The sidewinder circular saw is the quintessential East Coast framer’s tool. As a full-time custom framer, I count it among my most important power tools. For this article, I reviewed eight 7 1/4-inch saws: the Bosch CS20, the DeWalt 364K, the DeWalt 369CSK, the Hitachi C7BD2, the Makita 5007FAK, the Milwaukee 6394-21, the Porter-Cable 325MAG, and the Ridgid R3200. While most manufacturers make several circular saws, I chose these tools over other models because they offer the most power and best features for professional users. They are all traditional sidewinders, with the blade on the right side of the motor.
Cutting Through the Choices
In choosing a favorite saw, I looked first at power. Framers have to make good time cutting a variety of materials, including dense engineered lumber like LVL and Parallam, and the new generation of dense structural panels like Advantech. We put all these saws to the test on the job and, as it turned out, power was not an issue for any of them: They all had plenty to spare. Most were also up to the task of cutting through 1 3/4-inch LVL at steep compound angles. The only real shortcoming was with the Porter-Cable, which despite what its literature says would not cut all the way through a 1 3/4-inch LVL at a 45-degree bevel. Contonue Reading Sidewinder Circular Saws