Upcut Saws for Precision Work

Upcut saws can be used for items like door parts, but you need a good one. March 12, 2015

I am considering a smaller upcut saw to cut door and face frame parts. Is the cut quality acceptable for this use, or are these machines rough cut only? I currently have an older OMGA with a digital fence, but it’s time to replace it and I have never loved the cutting capacity.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor L:
We have an 18" 10hp Whirlwind. The safety systems on it are terrible and subject to frequent problems. The cut quality isn't nearly as good as our Omga. I'd buy another 14" Omga. Maybe some of the other up cuts are better. Razorgage saws might be worth a look.

From contributor C:
I second what Contributor L said. We have a Whirlwind that works great for cutting doors, etc. We also chop faceframe parts to size on it but have to pay attention to blow out on the back corner. The problem with upcut saws for fine quality work is you can't introduce any kind of chip breaker that can be refreshed. With a down stroke saw like a CTD chop saw you can develop a clean bottom and back surface to back up the exit cut.

From contributor B:
We have used a Timber Shark made in Canada for years with a Razor gauge. Top notch machine not like some of the import stuff. OMGA certainly makes nice machines. If you slow the blade down a bit you don't really get blowout.

From contributor K:
I had an 18" Powermatic which I loved. It is critical to not cheap out on the saw blades for this machine. A stiff, thick plate absorbs the shock the blade goes through in the cycle of cutting and the most number of teeth you can get helps a lot as well! I had a high angle, 12o tooth, ATB with 10 deg. pos. hook. I was very pleased with the result I had.

From Contributor K:
Thanks for all the replies. Let me throw something else into the mix. How about an OMGA radial arm saw? They have more than enough width capacity and hopefully solid enough to cut clean and accurate. The RAS seems to bring about mixed opinions. Is anybody using one of the OMGA’s for more than rough cutting?

From contributor B:
I find them a little dangerous. A quality upcut is faster.

From contributor H:
I have a Whirlwind and it's great for rough cut up but not much else.

From contributor J:
I had a Pistorius upchop saw for 25 years using it for face frame and door parts. It ran all those years having only to replace the upchop piston. I had spectacular results from beginning to end of ownership. I sold it for $400 more than I paid for new. The current owner is using it for the next 1,000,000 cycles. Thick high end blade is essential for chip free cuts.