Woodworking is a challenging craft that demands expertise, skill, and the right tools. Achieving flawless joinery requires careful planning and precision. One tool that plays a crucial role in this process is the compound miter saw. With its dual-bevel sliding feature, it makes intricate cuts a breeze.
Any seasoned carpenter knows the importance of having a reliable miter saw in their workshop. At Kent Made, LLC, my son and I have an impressive collection of five miter saws, ranging from my trusty 10-year-old Ridgid 12″ to his brand new Festool Kapex. So, when Pro Tool Reviews approached me to test run the DeWalt DWS709 12-Inch Miter Saw, I couldn’t resist.
At first glance, the DeWalt DWS709 may appear to be the younger sibling of the 780-series. However, with nearly $200.00 in savings, it’s definitely worth a closer look.
The DeWalt DWS709 comes beautifully packaged, as is the standard for all DeWalt products. The saw is securely protected by molded foam during transport, ensuring it arrives in pristine condition. Upon unpacking and assembly, I noticed a slight misalignment in the angle rail, off by just 1/32″. Although this might not seem like much, it is worth the effort to fine-tune. DeWalt keeps the adjustment process simple by providing four star bolts that loosen the stainless steel brake gauges. And, to further simplify operations, there’s even a convenient on-board wrench. The bevel adjustment was flawless, and the miter brakes proved to be robust and effective. DeWalt’s attention to detail is evident in the true and flat milling of the base.
In terms of features, the DeWalt DWS709 offers a modest yet effective set. It allows for a right miter angle of up to 60 degrees and a left miter angle of up to 50 degrees. The bevel angle can be adjusted up to 49 degrees in both directions, and both adjustments can be made effortlessly and smoothly.
The fence easily slides out of the way when making bevel cuts, thanks to the bolts at the back.
The cutting capacity of the DWS709 is where things get interesting. With the fence installed, I was able to execute a 9-1/2″ crosscut at a 90-degree miter and a 6-5/8″ crosscut at a 45-degree angle. Admittedly, this might seem limited for a 12″ sliding miter saw. However, there is a special setting that extends the range for longer crosscuts.
To achieve this, the manual provides specific instructions for building the platform required. After removing the fence, a 1-1/2″ x 12″ x 24″ piece is secured to the base using 3″ wood screws, creating a clamping platform. It’s worth noting that the platform needs to be cut along with the workpiece and cannot be used repeatedly. If your projects often require crosscuts longer than 9-1/2 inches, this might be a deal breaker.
DeWalt DWS709 12-Inch Sliding Compound Miter Saw Specifications
- Model: DEWALT DWS709
- Motor: 15 amps
- No-load speed: 3800 RPM
- Vertical Capacity (Bottom): 4.5 inches
- Vertical Capacity (Nesting Crown): 5.5″
- Cross-cutting capacity (90 degrees): 2 x 14 (with special settings)
- Cross-cutting capacity (45 degrees): 2 x 10 (with special settings)
- Miter range: 60 degrees right, 50 degrees left
- Angle range: left and right 49 degrees
- Weight: 51 lbs
- Price: $399
- Warranty: 3 years
Earning a Living
The true testament of any miter saw lies in its field performance across various materials and demands. To put the DeWalt DWS709 to the test, I decided to take it to one of our new construction projects and subject it to a range of challenges.
First up was cutting a basic 5-1/4″ crown with a 45-degree spring angle—a common task in our area. Although the 709 has the ability to cut this size of crown upright with its adjustable slides, I opted to cut it flat. I was delighted to discover that DeWalt had thoughtfully included a 35.3-degree angle mark specifically for this cut, a feature not found in all miter saws. The 709 handled the crown with ease, delivering precise cuts consistently.
Next came the windows and door frames, where the saw effortlessly tackled the task of making 80 precise cuts.
However, it’s worth mentioning that the dust collection system, particularly when using the dust bag, is not the most efficient. While connecting the saw to a vacuum does bring about some improvement, it’s still not ideal.
The ultimate challenge for any miter saw is working with oak stair treads and handrails. This is where the distinction between “prosumer” tools and professional woodworking equipment becomes evident. Accuracy is paramount when installing stairs, and not many miter saws can deliver excellent results due to the combination of slide rail and 12″ blade, which are prone to deflection when cutting hard materials. Only the top-tier saws in this category can truly withstand this challenge.
The 15-amp motor of the DWS709 provides ample power to handle hardwoods. The track system allows for precise cutting with minimal deflection. However, there is some deflection, particularly noticeable in long cross cuts that require shaving off the edges for scoring cuts. Instead of trimming the tread, the deflection causes the blade to jump over it. This is a common issue with dual slide 12″ saws and not limited to the DeWalt 709. Additionally, the travel capacity of the 709 is not long enough to cut through standard 11 ½ inch stair treads or skirting unless using special setups.
Packed with power, the DeWalt DWS709 can effortlessly cut through even hardwoods. Its miter range and 13 positive stops include the uncommon 35.3-degree stop, which I find useful for cutting crown flats. The bevel range is more than sufficient. The only drawbacks are the time-consuming special settings for certain cuts and the limited cross-cutting ability due to blade deflection when working with harder materials, a common limitation of most 12-inch sliding miter saws.
The DeWalt DWS709 12-Inch Miter Saw is a strong contender in the realm of 12-Inch Double Miter Rings. While it might not be categorized as a true carpenter’s pro-grade tool, it offers excellent performance for framers. With the right blade, the 709 can handle light to medium woodworking projects with ease. From handymen to framing experts, the DeWalt DWS709 offers great value for the money.