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 Right vs. Left handed Circular Saws
Jerold  [Member]
5/6/2010 10:44:37 PM
I'm in the market for a circular saw and I know that there are righty and lefty saws. Like most people who just go out and buy a circular saw, they come home with a lefty saw (blade to the right of the motor). I've always just used my dad's and it is a lefty saw and like everyone else, you just get used to using it with the blade one the "wrong side". Does anyone here use a "righty saw" (blade to the left of the motor) and as a right handed person, is it really better to get a circular saw that was designed for right handed users or just stick to what your used to?

The thing that strikes me funny is that the majority of people are right-handed and the majority of circular saws that people bring home from the store are "lefty" saws.
BTW, my brother-in-law is a building framer, so his main too is the circular saw and he's a right-handed guy and uses a "lefty" saw....

Thanks for the input.
Echo2  [Team Member]
5/6/2010 10:53:00 PM
I find that there are situations for each....I have both.....not really by choice....was at a job....and didn't have my lefty on the truck....went to buy one.....only had a righty....
ARJJ  [Team Member]
5/6/2010 10:59:25 PM
It's more of a regional thing than anything else.

The saws with the blade on the left are typically "worm drive" saws. They are built differently than "sidewinder" saws, whose motor directly powers the blade shaft. Worm drives are much heavier than sidewinders and require that you change the gear oil, but they usually last forever. The Skil 77 is the most prominent wrom drive, but Makita and Rigid also make them.

Most framers here in the south use sidewinders. Out west and up north, worm drives are more popular.

I have used both, and the sidewinder (blade on the right) is my choice. I am used to cutting with it, and all of my pro tricks and skills were learned using them. Besides, when you're cutting rafters and joists for 4 or 5 hours straight, your arm will thank you for using a saw that's 8 or 9 pounds versus 15+ pounds.

Having said all of that, sidewinder circular saws are also made in blade left versions––Porter Cable makes one of the most popular. I had one and hated it; the blade was constantly getting bound up in my work.
Jerold  [Member]
5/7/2010 12:18:55 AM
Originally Posted By ARJJ:
Having said all of that, sidewinder circular saws are also made in blade left versions––Porter Cable makes one of the most popular. I had one and hated it; the blade was constantly getting bound up in my work.


Yeah, Those worm drive saws are heavy - used my bro-in-law's once while working with him and it weighed a ton.

Did you hate the porter cable saw because of the position of the motor and having the blade between you and the motor and that was what was causing the blade binding up?

I don't know anyone around me that has "righty" saw to try out. Maybe I could rent one at home depot and give it a try.

My bro-in-law taught me about plunge cutting with the circular saw. He used that technique a lot - especially cutting rafters. I can't imagine doing that with the blade between me and the motor. On a "lefty" saw with the motor between you and the blade, we look over the motor at the blade and can see the line we need to cut on when doing a plunge cut.
ARJJ  [Team Member]
5/7/2010 12:50:00 AM
Originally Posted By Jerold:
Originally Posted By ARJJ:
Having said all of that, sidewinder circular saws are also made in blade left versions––Porter Cable makes one of the most popular. I had one and hated it; the blade was constantly getting bound up in my work.


Yeah, Those worm drive saws are heavy - used my bro-in-law's once while working with him and it weighed a ton.

Did you hate the porter cable saw because of the position of the motor and having the blade between you and the motor and that was what was causing the blade binding up?

I don't know anyone around me that has "righty" saw to try out. Maybe I could rent one at home depot and give it a try.

My bro-in-law taught me about plunge cutting with the circular saw. He used that technique a lot - especially cutting rafters. I can't imagine doing that with the blade between me and the motor. On a "lefty" saw with the motor between you and the blade, we look over the motor at the blade and can see the line we need to cut on when doing a plunge cut.



I just wasn't used to the PC with the blade on the left. Yes, plunge cutting with the blade next to you is aggravating.

I've used a Makita sidewinder for years now, and seeing the line is not an issue. With enough practice, it becomes second nature. I don't usually need to see the line once a cut is started, anyway, and half the time I don't even need a line. An experienced carpenter should be able to cut roughly square without marking––you use the front edge of the saw's base.
Jerold  [Member]
5/7/2010 8:38:50 AM
Thanks for the input - VERY HELPFUL!!!
CTbuilder1  [Team Member]
5/7/2010 5:27:28 PM
I use a Bosch for a Right handed saw and a Porter Cable for a left handed saw. I've used every saw on the market and those two are my personal favorites and the only ones I would ever consider using.
Jerold  [Member]
5/7/2010 10:24:56 PM
Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
I use a Bosch for a Right handed saw and a Porter Cable for a left handed saw. I've used every saw on the market and those two are my personal favorites and the only ones I would ever consider using.


