how to choose a chop saw

How To Choose A Chop Saw: Everything You Need to Know About Leave a comment

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What Is A Chop Saw?

A chop saw is often called a miter saw and is suitable for sawing wood, plastic and even metal. In the professional area, this device is mainly needed by carpenters and floor layers, but also more and more home improvement interested in this particular saw. The chop saw is suitable for making miter cuts exactly as well as for cutting firewood.

Basically, you can compare the chop saw with a classic table saw , the functions are very similar, even the chop saw works with a saw blade, which rotates. Mostly this saw is used for trimming and cutting slats, boards, moldings, planks and laminate. 

The cuts are very precise, without the material ripping out great. Thanks to the various possibilities of individually adjusting the chop saw, it can be used for many different types of home and outdoor work.

How to Use A Chop Saw

 Cross-cut saws are in principle quite simple in their operation and yet cover a whole range of applications. A distinction is made between two different variants , namely the classic models and those with a train function . The structure is almost identical in both, some chop saws are also equipped with additional features. The drive is made on the chop saw with the help of a motor, which ensures the rotation of the saw blade. 

The saw blade is fixed to the saw head, you can move it upwards or downwards thanks to a joint, in some models you can still rotate the joint, so the angle can be adjusted individually, which is necessary for the execution of bevel and miter cuts, where The angle can usually be set at least between -45 and +45 degrees. 

If the angle of the professional equipment can be set even higher, undercuts are also possible. Even more options is offered by a model with a pull function , because then you can push the saw head forward or backward, so wider cuts are feasible. The motor drives the saw blade either by means of two gears or a drive belt.

To saw through the work piece, you pass the saw head of the device from top to bottom. On the turntable, many cross-cut saws and fixations are attached so that the user has his hands free and the work piece can not slip.

Types of Chop Saws

On the market you will find a large selection of cross-cut saws , they are distinguished by their functions and possible uses. A classic chop saw is primarily suitable for cutting work pieces made of wood, plastic or soft metal, such as aluminum. In general, you can cut vertically and horizontally with such a tool, which is why the saw table is rotatable and the saw head can be adjusted in inclination.

In a conventional chop saw you lower the saw head, so that you can saw through the work piece at the desired location. Since the size of the saw blade determines the maximum width of the respective work piece, these simple models can be used above all to machine narrow work pieces made of wood or plastic.

The functions of the chop saw with traction function are similar to those of the classic chop saw, it is just equipped with this additional function. This is particularly convenient, because it allows moving the saw head both forward and backward, so that even wider work pieces can be easily edited. This allows, for example, the cutting of laminate or parquet planks.

Another name for chop saw is also miter saw, which is actually correct, because you can implement various mitered cuts with it. When talking about a miter saw, it can be a simple hand-operated saw, but it can also be an electric model. With a miter saw, the saw head, including the saw blade, can not normally be adjusted so that you are less flexible when working.

With a standard chop saw you can usually also edit aluminum, because it is a very soft metal. In addition, there are also special metal chop saws *, which can come up with more power because they have a stronger engine. This can bring work pieces made of any kind of metal to the desired length. 

Some models are equipped with a metal saw blade, while others work with a cutting disc. In principle, the second ones resemble a cut-off grinder or a flex, but they cut materials much cleaner. A last variant would be still cross-cut saws, which are operated with a rechargeable battery *. These are then particularly flexible because you do not rely on a power outlet and a cable.

Chop Saw vs Table Saw

Many DIY enthusiasts wonder if they would rather buy a table saw or a chop saw . This question can not be answered unambiguously, because it depends mainly on what you have with the tool. If it is more about the rough cutting of pieces of wood, you can get along well with a table saw. However, if you rely on precise work, maximum safety and ease of use, then you should rather tend to chop saw.

While a table saw is used to guide the work piece into the saw blade, the saw blade of the chop saw is guided into the work piece. The exact work is only possible with the chop saw in that you can customize the turntable and the saw head individually, in a table saw you need special accessories for it.

chop saw

How to Choose A Chop Saw

If you look around the market, you will find many good models from renowned manufacturers, so that a purchase decision is not necessarily easy . A first criterion would be the work that you want to do in the future with the chop saw, because it can be fixed on what features the model should have in any case. To ensure efficient and comfortable working, the motor power should be at least 1,000 watts. 

That is, if the device is working permanently at the performance limit, this naturally also has a negative effect on its service life. Another essential point is the maximum cutting width and height, because that decides what you can even work with the chop saw. With a model without a pull function, the cutting of narrow work pieces is not a problem, but if you also want to cut laminate, this could be difficult, which is why a model with a tensile function would be preferable in this case.

Also, the adjustment of the turntable are not insignificant, in the best case, you can adjust it both to the left and to the right by up to 45 degrees. Only if one can regulate the angle individually here, the conversion of different angle cuts is possible. Even better scale-able are cross-cut saws with undercut function , which should be a must for professionals. Also, a tilting of the saw head on both sides is recommended, this criterion should meet a high quality chop saw in any case.

So that you can cut work pieces as precisely as possible, a good chop saw should have a stop rail and a clamping device. If you would like to use the device not only for capping bars, a pull function is essential. Sometimes you have to work on longer work pieces, so that makes an extendable saw table pays, alternatively, a side extension could be present. 

The change of the saw blade can be annoying under certain circumstances, so you wanted to put emphasis on a spindle lock. In order not to pollute the work area too much, one might also think of a dust extraction device.

How to Choose a Chop Saw Blades

The size of the saw blade is important in the chop saw because it determines how deep and wide a cut can be at most. Many chop saws therefore only allow a maximum cutting depth of around 25 millimeters because no larger saw blade can be used. Of course you can then use such a model only for certain purposes.

If you expect deeper and wider cuts, then you must necessarily rely on a chop saw with traction function . But it is not only the saw blade that determines the depth of cut, but also the possibilities of adjusting the angle individually. Each chop saw is already delivered with a saw blade , this is usually a universal saw blade made of carbide. However, you can also equip the device with a different saw blade at any time , distinguishing between two different categories. 

The so-called CV saw blades are the cheaper option, but you can not expect too high quality and durability. However, they are sufficient if you only want to do rough work, such as cutting firewood. In addition, there are the so-called carbide saw blades, which are made of hard metal, so that they are much more robust and can convince with a longer life. But it’s not just the material that matters, it’s the teeth too.

A saw blade with coarse teeth lends itself to coarse splitting, while finer work requires one with small teeth so that the material does not tear out. Another criterion for the selection of the saw blade is the rake angle. If you want to work wood, you need a saw blade, because with this, the teeth are directed forward, so that they dig into the material without much effort. On a special metal saw blade, however, the teeth dig into the metal at a shallow angle.

Conclusion

So hopefully, after going through the steps mentioned here you’ll know how to choose a chop saw effectively and efficiently.

You May Read Also: Best Metal Chop Saw 2018

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