Time for a miter saw an upgrade in my miter saw station! It was 5 years ago that I first built my miter saw station and in that time I’ve put a LOT of miles on my miter saw. So much that the rails developed a concerning amount of slop. Enough that I couldn’t trust it anymore for accurate cuts. So when I was asked to be part of the Home Depot Pro Spective program and test out and give some Milwaukee tools promotion, of course, I said yes. So with that said, this article is part of the #THDProSpective and #HomeDepotPartner program. The views and opinions are mine and my only requirement is to have an honest discussion and simply link to the product.
I specifically requested this miter saw as I thought it would be a great fit and upgrade from the saw I was using. And no, yours won’t come with one side of the box missing. We needed a piece of cardboard for a makeshift sled for my daughter. The Milwaukee box was the first thing my eyes saw :)
This is the Milwaukee 6955-20 12” Dual-Bevel Sliding Compound Miter Saw with laser beams. Just kidding, no laser beams.
The first interesting feature I found when looking at the saw in person for the first time was the extended dust shroud behind the blade. It’s a two-piece design with an inverted “ramp” attached to the saw arm and a forward-reaching shroud that directs the sawdust backward.
On the backside of the saw is the dust shroud exhaust. There’s a removable elbow that directs the dust down. This is where the dust bag attaches to. Due to the setup in my station, I won’t be using the elbow or the bag so I can’t speak for how well that part actually works.
Located on the left side of the saw head between the saw head pivot point and the blade is the depth stop screw. This is adjustable similar to the turret stops in a plunge router. The screw and a locking nut on top of the saw are used in conjunction with a flip stop to limit the depth of the cut. Because this saw is a sliding saw the depth stop can be used to cut dados, halflaps, or any other non through cut needed at a certain height.
Here’s a feature I haven’t seen on any other miter saw. I removed the plastic cover from the bottom of the table arm to get a better look at what was actually going on. There is a detent mechanism for the most common angles, typical of all miter saws, but beyond that is an arc rack and pinion. When lifting the detent lever you push the red knob forward to engage the arc rack and pinion. Once engaged, the miter angle of the saw can be fine-tuned in 0.1 degree increments, as shown on the digital readout. Once the desired angle is set the black knob is twisted to lock the miter angle. To get back to normal detent mode simply pull the detent lever up until the rack and pinion rod disengages. There’s also some gear reduction going on to aid in fine adjustments with the red knob. I thought this was pretty clever so I had to open it up to get a better look. And now I know, so the plastic cover goes back on to never be removed again.
Right next to the locking knob is a digital readout that displays the current angle of the saw to a tenth of a degree. This is something I have not seen on a saw before. I’m not sure how useful or necessary it is but the way the entire adjustment system can be so fine-tuned and then verified by the dial is interesting.
Also included are two other features I’ll never use. First, some extended material support bars that are installed on either side of the table. Because this saw will live in a station with plenty of material support, I’ll never use these.
And second, the over-fence clamp. All miter saws in this range include this clamp. In my opinion, they are all borderline useless as they just take way too long to adjust to your material height. The only saw I’ve seen implement this feature in a convenient and handy way is the Festool Kapex with their quick-adjust clamp. But comparing this saw to the Kapex isn’t a fair comparison as the Kapex is literally twice the cost of this one. Each saw in this price range (that I know of) uses the same generic over fence-clamp that I’ll never use. It’s simply not convenient.
It was about this time that I realized the dust shroud had a dust bag for it. I guess I never think about that aspect anymore as I’ve had my miter saw in a station with dust collection for the past 5 years.
Here you can see the station’s dust box with the old saw removed. I’ve been in this shop for a year and a couple of months and this is all of the dust that has built up. The reason why is because the box is sealed off and I have a 6” dust collection line going to it. Lots of airflow = low dust buildup.
And here’s the dust collection line. A simple 6” pipe stuck through the ceiling of the box. That’s literally it. With dust box wings around the saw the dust collection performance is incredible. I’ll get to that later.
Here’s the right side of the dust box. As you can see, this is the largest amount of buildup as it is furthest from the suction. But even so, it doesn’t matter much at all. Eventually, the dust box will reach a level of equilibrium where the remaining dust will form hills and a valley that cannot accept any more dust.
