I grew up in the West, and there I learned early in life that wormdrives were the superior circular saw. When I was a teenager, those were the only saws I ever saw on framing sites in Colorado and New Mexico. Carpenters in that part of the country talked about sidewinders in a deriding tone and called them bowling balls, owing to their purported tendency to roll off roofs.

Things seem to be different today. In the last few years, on every job I've worked -- in Maryland, New York, and Vermont -- at least one other carpenter has had an inline saw. Many of them have been DeWalt 378s (see Figure 1), and recently I ran into the Bosch 1677 (Figure 2), the latest contender. I've grown hopeful that a revolution is in the...

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