As a residential remodeling contractor, I’m always on the go. My tools need to keep pace by being portable, accurate, and easy to use. The Makita 7 1/2-inch sliding compound-?miter saw (model LS0714) has been an asset to my work in all of these regards. I’ve been using the saw for cutting everything from light framing to interior trim since Makita introduced it in 2005, and it’s still on the market.
The LS0714 weighs only about 29 pounds, or about half as much as a comparable 10-inch or 12-inch slider. It’s never an issue to drag it out for a couple of cuts, and when trimming interiors it’s normally more productive to move this compact saw from room to room than to set up a fixed high-capacity miter-saw station and walk back and forth for every cut. Because I can lift the saw with one hand, I can easily bring it up a ladder and set it on staging for cutting siding or trim.
The cutting capacity is tremendous for such a small saw. For example, when building staircases, I use the saw for everything from crosscutting 1x12 skirtboards and 1x oak treads to fitting the cove moldings and balusters. I can also cut crown moldings up to about 3 inches wide by nesting them against the fence in the usual upright, upside-down position and adjusting the miter angle for a perfect fit. Wider crown needs to be cut on the flat, which forces you to adjust the bevel angle every time you tweak the miter angle. That’s no trouble if I’m only making a few cuts in a room, but I’ll use one of my bigger sliders if I need to run wide crown in an entire house.
Miters and Bevels
The LS0714 can miter 47 degrees to the left and a generous 57 degrees to the right. And although a detent override allows for a bevel up to 5 degrees to the right (a feature I often use to back-cut wide pieces), it’s basically a single-?bevel saw and can only bevel 45 degrees to the left. That doesn’t help when trimming out-of-square old houses, and it sometimes means having to flip the stock end-for-end when cutting bevels or compound angles. (With dual-bevel saws, instead of flipping the stock, you can tilt the cutting head to either side—helpful when cutting long pieces in tight quarters.) But this beveling limitation has never been an issue for me; I plan my cuts, so I seldom have to flip the stock.
I like the saw’s small 7 1/2-inch blade diameter because it limits deflection and wobble. Instead of the stock 40-tooth Makita blade, though, I use a 60-tooth Forrest Chopmaster blade (model CM07H606100), which costs about $107. It’s about 50% thicker than Makita’s blade and safely makes very clean cuts in the tiniest of moldings. My larger miter saws tend to grab small pieces even when using a wood backer, but my LS0714 never does. It can also use common 7 ¼-inch blades in a pinch.
I normally mount the saw on DeWalt’s compact model DWX724 universal miter-saw stand equipped with extra-wide DW7029 work supports. The stand has a quick-release saw mount and folds for transport and storage. Together, saw and stand weigh under 60 pounds.
For dust collection, I hook the saw to a Festool CT Midi vacuum. Festool’s 1 7/16-inch hose end would normally fit loosely over the plastic dust port, but a few wraps of duct tape around the port expand the outside diameter to create a snug fit. I’ve never measured the amount of dust collected, but would conservatively estimate it to be about 80% to 85%.
The Bottom Line
I wish the LS0714 could bevel a bit past 45 degrees, but that’s my only complaint. After using the saw for eight years, I know it’s built to last. It’s my go-to saw for almost every aspect of my work, from light framing to finish. In fact, I now own three of them so my crew and I have two for our jobsites and one for the shop.