By Tim Uhler
None of my power tools gets used more than my wormdrive saw. It's one of the first tools out of my truck in the morning and one of the last to be put away. At this point I've used nearly every wormdrive on the market — so when Milwaukee updated its model, I was eager to try it out and see how it compared.
I tested the saw over a period of several months, using it for framing, exterior trim, and demolition. Here's what I found out.
Milwaukee 6477-20 Specs
Blade diameter: 7 1/4 inches
Bevel capacity: 0 to 51.5 degrees
Motor: 15 amps
Speed: 4,400 rpm
Weight (by mfr.): 14.3 pounds
Cord length: 12 feet
Street price: $189
Made in: China
Power and Weight
The Milwaukee's 15-amp motor has very good power. Unlike many other saws, the 6477-20 didn't bog down when we used it on LVLs and hybrid glulams (laminated beams with LVL chords), a couple of the toughest materials we have to cut. Equally impressive was its performance during a remodeling job when I used it to demo a roof: It had no trouble cutting through shingles and 1x8 sheathing boards.
Milwaukee's previous wormdrive (6377-6) was also quite powerful, but at 16.8 pounds, it was a beast to handle. This new saw weighs 14.3 pounds — significantly less than its predecessor but still heavier than the Ridgid (R3210) and Makita (5337MG) saws I normally use.
I was curious about the 6477-20's baseplate because it's made of a composite material. One advantage composite has over metal is that it can't get bent. The Milwaukee's baseplate seems to be very strong; we used the tool hard and the baseplate is still in good shape.
What I don't like about the plate is that it's about an inch and a half longer than the ones on other saws. It sticks out in front, which makes the saw feel big and bulky. That doesn't matter for demo work, but for daily use I'd rather use a smaller saw.
Features The Milwaukee saw has several added features of varying degrees of usefulness.
Irregular-pitch roofs require steeper bevels on cheek cuts than can be made with many older saws. This saw can tilt to 51.5 degrees, which is great for us because we frame a lot of these kinds of roofs. The default stops at a 45-degree bevel, but if you hit the override button you can tilt the saw to a steeper angle.
The 6477-20 has oversize levers and a comfortable rubber grip. I don't mind that the levers are plastic, as this has forced me to break my habit of overtightening the mechanisms. The tool comes with a sturdy steel rafter hook that can be folded out of the way against the housing. I like rafter hooks — every saw should have one, in my opinion.
The manufacturer makes much of the sight glass that allows users to easily check the oil level. This made me realize that I never check the level of oil in my other saws. It's hard to get excited about this feature because I've killed a number of wormdrives without ever having one seize up for lack of oil.
The 6477-20 is powerful, well-balanced, and solidly made. I like the oversize levers and the override for beveling beyond 45 degrees. But I can't get past the extra-long baseplate — it makes the tool unwieldy. And even though the saw is much lighter than the previous Milwaukee model, it's still slightly heavier than average. All in all, it's a good-quality saw but not so special I want to run out and buy one.
Tim Uhler is a lead framer for Pioneer Builders in Port Orchard, Wash., and a JLC contributing editor.
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