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Craftsman Professional Laser Trac 12-inch Compound Miter Saw Review

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Craftsman Compound Miter Saw

Craftsman Compound Miter Saw

(c) 2007 Chris Baylor licensed to About.com, Inc.

The Bottom Line

The Craftsman Professional Laser Trac 12-inch Compound Miter Saw was a very pleasant surprise to work with. This woodworking tool comes with numerous extras that are optional accessories on most of its competitors. The saw cuts compound angles cleanly and accurately, is easy to adjust between cuts and can saw quickly through 2x8s and 4x4s at a 90-degree angle. The fact that the price, including extras, is about a hundred dollars less than many comparable competitor's models only makes this saw an even better value. This is one tool that would be very productive in my shop.

Pros

  • Includes numerous extras, such as extension bars, roller support, crown-molding stop and more
  • 15-amp motor is strong enough to cut heavy, dense hardwood stock with ease
  • Includes zero clearance throat plate and stop for cutting crown molding
  • Also includes Laser Trac guide to assist in lining up cuts

Cons

  • Trigger is quite touchy - be sure to fully depress trigger when saw is in use
  • Blade guard could use slatted perforations all the way up to help sighting cuts

Description

  • As laser line is hard to see when working outdoors, added slots in blade guard to improve sight lines would be welcome
  • Roller support has one height adjustment - a second height adjustment would add stability
  • Fitted with a 2-1/2" dust collection port - can be used with dust bag (included) or woodworking vacuum

Guide Review - Craftsman Professional Laser Trac 12-inch Compound Miter Saw Review

My initial impression of the Craftsman Professional Laser Trac 12-inch Compound Miter Saw 21235 was one of a solid-looking tool with a lot of extras for a decent price. Looking at all of those extras, my first concern was that the extras were going to mask some serious deficiencies with the tool.

It didn't take long for that concern to be forgotten. The model 21235 is a very hearty woodworking tool. It handled every cut that I threw at it with ease, accurately and without a difficult setup.

That isn't to say that the saw can't be improved. In my opinion, there are two things I'd like to see addressed:

The trigger works fine as long as you remember to fully depress it for every cut. Unfortunately, I have worked with another miter saw for so long, and I had developed the bad habit of not squeezing the trigger fully on every cut. As a result, when working with this unit, I often didn't notice that I was only depressing the trigger part of the way. A few of these times, the saw would shut off in mid-cut, and the centrifugal force of the blade would cause the saw to lunge downward into the stock. Of course, this is the fault of the operator (namely, yours truly), not the saw. While a slightly less-touchy trigger would be nice, it isn't a necessity, and certainly isn't a drawback of the saw - just something to keep in mind.

However, one thing that I really did miss when using this compound miter saw on my woodworking projects was a slotted blade guard. On the Craftsman 21235, there are see-through slots on the bottom six inches of the blade guard, but in the areas where one would need to look through the guard to line up a cut, the guard is an opaque black color. As a result, I often had to lift the guard to line up the cut, then lower the guard to make the cut. Slots all the way around the guard would be a big improvement.
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