Thursday, February 22, 2007

Porter Cable 347K Circular Saw Review

Recently I had several small projects that needed to get done. Ideally, a large part of the cutting required for these would have been done with my table saw. Unfortunately, my table saw is still in the box it came in, hibernating in the garage. Matt really gets a kick out of that since I went on and on about buying the darn thing. I can't say I blame him - it's pretty pathetic. Anyhow...

Out comes my Porter Cable 347K Circular Saw. I've had this saw for a few years and until now never realized how versatile it is (or for that matter, any circular saw is). It's primary duty had been cutting blue stone and concrete blocks for the 750+ sf of patio I built in the yard. Seriously, I cut a lot of stone with it, and it worked really well. I also used it for a couple of demo projects and some rough cutting of wood for various other exterior projects.

What's in the box? The saw comes packed in a handy plastic carry case with handle and includes a general purpose 7 1/4" 18T carbide tipped wood blade, dust exhaust nozzle (chute) and a blade wrench conveniently tucked up in the handle for ready access. This circular saw is very solidly built, I own a number of Porter Cable power tools and haven't had much bad to say about any of them. It weighs about 11lbs. Only the motor housing and the handle are plastic, the rest of the saw is solid metal. This saw features a magnesium base, the manufacturer claims this accounts for it's light weight(for a heavy-duty circular saw). The base edges are 1-1/2"(1 7/8" from outside blade edge) and 5" from the the blade. A great feature is the 9' long power cord which is flexible and easy to roll back up when storing the saw in its case.

Using the 347K Circular Saw. When I first plugged this puppy in I was a little intimidated because I had never used a circular saw as hefty as this one. Since I used it to cut a difficult material like stone initially, I got very comfortable with it quickly. This saw has plenty of power and never had trouble cutting stone up to 2" thick. When I finally used this saw for some 'finer' work, actually cutting wood, it didn't disappoint there either. When teamed up with an inexpensive aluminum cutting edge this circular saw proved the perfect tool for building my bookshelf. It buzzed through sheets of 3/4" MDF and 1/2" plywood with ease. My cuts were nice and square, no tear-out to speak of. I should note that I did switch the blade out for this project. I used a cheap-o $7 plywood/composite material blade to ensure the cuts were cleaner.

Swapping out blades is not a problem on the 347K. There's a spindle lock that when depressed prevents the blade from spinning so the switch is quick and painless. The saw also features a depth adjustment so the blades can be lowered to 2-1/4" below the base. One complaint here, the blade adjustment lever is difficult to unlock when in it's extreme position. Lastly, there is a bevel cutting adjustment (up to 45 degrees) which I don't use - I use my mitre saw for those cuts.

Final Cuts. There's no way I wouldn't recommend this saw. It's not the cheapest choice (retailed around $120) but, I have absolutely no complaints. It's well built, problem free after some pretty serious use and believe it or not, made here in the USA. If shopping for a circular saw I encourage you to check out Matt's review of his Skilsaw Circular Saw which he loves. It retails around $75 - so some cash could be saved. I'm giving this saw 4 hammers - It cuts stone!

Tank-like construction
No unnecessary or gimmicky features
Plenty of power
Easy to adjust


manufacturer: SPECS
* Power: 120 VAC, 25-60 HZ/120 VDC
* Motor Amps: 15
* Speed: 5,800 RPM
* Blade Size: 7 1/4"
* Arbor Hole: 5/8"
* Capacity: 45°: 1 13/16" 90°: 2 5/16"
* Length: 13"
* Height: 7 3/4"
* Net Weight: 10 3/4 lbs.



Collins said...

I am going to buy miter saw. I read many website and I see Dewalt DW175 which suitable my need. I read your article, I don’t know Porter Cable miter equal Dewalt DW175. Do you give me for information?

Lori said...

Thank for your sharing. I read information very late, your article is closed but congrats to our winner. I bought Dewalt miter saw. It very good, I think I create anything that join contest

Leigh Bolton said...

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