A few years back I invested in my first slide saw and I have never looked back. It was only a 6’ because I was in my garage and had space constraints, and now I’ve moved up to this new beast to get full 10’ cuts. This is the Maksiwa Sliding Panel Saw (BMS.3200.IR) 220 V, 5HP, single phase slide saw with a 12" saw blade.
Live edge and crooked lumber can be a challenge for all woodworkers. Getting straight glue-line cuts with minimal waste is always the goal and I have been thrilled with my cuts since using a slide saw.
If you’ve seen any of my recent social media, I have added a portable sawmill to my shop and have been milling my own planks. To turn those round edge planks into square boards I make the first cut on the right hand side of the board, then I reposition the side fence (accounting for the board width and the blade width compensation) and cut the left hand side of the board on the back side of the blade. This process leaves me with true cuts and square boards to build with. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Here are a few reasons why I prefer a slide saw over the traditional table saw:
When I had a traditional table saw in my shop I spent a lot of time, like most of you I’m sure, making sleds and jigs to do the cuts I was needing. Now with this slide saw the majority of the sleds and jigs I was trying to create are built directly in. It has fully adjustable flip down stops for repeatable cuts and different panels. The front fence can move back, forth, be locked and set at different angles.
The slide itself can also be locked in place. All the way along the track there are stops and with a simple twist of a knob I can lock it in place to use it like a traditional table saw when works better for a particular project.
This saw’s slide gives me a reach advantage as opposed to a homemade sled on top of a table saw. When I used the sled on my old equipment it was awkward and cumbersome once I reached the front of the table. The sled would come off and I really only had the distance between the blade and the sled to make cuts. That setup was fine when all the pieces I was cutting were small, but cutting larger pieces has been much easier on the sliding saw.
It’s no sweat to load and cut sheet goods by myself. I can place them on and easily do lengthwise cuts or I can send a support out, turn the sheet 90 degrees, and cut the other way. This saw’s reach efficiently allows me to get precise repeatable cuts using the slide, instead of having to hold the sheet and try to fight it through the saw like I used to.
Behind the blade there’s also a table that will go all the way to 48”. With my old table saw and 6’ sliding saw there were no supports on that side and the machines were butted up against the wall limiting my cut options.
Changing blades is a lot more accessible compared to having to reach down inside and try to get the nuts off. On this Maksiwa a panel flips down giving easy access to both blades making the task quick and easy. This allows me to loosen and tighten the nuts keeping my arms and wrists away from the sharp blade.
I like how the levers and knobs for the fences and blades are all within reach yet out of the way when ripping boards.
There is a digital readout to assist with tilting the blade to precise angles, along with a handle to raise and lower the main blade and also wo handles for the scoring blade (up and down, side to side - giving options to line the scoring blade up with the main blade or offset it to either side).
The fences are all adjustable, which I appreciate when I’m doing a bunch of repeated cuts. I can move the fence from the front to the back of the board, place the piece I’m cutting in front of that and butt the board up against the side fence, then zip through a bunch of cuts. Since the side fence is behind the blade by the time the board gets cut and pushed through there is no risk of it binding because it’s not pushing against the fence, which obviously makes this a whole lot safer. Adjusting the side fence is done by releasing 2 toggles and sliding it to my desired position, then finalizing with a micro adjuster knob. This is much more precise than my old habit of knocking the fence with my fist.
I appreciate the nice big dust collection system on top of the blade, and it’s simple ability to swing out of the way if I’m working with larger pieces of wood that would contact it. There’s also a second dust collection port at the bottom of the saw keeping my shop cleaner.
For my one-man shop I find a slide saw like this to be invaluable. Probably one of the biggest constraints is how much floor space it takes up. For this unit I needed a full 20’ opening for the 10’ reach back and forth.
A slide saw like this can do everything a traditional table saw can do and plus a whole lot more, and I can do it all by myself.
Maksiwa was great to deal with as a brand. I was able to set it up all by myself in less than a day and I’ve been using it for a few months. It has been an awesome addition to my shop and I’m really happy with it!