As a carpenter, my father had a circular saw in his tool arsenal. In fact, he had more than one because it was simply easier to go buy a new one than try to find his if it got buried in the shop. Perhaps he needed a good excuse to go shopping as many of us do. He would have loved the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 7-1/4″ Magnesium Sidewinder circular saw. While he wasn’t the most organized, his ability to cut a straight line was exceptional—a skill that I would struggle to achieve for several years.
At the time of his passing, I didn’t think to hang on to one of Dad’s saws. However, I knew I’d eventually get the best circular saw I could afford at some point as I built my own tool collection. By the way, in Dad’s house, we always referred to a circular saw as a “Skilsaw”. I didn’t know the generic term until my early twenties. Skilsaw has always been synonymous with 7-1/4″ cutting for my father’s and part of my generation. Even today, I have to stop and think before I start talking on this subject. For this review, however, I get to use the term without any issues.
Editor’s note: If you haven’t heard, Chervon acquired the Skil and Skilsaw brands, so look for some brand new tools to come out in 2017 and beyond.
Skilsaw Magnesium Sidewinder First Impressions
Making a first impression is important in life—something that’s applicable with tools as well. Sure, a good-looking tool may or may not be worth the asking price, or even what you paid. It’s still what makes that initial connection. With that said, the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 7 ¼” Magnesium Sidewinder Circular Saw is well dressed for its first meet and greet. Not only is this a newer model for the Skil brand, but also more significantly, it is one of the new saws Skilsaw introduced in its Pro Series.
The most noticeable first impression is the change in name graphics. The upper guard prominently displays a block, vintage-looking font brand name, SKILSAW. I did some quick research and found this throwback look doesn’t actually mimic any previous style from the past but successfully harkens a time when quality and durability were a more significant part of the tool landscape. It’s actually part of the redefined Skilsaw brand identity Beyond the name, all of the scales, numbers, and other letters are prominently raised and clear for easy viewing. This observation gave me a good impression that I’d have more control over what I needed the saw to do.
Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 Build Quality and Notable Features
All the exposed metal surfaces on the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 magnesium sidewinder are comprised of—you guessed it…magnesium. Rather than stamped cold, or hot rolled metal compounds that tend to flex, the magnesium construction provides a more rigid and relatively lightweight solution. Speaking of weight, this version of the Skilsaw Pro lineup is not one of the upcoming lightweight models. It is, however, the same weight (8.8 lbs) as another large brand name’s “lightweight” saw.
The new Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 magnesium sidewinder is more powerful, based on amp draw, compared to an old 1995 Skil model I own. This also proved positive in later testing. Another great feature compared to my older model is the lack of a separate safety switch. What? No safety switch? Yep, and I’m thrilled about the reversal of an otherwise unnecessary feature. Safety aside, having to fumble your trigger finger and opposing thumb on the safety is a distraction. It also frequently dooms the user to start with a crooked cut. So long as you don’t bypass the lower blade guard, the tool is no less safe than the earlier switched models.
Skilsaw is promoting a dedicated motor solution in this sidewinder. “Sidewinder” technology, branded as such, is proprietary to Skilsaw. The word is prominently applied and displayed on this series of saws. The Dual Field motor technology is based on its worm drive framing saw success, and Skil has designed it into all of their direct drive models. The Dual Field motor was designed to increase cooling and minimize tool repair needs. While this seems like an expectation of any consumer, it’s encouraging to see it addressed as a specific design consideration.
Unpacking the Skilsaw Magnesium Sidewinder
Unpacking the Skilsaw magnesium sidewinder saw was simple. Pull it out of the box and install the Diablo saw blade. Yes, a Diablo 24 tooth carbide blade is included. Diablo is part of the Bosch parent group, which owned Skilsaw when this model shipped out. This is a very complimentary merge of solutions, which added some extra value.
I reviewed the operating instructions just to see if there was anything new to learn about how to operate this saw. While there wasn’t much new beyond what I already stated, there were a few notable features. For the bevel setting, there’s a spring-loaded stop to provide a positive 45-degree angle. This allows for quick 0 to 45 adjustments on the fly. Pull on the spring handle, and you’re now past 45 and up to 56-degrees of bevel.
