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Recently I got to try out the new Milwaukee M18 FUEL Brushless Cordless 7-1/4" Circular Saw. This saw is made for the framer in mind, it comes with a 12AH battery and charger. Yes, 12AH, so you can work all day long....
I'm not a framer though, as a woodworker I use a circular saw a bit differently and it seems as though Milwaukee had us woodworkers in mind as well. Most notably with the dust port attachment. While framers on a job site don't really care about dust collection, us woodworkers do.
I did a test to see how much dust it actually collects, and I was pleasantly surprised! I started with a completely empty shop vac and cut a test piece. While there was still some dust in the air after cutting, most of it was in the vac!
The picture below is the dust from just one cross cut of a 2x6!
I have really been trying to keep the dust at bay in the shop, so I am super happy about this feature. Stopping the dust at the source makes cleaning up the shop so much easier.
Another thing I love about this saw is how quickly the blade stops. As soon as your finger releases the trigger, an electronic brake makes the blade stop spinning. This makes for a safer and more efficient workflow. I know I can safely set the saw down right away, and move along with my project.
The kit also comes with a bag, 12 AH battery and a rapid charger. The battery and charger are fully compatible with all the other M18 system tools, thats over 150 tools. If you have been considering getting on the Milwaukee platform, this would be a good place to start.
Let's talk about the battery for a bit. It's huge, and heavy, but oh so powerful. You can make up to 750 cuts on one battery charge. Thats more than a typical woodworker would need. For a framer, that is awesome. If you are working on a job site, you can leave your corded tools behind since it generates the power of a 15amp corded circular saw.
Power is important when working with hard woods, sometimes I use my circular saw to rip down the edges of rough lumber so I can then clean up the other side on the table saw (I still don't have a jointer...). When you're ripping through 8/4 hardwoods, power is a necessity, so I am thrilled this saw has ALL the power!
Besides for power a woodworker requires accuracy in their tools. I was pleased that out of the box the zero degree bevel was perfectly square to the shoe. This means I wont have to check every time I change the bevel.
Speaking of bevels, this saw has a 50 degree max bevel, which I think is more than adequate. One thing I wish it had was positive stops for commonly used angles like 45 or 22.5 degrees. I will have to take out my angle finder in order to set the saw to a bevel other than 0 or 50. Not a huge deal, just something to note. This is typical of most saws, but I recently used one that had positive stops and I love that feature.
Storage in a wood shop is an ongoing problem. One nice little feature is the integrated hook for easy storage. I find it difficult to hang a circular saw on a pegboard, but this hook is going to alleviate that problem.
It would also come in handy on the job site, you can hang it on a rafter or the side of your sawhorse. I'm excited to put that feature to good use!
Overall I think this is an amazing saw. It has all the power I will ever need as a woodworker. It's loaded with other great features like the electronic saw break and storage hook, but the main reason why I love this saw is the dust collection port. It's such a small thing that will make a huge difference in my day to day workflow.
Because the kit comes with a battery and charger I think this kit is an excellent place to start if you were considering jumping on the Milwaukee platform.
Now that I don't have to vacuum the shop, I'm going to work on some more projects!
Check it out the kit at The Home Depot below!
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