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Thread: Sears 12 inch Miter Saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Sears 12 inch Miter Saw

    Does anyone else have this saw;

    Craftsman 12 inch compound sliding miter saw

    I bought this saw back in November from Sears when it was on sale. To date I've not been able to get it to reliably cut a 45 or 90 degree cut consistently when using only the positive stops for the angles. Invariably I have to set the miter, make a test cut, then measure the cut to see if it's on 45/90, shy, or strong. The problem appears to be with the positive stops themselves. They don't have straight up and down sides. Instead they're angled towards the bottom of the stop. I can only guess it's so that if you release the latch it will "auto center" the table. Invariably the cuts are off .5 to 1 degree. I've done all the book says to do to get it lined up. I can get the 90 lined up (until I move it that is) but the 45s are out of whack.

    I've contacted a Sears repair center and they've said that if the mechanism isn't broken, they can't help me. To me it's broken because it won't/can't cut the miters the way I need it without test cuts before. If I have to make test cuts I might as well remove the latch for the positive stop and eyeball the measurements.

    So, do I need to just admit that I got a bad miter saw or does anyone know of anything I can do to make this saw more than just a rough chop saw?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
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    Lived in Michigan until I retired in Mexico. Build furniture for use. If I need it I build it.
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    Terry, don't have an answer to your question but will be keeping an eye on this thread. Have never used a compound miter saw, and have been really looking at them lately for my next purchase. As an afterthought, if you are stuck with this "chop saw" do you think the gauge in the attached link would help you align it. Can't find the thread right now but some members on the board have praised this gauge.
    http://www.vansantent.com/angle_find...ngle_Gauge.htm

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Lake City, Florida
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    498
    Terry -- Don't remember where, but I do remember reading about a problem with cracked bases on a Sears Miter saw. Musta been at least six months or so ago. Check the base carefully, especially where it pivots and see if it's cracked. If so, bring it back for a refund, get your $$ and run!

    A long shot but worth a try.

    Good Luck, Tony

    Tony, BCE '75

  4. #4
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    Odessa, Tx
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Schacht View Post
    Terry, don't have an answer to your question but will be keeping an eye on this thread. Have never used a compound miter saw, and have been really looking at them lately for my next purchase. As an afterthought, if you are stuck with this "chop saw" do you think the gauge in the attached link would help you align it. Can't find the thread right now but some members on the board have praised this gauge.
    http://www.vansantent.com/angle_find...ngle_Gauge.htm
    Gerald, the Wixey will work great to set a "Bevel" cut, but you would have to tilt the saw up 90* to put the fence in a relatively horizontal plane to be able to use the Wixey to set the "Mitre" angle.

    The reason they work so well to set a mitre guage for a table saw is that you can remove the mitre guage to get it into the proper position for the Wixey to work.

    Hey, you been quiet for a while, so what have you been building, (or have you just been Unlaxing this winter)?
    Last edited by Norman Hitt; 03-24-2009 at 05:27 AM.

  5. #5
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    Feb 2009
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    158
    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Schacht View Post
    Can't find the thread right now but some members on the board have praised this gauge.
    http://www.vansantent.com/angle_find...ngle_Gauge.htm
    Thanks. I've got that gauge and it really is great. Unfortunately in this case it would only work for the bevel setting, not the miter. It uses a mechanical measurement for true up and down, not side to side. I do wind up using it to check the miters as I make a test cut, set it on my table saw with the Wixey on top, zero it, then place it on the miter. I can usually lock it in 2 cuts using the wixey.

  6. #6
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    Feb 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Falotico View Post
    Check the base carefully, especially where it pivots and see if it's cracked. If so, bring it back for a refund, get your $$ and run!
    Thanks Tony. I checked the base and there weren't any cracks. In looking for that though I think I found the problem. The latch that "drops" into the positive stops is made of plastic. I mentioned before that the sides of the positive stops weren't straight up and down but were angled, wider at the open end, smaller at the closed. I can only imagine it was designed this was so that the saw would automatically center itself in the positive stop. The edges of the positive stops are a bit on the sharp side and they've been digging into the plastic on the latch. I'm not a metal working but I did fashion a piece of metal to cover the end of the latch that goes into the positive stops. With it just sitting on the latch I was able to get a much more accurate stop on 90. Because it's not permanently attached yet when I moved the saw then brought it back to 90 it was off but I'm fairly certain that when I get the metal attached to the end of the latch it will function much better.

