The Daddy of all flip over saws
The DW743 has been my flip over saw of choice for more years than I dare admit. OK, so I might be biased! But hey, in my humble opinion that makes me perfect to tell you all about it!
And talk about the DW743 I do; to anyone who will listen! Mostly because I have become so impressed (and attached!) to mine and the work it has done for me over the years.
I have clocked up thousands of hours on my DW743 with near daily use, working on everything from studwork to kitchens and skirting’s to cornice work. All tackled drama free and with virtually no maintenance (cleaning and the odd squirt of WD40) and no breakdowns. (I rewired the cable once when the inner cable became exposed from constant winding around the bed on packing away.)
If you are reading this then its fair to assume that you are asking yourself, the DW743 is a lot of money, is it going to be worth it?
Well, it does of course depend on what you are going to use it for (groan, thats not very useful I know!), but all machines have their limits. However, the DW743 has evolved from the early Elu’s into a saw that can cope with everything normal domestic construction can throw at it (not that it can’t handle industrial stuff too).
So, in a nutshell, it is all about capacity. Because you’ll not hurt the motor on a DW743 as they are bulletproof. The frame and bed is very sturdy and strong too and it’s all simple to operate and flip over. So, take a look at the specs further down and think about what are the most common sizes of timber that you use.
You’ll need an idea of the type of work you’ll be doing to decide if the DW743 is the right choice for you. For example; if you do mostly sheet panel work you might want to consider a dedicated table saw with a larger bed or if you regularly cut unusually large, complicated cornices then maybe you should consider a sliding chop saw with a larger blade.
But generally the DW743 is likely to be over the top for your needs. Don’t forget this flip saw is designed for daily use by a professional chippie in a harsh building site environment. Using it to knock up bird boxes in your shed is going is going to be very light duty indeed!
Before we go through some of the benefits of the DW743 I want to tell you the ‘gut’ feeling you get with this saw. Because it is just so much more than a machine that cuts wood. This is a saw that gets you out of trouble, it gives you whatever size stock you need to fill that gap. It makes you look good on the job and seems to be at the centre of the job somehow. Even if it is just somewhere to park your coffee mug in between cuts!
I think that it’s the way I set up my jobs, with the flip over saw in the middle and trestles either side creating a bench like feel that handles the timber running through it. Setting up my other tools behind me seems to create an impromptu workshop on the site, with the DW743 the centerpiece around which everything happens.
Which is why this flip saw has been around for many years and is a firm favorite with many professional carpenters, builders and decent DIY types alike.
Here are some of the benefits that make the DW743 so popular:-
- No need to carry two machines or an extra stand.
- It’s cutting capacity makes it able to tackle most jobs.
- The motors are tough, powerful and virtually maintenance free.
- Great design makes flipping between modes easy.
- Legendary reliability means that it is always earning for you.
- Heavy frame and sturdy saw bed can handle big timbers that lights stands quake at.
- Can produce whatever size stock you need from existing timber or even site scraps.
- Jigs (home made or DeWALTS) enable you to replicate large numbers of same size cuts easily.
- Compound mitre configuration makes complex cuts possible (if you can work out the angle of the dangle!).
- Saw bed is very ergonomic height for prolonged use.
- Portable and stores well in the truck, usually in table saw configuration with legs off.
- Good, safe switchgear, both table and handle mounted.
- Can also cut plastics and even aluminium etc with specialist blades.
- It’s a great park your coffee mug in between cuts 🙂
Flipping the saw into table mode is usually simple and only takes a few seconds. The blade guard drops down with a single thumb screw and then it is a quick twist of a spring loaded clasp to free the bed and flip it over till it clicks into place.
Although the DW743 is primarily a woodworkers saw and can handle all the normal stock sizes found in most jobs, the DW743 can also cut aluminium and plastic; sheets, sections and even pipes. Just match the correct blade to the right material.
Some things you might want to consider about the DW743
- Doesn’t have a plunge depth stop, although arguably rarely needed either.
- Lacks the slightly larger cutting capacity of a dedicated table saw or big combination saw.
- Can be heavy to lift alone (I’m getting old!)
- Need to remember to turn a blade stop key when cutting unique angles you will only forget once though!
- Dust extraction system is arguably complex and expensive, although efficient
- Everyone on site will want to ‘borrow’ it!
What can I do with the DW743?
I thought about just having a list of those things that you can’t do with a DW743….but that would just be silly……….so, here is a list of stuff that mine has done over the years…. (hmm…..how to structure this list…. How about from the bottom of a house up?)
