Author Topic: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail  (Read 1781 times)

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Offline drew4a

  • Posts: 2
Hi!

While framing a house what are the tasks that can be done with a mitre saw (KS 60, for instance) and cannot be done or are hard to do with a circular saw with a cross cut guide rail (HK 55 + FSK 420)?

Thanks!

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Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2018, 12:07 PM »
You will probably get a lot of great replies but I think the main difference is that the KS60 will yield a better cut in some materials (certainly better off cuts) and will handle smaller trim pieces better.

But for framing I don't think I would use the KS60 much to be honest.

On my two recent decking jobs I decided to do all the framing and ended up doing the decking with track/short track saws. That included stair stringers and posts. For the stringers  I made a very simple jig for the track saw and cut down all the triangular pieces just as fast and as accurate as with a mitre saw and more comfortable I would add.   

Currently running a studio build with NO mitre saw on site. I am cutting frames, trim pieces  and sheet goods to size with "just" a HKC55 with the short FSK250 short track (which I prefer) and I have a 1080mm and 2700mm rail for sheet goods and ripping cuts.
I have yet to miss a mitre saw and when it comes down to the subflooring and laminate I can still do without a mitre saw.

I actually run Mafell track saws normally but for this particular job I have switched gear with a colleague to use his 2700mm guide rail for framing and sheet goods (have some 70+ sheets to cut...)  for a few weeks.

I have grown to like the HKC 55 though I think it is pretty weak when it comes to ripping soft wood studs compared to the Mafell KSS50 - and I am using the 12T Panther blade for ripping so using the "correct blade" for the task. I guess (and hope) the corded one rips a lot better. Still, it gets the job done and there isn't that much ripping involved - still would not be able to do it with the mitre saw and it also saves me from having to bring a table saw to the site so all in all I think it is super to have that HKC replace both a mitre and a table saw on site for this particular build. :)

I don't know how extensive your build is but in my case it is a little bit of everything: en empty space in that is divided up by walls and podiums to be built, ventilation ducts to be covered up, flooring etc.

I get by just fine with the HKC 55, a Jigsaw, a Multicutter and a japanese hand saw. It feels great to just walk in to an empty space with just a bundle of studs and the HKC55 and a few hours later there is a stud frame in place and very little gear to haul around.

When it comes to the finishing trim and some bespoke furniture most of it will be made at the workshop and once everything is in place I might clear out all the other gear and bring a small mitre saw for the last trim.

Lengthy answer, hope it helps you out a little.
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 12:11 PM by Henrik R / Pingvinlakrits »
Festool:  CS 50EB precisio set, Domino DF500, DF XL 700, OFK500 edge router, OF1010 router EHL65 planer, CTL Mini/Midi Vac, CTL 26 vac MFT800+1080 tables
DSC-AG Grinder,  RAS 115
Rotex 150, ETS EC 150/5 RTS400
Drills: T18, BHC18, CXS.
SysLite KAL II, SYS Rock.
Sys- and Sortainers galore.

Line up has been reduced with the introduction of Mafell/Metabo tools. Red Green and Blue do mix well in the shop.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 4271
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2018, 12:43 PM »
Very interesting perspective. Thanks Henrik!

Found this reading a review of the HKC55.

“In addition to the rafters I had nearly 100 10” web stiffeners to cut. I had planned to bring our sliding compound miter saw and stand to cut them but forgot the stand (idiot move). I instead used the HKC and guide. I set the angle to ­30° and quickly cut 100 5/4x8 10” web stiffeners with 30° miters on each end. I went through 1 ½ batteries.”
« Last Edit: September 01, 2018, 12:54 PM by Michael Kellough »

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 495
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #3 on: September 01, 2018, 02:01 PM »
Tom Gensmer, who is a member here told me a great philosophy.  “Bring the small piece to the big piece (or something to that effect...)

Is other words, don’t move your lumber to a cut station, but rather move your cut station to your lumber.  I rarely use a miter saw for framing.  I actually won $100 off a guy who maintained he could cut faster with a miter saw than I could with a circular saw. It is true that a properly tuned miter saw will outperform a circular saw in quality of cut, but I believe that a practiced carpenter can come darn close using a circular saw.  When I do mass production cutting, I cut right off the lumber pile.  The cut material is move only once (from the pile to the assembly area).

As far as sheet good breakdown, if the accuracy of a track saw is required, I’ll use one, if not I’ll use a circular saw. I’ve cut many sheets with a circular saw and had a few guys ask me what side was factory and what side was cut.  As with studs, I’ll cut right off the pile.

I’m not writing this to be cocky, simply to reinforce that high quality framing work can happen without high end tools being employed. It’s about knowing your tool and making it an extension of your body.

Ultimately it comes down to production and the best possible quality that can be produced in a reasonable amount of time.
Dance with who brung ya...

Offline demographic

  • Posts: 536
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2018, 03:15 PM »
Another vote for the moving the saw to the lumber pile instead of handling the lumber pile over to the saw.
After I bought my HKC I've hardly used my compound mitre saw.
That includes a couple of jobs where theres been three hundred square metres of decking, extensive cladding, framing. Ive even cut clean formwork for concrete with it.
I'm a carpenter by trade so it gets used pretty much every day.
If it was nicked I'd buy another tomorrow.

