By continuing to use this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more
Forum sponsored by:
Forum sponsored by Forum House Ad Zone

Why aren't carbide chop saws used?

All Topics | Latest Posts

Search for:  in Thread Title in  
choochoo_baloo31/03/2022 00:58:47
280 forum posts
67 photos

I'm looking to buy a metal 'stock cutting' saw. The manual hack saw is getting tiresome...

It seems almost all hobby workshops seem to use either the ubiquitous 4x6 bandsaw or power hacksaw.

Why aren't modern chop saws used?

Especially since it seems the modern carbide tipped variety have overcome the dust/heat/sparking of the abrasive type; which is obviously a major deterrent in a small workshop! They're competitively priced too.

Paul Lousick31/03/2022 04:43:52
2075 forum posts
727 photos

A standard wood chop saw is not suitable for cutting metal. They have a geared head and a slow speed cutting blade.

A bandsaw is more universal, it can be used horizontally and vertically. The teeth on a bandsaw are much finer and can cut thinner sections. (at least 2 teeth should always be in contact with the workpiece). Replacement bandsaw blades are cheaper than carbide circular saw blades.

I have not seen any competitively priced metal chop saws that can cut a 4" x 6" piece of steel.

Hopper31/03/2022 06:10:45
6653 forum posts
347 photos

Cost. Capacity. Versatility.

Speedy Builder531/03/2022 06:21:08
2649 forum posts
218 photos

I have an EVOLOUTION chop saw for metal. Fantastic for stuff like steel angle, 1/2" diameter bar, flat bar sections etc, BUT you can easily damage the teeth when cutting 1" dia bar and over. I certainly would not attempt cutting a bit of steel where the section of blade contact was more than 1". Of course, it does cut other metals, wood etc but again, HTS like reinforcing bar does not improve the blade although with care will cut it.

It is fast, noisy and the chips fly off and safety goggles, face mask and gloves are "mandatory" - even wearing overalls and ear muffs!! However it is compact, portable and reasonably priced.


Michael Gilligan31/03/2022 07:34:16
20289 forum posts
1064 photos
Posted by choochoo_baloo on 31/03/2022 00:58:47:

I'm looking to buy a metal 'stock cutting' saw. The manual hack saw is getting tiresome...


Why aren't modern chop saws used?



Consider the work that would be done [power x time] in making the proposed cut.

Now specify a machine, with reasonable life expectancy, and reasonable noise-levels,

Now price it up surprise



P.S. __ I have, as a restoration project, a very well made ‘chop saw’ with a substantial 3-phase motor … but tis is only intended for cutting Aluminium profiles.


Edit: __ You might begin your design exercise here:

Edited By Michael Gilligan on 31/03/2022 07:38:46

donkey31/03/2022 07:50:02
83 forum posts
5 photos

try the clarke CPMCS1 from machine mart.

a cold cutting slow speed circular saw. I have one and it works fine.


Michael Gilligan31/03/2022 08:39:18
20289 forum posts
1064 photos

That looks useful, Brian yes

… interesting to note the very slow speed [which corroborates my earlier point]


Ref. __ **LINK**

DC31k31/03/2022 09:10:28
727 forum posts
2 photos
Posted by donkey on 31/03/2022 07:50:02:

try the Clarke CPMCS1 from machine mart.

I am not sure it is obvious from your post, but that is a very different type of saw to the one the OP has mentioned.

It is, if you like, a fourth option, the others being mechanical hacksaw, bandsaw, and Evolution-style machine.

You can tell the difference because one has a the motor parallel to the blade, so it is worm drive (cf. Skil saws).

The big difference is that the Clarke one uses a fine tooth HSS blade, like a large diameter slitting saw, and needs flood coolant to clear the chips and preserve the blade.

The Evolution-type are dry cutting and have a much coarser blade and are considered cold-cutting. This is important if you are in an industrial environment with a hot works permit regime - they do the same work as an abrasive saw but without the added hassle.

The dry/wet cutting might be an important consideration for a home workshop.

The carbide blades on the Evolution-type are generally not sharpened and being coarse are not versatile. The HSS blades can be sharpened.

Clive Foster31/03/2022 09:17:53
3172 forum posts
113 photos

Price is near enough the same so no economic reason to choose one or the other.

Bandsaw preference may well be just familiarity and confidence that blades can easily be got.

