Other Features & Accessories
Rear Dust Collection Bag
After only a few cuts, there was sawdust everywhere. The dust bag did collect much of the dust, but as you can see, there was still a light coating spread around the rear of the saw. To be honest, though, this is what we expected.
Molding Hold-Down Clamp & Extendable Supports
The hold-down clamp included with the MiterMate, works by holding a workpiece against either the right or left fence. There’s not much more to say about the clamp, other than it does what it needs to do without difficulty.
Another useful feature are the extendable support arms built into the two ends of the V-fence sides. However, they’re more of a convenience – most users will want to use rollers or something similar to support very long workpieces.
10″ 40-tooth Carbide Blade
Included with the MiterMate is a standard general purpose 10″ 40-tooth carbide saw blade. We had no difficulties with the blade, and it made very clean and smooth cuts. While this blade works well and should last quite some time if used properly, it won’t perform as well as (costlier) 3rd party woodworking blades.
Craftsman Laser Trac
Ah, built-in lasers. We love well aligned and accurate built-in lasers, and absolutely loathe those that are slapped on tools without care just so that “LASER” can be printed in the tools’ marketing materials.
Craftsman implemented a Laser Trac guide in the MiterMate, and we found that it does save some time when setting up a workpiece to be cut. The laser’s accuracy isn’t worth writing home about, but at the same time it’s decent enough that you won’t hear us complaining too much about it either.
Miter Saw Stand Mounting Points
In his comment to our first post of the MiterMate, ToolGuyd reader wantedabiggergarage mentioned a concern regarding how the MiterMate mounts to a miter saw stand given its pivoting V-fence. If you take a close look at the bottom of the Mitermate, you will see that there are three mounting points – two in the rear and one in the front.
This mounting pattern is similar to that several of Craftsman’s other 10″ miter saws, so it should be compatible with Craftsman’s universal miter saw stands and tool stands. It should also be compatible with other brands’ universal miter saw stands, but we were not able to confirm this in time for the review.
HOWEVER, mounting the MiterMate to a miter saw stand would have limited benefit when making miter cuts on long workpieces. 90° cuts would be okay since a workpiece would be fully supported by the stand, but once the V-fence was adjusted to any other angle, the workpiece would swing out and away from most miter saw stands’ supports.
Instead of a miter saw stand, a benchtop tool stand or portable workstand could be used in conjunction with one or two roller stands for full saw and workpiece support. In this case, the pattern of mounting holes is a little less crucial.
Edit: In his comment, Ben Johnson shared an observation that cuts placed in the middle of long pieces of trim would require substantially more space around the saw than with a traditional miter saw. Whereas with a traditional miter saw one only has to be concerned with horizontal clearance, the MiterMate may require front and back clearance as well. There are ways to easily compensate for this, but it is still something to be aware of.
Summary & Conclusions
Overall, we feel that the Craftsman MiterMate is great for cutting crown molding, baseboard molding, and other such materials typically cut on a miter saw. The saw feels very solidly constructed, and all movements were smooth and fluid. We found the V-fence to be easy to use and adjust, and it only took a few cuts before we were comfortably familiar with it.
At the rear of the fences, there is the potential for a pinch hazard, or at the very least awkward maneuvering when the fence slide adjustments are brought too close to nearby fasteners. This is not a major issue or concern, but just something to keep in mind.
Potential buyers should also keep in mind that, because of its innovative V-fence design, the MiterMate may not work well with universal miter saw stands.
Craftsman and the Sears Blue Tool Crew claim that the MiterMate will save time, reduce miss-cuts, and make miter saw setup simpler and easier. The MiterMate does satisfy these claims, but not only that, it blew our expectations right out of the water! We walked into the review open minded yet prudently skeptical, and at its conclusion we are satisfied and convinced.
While the MiterMate’s $250 price tag could be a little softer on the wallet, it’s still fairly reasonable. If you decide to wait around for a good sale, you should be able to knock the price down a bit.
Quite frankly, we’re incredibly impressed with the MiterMate, and expect that others will share this sentiment. As for the cocnern about workpiece support, the simplest solution would be to use a portable “tool stand” with two roller stands.
Given our [short yet thorough] experience with the Craftsman MiterMate, we feel comfortable in recommending it to DIYers and homeowners looking for a quality miter saw to use primarily for cutting molding and trim pieces, and especially those uncomfortable with manual angle measurements and calculations.
Photo Credits and Acknowledgements:
Douglas R. Sampsel, Brian S. Sampsel
Brian S. Sampsel (ToolGuyd special contributor) had the role of lead reviewer, and Stuart (ToolGuyd admin/editor) assisted with the write-up.
The Craftsman MiterMate sample featured in this review was provided by Craftsman, and will soon be returned to them. We wish to thank them for giving us the opportunity to check out the new MiterMate firsthand.