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I don't use circular saws. The last time I did so was before the advent of the blade brake. It was built like a tank, very heavy and quite accurate. But now I need to rip a 2 inch thick (50 mm) hardwood workbench top that's too big and heavy to put on my Delta Homecraft table saw and so I've bought a modern lightweight 18V-battery-driven big-box-store-brand 7-1/4 inch (184 mm) circular saw for the task.

It is a new model being advertised as having pro-tool power and there have been some video reviews showing it ripping through 3/4 plywood at great speed without bogging down. I figured it could do the job with a slow and steady feed rate. But out of the box the blade has a visible and audible jiggle on the spindle even with the washers and blade screw snugged tight. Also tried a new Diablo blade, same issue.

Since it is impossible to put the inner washer on the spindle in the wrong orientation or to misalign the outer washer, it is not a user error. The spindle itself feels tight and the saw shows no sign whatsoever of prior use. Both the inner and outer washers appear to have been machined with a large amount of play around the spindle.

On my old Craftsman circular saw the blade had no discernible play. Is slop at the spindle and blade washers typical for this new class of battery-powered lightweight circular saws?

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    3/4 inch plywood and 2 inch hardwood are two very different cuts. A 18 volt battery might not make it to the end. It seems that saw is not made well if it jiggles. Pro-tool power was written by an ad guy behind a desk, who probably never seen a saw. Some store brand stuff is good, some are not so good.
    – crip659
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 14:36
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    Detailed pictures of the parts would permit pointing out problems, No pictures makes it all hand-waving.
    – Ecnerwal
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 16:57
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    There's no benefit and many drawbacks to not simply naming the manufacturer of the saw. Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 18:54
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    "big box store brand" = cheap Cheese from overseas. Since you're buying the tool for this job if you don't have a compelling reason to use cordless, don't. I supremely doubt a cheapie 18V pack contains the energy needed to cut that wood. Try a quality name corded. Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 20:24
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    @TRomano Edit your question if you'd like to share that video with us.
    – brhans
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 3:39

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I checked my similar (don't know if same brand - a big box specific brand but might be a different big box; smaller size but same basic configuration) 18V circular saw. No noticeable jiggle. Two possibilities - user error and defective product:

  • User Error

The one thing, as crazy as it sounds, that I can think of is to make sure the outer washer is installed correctly. Unlike the inner washer, it is different on each side. The outside on mine says "TO TIGHTEN TURN" with a big arrow. I am pretty sure if it is installed backwards then things will not fit quite right.

  • Defective Product

This is where "big box" is helpful. I actually bought mine mail order (great deal a few months ago for a combination pack), but if I had that problem (or any problem with a brand-new product of this type), I would bring it to the local store. Go to the tool department. Find the same product on display - if there isn't one on display then ask someone to pull out so you can compare. If the display unit has the same problem, talk to someone and see if they can confidently explain, ideally test it for you (display model and/or your own) to make sure it works properly. If the display unit does not have the same problem, ask someone to either fix yours (i.e., figure out what was installed incorrectly and show you how to install the blade properly) or swap it for another unit. If they swap it for another unit, ask them to unpack and put it together on the spot so you can make sure (a) it is a good functioning unit and (b) that you know how to use it properly.

The one catch is finding a good "someone" in a big box store. I find that, in general, customer service is excellent. The problem is product knowledge. In any department (plumbing, electrical, tools, paint, etc.) some employees will be very experienced in their field (e.g., semi-retired from many years actually doing stuff, advanced DIYers who work at a big box because it fits their hobby, etc.) and some will be ordinary people - stocking shelves, etc. but with no relevant experience with tools. Worst case, you can push it up through levels (customer service, manager, etc.) at the local store, but in my experience it has not been that hard to find a knowledgeable employee - it just might take a few, and hope that the ones who don't have the answers are smart enough (and helpful enough) to direct you to the people who do have the answers.

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  • +1. This saw + battery combo ($159) was available online only. I've since found other buyers complaining that it seems to pull in its own direction, like a rebellious Iditarod pack The blade issue could cause that. The inner washer tells you how it wants to be installed and it only works when installed correctly. The outer washer can be reversed but the same blade jiggle occurs regardless of how the outer washer is oriented.
    – mr blint
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 20:01
  • Unfortunately the tool aisle is not manned by cognoscenti.
    – mr blint
    Commented Oct 30, 2022 at 20:09
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    I wouldn't worry about the deal being online only, as long as you purchased from the same big box company. I'd give it a try at the store. Worst case, they'll take it back at customer service and refund your money. And while the deal makes sense (to me) if you are already vested in the particular 18V ecosystem (i.e., share batteries with other tools), for $159 or possibly a bit less you can get a likely higher-quality brand corded 15A 7-1/4" saw - and definitely higher power - a cheapie 18V won't compare. All depends on usage - but for your particular immediate need, battery doesn't matter. Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 3:57
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    It's returned and a new corded saw is here. Far better tool.
    – mr blint
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 23:27

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