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 435
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2018, 04:42 PM »
Well, let’s see, a miter saw does cross cut only where a circular saw will do cross cut or rip. So if you need to rip a bow out of some framing lumber or need to create one more 2x6 (you ran out) out of all your extra 2x10’s, you can with the circular saw but not with the miter saw. Also the circular saw can do stopped cuts and cuts that change directions like birds mouth cuts in rafters or stair stringers, but not the miter saw. Both cut 2x material to length really well but the circular saw is a lot more portable up on the framing itself. I believe that if you go to the typical residential construction site during framing (in most parts of the US) you are going to see 100 circular saws for every one miter saw and you probably won’t see any or many track saws either. Just a pencil, a speed square and a circular saw. Unfortunately in my part of the country all of the safety guards will probably be removed too, ugh!

Just a footnote to say that there are always exceptions. I am sure that someone has figured out some obscure way to cut a stair stringer (or something else described here) on a miter saw but my statements above should be directionally correct in most cases.

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 435
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #6 on: September 01, 2018, 04:57 PM »
I just reread your question. I can’t think of anything that a circular saw can’t do that a miter saw can. Other than maybe the ability to set up a miter saw to do repeatable cut lengths very quickly if you needed hundreds of boards cut to exactly the same length. Again, the circular saw can do it, just maybe not quite as quickly. Also, the miter  saw, typically, would have a better blade and make a cleaner cross-cut but that should not matter in framing. Again, there are also exceptions here as I have seen skilled professionals that could walk up to a pallet load full of 2x4’s and cross cut them to a given length just as fast as you or I could do it on a miter saw with a repeatable cut stop set up.

Offline drew4a

  • Posts: 2
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #7 on: September 01, 2018, 07:20 PM »
Thank you for all the great responses and sharing your experience!

First I was planning on buying a circular saw and a mitre saw for my first framing project. I wasn't sure that I will be able to do good cuts with a circular saw all the time and mitre saw seemed to be a good solution for repeating cuts or non-90° cuts. But after buying a Festool circular saw and taking a look onto cheaper mitre saws (low range blue Bosch and Makita) I understood that I don't like their quality. The most affordable Kapex KS 60 is great but not cheap and probably is not meant for framing at all. Hence the idea of just adding a cross cut guide rail to the circular saw and not buying a mitre saw at all (or buying a cheapest one with a stationary compound).

A separate thanks for the idea not to move the lumber twice!

Offline Alanbach

  • Posts: 435
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #8 on: September 01, 2018, 10:24 PM »
It sounds like you have landed on a great plan!

Offline Naildrivingman

  • Posts: 495
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #9 on: September 01, 2018, 10:32 PM »
I think you will be surprised how quickly you will excel at basic cuts with a circular saw. Like any saw, buy a good quality blade and your experience will be even more enhanced. There are many really good framing blades for a lot less money than comparable blades for a miter saw.
Dance with who brung ya...

Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2018, 05:40 AM »
drew4a:

My MO with them lumberpiles is that I run through them all at one end and clean cut them a few mm or cm depending on how out of square the ends are and/or if there are any cracks. This is very swift with the HKC55 and the FSK250/420.

Once I have gone through the pile I know to take all my measurements from that end knowing the end is square and free from cracks.

I use a Talmeter from Hultafors to scribe the line so in my case there are no pencil lines for the most part and I know that if I transfer the measurement from the source to the material it is always spot on. If I cut a row of studs that differ in length I write it on the side of the stud. In vaulted cellars/basements it is common to have different length studs but usually they are the same length.

K.I.S.S. MO for me:

Lumber carried in and sorted according to dimension/length and straightness. (Bowing timber laid aside for shorter pieces).
Clean cut one end with the short track where the lumber is.

Go over the cut sheet and cut them at the pile and then carry them once to where they are supposed to go.
Any trimming down for odd cuts is done at the spot with the HKC instead of carrying the stock back or to a cutting station (unless they happen to be in the same room).

Off cuts remain in a pile with the lumber pile so less places to clean up too if you are on a larger build.

A bit of a rushed post as missus is bugging me to run an errand so probably missed out on something. [unsure]

EDIT:
Since I realized how little I use a mitre saw nowadays I have gone for a cheaper mitre saw with large cutting capacity as a beater saw. It handles the large stuff when needed. The KS60 is a fine saw but I have no use for it even in my everyday work as a carpenter. For the smaller stuff I have gone cordless which is great for trim and small stuff on site.

« Last Edit: September 02, 2018, 05:45 AM by Henrik R / Pingvinlakrits »
Festool:  CS 50EB precisio set, Domino DF500, DF XL 700, OFK500 edge router, OF1010 router EHL65 planer, CTL Mini/Midi Vac, CTL 26 vac MFT800+1080 tables
DSC-AG Grinder,  RAS 115
Rotex 150, ETS EC 150/5 RTS400
Drills: T18, BHC18, CXS.
SysLite KAL II, SYS Rock.
Sys- and Sortainers galore.

Line up has been reduced with the introduction of Mafell/Metabo tools. Red Green and Blue do mix well in the shop.

Offline Cheese

  • Posts: 6543
Re: Sliding compound mitre saw vs. circular saw with a cross cut guide rail
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2018, 09:05 AM »
The most affordable Kapex KS 60 is great but not cheap and probably is not meant for framing at all.

I believe it was intended to be used as a flooring saw. Most of the advertisements always show it with flooring products.

For framing I like the HKC 55 with the short 250 track. [big grin]