Written on: 11/06/2003 by Craig.
66mm cutting depth, 5000rpm, cuts accurately, looks great, good spares service, features a scarfing blade, metal blade guard, rigid blade guard/shoe fixing (essential for accurate cuts).
Comes with a cheap blade (12 teeth), scarfing guard mechanism tends to jam up a bit.
I got this Skil circular saw when it was on offer from B & Q. The saw was an exchange for another saw that was giving problems.
I don't use the saw every week but when I do get it out for a project it tends to get some fairly heavy abuse - cutting through reclaimed pitch pine mill beams etc.
The saw has performed ok for a budget model. Full depth (66mm) cuts in one pass seem to give a bit of a problem (the cut does not seem to be at 90 deg to the surface) so I end up taking a few cuts at progressively deeper cuts. This is ok if you're going to plane the cut face afterwards but it does make for a worse cut.
The adjustable guide marks on the shoe are useful, as is the right angle T bar that enables you to cut widths upto 215mm with minimum set up. Minimum cut width without fouling the guard is about 13mm.
The most annoying problem is with the mechanism that is supposed to automatically adjust the scarfing blade (which I think is supposed to prevent the wood from closing up on the blade after the blade has passed). Instead of operating smoothly, the mechanism tends to jam which slows down adjusting the saw for different cuts. However I would say that this is outweighed by the positive points.
I did have a problem recently that the hardened washer securing the blade had cracked. B & Q supplied a contact number for the spares dept and they performed admirably - it turned out that there are a number of variants for the washer which can only be identified by the serial number of the saw. The parts company sent the wrong one and then sorted out the correct one with no problem - even though I could only supply part of the serial no. - I guess the moral is, try and file the expanded parts diagram somewhere). Also, if Skil saw are reading, try and put the serial number somewhere that doesn't mean it will drag across items being cut :-)
Finally the saw comes with a robust carry case which has withstood the test of time well. It also incorporates a spanner on the shoe (so well that I almost forgot about it :o).
Overall I'd recommend this saw although I must admit I don't have experience of some of the very expensive types.
PS. The flaw with the Black and Decker model was that it had a plastic blade guard. This allows the blade to move relative to the shoe so that the cut isn't straight or accurate so watch out for this when buying circ saws with plastic blade covers.
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