DWS520K Plunge-Cut Circular Saw - Fine Woodworking Tool Review
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DWS520K Plunge-Cut Circular Saw

DeWalt - DWS520K Plunge-Cut Circular Saw

The DeWalt DWS520K is a plunge-cut circular saw that works in conjunction with a track to make straight, clean cuts

$480 (As of 5/1/2009)

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Editor's Review: A Woodworker's Circular Saw

by Mark Edmundson

review date: May 1, 2009

DeWalt has entered the plunge-cut circular-saw arena with the introduction of its DWS520K. Working in conjunction with a track, this saw makes straight, clean cuts with a minimum of fuss. Festool introduced this class of tool a few years ago and I soon wondered how I managed to get along without one.

Tracks for the DeWalt are sold separately and are available in three lengths: 46 in., 59 in., and 102 in. The saw also has a riving knife that retracts when you need to plunge the saw.

 DeWalt Track Saw
Accurate cuts with kickback insurance.
There are zero-clearance plastic inserts on both edges, for near-splinter-free cuts, and the riving knife reduces the chance of kickback.

There are a few key differences between the DeWalt and the Festool. The plunge-action is fussier on the DeWalt: You have to place both hands on the back handle and apply pressure directly over the blade. On the other hand, the DeWalt can cut on both sides of its track, meaning you won't have to spin the long assembly around when working. Both saws make very clean cuts.

Forced to pick between the Festool and DeWalt, which are both excellent tools, I'd choose the Festool. It's lighter, easier to plunge, and has a better blade-changing mechanism.

The DWS520K sells for $480, about the same price as the Festool T55EQ. For about $500 you can purchase a kit, part no. DWS520SK, that includes the saw and a 59-in. length of track. Another kit, part no. DWS520CK, sells for around $600 and gets you the saw plus two lengths of track; 59-in. and 102 in. Purchased separately, the track costs $80 for a 46-in. length, $100 for a 59-in. length, and $230 for a 102-in. length. Go to www.dewalt.com/tracksaw  for more information.

-Editor's Note: Updated 4/23/09

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Editor Test Results:

Manufacturer Specifications

Manufacturer DeWalt
Manufacturer's Web Site www.dewalt.com
Manufacturer's Phone Number 800-433-9258
Blade Size 6-1/2 in.
Maximum Cut Depth 2-1/8 in. at 90°; 1-5/8 in. at 45º
Amps 12 amps
Blade Speed 1750 - 4000 rpm

$730.00 to cut a full sheet of plywood. I would rather put that money to a better tablesaw and build or buy extensions so make it easier to cut sheet goods. I'm sure there're others where a budget is something we deal with, where a good circular saw and a straight edge accomplishes the same thing as this saw at far less in price.

I'm not going to compare the Festool to DeWalt's Track Saw, Mainly because I'm partial to DeWalt tools. What I will say is that I love this Track Saw. I have both the short and medium length tracks which offers the perfect combination. As a Custom Cabinet Maker and Remodeler a lot of my work is completed onsite. For years I have hauled a Small Table saw around in the back of the trail. It's big, bulky and a pain in the butt to setup and tear down. I am so tired of dragging out the portable table saw, finding enough space to set it up, typically outside. The DeWalt Track saw resolved many frustration from the job site. DeWalt's Track Saw is portable, practical, quick and easy to use. It Makes smooth clean cuts, very little tearout if any at all. Best of all I can use it inside with a Vacuum, saving a tremendous number of trips back and forth to a Table Saw. I no longer carry a table saw with me. Brad McFarland The Sawdust Shoppe

I do not own this saw, but recently demo'd it at Woodcraft. It is clearly not as refined as the Festool equivalent (TS 55), yet it costs essentially the same. There are some interesting differences in the DeWalt's favor, however, including the fact that you don't have to flip the rail around to cut in the other direction, particularly helpful with a long rail. On the flip side, Festool's rail system integrates with their other products, such as their tables, clamps, and routers. Given the pricing on most DeWalt tools, it's hard not to suspect that the price was set in reference to the Festool saw, i.e., that it's over-priced. For MSRP, I'd buy the Festool. For $350 to maybe $400, I'd buy the DeWalt.

I bought this saw for cutting down plywood and it really does do all that is promised. But I thought it really shined when I had to straighten some 8 ft long, 4/4 hickory boards before I could put them through the jointer. It was the perfect tool to use. I have the two shorter tracks which I connected together and held them in place with a pair of clamps. The saw made a fair amount of noise and vibration during the tough cut, but the result was smooth and straight with little dust. I also bought the router guide, but I have to modify the rods to connect to my Hitachi before I can test it.

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