But the chop saw, like a power hacksaw, is strictly a stock cutting machine. Only things that can be held in the vice can be cut. Vice is also shallower than that on the usual H-V bandsaw so less scope for creative gripping of tricky stuff. For folk like us the big advantage of the H-V bandsaw is its ability to shape things way too big for the vice when in vertical mode.

That said my H-V bandsaw got very little use as a vertical. Always seemed too much trouble to change over. Flimsy table never inspired confidence. Now I have a big Startrite vertical which gets very regular use as I can just switch on and go. Almost the default option for cutting stuff now except for proper bar and round stock which the old Rapidor power hacksaw handles with effortless aplomb.

Hafta say I prefer a power hacksaw for stock cutting as its quiet and undramatic.

On a slightly different note the Makita DCS552Z 18 V hand held metal cutting circular saw :- **LINK**

is an excellent device. Not sure I'd care to use mine for stock due to the difficulty of holding the soleplate down on small things but its great for larger things and sheet. Got it when I had 5 full sheets of tread-plate to knock down to size. If you have already paid the Makita battery and charger tax its decent value at £120 from Screwfix. Not convinced if its going to be your one and only 18V Makita tho'. I've nearly finished transitioning all my hand held tools to 18V Makita so good deal for me. Wonder if you could sling one under a router table, or similar, device for stock cutting. lethality factor about warp 9 I think.

As ever its choosing the best solution for the jobs you do rather than worrying about specific technology.


Edited By Clive Foster on 31/03/2022 09:22:07

Nicholas Farr31/03/2022 09:47:00
3418 forum posts
1592 photos

Hi, cold saws have been used in industry for years, but I've not used one that has carbide blades. There are plenty about but are pricey, as a good one will be fairly robust, but do have a relatively small footprint, one example Warco Circular cold saw They are very useful for cutting big batches of steel of the same length, like these pegs that were used for a regular customer in my last day job and there were 208 of these to cut for each order they had around every four to six weeks.

2016-02-12 pegs.jpg

Regards Nick.

noel shelley31/03/2022 09:59:20
1442 forum posts
23 photos

For small work a 1.5 X 115 abrasive cutting disc in a angle grinder ! low cost, very small footprint, using the sheet of paper trick cuts square, quick, used outside the fresh air will do you good. will cut almost any metal. I know it's not what the OP asked about but this option is worthy of consideration ! It does make a hacksaw look VERY old fashioned. Noel.

Alan Jackson31/03/2022 10:01:35
260 forum posts
146 photos

A long while ago I made a worm geared drive HSS cutting saw, but it just did not have the rigidity and power required. The blade cut but it chattered badly, so I discontinued my efforts. It was never going to work as I dreamed it would.


photo 2.jpg

Samsaranda31/03/2022 10:05:38
1483 forum posts
7 photos

I also got fed up with using a manual hacksaw for cutting stock so I researched what was available to use instead and eventually settled on a Parkside (that’s LIDLs own brand) metal cutting chop saw, it uses abrasive discs as the cutting medium. I find it very efficient, it gets through 2” of steel in no time, the only disadvantage is the sparks produced so I always use it outside, it lives under my workbench when not in use. I considered the larger varieties that used toothed blades but they were a lot more expensive and larger in size and I find that I can do all the cutting that I need on my smaller chop saw and have no regrets with my purchase. You need to weigh up convenience against costs when deciding. Dave W

Circlip31/03/2022 10:07:25
1531 forum posts

Yes Nick and I can bet you've seen the antics of SOME in industry using them. Number of times I had to replace the roll pin on one saw and even recut M16 left hand thread allen screws to retain a HSS blade. The thought of bits of chipped carbide flying about beggers belief.

Lot to be said for good old handraulic tools. Tis after all a hobby.

Regards Ian.

Bob Worsley31/03/2022 10:19:44
121 forum posts

I have an Evolution 255mm carbide cut off saw, they do several so the blade size might be important.

Astonishing! The first thing I had to cut was 20x50 steel, whilst not like wood it was very close. I have cut many things with it, steel and aluminium.

What it won't like is flaky rust. Had to top and tail dozens of square section steel tube, about 40mm by 3mm thickness. Blade was blunt after a few, a new blade only lasted about 10 pieces. It seems to be like the problem of oxy acetylene cutting of rusty steel, it is impervious to the flame and won't cut at all. A film of rust as on storage surface marking is ok, but definitely not anything that looks flaky.