Take note of these shims. This is how I leveled the last saw and how I will level the new one.
And if you were paying attention so far you will see that I had to clean the box and make some adjustments to the backside of the saw platform. Actually, I had to revert back to the original setup I had in my last shop and the setup that is in the plans for this station. When I set up the station in this shop I had to do a little rigging with a horizontal shelf across the back of the entire dust box because I couldn’t find the small plywood pieces to the left and right and wasn’t set up to cut any new pieces just yet. Of course, tape is wonderful for sealing everything. This is necessary to focus airflow on the front of the dust box.
Finally, the new saw is set in place. My initial thought was that this saw is massive and larger than the Ridgid I had in its place. Nope. Wrong. The Ridgid still holds the title for one of the most unnecessarily large woodworking tools of all time.
Time to position the saw before bolting it down. The station has a ruler and stop block that I use all the time. When dialed in it’s accurate and incredibly convenient. The block has an inch or so of adjustment to read an accurate measurement on the ruler. To get the saw close enough for that adjustment to be of use I used a scrap block and the stop block to position the saw left and right. Whatever the length of the scrap block was, the stop block was set to that length. Then the saw can be moved so there is no gap between the saw blade, the scrap block, and the stop block. From here any fine adjustment can be made on the stop block marker.
I realized I missed a clip when installing the saw. But you can see the concept here. With the saw positioned left and right I needed to position it front to back. When using a miter saw station with a vertical fence for the stop block it’s important that the saw fence is positioned a half-inch or so in front of the station fence. This is to prevent a bowed board from affecting an accurate cut. When making a cut the wood should only be contacting the saw fence, never the station fence.
Here’s another handy upgrade from the last saw. This saw has hex pockets where the mounting bolts are used. This allows a bolt to be inserted and locked into place while tightening. It eliminates the need for a tool on top and bottom of the station at the same time to tighten.
With the saw positioned left to right and front to back I drilled holes through the platform and dropped the bolts through. From here the position is set but I’m still able to adjust the saw’s elevation.
Here’s my strategy for actually mounting the saw. Start with a platform elevation that is too low. Then use hardwood shims as close to the bolt as possible to raise it up slightly too much. Then use a nut and washer below the platform to pull the saw down to the exact height needed, compressing the shim and locking everything in place.
Installed, the saw can go 55 degrees to the left and 58 degrees to the right. The saw has free range to the left but it hits the drawer when going to the right. When I installed it I didn’t think it was a big deal and just left it as is. However, I know this saw has a fantastic 60 degrees of swing to the right that I want to take advantage of. So when I get around to making the wings for the dust box I’ll likely shift the entire saw to the left by four inches. This will allow me to use the full 60 degree range of the saw but unfortunately, it will require me to purchase and install a new tape measure on the station.
One feature I really like on this saw is the included lights. I have pretty good lighting in my shop so I didn’t think these lights would be of much use. It turns out that I use them all the time and they really are useful. The saw head has one diffused light on each side of the blade which does a great job of lighting up the cutting area. Even with good lighting in the shop, these help me see my layout lines better. The switch is located near the trigger.
So how is dust collection with that fancy dust shroud and sitting in the dust collection box? Not that great. This is somewhat expected with miter saws though. Capturing all of the dust at any miter saw is just not easy for any saw due to the nature of how it works. I’m aware of the Festool Kapex’s phenomenal dust collection but, again, it doesn’t make sense to compare this to a tool twice as expensive. After looking back on it, I think my disappointment with the dust collection performance has more to do with the fact that I’m used to using a saw with wings on the station to concentrate the dust collection right at the blade and less to do with this exact saw. When I add the dust box wings the performance will be at a level I’m used to.
Why not put the dust box wings on right now? Well, they have to be custom-fit to the profile of the saw for better performance and I didn’t have the correct material on hand. I want to use 1/4” MDF or plywood and just didn’t have any. Rather than rigging up something and having to do it once again later, I decided to delay that part.
And here it is. Installed in the station. There’s not much else to say about it. The saw works as intended, is feature-rich, and I look forward to many years of reliable use. If you want more information on this saw check out the sales page at The Home Depot.