  7. #7
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    Feb 2009
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    Oklahoma City, OK
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    there are four bolts behind the fence that have to be loosened. Move the fence so that it is 90 from the blade both sides and snug it back up.
    Thanks Chuck. That's the first thing I did when I couldn't get it to reliably set at 90. The second thing I did was wish I'd never loosened those bolts. The fence is a single piece fence but it's separated into two sections, left and right, with a semi-circle type thing in the middle. The fence wasn't flat across the front. It was actually concave by about 3 degrees. Putting it back together I was able to get one side 90 to the blade but as soon as I started to put some torque on the other side, the first side would slip ever so slightly. It took me 3 days of tinkering with it to get it mostly back to being in the same plane. Now it's leaning back about a half degree, just enough so that when I put a 2x4 on it the base it touching the fence but the top of the flat side is about a 1/32" from the fence, just enough so I can see light between the wood and the fence.



    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    on the bevel there should be stop bolts that can be adjusted individually.
    The bevel is right on. I had it close before I got my Wixey. With the Wixey I'm right on all three angles.


    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Thoits View Post
    You should be able to get the fence 90 with the blade but you may not get the left and right 45s exact and have 90. If the milling of the deck is off there is nothing you can do to change that. I am sure that Sears would say it was not broken if that is the case.
    The deck appears to be flat. I don't have anything sensitive enough to tell but when I put a level across it I don't see any light underneath it.

    I think I found the problem though. I mentioned it in the reply to Tony. I also found, when I took the latch mechanism off of the saw, that of the 4 screws used to hold the latch mechanism on only 1 screw had a washer on it. I think that combined with the metal I have on the latch will let me get spot on 90s. It might even work on the 45s but I most likely need to file the positive stops for the 45s to get them spot on.

    It's just so frustrating that even though this is a middle of the road in quality type miter saw, that I can't get it to go from a 90 to a 45 to a 45 on the other side without making test cuts. I've taken to using the Wixey on my table saw for mitered cuts but I hate to have a relatively expensive (for me anyway) piece of equipment gathering dust because I can't get it to do what it's supposed to do. <shrug>

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Oklahoma City, OK
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    For those still following this thread, I think I've fixed the issue and I'm now pleased with the saw. The problem really was two fold. First, as mentioned before, the portion of the lever that drops into the positive stops is plastic and the sides of the positive stops are fairly sharp. I fixed that by fashioning a piece of metal to fit over the top of it. It now more securely drops into the positive stops.

    The other part was pretty close to what Chuck had mentioned earlier. I had the fence adjusted as well as I could at the time. However, I noticed that when I moved my straight edge from one side of the fence to the other it would get caught. The 2 sides of the fence weren't lined up in a straight line. Lacking a level long enough to do the job I used the rip fence from my table saw and placed it across the table of the saw and used it to line up the fence. I used my fingers to gauge the location of the fence in relation to the back of the table then torqued it down. To my surprise it was lined up about as close to 90 as I think I can get it. When I made a test cut my Wixey locked in at 90. Considering it's got a plus/minus .1 degree tolerance I'd say that's pretty good. I then swung it around to 45 one direction and cut a piece. It measured at 45. I swung it to 45 the other way and cut another piece of wood and it measured 45 as well. YIPEE!!!!!

    As a further test I decided to cut 45s on a piece of 1x2 5 consecutive times. This yielded 4 different pieces that had a 90 degree angle on them. I put them together to form a box and the 90s were pretty much right on. I did notice that there were slight bows in the cuts. I can't say with 100% certainty that it's a warped blade but I'm leaning in that direction especially since it's the regular Craftsman blade that came with the saw. I'm thinking if I get a decent 60 tooth finish blade for it that should take care of that problem.

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