1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Nice Score on a Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw

Since thieves cleaned me out in May 2014, I’ve been replacing the tools that were stolen. One tool I lost was an older Dewalt compound miter saw. The Freud blade on it cost more than I paid for the saw when I bought it used off craigslist! Anyway, when installing the hydraulic steering, propellers, rudders, and other parts of the project I’ve been working on since May 2014, I haven’t needed a miter saw, so replacing it wasn’t a big priority. But I’ve been keeping an eye out for deals and also reading up on new and improved saws that have come on the market since 2008 when I bought my old one.

I’d been reading good things about the DeWalt sliding miter saws and had decided that a 12″ version would be better than the old 10″ one that was stolen. I also knew from experience that the ability to change the bevel from left to right without flipping the board is a nice feature. Some of the newer saws also have a pretty slick lighting feature that not only illuminates the immediate work area, it also throws a shadow of the blade onto the precise location it’s going to cut. Pretty slick, but pretty spendy, too: $599 at the local big box retail home improvement center. They can be had for a bit cheaper online, but returns can get messy if there’s a problem.

But then, on a whim last week, I checked ebay and — hello — there was a listing for a Dewalt saw priced at $169 or best offer. There was no model number in the ad title, but the pictures clearly showed a newish sliding, double-bevel model. Zooming in on the pictures, it sure looked to me like the blade still had yellow paint on the carbide teeth, reflecting very little use. The saw was in the original box, but under Condition in the ad it was listed as “Tested, but not working.” Shipping was $75, but — HELLO! — the seller, who specializes in computers, was only 15 miles away and the ad included his phone number! So I called and offered $150 cash with local pickup…SCORE! He took the offer!

When I got it home and plugged it in, the LED light turned on…good sign. But, sure enough, the saw didn’t turn on when I hit the switch.  After putting a meter on the switch and determining that juice was heading toward the motor, I dug in.

Right side brush looks fine

Right side brush looks fine

Not only does the right brush look good, there’s very little dust in the motor at all. This thing’s practically new!

Hmmm...something doesn't look right

Hmmm…something doesn’t look right

Clearly, somebody has been in here before. The left motor brush is broken where the wire should go in, so they flipped the brush around backwards and tried to use the brush spring to hold the wire in place. The insulation has also been pulled out of the crimp connector. I wouldn’t trust this hack job as a long-term fix, but a meter showed continuity from the brush holders through the brushes and to the armature, so the main problem isn’t here.  It must be deeper in the motor.

Gotcha! A broken connection on the field

Gotcha! A broken connection on the field

What’s interesting about that broken connection is the little spot of silver solder on the brass at the red arrow. None of the other field terminals have solder on them. All of them are crimp connections, leading me to think that perhaps this machine had been repaired at the factory or by a refurbisher after very light use. Then, the solder repair failed shortly after the computer shop bought the saw. And I’d venture a guess that the computer shop guy broke the brush when he was trying to figure out what was wrong with his saw.

Solder fully encapsulates the wire now

A big ol’ blob of solder fully encapsulates the wire now

Granted, it’s not an elegant repair, but then the original elegant solder job failed. I melted the solder onto a much larger area of brass, and by fully encapsulating the wire crimp it should hang on longer than the little dab of solder used in the original repair. After reassembling the saw, I ordered a new brush for $9, for a total investment of $159. WOOT! But rather than waiting for the parts to arrive, I put the hinky brush back in and gave it a whirl. Score! She works great!

A few days later…

New brush vs old but nearly new brush

New brush vs old but nearly new brush

VARROOOM!

VARROOOM!

The red miter gauge needle needs adjusting

The red miter gauge needle needs adjusting, but that’s not a problem

Ah...it's not the gauge. The blade's not square.

And the blade’s not square in the Z-axis, either

You can see the gap in the pic above between the blade and my engineer’s square. That’s close enough for house framers, but it’d make a mess out of my precious mahogany.

After squaring, the gap is gone

After squaring, the gap is gone

In the Y-axis, the blade was square out of the box

In the Y-axis, the blade was square out of the box

Zero the miter gauge to the middle of the mark

Zero the miter gauge to the middle of the mark

Test #2 looks good

Ready to work

I really like that LED light (AKA the “XPS cross cut positioning system”).

The LED casts a shadow of the blade on the cut line

The LED casts a shadow of the blade on the cut line

Nice cut, good saw

Good saw! Helluva score!

This DWS780 is belt driven, where my old one was direct drive. I’ve got to say, it’s a lot quieter than the old saw. The dust collection system also works very well, far better than the old one did.

Needless to say, I’m very happy with the new saw. I’ll have many chances to test out its cool features in the months ahead.

Next up on our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Fitting the Aft Stateroom Walls

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5 comments on “1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Nice Score on a Dewalt DWS780 Miter Saw

  1. Bill Tozer says:

    She is coming along mate! I spent 6 hours touring the NASA Centre in Houston today… your project has taken about as long as it took to build the International Space Station!!! Some NASA guy said they got it free too! Love ya bro!

  2. alloyed2sea says:

    Jeez, for a minute there thought you might have stumbled upon the perpetrators of your earlier theft trying to cash out.
    Keep a sharp eye!

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