Tool Review – Makita Chop Saw

DSC_1632Back about 7 years ago, my wife and I decided to build a house. We hired a friend of a friend as the General Contractor and he gave us a discounted rate. Unfortunately, as many of these situations tend to go, the relationship ended on a very sour note when I fired him about half way through the project. The guy eventually lost his license and was reportedly hopped up on pharmaceutical drugs. My wife and I decided that we would finish the house on our own.

One task that I took on was hanging the doors and installing all of the finish work. My brother-in-law was an established finish carpenter at the time and he offered to help me out for a day and show me the ropes. I had never done any carpentry work like this in my life. He walked me through my first window and I then attempted one on my own. It took me just over 2 hours to trim out a single window. At this rate, if my math is correct, it would take me approximately 75 hours just to do the finish work on the windows. The week I took off from my “real job” was not going to cut it, but I forged on. By the second day, I was ripping through windows 2 at a time in about an hour. Thank you to some much needed tool additions.

I went to Home Depot that first discouraging night and picked up a Makita LS1013L. It is a 10” chop saw with all of the tilt, angle, and compounding bells and whistles. It ran almost $600, but as I explained to my wife, it was either $600 for the saw or $10K for a finish carpenter. She reluctantly OK’d the purchase. The accuracy of the saw combined with the improving accuracy of the carpenter, decreased my work time drastically over the next couple of days.

I have owned a number of Makita tools and I am always pleased with them. This saw is no exception. The construction is sturdy and the motion is fluid.  Even after 7 years, the saw still cuts with as much power and efficiency as when I purchased it. I would say that the only downside to the saw is its weight. It is a bear to move around, but if you want a heavy duty saw that is a fantastic addition to any shop, this is the one.

It looks like it has been updated a bit over the years but Amazon has a very similar model.  It is the Makita LS1016L and the customers’ tool reviews speak for themselves.  The “L” at the end means that it is the model with the laser.  I know that it seems like overkill to have the laser option, but I assure you that once you learn exactly where the kerf will land in relation to the laser, you can make ridiculously accurate cuts on the first try every time.  In addition, the version without the laser is only about $20 less.