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It ain't no Milwaukee, but...

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  • It ain't no Milwaukee, but...

    At my local Horrible Freight's Sale Bin yesterday they had Asian (Chinese I think) made versions of the Sawzall priced at 29.95.

    Now I know that would NOT be in the same league as a Milwaukee, or the Porter-Cable (Tiger saw I think PC calls theirs). But this HF saw, Intn'l Orange in color, and sporting a name like 'Chicago', had a nice heft and seemed pretty substantial. They also had a 4 1/2" minigrinder in the same line. I'm wondering if anyone of you have experience with any of those "Chicago" tools from HF, and would care to comment? Would only consider for occasional use. ...or maybe a high theft-risk environment. (Who'd want to steal it? Huh? )
    Lynn (Huntsville, AL)

  • #2
    I have the 4 1/2" minigrinder. I don't use it every day but it has done a good job when I needed it. Probably more than adequate for the home shop. Bobby


    • #3
      I second Mr jones . I think, dollar for dollar, Chicago tools are good bargains. Same for buffalo brand.


      • #4
        I've got alot of Horror Freight stuff. If you're careful they will work for you, don't overload them the motors are underpowered and I don't have confidence in their bearings. For shop use they're OK. I keep a bunch of the angle grinders setup with any kind of wheel or band sanding attachment wire brush etc. so its instantly available.
        On the truck I only have brand name quality tools, beacause I don't want to find out just how good HF stuff is on a job.
        I don't have the sawzall from HF but from thier other tools that I have, I can tell you that for ocasional use its a good buy.
        However you can get a used Milwaukee on Ebay
        and never have to worry.

        BTW, FWIW, IMHO (at least until they started to boost the amperage)the Milwaukee sawzall (old model) was the toughest and most durable
        reciprocating saw I have seen. I've been repairing my own and my employers power tools
        for years and I've seen, that Milwaukee (sawzall) is the best.


        • #5
          I bought a $20 sawzall from a "truckload sale" and it paid for itself in one job, before it broke down. The gear drive was the weak link. If I buy another one I will take apart the gearbox right away and fix the clearance between the pinion and the ring gear so it does not slip and ruin the pinion, which is also the armature shaft. Also replace the bushing on the crank that drives the blade. It looks like metal, but it's snot. These mods on my saw might have made the tool pay for itself over 2 jobs!


          • #6
            Having used Milwauke Sawzalls a lot, I bought a Porter Cable Tiger saw. Better foot, better blade clamp, more power, plus it has orbital action for buzzing through wood like a "rabid beaver in heat". I have not tried Milwaukee's new ones though.


            • #7
              The problem with the PC tiger saw is that there is no proper seal on the shaft and debris gets in the gearbox and wrecks it.
              I've rebuilt a couple of them. They're good for clean work only.
              The old Milwaukees seem to last forever.
              I changed cords on a couple of them that had metal trigger switches.
              How old are they? Work perfect, don't need bearings or anything, cutting all day in a ditch with water spraying.
              PC gearbox filled with dirt on same type of work. I know because I cleaned it out.
              Dirt enters from shaft end.
              For most of the work I do, the larger base of the PC really gets in the way.
              A lot of old timers would remove the shoe completely and use it like that. Said it got in the way.
              Orbital action is only useful in softwood for demolition and with a new blade you don't really see much difference, for metal its worthless.
              Also the Milwaukee has speed control with the trigger vs. the PC with a fixed adjustment which is a real pain.
              I have one of each, so its no difference to me, just what I've seen.


              • #8
                ShavingMaker, was that a MILWAUKEE Sawzall? Or are you using the sawzall term generically?

                I have several PC tools, and like them all. But the one Milwaukee I have (1/2" drill) is my favorite. Everything about it seems of the highest quality! For quality stuff, Milwaukee has become my brand of choice. However, having 'pockets of limited depth', for once-in-awhile use, I sometimes sacrifice quality for price. (Sometimes regret it, tho!)

                [This message has been edited by lynnl (edited 12-12-2002).]
                Lynn (Huntsville, AL)


                • #9
                  Sorry, I should have been more specific. This was a China-made reciprocating saw. At least I didn't capitalize "sawzall" but I apologize to Milwaukee Tools. I only wish it was a Milwaukee. The trigger switch would have lasted longer than the whole Chinese saw!


                  • #10
                    When I was a kid, used to help dad do jobs around the house. He'd tell me to go get the sawzall,but what I heard was "zawzaw". I called that piece of equipment a zawzaw for more years than I willing to admit. Finally one day I looked at the nameplate and discovered it was a sawzall, which makes alot more sense than zawzaw. Still have that "zawzaw" today and it still runs fine. Milwaukee makes a good product.



                    • #11
                      Years ago I was told:

                      'The bitterness of poor quality lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.'

                      I'm a believer in quality tools for the shop.

                      Mike L
                      Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.
                      Mike L
                      Amateur machinist, self-taught. I had a poor teacher, but I was a good student.


                      • #12
                        My PC has VS, a shaft seal, heavier foot, better blade holder and a better box than the Milwaukee one. I have to admit i like teh detachable cords on Milwaukee's stuff. And the 1/2 Hole shooter with the Aluminum gear box is a monster drill well worth the money. I was not complaining, just picking nits.

                        And I do know the orbital is for wood - but it hogs hardwood too. I like my Structured tooth Carbide (Remington) blade for tile, pipes, and hardwood.

                        BTW - the Porter Cable Tiger is nearly $100 cheaper here too. And like all Porter Cable stuff, very well made.


                        • #13
                          I've been looking for the new PC "Tiger claw"
                          to show up on ebay for an affordable price.
                          Thats the one with the articulated gearbox.
                          There were plenty of times I could have used it over the years.