DualSaw CS450, The Finest Plunge Cutting Power Tool I’ve Ever Encountered: Product Review

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The DualSaw CS450 caught my eye. I had a plunge cutting task coming right up and needed the right power tool The idea of doing a product review didn’t hit me till later.

The task at hand: Cutting holes in both sides of one brand new kitchen cabinet and in one side of another. Fine cabinetry is not a place to be using a circular saw if it can be avoided; too much chance of splintering the veneer. It probably wouldn’t matter this time, since the sides with the holes in them would be hidden from view once the cabinets were installed, but still….

My usual way of going about such a hole-making challenge is to (a) drill a center hole in the wood that needs to be removed, then (b) stick a keyhole saw in the new hole and start enlarging the thing until the desired result (hole size and shape) is achieved. Time consuming, pain in the tush, but no big.

As it happened, I’d gone into Lowes to snag a few packets of shims and nothing else…or so I thought.

The DualSaws were nicely displayed, with a video demo playing and both models set out for the customer to observe and admire. The CS450, significantly smaller and less expensive than the DualSaw Destroyer 650, uses identical technology. Not one but two saw blades rotate next to each other in opposite directions at high speed. I didn’t check the CS650, but the CS450 (which I bought immediately) runs at 5500 rpm.

There are other brands that boast this counter-rotating blades technology…but I’d never heard of such a thing. It did make total sense that, as they advertise, there’s no splintering (as a circular saw sometimes produces) and no kickback.

Why the company named the DualSaw CS650 the “Destroyer”, who knows?

The bigger unit cuts to a depth of two inches, the smaller only to a depth of one inch–but one inch was all I needed. They claim it can and will “cut anything”, from wood to PVC to reasonably soft metals. That was super cool. If I was cutting out a piece of a wall and ran into a nail or screw or reinforcement bracket, no problem. Just buzz right on through.

Frankly, I couldn’t wait to try it. Boys and their toys.

The box the DualSaw CS456 came in (back side).

The box the DualSaw CS456 came in (back side).

Front side.

Front side.

I didn’t think to take a picture of the DualSaw right out of the box, before it got all sawdusty…but at least you’ll be able to tell the saw has been working.

After the first set of cuts, the saw and my hoodie were covered in sawdust. The little jewel worked exactly as advertised (a rare thing in itself), smooth cuts, no splintering, no kickback.

One limitation: Because two counter-rotating blades are used, the saw kerf is wider that most of us are used to seeing. 3/16 of an inch, in fact. If you need a super-fine, narrow, thin cut, then the DualSaw CS450 is not for you.

Otherwise, we’re onto something here.

The DualSaw CS450 after its first set of cuts. The "exhaust pipe" can be hooked up to a vacuum or turned to blow sawdust whichever way you prefer. I tried several angles for different situations.

The DualSaw CS450 after its first set of cuts. The “exhaust pipe” can be hooked up to a vacuum or turned to blow sawdust whichever way you prefer. I tried several angles for different situations.

 Yep. Two blades on there, all right.


Yep. Two blades on there, all right.

 Hot diggety! They did not lie! No splintering!


Hot diggety! They did not lie! No splintering!

The one inch depth of cut is perfect for 3/4″ plywood, which is what the cabinet sidewalls (stiles) are made of (under the veneer). With just 1/4″ of blade making it through to the other side, a lot of potential collateral damage is automatically avoided.

In the photo directly above this section, for example, you can see a strap of perforated metal showing. That’s the guide rail for a large drawer. The DualSaw CS450 could have cut through that like a hot knife through butter, but it was never in danger. (One of two major reasons I didn’t go for the Destroyer CS650. The other major reason was price.)

Having that shallow cut also protected our Gato cat. When I got around to cutting the hole in the other side of the cabinet, I heard a horrible sound penetrating my earphones.

Turned out Gato, who had been inspecting the cabinet earlier, had made his way into that large bottom drawer. When I fired up the monster saw and started slicing and dicing, he set up a yowl you wouldn’t believe.

No harm, no foul. He got clear with nary a hair disturbed…although he likely did end up inhaling a snootful of airborne sawdust.

Gato cat, inspecting the cabinet mere minutes before getting himself trapped inside with the DualSaw coming too close for comfort.

Gato cat, inspecting the cabinet mere minutes before getting himself trapped inside with the DualSaw coming too close for comfort.

When I was building the Border Fort in 2010, I knew a pass-through between the kitchen and the utility room would be needed to accommodate the incoming hot and cold water inlet pipes as well as the outgoing drain pipe. A nice, roomy hole in the wall was then incorporated into the structure.

Unfortunately, I failed to account for the simple fact that base cabinets don’t simply start from the floor up. Instead, they sit four inches or so off the floor on the “toe kick” bottom boards.

Additionally, most traditionally designed homes have it easy, sitting on a basement or at least a crawl space. Even when built on concrete slabs, code-built dwellings tend to have the plumbing stubbed in place before the concrete is poured.

Not so the Border Fort. Every bit of in-home plumbing is above floor level.

Hence the holes in the cabinet walls. The pipes will have just room enough to pass through the corner cabinet in the 3 inches of space that remains behind a closed drawer.

But also…the hole I’d originally built into the wall did not go quite high enough. For all three pipes to fit comfortably, we’d need another inch of clearance through that wall.

Ordinarily, that would mean a whole lot of miserable cutting by hand, using a short, fine toothed handsaw and little short strokes to keep from whacking the PVC water pipes already installed on the utility room side. I could count on at least an hour’s worth of miserable, irritating work.

With the DualSaw CS450, the hole upgrade was done in twenty minutes max…without a single cussword turning the air blue.

Using any kind of power saw upside down in tight quarters like that is probably not recommended by the manufacturer or any safety engineer with a string of initials after his name. But we ordinary mortals do it all the time.

It does pay to be a bit careful, like, you know, not sticking your finger in the moving saw blades if you can possibly help it.

A circular saw could have done the same thing–except that a circular saw wouldn’t have fit through the existing hole in the wall. The DualSaw did, easily.

Once it had cut where it could reach, the rest was done with a hammer, a pair of wood chisels, and a pry bar.

No muss, no fuss.

Mess, yes. “Have you swept yet?” My spouse had gone to bed but was keeping an ear on things through her bedroom door.

The hole in the wall, being enlarged with the help of the DualSaw CS450.

The hole in the wall, being enlarged with the help of the DualSaw CS450.

It’s going to take some work to make that corner of the kitchen cabinetry look as good as it should. Most of the corners in the Border Fort are pretty amazingly plumb and true and square to this day, three years after the shell first went up. But in this corner, the walls don’t sit at precisely 90 degrees to one another. It’s more like 87 degrees. Either I got that angle slightly wrong when I built, or the building has managed to torque itself a bit over time.

No big, of course. Show me a lived-in house where all the angles are exactly what they should be, and I’ll show you a fantasy worthy of Hugh Hefner’s life story.

As for the DualSaw CS450, to paraphrase the old American Express commercial, I wouldn’t be home without it.

Product review rating: Five Stars, up all the way, A+. Somebody did some fine inventing with this one.

The pipe pass-through, heading toward the utility room.

The pipe pass-through, heading toward the utility room.

The corner base cabinet, fully installed.

The corner base cabinet, fully installed.

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