- Fencing posts, rails, gates and other site boundary timbers.
- Pegs and profiles, easily cut pointed stakes and cross pieces etc for setting out buildings.
- Shuttering timbers for concrete works, tamps and screed rails etc.
- Making profiles for building up walls, “dead men”, window and door dummies.
- first floor joists, trimming out.
- Timbering out steels ready for boarding etc.
- Staircases, especially balustrades and handrails.
- Framing, i.e. studwork, heads, baseplates, studs, noggins or dwangs (wtf!) etc.
- Wallplates and roofing timbers, especially if using purlins and smaller rafters etc.
- Ok, back inside the house now!
- Kitchens, oh kitchens, can you really fit them without a flip over saw?
- Bathroom furniture (getting more and more ‘standard’)
- Door frames, casings, door stops and trims.
- Skirting boards.
- Architraves and other trims.
- Wooden cornices, pelmets and other finishing works.
- Wooden flooring, laminates, engineered and real block flooring.
- Bookcases and other furniture.
- Outside again now!
- Decking, balustrades and steps etc.
- Sheds, old fashioned greenhouses, gazebos, or orangeries, conservatories etc
- Seats, benches, birdtables, birdboxes and other misc garden stuff
- Use your imagination, if you can think it; you can make it!
Well, if that doesn’t convince you that you need a DW743 then nothing will! It’s a great list isn’t it? It has made me realise just how many things that I have build over the years. Great.
As for where to buy one, well lots of places sell them these days. I keep an eye on the prices (obviously, as it is the number one question that I get asked) and at the moment Tooled Up are the cheapest.
Good luck making the decision about getting a DW743, personally I don’t think that you’ll regret it, I have met countless owners and have yet to come across anyone who doesn’t love their DW743.
Additional resources about flip over saws and their use
Specs for the DW743
- Power Input 2000 Watts
- Power Output 1550 Watts
- Blade Speed 2850 rpm
- Blade Diameter 250 mm
- Blade Bore 30 mm
- Bevel Capacity 45 °
- Mitre Capacity [right/left] 45 / 45 °
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/90° (W x H) 140 × 68 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/90° (W x H) 180 × 20 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 45°/90° (W x H) 95 × 70 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 45°/90° (W x H) 120 × 46 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/45° (W x H) 70 × 95 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/45° (W x H) 150 × 20 mm
- Max. Cutting Capacity [Sawbench position 90°/90°] 0 – 70 mm
- Max. Cutting Capacity [Sawbench position 90°/45°] 0 – 32 mm
- Weight 37 kg
- Depth 670 mm
- Length 700 mm
- Height 750 mm
DW743 ships with as standard
- 30 tooth saw blade
- Parallel fence
- Push stick
- 4 detachable legs
- Saw blade guard
- Assembly tool
There are differences between the different versions of the DW743 and the DW742 out there and according to DeWALT, the “GB” is the ‘standard’ model and just the “N” version is the ‘lightweight’ model. The LX model is the 110volt one.
Performance and specs are EXACTLY the same on all saws. To summarize then, the N version has a few parts made from a lighter material to cut down on overall weight. Not structural parts, just some non stressed parts like the end cover on the motor etc.
Oh, incidentally, I have been using the ‘lightweight’ version for years and it has been as tough as heck.
Where can I learn more about using a flip over saw?
Even if you are a pro, you will always learn something new from a book. Every writer has a different background and teachers; you are unlikely to know everything, no matter how good you think you are!
You can read my original article about choosing a flip over saw at ehow: How to Decide If a Flip Over Saw Is Right for You
Tips & Warnings
Safety information and guide (not exhaustive!)
- These saws are large, mostly professional quality machines and therefore must be treated with the utmost respect; they are often powerful and capable of causing personal injury.
- Start the saw and listen to it while you ready your work piece, stop and investigate anything that sounds unusual or different. Unplug the machine first of course!
- Proper clothes and safety footwear should be used.
- Tuck away loose clothing or hair that could possibly catch in the blade.
- Eye protection is essential.
- Ear protection should be considered especially when working in enclosed spaces or for prolonged use.
- Work in a clear area with good underfoot conditions, i.e. no rubble or debris lying around.
- Warn other people close by not to approach you while using the saw, but to wait until you have switched off the saw and the blade has stopped.
- Hold the workpiece firmly and be familiar with how the blade cuts through the material and how it feels.
- Don’t use excessive force to cut the material, let the blade do the work.
- Keep the blade in good condition by regular cleaning and re-sharpening.