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Hitachi C8FSE Sliding Compound Miter Saw

The Hitachi C8FSE 8-1/2″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw on the ACC Job-site

I’ve been hauling around a massive 12-inch compound miter saw, which has been taking up some serious real estate in the back of my SUV, (also known as my work vehicle) for WAY too long.

I’ve used plenty of Hitachi saws on various job-sites, but nothing smaller than 10-inches, given my frustration with the size and weight of my current saw and the limited space in my vehicle I was excited to try a smaller lighter saw. The reputation Hitachi’s C8FSE Sliding Compound Miter saw has with the old timers in the Carpentry trade made the C8FSE my number one choice.

Although Hitachi has been making this saw for quite some time, the versatility, convenience, and ease of a smaller lighter saw is catching on. In fact Todd over at Tool Box Buzz recently reviewed the Bosch CM8S 8-1/2″ Single Bevel Compound Miter Saw, a new offering from Bosch. But enough about that, let’s check out what the Hitachi C8FSE looks like on paper.




Out of the Box

The Hitachi C8FSE  Sliding Compound Miter Saw and all its moving parts came covered in an excessive amount of grease. Which I appreciate to protect the mechanical components from corrosion as it makes the journey from the other side of the world, literally, but just a heads up you may want to grab a rag before you cut open the box for this one.

Besides the grease, the first thing that jumped out once I started setting up the saw was the size, it sure is small. It almost feels like a toy and with a weight of around 30 pounds I feel like a professional wrestler as I carry my saw in one hand, while I power-slam one of the painters– I mean carry my table saw in the other.

Additionally, the table, like the rest of the saw is small, perfect for small trim pieces or midrange framing material, but when it comes to using this saw on the job-site you’ll want to rely on a integrated stand or build a job-site table with supports to keep long pieces square and level to the fence of the saw.

Nice to Have Features

This saw is no frills which made this Hitachi C8FSE Sliding Compound Miter Saw easy to pinpoint the key benefits of this tool. The depth of cut is limited to about 2-1/2 inches but the saw has the cross cut capability to easily cut a 2 x 12. All with about HALF the weight of a 12-inch saw. Quickly setting up your saw and quickly packing up at the end of the day, that’s the nicest to have feature.

I can’t say enough about the weight and size of this saw. It’s been a space saver in my compact work vehicle and on many occasions it has been a life saver when you need to take a saw up a ladder to get to your work 2 or 3 stories high. In fact after the heavy framing is done this is the perfect saw to set up on a 2nd or 3rd story cut station for exterior trim or clapboards.

Job-Site Performance

The saw made it’s debut on the job-site in record time as I was able to carry both my miter and table saw out to my workspace in one trip. If you haven’t noticed the theme, the ability of this tool to be effective compared to it’s larger, heavier competitors, but be sometimes half the weight and size is a HUGE advantage.

The depth of the slide combined with the small size of the blade makes checking your cut line idiot proof. I will say that you really HAVE roll the blade over your work piece to check your cut line as the blade guard hinders your ability to sight where the blade will drop on your work piece. Additionally, because of the abnormally small diameter of the saw’s blade it’s difficult to sight where the cut will terminate at the edge of the work piece against the fence.

This Hitachi saw has an offset handle to the right of the blade which makes left handed cuts a little awkward, compared to models that place the handle in line with the blade making ambidextrous cuts a little easier.

One thing that isn’t small about the tool is the Miter Angle Range, to the right this saw can swivel to make a 57-degree angle, perfect for exterior trim and clapboard siding.

The most prevalent limitation with this saw is the depth of cut, I chopped a handful of 4 x 4 mahogany posts and had to flip the dense and heavy posts over to complete the cut. This is definitely a finish carpenter’s saw, but with the size of some larger crown moldings this saw may fall short as well, so double check the specs and your common tasks before pulling the trigger on this purchase.

Overall Impression

I’m happy to have this lightweight and compact saw in the back of my rig, despite the limitations of the size of the tool it’s performance is exceptional for professional applications. The accuracy of the saw has been consistent from the day I took it out of the box, after taking a beating in the back of my car, and going up and down ladders.

I think this is a rock solid trim saw, and has the features and durability needed to meet professional needs. Being so specialized it has it’s limitations. The depth of cut really hurts its performance for heavy duty framing applications and even in the finish side of carpentry if you often work with tall crown moldings this is not the right saw for you, or at least this is not the ONLY saw for you.

If you are like me and need a compact saw and can deal with a limited depth of cut, this saw is professional grade, accurate, and easy on your body. I’m looking forward to getting some serious use out of this saw.

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