The other thing is the life time and cost of the blade, above comments but I have got through about 6 in 20 years, but compared with a hacksaw it is no competition.

I also have a slow speed saw with the 80 tooth 10" blade. Brilliant, but gearbox failed, bought another secondhand and as AJ mentions, this one chatters, can't find out why.

The real problem I find with these saws is the vice, will they securely hold a short length of metal. Had a big hacksaw but unless the metal was 10" long it wouldn't grip, and even then it was forever slipping. Not certain angle adjustment jaws are really worth the pain.

HOWARDT31/03/2022 10:36:42
932 forum posts
39 photos

One of the things against is safety. Any body who has cut a lot of wood with a circular saw will have experienced a compete jam which stalled the saw if you kept hold of it, this can happen with any type of saw fixed or hand.. Toothed circular saws in metal are thin and the chance of causing the blade to bend creating a jam is very real when hand feeding which could cause the blade to shatter, not fun when standing over the saw. That said it may well work on smaller stuff with a suitable number of teeth on the blade. When I worked we had a circular abrasive cut off saw which the maintenance crew refused to connect up as they felt it too dangerous to use as a general cut saw.

Hopper31/03/2022 11:27:11
6653 forum posts
347 photos
Posted by noel shelley on 31/03/2022 09:59:20:

For small work a 1.5 X 115 abrasive cutting disc in a angle grinder ! low cost, very small footprint, using the sheet of paper trick cuts square, quick, used outside the fresh air will do you good. will cut almost any metal. I know it's not what the OP asked about but this option is worthy of consideration ! It does make a hacksaw look VERY old fashioned. Noel.

What is the sheet of paper trick?????

I have angle grinders with the thin 1 or 1.5mm cut off discs and they are brilliant. Plus I have a 14 or 16" friction disc chop saw as well. But I like the H-V bandsaw for general work. Quieter. No sparks. More versatile.

JasonB31/03/2022 11:39:40
23042 forum posts
2769 photos
1 articles


Probably wrapped around a tube or cylinder to give you a visually square edge to cut to.

Also watch out that the TC saws can throw sparks, both types of the Evolutions saws do it




Edited By JasonB on 31/03/2022 11:42:08

peak431/03/2022 12:08:00
1782 forum posts
193 photos

Before I retired from BT I/we used to use a DeWalt steel cutting chop saw for cutting our ironwork to size.

Mainly it was used on thin section Unistrut, and thus needed a finer blade than standard; TCT blades are not cheap compared to those for the 6"x4" bandsaw we also used.
I did however use it for cutting heavy(ish) angle iron sections. These were about 3"x3½"x3/8" which it chopped quite happily.

A couple of times I took in something of my own to cut; it was quite comfortable with 2" diameter bar.

Some folk claim it's a cool cutting saw; it doesn't shower sparks like an abrasive wheel saw, but does emit a stream of blue metal chips, as well as a lot of noise.


Hopper31/03/2022 12:12:34
6653 forum posts
347 photos
Posted by JasonB on 31/03/2022 11:39:40:

Probably wrapped around a tube or cylinder to give you a visually square edge to cut to.

Ah OK, that one. I usually use a strip of emery tape for that. Easier to find on a jobsite than sheets of paper usually.

All Topics | Latest Posts

Please login to post a reply.

Magazine Locator

Want the latest issue of Model Engineer or Model Engineers' Workshop? Use our magazine locator links to find your nearest stockist!

Find Model Engineer & Model Engineers' Workshop

Sign up to our Newsletter

Sign up to our newsletter and get a free digital issue.

You can unsubscribe at anytime. View our privacy policy at

Latest Forum Posts
Support Our Partners
Rapid RC
Eccentric July 5 2018
Eccentric Engineering
Subscription Offer

Latest "Wanted" Ads
Get In Touch!

Do you want to contact the Model Engineer and Model Engineers' Workshop team?

You can contact us by phone, mail or email about the magazines including becoming a contributor, submitting reader's letters or making queries about articles. You can also get in touch about this website, advertising or other general issues.

Click THIS LINK for full contact details.

For subscription issues please see THIS LINK.

Digital Back Issues

Social Media online

'Like' us on Facebook
Follow us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
 Twitter Logo

Pin us on Pinterest