Do you mean that you use the Bosch when you have to cut something while using your right hand to hold/push the saw and visa versa for the PC? or for what type of cutting do you use the PC and what type of cutting do you use the Bosch?
CTbuilder1  [Team Member]
5/8/2010 9:48:26 AM
Originally Posted By Jerold:
Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:
I use a Bosch for a Right handed saw and a Porter Cable for a left handed saw. I've used every saw on the market and those two are my personal favorites and the only ones I would ever consider using.


Do you mean that you use the Bosch when you have to cut something while using your right hand to hold/push the saw and visa versa for the PC? or for what type of cutting do you use the PC and what type of cutting do you use the Bosch?


I use the Bosch the majority of the time. Only when I need a saw with the motor on the flip side (left handed saw) do I use the Porter Cable. I can use both with either hand. It's more of a thing where if I need to get into a certain spot one may be easier than other to make a cut with.
Arms_Reach  [Member]
5/8/2010 12:53:43 PM
Originally Posted By ARJJ:

I've used a Makita sidewinder for years now, and seeing the line is not an issue.

I haven't used a saw that I liked more than the old style Makita. I think I own three of them, dropped one off a deck on to concrete and bent the table pretty bad. I might have trashed it. I also own a Hilty, it is almost a pound lighter than the Makita and has more amperage. Unfortunately, the handle is mounted in such a way that you can't tell the weight difference. It also has an offensively loud scream and has just enough vibration to make the magnesium table slip around on the work piece. Also, I own a DeWalt that is super clunky.

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:

I use the Bosch the majority of the time. Only when I need a saw with the motor on the flip side (left handed saw) do I use the Porter Cable.

Yup, or if you need bevel the other way. I get a bunch of crap in my face using the lefty saw. It's pretty annoying. One day I'd like to run into someone that has the Bosch and play with it for a few hours. I really like the rafter hook and the direct plug-in-cord feature, very common sense, very handy sounding.
ARJJ  [Team Member]
5/8/2010 1:22:23 PM
Originally Posted By Arms_Reach:
Originally Posted By ARJJ:

I've used a Makita sidewinder for years now, and seeing the line is not an issue.

I haven't used a saw that I liked more than the old style Makita. I think I own three of them, dropped one off a deck on to concrete and bent the table pretty bad. I might have trashed it. I also own a Hilty, it is almost a pound lighter than the Makita and has more amperage. Unfortunately, the handle is mounted in such a way that you can't tell the weight difference. It also has an offensively loud scream and has just enough vibration to make the magnesium table slip around on the work piece. Also, I own a DeWalt that is super clunky.

Originally Posted By CTbuilder1:

I use the Bosch the majority of the time. Only when I need a saw with the motor on the flip side (left handed saw) do I use the Porter Cable.

Yup, or if you need bevel the other way. I get a bunch of crap in my face using the lefty saw. It's pretty annoying. One day I'd like to run into someone that has the Bosch and play with it for a few hours. I really like the rafter hook and the direct plug-in-cord feature, very common sense, very handy sounding.



I bought one of the Bosch CS20's when they first came out. It took some getting used to, and the blade seemed to bind on low angle cuts more than the DW's and Makitas I had. The plastic base also seemed a bit flimsy.

OTOH, it spent a lot of time up on the joists and roof––the rafter hook made it a favorite when setting beams, joists, and rafters. A few of my guys liked it for decking, too, as IIRC it blew the sawdust off pretty well. I kept a 25' extension cord plugged into it for those small/odd jobs where rolling out cords was unnecessary.

I really wanted to like the DW368 and DW369 saws, especially for cutting rafters and joists––they are compact, ultralight, well balanced, and don't bind when cutting angles and compound miters. Unfortunately, every one I buy seems to burn up bearings after only 1 or 2 houses, and the local repair shop can't ever get it repaired right.

Now, my old DW364 (the one with the front depth adjustment knob and electric brake), I loved that saw. It was a beast when cutting plywood, and it made short work of long rips on multiple sheets.
jhark123  [Member]
5/9/2010 1:16:11 PM
As a pro carpenter, to me this is the cat's ass of circular saws:

Bosch 1677m

1. Has 50 degree bevel
2. Guard is extremely smooth (better than my 77)
3. 2-3lbs lighter than a 77
4. Magnesium base stays true (Skill 77m base is aluminum)
5. WAY more torque than a sidewinder (better for knots, engineered lumber, etc.)
6. Add Diablo blade and you are GTG

I like the blade left because when you are using your right hand you can see the cut line. If you want to be fast you should never use a saw guide when framing, snap/mark cut line and follow with the saw. If you use your left hand you should use a sidewinder or switch to the right.
Thallo  [Member]
5/9/2010 3:19:56 PM
As a right handed carpenter I like the material thrown away from me when I cut. Also if you use a square as a saw guide you hand is on the motor side,which is safer especially if the saw kicks back. The majority of the saw itself stays on the material when cutting(not the piece that drops to the floor). This makes for better cuts and less binding. I use several lefty saws Skil worm drive and a makita hypoid saw. They have awesome power. When I use them I cut as if I am left handed.