The Dewalt DW705 12" Compound Miter Saw

After several years of buying and using B&D 10" miter saws for my construction business, I decided I needed a compound miter saw with a large cutting capacity. I like the little B&D 10" saws as they are light, inexpensive, and durable. I shied away from the sliding compound miter saws available at the time because of their limited cutting capacity and ruggedness in dealing with being thrown in the back of a pickup truck while going from job to job.

The DW705 was new on the scene and I liked it's capacity and simplicity of design. There wasn't much that could go wrong with it and all of the settings were easily maintainable. There were a couple of Black & Decker repair facilities in my area and I knew I could get the saw serviced quickly if need be.

At 38 lbs., the saw is easily carried by one person. It has a handle on the top of the motor housing and its weight is well distributed when using this handle. The head lock holds the motor firmly and there is no play in the motor arm when moving the saw about by the handle.

The first job I took the saw to involved making compound cuts on pressure-treated 4x4's. I have a Rousseau miter saw stand and cutting the 8' 4x4's was quick work. The blade supplied with the saw, 32-tooth carbide, is ideal for working with pressure-treated lumber, but you'll want to purchase an 80-tooth blade for most finish work. The saw cut cleanly and effortlessly through the wet yellow pine. It has plenty of power - so much so, in fact, that there is a certain amount of torque when you hit the power trigger. If the saw is not secured to a work surface and you aren't paying attention, it can move just a bit on a slick work surface.

I purchased one add-on item for the saw: a hold-down clamp. One of the problems working with a large-capacity, high-torque miter saw is holding the wood firmly while a cut is made. The hold-down clamp firmly anchors the piece being cut so that it does not move as the sawblade goes through it. The clamp is secured to the saw by sliding a pin on the clamp into a hole in the left front of the saw. It works well and I would recommend it.

The saw comes with a dustbag which fits over the outlet at the the back of the blade housing. It looks rather silly, but works quite well. If you only have a few cuts to make, the bag makes job site cleanup quicker, but the bag fills quickly and needs to be emptied frequently. When the bag is not attached, there is a diverter on the outlet which blows all of the sawdust down towards the ground - a nice touch on a windy day. I now use the saw in my shop and I attach a vacuum hose to the outlet. This works very well and there is little cleanup necessary after using the saw when using this vacuum system.

There is an arrangement whereby a padlock can be used on the power trigger. This is a nice touch if you use the saw in a home workshop and have children. I've never had the need to use the feature, but it's nice to know it's there.

The saw is very rugged and holds its settings well. If the saw does come out of adjustment, making the necessary changes is easily accomplished using a phillips screwdriver and wrench. There is a blade-changing wrench supplied with the saw and it is housed very securely in an out-of-the-way position. Blade changing is easy and painless. There is a blade-lock for use in changing blades. The blade guard is the best designed guard I've ever used. I've never been tempted to remove it as I did with the guards on my B&D miter saws. It does not interfere with your line of light and operates very smoothly.

The fences on the saw are unique in that the right-hand fence is two-piece. You can slide the top of the fence out of the way when making compound cuts. The fences are high enough to adequately support the work and can be adjusted for squareness to the saw bed.

The saw has an electric brake on it and it has performed flawlessly in the three years that I've owned the saw. I've not yet had to replace the motor brushes, but they're easily accessible when that time comes.

The compound function of the saw is accurate and the settings easily maintain. As with most tools, it's best not to fully rely on the marked settings, but rather to use a sliding t-bevel set with a protractor when setting up for a compound cut. The stops at 90 and 45 degrees are accurate and easily maintained as well.

All-in-all, I like the saw very much and would recommend it to someone looking for a non-sliding compound miter saw. I've yet to have anything go wrong with it and although it now resides in my shop, it served two years on job sites with no breakdowns.

Wayne Miller - 12/30/97