Makita LS1221 Miter Saws Reviews
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Makita LS1221 Miter Saws

4 ratings (3 Epinions reviews)
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My favorite compound miter saw isn't perfect yet

Aug 25, 2001
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Powerful, accurate, rigid structure, nicely built and detailed, thoughtful design, tall fence

Cons:Soft-start too soft, motor-assembly housing slams into upright position, no 38/52 degree detents

The Bottom Line: With only a few caveats, I recommend this saw for serious finish carpenters. I've tried many other models and this is the best yet.

After years of merely getting by with a decent but undersized Delta miter saw, borrowing bigger saws when necessary, I've finally bought a real winner. But it's not a perfect saw. I do lots of large-scale finish carpentry. I wanted a saw that has good crosscut capacity, is comfortable to use, and is reasonably portable. But most of all I wanted my new saw to be accurate, powerful, to have a big table and fence, and to be extremely rigid. I tested the Dewalt offerings, and though I liked what I saw, I was warned by half a dozen carpenters and furnituremakers (and the DeWalt dealer himself) that the saws quickly develop "play" or "slop" in the arbor or in the entire sprung portion of the saw. I tried the Bosch 12" C.M.S., and thought it was pretty good, though rather lacking in fence to the right of the blade and quite noisy. I tried two Hitachi 10" saws, the slider and the standard C.M.S. and liked them both, but I missed the extra cutting capacity of a 12" blade. Same with the Milwaukee 10" slider. I've heard good things about the Freud and the Porter-Cable, but I couldn't find any to try. Then I tried the latest version of Makita's 12" saw, and I decided it was my favorite. It met all my criteria, but also just felt and looked better built and more thoughtfully laid out. I immediately appreciated the horizontal D-pattern grip, the additional carrying handle (right over the center of gravity), the flip-over fence extension to the left of the blade, and the size and milling of the table. I especially liked the ease of adjustment, both miter and bevel. The detents (stops) at the standard increments are both accurate and easy to hit. But there are no stops at 38 and 52 degrees. I consider this to be a real oversight on a fairly expensive saw that purports to be the finish carpenter's other right hand. Anyway, I finally bought the Makita and have been very happy with it. It has power to spare and even 12/4 x 8" white oak doesn't give it pause. The 15 Amp motor is plenty torquey at 3,200 rpm. (Note: with a 70-tooth finish blade installed the saw can bog down a bit in dense, thick woods. The 40-tooth blade that comes with the saw can cut everything I've tried without difficulty. I haven't yet tried ebony!) But I do have two complaints:
1. The soft start is too soft: it takes an annoying couple of seconds for the blade to get up to speed. I guess I prefer the more dangerous older saws' ability to reach full speed almost immediately. There is some disconcerting vibration during those first two seconds.
2. My biggest complaint: if you simply let go of the grip after you've raised the blade out of the work, a powerful spring up near the motor housing will SLAM the sprung portion of the saw backwards so forcefully that the base will jump off you work table unless bolted down. It really seems excessive, as though the spring were sized for a much heavier saw. There should be either a lighter spring or a pad in the hinge to prevent this head-banging. I almost lost the saw over the back of my bench the day I bought it when I release the grip as I'm used to doing.

But I suppose I'll develop new habits soon enough. In the meantime, I'm cutting beautifully accurate and clean miters on a strong, quiet saw that is worth every penny of the $319.00 I paid for it. I don't know a better saw for finish carpenters, and recommend it strongly.

Recommend this product? Yes

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