When I first got into carpentry I was working with my dad most of the time. He’s always had the power tools. I, of course, had my own hand tools and nail apron but I never needed any larger equipment. I would just run to my dad’s truck if I needed a saw or drill. However, as business picked up, it was time that I started to work on projects on my own. So it was time to outfit myself with some necessary tools of the trade.
Naturally, I started with the miter saw. I had been using a 10” single-bevel miter saw for some smaller applications like shoe mould 3 inch door casing. But to be frank it just wasn’t “cutting” it when it came to larger baseboard and crown moldings. It especially didn’t have the booty or crosscut capacity to power through some 12” wide hardwood stair treads. Obviously an upgrade was needed. I needed something that could pretty much handle all of the necessary cuts to be made on site. It’s not like I can just tell a client, “My saw isn’t capable of cutting that 9 inch poplar crown. So I’m not going to install that part.”
In comes every finish carpenter’s “must have” saw, the 12” Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw. I was fortunate to get my hands on Hitachi’s flagship 12” Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw with Laser Maker (that’s a mouthful,) or simply the Hitachi C12RSH for short.
My Favorite Features
Upon hearing that I was going to be receiving the Hitachi C12RSH, I did what I always do when checking out a new tool – I took a look at the menu and quickly order up an entrée of tool “features” and a side of “specifications,” hold the marketing speak of course. Here are the features that stood out to me as essential to my work:
- The sliding system – Hitachi has done something pretty cool with the rails upon which the saw slides on. They’ve put the rails next to the saw blade and there are two stages of movement. This eliminates most of the need for rear clearance, which for me is a big plus considering I work indoors most of the time.
- 15 amp belt-driven motor – Boom, I can cut through anything.
- Adjustable Laser Line – Lasers are super helpful and appear on most new miter saws these days. However, I’m partial to how Hitachi has configured the C12RSH’s laser to be easily adjustable by turning a knob. This allows me to easily hone in the laser on either side of the blade.
- Dual bevel – What can I say? Cutting crown molding is much easier when the saw will bevel 45 degrees in either direction. Also, there’s a nifty knob in the back used to fine-tune the bevel angle.
- Miter Positive stops – Again, extremely helpful and time saving when cutting crown molding. The positive stops are at 45°, 31.6° (ideal for most crown molding), 22.5°, 15°, and 0°. Just like the bevel system, there’s a small knob used to fine-tune the miter angle.
- Adjustable Depth Stop – This is a great little feature and though it’s not used often, it helps tremendously when cutting rabbets or grooves into a board.
Hitachi C12RSH 12″ Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw Specifications
- Amps: 15
- No-Load Speed: 3,800 RPM
- Blade Diameter: 12″
- Miter Cutting Range: 0-46 Degrees L; 0-57 Degrees R
- Bevel Cutting Range: Left & Right 0 – 45 Degrees
- Digital Display: No
- Laser Marker: Yes
- Saw Blade Drive System: Poly V Belt & Gear
- Splinter Guard: Provided (Fixed)
- Tool Dimension WxDxH: 23-7/16″ x 36-5/8″ x 27-15/16″
- Tool Weight: 63.9 lbs
- 90 Degree Cross Cutting Capacities (HxW):4-3/16″ x 12-1/4″ or 4-11/16″x 10-3/16″
- 45 Degree Miter Cutting Capacities (L/R): 4-3/16″ x 8-5/8″ or 4-11/16″ x 7-1/16″
- 45 Degree Bevel (L) Cutting Capacities: 2-3/4″ x 12-1/4″ or 2-15/16″ x 10-3/16″
- Compound Cut 45 x 45 (L/L): 2-3/4″ x 8-5/8″ or 2-15/16″ x 7-1/16″
- Price: $399
Un-boxing the Hitachi C12RSH was very straightforward. Included in the box are, of course, the saw itself, a 12 inch/32 tooth Hitachi saw blade, a dust bag, vice assembly, and a 17 mm box wrench. Setup was incredibly simple as there were only two loose parts – the dust bag and the vice. The blade was already on the saw. Once I got the saw out (which physically was no small feat because this tool is a beast), I checked to see how dialed in the blade was to perfectly square. I had to make a slight adjustment but it was pretty dang close right out of the box.
Like I said, this thing is a beast – it’s heavy. That’s to be expected with a tool of this size but I suspect that the design of the sliding system contributes to a bit more weight than most. It’s definitely not a deal breaker but it’ll require a portable stand at some point. On the other side of the coin, weight is usually a sign of good build quality and a stable platform. The Hitachi C12RSH is excellent in both categories.
Using the Hitachi C12RSH 12″ Sliding Dual Compound Miter Saw
Once I plugged the Hitachi C12RSH in, I dialed in the laser and began making a series of cuts just using some leftovers in the shop. The included blade is decent. It cuts, and it cuts well, but it’s definitely not a finish level blade. But then again, it’s not supposed to be a finish blade. So it does its intended job well.
Setting the miter angle is nice and easy. Just loosen the front knob, pull the trigger underneath the knob, and slide the saw in either direction. I always test accuracy and build quality of the miter systems on saws by placing the saw at an angle about ½ a degree off of a positive stop and securing the saw at that angle. What I’m looking for is to see if the saw slides into the positive stop angle instead of staying where I wanted it secured. I tried this with the Hitachi C12RSH on each of its positive stops and it performed perfectly. The miter system on this saw is well designed.
I moved on to making some bevel cuts and I’ve got to say that the sliding system on this saw really does a great job at keeping the saw from drifting out of place during a cut. One thing I would like to see improved with the bevel system is more positive stops other than just the one at 0°. A couple positive stops at 33.8° would be extremely helpful when cutting crown molding. But that’s just me being picky and lazy.
In the field, the Hitachi C12RSH has been performing great. The laser has helped me dial in a few uncommon angles. The wide crosscut capacity has enabled me to make square cuts through some 12” wide stair treads with no problem. In the midst of the job at hand, the weight has given me a nice strong back.
I set out to obtain a saw that could do everything needed for finish carpentry use. Hallelujah, the Hitachi C12RSH does just that.
- Large crosscut capacity: Check
- Enough power to cut through hardwoods: Check
- Dual bevel: Check
- Accurate miter system: Check
- Accurate laser: Check
I’m very pleased with this saw’s performance and ecstatic to finally have this “must-have” tool in my arsenal. There’s nothing I can really complain about – except the dang weight, it’s up there with Bosch’s 12″ miter saws. Oh, it’s going to be nice to put on a stand.