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For some strange reason I found myself at Lowe’s the week before the holiday bomb that goes off on the 25th, and while strolling the completely empty tool aisles I ran across a stack of 7 1/4″ Skilsaws for $30 a pop.

I just had to pick one up for a nephew freshly out of the nest and in need of good tools. Saws like this are a great answer for friends and relatives who need functionality, and it was almost a reflex reaction, seeing the reduced price, knowing he needed real tools, and the restricted holiday budget we are all running on this year.

For my $30 investment my nephew gets a 12 amp, 2.3 HP corded saw that will, at the very least, keep him serving up sawdust for the next few years. It’s those kinds of gifts that, to us, mean the most in the long run.

Also, it was an excuse for me to at least go through the motions of buying another saw but not get in trouble with the other half.

Lowe’s [Website]


21 Responses to Dealmonger: 7 1/4″ Skilsaw At Lowe’s $30

  1. Liberty says:

    Happy Holidays to every one,
    This post reminded me that I never commented to the post about ‘Guilt, Reconciled’. The P.O.S. theif could at LEAST have dropped off a new circ saw along with the old one. The artilce posted today proves to me that some power tools are in a sense cheaper or more affordable today than they were in 1959-’60. Heck, in the late 70’s power tools weren’t as a common for the average person to have a collection of different types, -like most people do now. Boy, for that theif to know where Mel Yoder lived –does that mean that they passed each other every so often ? lived in the same town ? Tool theifs are low lifes & buying tools, that from your best judgement seem to have been stolen, just help low lifes out.

  2. IronHerder says:

    Slightly off-topic, I’d recommend checking the saw’s electric cord when you have a chance, because many circular saws come with an 18 gauge power cord. If a 16 gauge extension cord is inadequate to use with a circular saw, I can’t see having 18 gauge wire for the last four feet. I replaced mine with a 14 gauge cord that I got at a computer auction.
    And for the nephew’s birthday, get him a case for the saw, instead of, say, an extra blade. When I lost my previous Skil Saw, I found that it was harder to replace the case than it was to replace the saw and the blades. Given that the nephew will probably move several times before he can set up a shop, the case seems necessary to protect his new saw.

  3. Sean O'Hara says:

    @Ironherder A case! Good call sir! Mine never came with a case (openbox at Depot) and I was a little annoyed about it because you can’t get another super easy so I just settled for a large soft-sided bag.

    [Shakes Head] A case, I should have thought of that… off to the store I go.

  4. IronHerder says:

    Liberty’s comment reminded me about the Skil Saw that I got from my dad. It was purchased in 1955, and I got the saw, all of the paperwork and its metal case. The 2010 equivalent of the purchase price is well north of $500. Different world now: I have three power circular saws (not counting my dad’s), the obligatory battery-powered one, a jigsaw, a reciprocating saws, a multifunction tool, a table saw and a radial arm saw. Guess I should be out in the shop making saw dust.

  5. blitzcat says:

    In for one. I’ve been abusing a scrolling jigsaw when I should have this. Its been abusing my wood right back.

  6. fred says:

    Say what you will about global competition and the probable reduction in quality of some power tools – but march of time and progression of tool manufacture from the USA and European factories – to one in Asia and (to a lesser extent) Mexico – have reduced costs considerably. I think competition – from big-box stores and the Internet has also had a dramatic impact. We used to buy exclusively from industrial suppliers – and small firms could get only modest discounts. Worse yet – when you were stuck for a tool on a jobsite – the local hardware store (if they even had something useful) charged you top dollar. Some local hardware stores and suppliers that you developed a relationship with – were, however, a resource for information (no Internet back then) and often quality repair/exchange service – standing behind what they sold.
    I just took a look at some old inventory figures. We bought some Rockwell Porter Cable 4-1/2 inch worm gear Trim Saws in the 1970’s – and paid on average $180 each – probably from one of our industrial suppliers. The equivalent model # – (314) – I don’t know if the quality is the same – are selling for $227 at Amazon. The ‘70 vintage saws are still working – although some have been refurbished at least once or twice. I haven’t looked up the CPI or GNP deflator figures – but I would not be surprised if I was told that $180 in 1975 was equivalent of $600 today
    Some USA-made Skil 77’s we bought in 1998 fetched $174 – I see what I presume is a China-Made 77 selling for $162 at Amazon today

  7. Bill says:

    Make your own case.

  8. Jim says:


    $180.00 in 1975 had the same buying power as $748.96 in 2010.

    $174.00 in 1998 had the same buying power as $232.95 in 2010.


  9. Bill says:

    The saw isn’t even worth $30. This, the ryobi circ, etc. are cheap and dangerous. Get a decent saw and don’t try to “save money” by putting yourself in a situation to get seriously hurt.

