Having had a Makita LS1013 in my workshop for over a week now, I can see already that I’m going to get more joy out of this than what I had from the Bosch GCM 12 SD. This saw had previously spent nine-months sat in storage so, before I could really put it to the test, it literally needed to strip it down to clean, check and replace any necessary components. Before we go any further, I’d like to start by looking at the condition of the saw as it arrived…
One of the very first things I noticed was that the front knob used to lock the turn-table at the desired mitre angle was bent. Thankfully, this saw came with the ‘modern’ version of this knob, which is considerably shorter than those found on older models of this saw where you’re more likely to feel it dig in to your sides as you walk past! Removing the knob and the length of bar meant I could easily straighten the threaded-end in my pillar drill/metalworking vice.
As on most mitre saws, you can lock the saw’s head in its lower position for transport. Unfortunately, the locking knob at the rear of the saw has snapped, meaning I could only remove the locating half with the aid of a slotted screwdriver. You may think I have no use for this function in a small workshop… Well, I don’t yet plan to take the saw out with me anywhere but, at full height, it is only just clear of the up-and-over garage door’s swing!
Rust is usually the major problem you would expect to find with a second-hand tool that’s been used on-site (particularly one that’s not been used for many months – as I found with my old mortiser, last year) but, the all-too-familiar brown deposits were only to be found on the vertical posts used to locate the locking hold-down clamp. Very easy to clean off, as well.
To be sure though, I did end up stripping the saw apart in to three main parts – the base, the turn-table and the saw head/arm assembly [not pictured]. What really surprised me was that, for a saw that is generally regarded quite highly for its accuracy, it didn’t take more than a removing a couple of bolts to get it all apart! Upon closer inspection, a considerable amount of saw dust had built up inside and around the sliding parts and cleaning all this carefully has made some improvement to the adjustments and ease of setting the saw.
By the time I got everything back together and could start the saw up to check it still works (!), my first reaction was that it sounded a little rough (often a sign of worn carbon brushes). Then again, I used one of these saws four-years ago and it the motor made a similar noise. Not only that but, the old 64-tooth blade was feeling a bit dull. Well, you can see below that the brushes were also a bit rusty and cleaning this off made little or no difference to the sound of the running saw so, to be sure, I ordered a spare pair of brushes and a new blade should be on the way soon.
Along with the brushes (which should always be replaced in pairs), I added a few other items to my basket at Tool Shop Direct – spare rubber feet, a new locking knob and a triangle for setting the blade angled [well, yes, I do have several squares already… But, it’s only 70p and I do like having dedicated tools for each machine!].
[Note to anyone else – those rubber feet are only sold in singles and I still need to order two more! :oops:]
Brushes were simple to replace and immediately after, I noticed an increase in the speed of the saw from startup (a wise decision, then!). Getting the rest of the old knob out to fit the new one in proved far more of a struggle though… You have to disconnect the saw head from the main upper casting where it pivots. This is simple enough, as you only have to punch out a large round pin. If ever you attempt to do this yourself, I warn you to watch out for the large spring to the right of the saw blade – as it’s under tension until you disconnect the head, there is the risk that it will shoot out at high speed!! Truth is though, it has to come out if you want any chance of getting the new bolt in… Always be alert!
After cleaning the old blade with a mix of rust-removal, teeth-cleaning products and a fresh coat of ProtecTool Wax, performance wasn’t half as bad as I had thought. It could still do with a trip to the saw doctor’s but, for now, I think I’ll save it for any rough cuts. Blade changing on this model is much easier than the saw I had before. At least the guard sits quietly out of the way and doesn’t have to be removed completely.
That just about summarises what I have done to get this sliding mitre saw in to good working order (not that it was in ‘bad‘ shape, before). In the next part, I hope to show you some of the key features of this design; how these compare to my previous saw and just how reliable it is for accuracy.
Thanks for reading.