Hitachi C8FSHE 8-1/2″ Sliding Compound Miter Saw with Laser Marker Review
The new Hitachi C8FSHE 8-1/2″ sliding compound miter saw was released to coincide with Hitachi’s 20th year in the business since making the first ever sliding compound miter saw back in 1988. The sliding compound miter saw bridges the gap between much larger radial arm saws and fixed blade miter saws. With the ability to slide the blade assembly, large cuts are made easy. The innovation of Hitachi has not slowed down either. With these new series of saws, more power has been added along with more refinement in the overall machine to help make carpenters’ jobs easier by helping them work smarter.
Our test saw arrived fully assembled and ready to go (other than installing the blade) in a large cardboard box. Inside the box, the saw was cradled in a cardboard cutout support structure. Along with the saw, the box also contained the manual, dust collection bag, arbor bolt wrench and a removable material clamp. One of the first things we noticed when we picked the saw up out of the box was how lightweight it was. Let’s put it this way, it weighs in at nearly half of what our standard 12″ regular miter saw weighs, and this one actually will handle most larger cuts with a smaller blade!
The body and table of the saw are made of a lightweight alloy metal that makes this saw easy to move around. Now understand that lightweight does not mean wimpy. From what we were able to tell, everything about this saw was about being rigid and tough, which we found to equal consistently precise cuts. The saw uses a linear ball bearing slide system that counts for a super smooth slider action. The handle is orientated in a vertical position with an elastomer grip material that is supposed to help reduce vibration. What you don’t see are some features like an electronic speed control which helps maintain a consistent RPM while cutting…read: less bog down when doing big cuts. Of course, there are a ton of other standard items such as externally changeable brushes and easy to adjust rotating fence and a splinter guard. Pretty much this saw will do it all except brush your teeth. Well OK, that might be going too far…
What makes this saw different than its brother (the Hitachi C8FSE) is that this one comes with the attached LED work light and the laser cutting guide. While we liked the idea of the LED work light, for us it seemed that the adjustable stem of the light needed to be about 2 inches longer so we could have positioned it exactly where we wanted it, effectively illuminating where we wanted to see. The laser was handy too because it is actually mounted on the base of the saw behind the blade. With the laser turned on, we were able to see exactly where the cut was going to take place before we even powered up the blade. This setup is much handier than the type that mounts on the blade’s arbor and is only activated when the blade is already spinning. Adjusting the laser was a cinch too with the included Allen key wrench. We pretty much made a test cut, held the wood in place and then adjusted the laser to the exact edge of the cut. The only downside with the laser was that it was a bit hard to see in bright sunlight.
As far as testing the saw, we used it in the field for several projects that ranged from framing a sun room to cutting HardiePlank siding board. Just a note on the included carbide tipped blade: it is a framing type blade that will give you dismal results if you want to use it for fine trim work. When we tried to do a few nice smooth cuts for finish trim, we found that there was some splintering of the edges of the cuts. As with any saw, you must match the blade with what you are trying to accomplish. With a proper trim blade in place, we are confident that this saw will work great for nearly all applications. As for our framing project, it went without a hitch and the saw always did exactly what we expected it to do. One thing we do suggest is that due to its lightweight capability, make sure to have it on a solid flat surface and lock it down so that it can’t move around. We set up our saw on a scrap piece of plywood which was then set on top of our saw horses. With a few deck screws, we used the holes in the saw base to anchor it to the wood and then went to town cutting the 2×4 and 2×6 material we had.
A side note on the saw is that the depth of cut is easily adjustable so that the dado cuts can be easily made into a workpiece. Dado’s are easy to make even in 12″ wide material due to the sliding function of the saw.
While we don’t really recommend it because of the wear and tear and the dust that was made, we put a cement siding blade in the saw and had great results too. We literally had to make a hundred 6″ wide pieces of HardiPlank siding to side between windows and doors. We used the included material clamp and a piece of 2×6 to make a stop that we could run the siding up to. Next, we made the cuts in the siding and the results were great. Nice straight cuts every time and the saw never slowed down. When we were done with the cuts, a few minutes with the air nozzle had our saw cleaned up as good as new.
From the company that invented the first sliding compound miter saw over 20 years ago, the new Hitachi C8FSHE 8-1/2″ sliding compound miter saw does not disappoint. With its compact size, lightweight capability and a long list of great features, this saw is all it’s cracked up to be. For our performance rating, we gave it an 8/10. Had it had a longer reaching LED work light and a place to store the arbor wrench on board, it might have gotten a point more (see our “custom” fix in the photo). For our value rating, we gave this saw an 8/10 because it really does have a long list of features and a market price that is actually less than much of the competition.