    My cheap a$$ buddy bought a ryobi circ for his addition. I used it for 5 seconds before I threw it down and picked up a decent saw. It is so poorly build, such bad sight lines, and on and on. A huge steaming pile of sh!t.

  10. Sean O'Hara says:


    Well for my part I’m just not seeing it there Bill. I’ve used the same 7 1/4″ Skilsaw for the last 4 years now and completed thousands of cuts and subjected it to the worst possible conditions and it still performs just as solid as it did when I first picked it up.

    I’ve not heard of any recalls for them or had any demonstrations of impending doom upon performing operations for which it was designed.

    Granted there are better and certainly more expensive saws on the market but I just haven’t seen evidence to support dangerous. To what are you referring?

  11. squidlow says:

    Guys: thanks for the great posts. The considerations of what was what back then brings back memories. Yes, it does seem that some tools like power were more expensive back then. One point I wanted to make though, was that these calculators for costs ($2 in 1954 is $212 in 2011) aren’t always accurate and they don’t account for a lot of data that may put a price in perspective.

  12. Tim says:

    This saw aside I have a question. Why are so many things like this saw, vacuum cleaners, etc. rated in terms of the amperage they draw? Unless you’re purpose is to consume electricity that seems to be a pretty meaningless specification. My new vacuum could draw 25 or 30 amps and that doesn’t necessarily mean it sucks up dirt particularly well. It could just mean they used a really crappy motor and drive train.

  13. Coach James says:

    The amperage allows you to calculate the approximate power of the tool. P=VI.



    This is the true power consumption of the motor. The motor’s efficiency would determine the power output.

    I think the 2.3HP has some blue sky in it. Perhaps when the motor is fun full speed and has an instant massive load put on it there is a surge in current draw to boost the power rating.

    Also, the dollar conversion is interesting. When my dad fought in the Korean War with the 1st Inf Div, his pay was $54/month. That converts to $429/month in 2010 dollars. I wonder how many GI’s are getting paid $429 a month?

  14. Jim says:



    “$2 in 1954 is $212 in 2011” You must be using the Madoff calculator.

    A more realistic and quantitative calculation using the CPI, rate of inflation and relative buying power would be:

    $2.00 in 1954 had the same buying power as $16.06 in 2010.

    Annual inflation over this period was 3.79%.

  15. Jim says:

    @Coach James

    The average household income in 1950 was $3,210 and $4,200 in 1953. There must be something unaccounted for in the sited soldier’s salary of $54/month or $648/yr figure.

    $3,210.00 in 1950 had the same buying power as $29,372.72 in 2010.
    $4,200.00 in 1953 had the same buying power as $33,969.51 in 2010.

    Annual inflation over this period was ~3.75%.


  16. Coach James says:

    Jim, I will be seeing my dad tomorrow. I will ask him about that.

    By the way, I like the Madoff calculator comment. LOL.

  17. Coach James says:

    Not sure of this would be the same rate as the army, but here is a pay chart from the sir force from 1949.


  18. fred says:

    To put it in perspective, I think that I paid about $3000 for my new 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass – and about $500 that year for a new 19 inch Zenith Color TV. I think that I earned about $12,000 in 1970 – which was a decent wage. TV’s have probably come down in price for equivalent functionality – while autos have not. Circular saws – the original topic of this post -may have been more expensive realtively – but they may have been made to last longer (at least the top end models that professionals were buying). Skil had severla lines of tools – as did others like Black & Decker with their Super Sawcat with electronic blade brake – as one option.

  19. PutnamEco says:

    What gets to me is the lack of the ability to repair these “bargain” tools, Try to get a set of brushes or bearings. The cost of those parts is usually about half the cost of going out and buying a brand new tool, that and the very real chance of replacement parts being unavailable due to the short product run and the repair facilities only willing to deal with current products. And the fun of trying to replace a part that was not designed to be replaceable, or having to buy a whole assembly because the component was not available as a single item.
    A lot of these tools also fail spectacularly when they inevitably break down. Cheap bronze bushing fracturing, commutator fires, switches shorting out, plastic casings coming apart…..

  20. squidlow says:

    @ Jim: I think you’re directing your reply at the wrong person 🙂 I’m commenting on a previous post. But I reserve the right to a less-than-hearty Meh to your calculations, and ask you to cite your formula for relative buying power. I haven’t seen one “on-line” calculator that’s really any good. Inflation isn’t a good indicator either. I’m not even sure it’s a terribly useful factor in and of itself. In theory, relative buying power is a useful indicator but I’ve never seen a computer formula that accounts for nuance. Simply put: what you can get with a buck in say 1954 includes so many factors, that one you can get with a buck today isn’t really a useful measurement. Forget about calculators that go back further into the 19th-c.

  21. I have a 1954 h70a Stanley skilsaw and I wanted to know if it’s worth anything it’s in the original metal box with the parts list and operating instructions it currently does not work I took the brushes out and cleaned them but still doesn’t turn on…..

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