Heavy-Duty Miter-Saw Choices

Shop owners describe their experiences with industrial-grade cutoff saws and miter saws. July 29, 2011

Well, I've finally become so sick of non square and sloppy miter cuts from consumer saws that I'm in the market for an "industrial" quality miter saw. I'm looking at Omga's and CTD's. Does anyone have input between the two? How about belt versus direct drive? Any other opinions?

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor D:
We have two CTDís. One burned up after about five years, and we never bothered fixing it. Our shop has probably 20 or so other light duty contractor grade saws, five of which are the Hitachi 15". I have to say for straight cutoff the CTDís are great. Quiet 220v and very solid. They are not very good for your trick cuts though, like extremely acute compound miters (ours were just plain miter saws that swung maybe 45 degrees either way.)

Our shop is pretty hard on chopsaws and the life expectancy of a plastic jobber is usually around a couple of years. Rebuilding the less expensive ones is not practical, and we usually just replace them when the motor is shot or cuts get inaccurate. The one CTD still in use is set up with an aluminum cutting blade and has been chopping without a hiccup for about ten years. The other one is still repairable but many of the guys hate the heavy guards because they can't see what they're doing (you can't just hold them up with your thumb, for instance), and with us being one of the largest manufacturers of elliptical windows in the eastern US, our guys have to make a lot of weird cuts.

From contributor O:
We have an Omga. It is a rock solid accurate saw but its capacity is limited.

From contributor J:
I second the Omga. Those things are built like a tank. The most accurate wide miters I've ever done. No flex, at all.

From contributor F:
I also have an Omga, rock solid and heavy as can be. As said their capacity seems limited for the size. Mine is a 14" and it's probably the same or even a bit less capacity than a 12" DeWalt saw. I wouldn't give it up though.

From contributor R:
We have a CTD that is six years old and does a fine job - all cast iron, belt drive. We replaced the switch once - a hardware store item. Make sure you buy their blades or they will shock upon entering the wood and vibrate - the cut will suffer.

Now, if you want extremely fast, clean and accurate, with no noise or dust, left and right at one cut, get a guillotine - Morso ( model F or better ) and Hoffman both offer them. Razor sharp, hair splitting knives make a cut so clean and smooth that you would not believe it unless you saw it. (No charge for the pun). The miter is so accurate that you get perfect squares every time. Widely used for picture framing. Options for beaded face frame notching are available - several birds, one machine, metaphors mixed.

From contributor H:
I was set to buy an Omga for our assembly and detailing area but figured the width capacity was not enough for everything we cut. Likewise, we never had luck with the consumer saws accuracy and always making a hike to the slider when absolute square is needed.

We ended up with a Kapax and pleased with the accuracy. Itís not as heavy duty as the Omga and might not hold up in production situations but is a good fit for our size shop. The angle finding device that comes with it is handy for a lot of jobs like mitering straight moulding into curved. It took a long time to get used to the handle and trigger position. I got the Festool fences left and right but would go with an aftermarket fence if doing it over.

From contributor B:
We have two Omga's. Both are solid and accurate to a fault. Also the larger ones are every powerful, they do not bog. I would get the belt drive, it offers more capacity. If you keep an eye out they come up on auction relatively frequently.

From contributor U:
I have two Omga saws, nice saws but not as accurate as I would like. It depends on what you are cutting and how accurate you want it. A four sided mitered frame has eight cuts, if the saw is off a quarter of degree it doesn't fit as I would like. There is adjustment but really fine is almost impossible. We spent a half day trying to make it perfect, finally gave up. When I make mitered things that have to fit I use an Altendorf.