Additionally, a handy feature on the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 compared to my 1995 version is the spring-loaded motor lock. It can be engaged when changing the blade. No more screwdriver or wrench manipulation which really just doesn’t make sense. I mean, who typically has a screwdriver-type tool when they’re framing or ripping? Moving on, the blade depth scale displays common materials use terms like “3/4 ply”, “1/2 ply” and “2x” versus conventional depth markings. This just makes sense. If I set the foot in a given position, the wood will be cut with that slight bit of blade extension to reduce splintering. Simply genius.
Skilsaw Magnesium Circular Saw Hands On
My test project was to cut pressure-treated lumber for some deck stair railings using 4×4 posts, 2×6 tops and bottoms, railing cap, and 1×1 balusters. I need to point out that this is an additional requirement to an 814 square foot deck I built over the summer – all of which was cut with my old 1995 era Skil circular saw. Man, do I wish I had the Skilsaw SPT 67 WM-22 7-1/4″ Magnesium Sidewinder Circular Saw when that project started! Even with a new blade on that old saw, I still struggled to cut 2×6 PT. The effort to get those boards cut was intense.
Armed with this new saw and blade, I started with the 4×4 cuts. I was so surprised at the speed at which the saw cut, I had to speed myself up. My previous experience was that the saw was the constraint and I had to wait on it while exerting excessive pressure to get through a cut. Even with a good blade, it was never as fast as I would have liked. The Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 Magnesium Sidewinder Circular Saw wanted to go! My only objective now was to ensure the saw was lined up and straight.
I hadn’t mentioned it yet, but the built-in dust blower feature did a pretty good job of keeping the line visible. From a speed and feed standpoint, the saw and included Diablo 24 tooth carbide blade were very well matched. Additionally, the magnesium foot surface had less drag against the wood than on the older tool surface. If you’re cutting delicate material, you’ll still want to run some painter’s tape on the bottom, but the drag reduction is welcome.
Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 Specifications
- Power Source: 120V
- Motor: 15 Amp Dual Field
- Stock Blade: Diablo 24 Tooth Framing
- No Load Speed: 5300 RPM
- Arbor Size: 5/8″
- Weight: 8.8 Pounds
- Warranty: 180 Day Money Back, 1 Year Limited
- Price: $89
Angle cuts on the 2×6 were smooth and easy to keep straight, as were the 45-degree bevels on the multiple balusters. The balanced design of the Skilsaw magnesium sidewinder with less drag made it easier to control it against the very small surface area of the 1x PT. While I could have used any of the best miter saws on the market for this, it was a small job and I wanted to put this sidewinder to the test, even beyond its “normal” scope. I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed with the performance and handling ease for any of the cuts I had to make on this project. Frankly, my cuts were straighter and cleaner.
Final Impression of the Skilsaw SPT 67 WM-22 7¼” Magnesium Sidewinder Circular Saw
My overall impression of the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 7-1/4″ Magnesium sidewinder is very positive. Above all else, this model is robust, sturdy, and easy to affirmatively adjust. It is ergonomically comfortable, yet powerful enough to chew through stubborn materials. Fit and finish, as well as the retro-looking graphics, make this saw an overall winner. There’s really nothing I don’t like about this tool. To top it off, Skilsaw is putting their money where their mouth is by including a 180-day no-questions-asked money-back guarantee in addition to the standard limited 1-year warranty. With most stores offering 30-day returns, Skilsaw is adding another 5 months to that money-back window should you be unsatisfied.
It’s fun reflecting back on my Dad’s shop and how he would “lose” other circular saws. If he had owned the Skilsaw SPT67WM-22 magnesium sidewinder circular saw, he would probably have kept a closer eye on it. I would also have been sure to have kept it for my own collection. For now, my son has my old 1995 Skil. Perhaps, someday, he’ll get this one too. It’s certainly designed for performance, durability, and the making of more straight cuts.