.

Cost: Damn expensive, about $570. It was about $80 more than my other choice, but the other had a 10Ē blade. I was afraid that if I scrimped, Iíd regret not having the additional cut depth in the future.

Accessories: I looked at what was in the store, and was impressed by their sturdinessÖ but stopped by their price. After dropping all the cash on the saw, Iíll make jigs/holds/clamps myself. An angry SWMBO is a frightening sight.

Cut quality: Not glass smooth, but as I said, Iím using the stock 60 tooth blade. Iím looking forward to getting a GOOD blade on it, but until then, two swipes with sandpaper cleans it up quite nicely. (Also, I may have something to do with the quality of the cut. When the stock is clamped, it seems to do better. Ah well, I guess I have to cut more things to be sureÖ)

Manual: I got one.

Overall impression: I like it, a lot, even though Iíve only used it briefly. If this changes, Iíll post that, too, and the reasons.


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© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
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