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One of our most beloved circular saws around the Toolmonger shop is our now 4-year-old 7 1/4” model 5400-01 Skilsaw. It has been involved with every wood working project we can think of and it’s still going strong. So when Skil decided to come out with its successor, the HD5687-01, they got our attention.

The new saw has a 51-degree bevel adjustment with a detent at 45 degrees and a larger anti-snag guard blade nose to help with binding in the middle of a cut. The biggest change that we can see other than that the amps have been boosted from 12 to 15 is that the handle is a worm-drive style, not the typical angled-up sidewinder style that have graced these saws for decades.

I’m not sure how I feel about that. Most pros that I’ve talked to say it’s a step in the right direction, but I still can’t help wondering if the new version will wind up feeling like the same old friend I’ve grown accustomed to. I’m probably in the minority here since I’ve always preferred sidewinders anyway — I suppose only time will tell. Then again, it is only a handle so perhaps I should take my own advice and shut up and start cutting.

The only real perceived drawback on this rig comes when you get a gander at the pricing. This new saw will run you $60 to $90, while the older model we have in the shop was around $45. A decent actual worm-drive rig runs about $150, so we suppose Skil is trying to ride the line between DIY and pro offerings. Either way, the saw market is getting very interesting.

Skilsaw HD5687-01 [Skil]
Street Pricing [Google Products]


7 Responses to Skil’s Latest Sidewinder

  1. Coach James says:

    Our Lowes has them on sale for $79.97 as of May 17, 2010 with one rating of 3.2 out of 5.

  2. Shopmonger says:

    The handle may be easier for ripping along boards but not as comfortable for short crosscuts where you are right over the top the the board. Sean will of course love it because it is a SKIL Saw…..


  3. Peter Dandyk says:

    I’m a Skil fan. I have a thirty year old 6 1/2″ skil saw that has seen regular service on all kinds of projects over the decades. I love the size and weight and find it as robust as it’s big brothers. The only drawback – and I haven’t found it much of a tradeoff – is the limited depth of the cut @ 2 1/2″ or so. I’ve coveted a new saw but this one just keeps on cutting.

    I’m just building a 14′ x 24′ deck and my trusty Skil saw has made every cut including rips through the rough sawn 2″ cedar joists.

  4. fred says:

    Been using older Skil wormgear saws for years – some with Bigfoot conversions. In the 60’s it seemed that if you brought a wormgear saw to a job – you were the exception (maybe not in California). I guess that sidewinders still outsell the wormgears – and they are often lighter – even compared to the Mag77 – but I’ve always thought that once you get used to the weight of the wormgear helps with the cutting – and you have a better line of sight (anyone for left hand sidewinders?)
    Like everything else that’s now had its production moved offshore – I’m never sure that 40+ years of experience with a brand – still means anything – but Bosch (as in Skil-Bosch) seems to try to keep quality up.

  5. Mitch says:

    @Peter and Fred – I bet you guys like Skil because you have their old saws. I’ve used their newer (or at less old) stuff 10-20 years ago and can’t recommend them.

    re: off shore production

    I ran across an interesting comment about A123 Systems, the battery startup. You can blame the manufacturers for wanting profits. Consumers for wanting the cheapest products. I didn’t realize you can also blame American financiers: “many in Wall Street and Silicon Valley were incredulous when he and other leaders at A123 asked for capital to build factories in America”

    And this is from a guy of Chinese descent “Without question, we would rather have done it all in the U.S.,” said Chiang, 52″ “I’m an American citizen,” he added. “We’re an American company. It’s an American-born technology.”

  6. Puddintame says:

    Now if only they’d put the blade on the proper side. I have a little 5 1/2 skil cabinet saw that I love because it’s light and has the blade where it belongs- problem is, they’re over $100 new. Porter Cable makes sidewinder saws with blades on the left. Again, problem is they’re around $100 or more-pretty close to the price of a regular worm drive saw. If anyone comes out with an inexpensive blade left sidewinder saw of reasonable quality, they can probably count on good sales-from older carpenters that don’t want to lug around a worm drive saw anymore-or won’t on their own projects.

  7. Mark says:

    Skil has put their name on too many junk Walmart circular saws for me to trust their products now. I have an old worm drive saw and it’s great, but I can also still get parts for it. The worm drive line of saws is the only thing I would buy with the “Skil” name on it.
    At this point Skil is basically a low end brand name for things that Bosch tools won’t put their name on. Next time you’re in Lowes take a look at the build quality of the “Skil” drill press and band saw.

    Also, another thing that bothers me….
    I do not care what the amperage off the saw is. Tell me the HP.
    Just because a saw sucks 15 amps through the cord does not mean it actually does anything useful with it.
    I would bet that my 13 amp worm drive will run circles around this 15 amp saw.

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