by Bobby Parks

6470-21 10-Inch Circular Saw Milwaukee Electric Tool Corp. 800/729-3878 Street price: $350

On almost all our jobs, my crew and I need to cut 4x4 rail posts and 6x6 support columns; we also build a lot of porches with 4x6 or 4x8 rafters and 4x12 ridge beams. A standard 7 1/4-inch circular saw just isn’t big enough for the work we do, at least not if we want to make a cut in one pass or not have to finish up with a handsaw.

We recently tried out the Milwaukee 6470-21 10-inch circular saw, due on the market about the same time as this review goes to press. This model is a big improvement over the 10-inch Milwaukee saw we’ve been using for more than 15 years. It’s light and balanced for its size, and the motor is strong and smooth. The tool is simple to adjust, with settings that lock down firmly to maintain consistent depth and angle. The handles, both top and fore, provide a secure grip and complete control.

Most saws of this size induce shoulder or back pain by the end of the day, but with this one we don’t need to dose up on ibuprofen. Its excellent balance and relatively light weight are assets when cutting angles on the tops of installed stair rail posts, and notching the top of 6x6 columns to accept porch beams is a breeze. It has outstanding sight lines, something we especially appreciated while cutting 4x6 rafters. The guard functions perfectly without interfering with the cut.

We had held on to our old workhorse Milwaukee saw because it just wouldn’t die, but our backs are telling us it’s time to trade up.

Bobby Parks owns Peachtree Decks and Porches, in Canton, Ga.

Resisting Rust

No-Rust Shield WD-40 Co. 888/324-7596 Street price: $5

When I worked as a carpenter, my tools lived in a saddle box bolted to the bed of my F-250 — whenever they weren’t out building something. The truck was never garaged because, as my wife puts it, we didn’t have a garage — we had a three-car shop. It’s often damp in the Northeast, so almost all my tools had a slightly corroded patina.

If No-Rust Shields had been around then, I’d have tossed a couple in with my hand tools. They’re good for 90 days and at $5 a pop, seem worth a try. According to the manufacturer, they release over time a “vapor phase corrosion inhibitor” — essentially a chemical that coats the metal and protects it from moisture. A strip on the side of a No-Rust Shield tells you when time’s up, and each one is purported to protect 2 cubic feet of enclosed space without leaving any sort of greasy residue. — Andy Engel

Go-All-Day Cordless Saw

by Mark Clement

1671K 36-Volt 6 1/2-Inch Circular Saw Kit Bosch Power Tools 877/267-2499 Street price: $260

The 1671K is the closest yet to a battery replacing a cord: Its fat-pack battery is relentless. I’ve used the saw to crosscut and rip 2-by SPF, 3/4-inch plywood, composite decking, and PT joist stock — it can make long rips but does better crosscutting. It’ll cut 1 5/8 inches at 45 degrees and 2 1/8 inches at 90 degrees. When I pushed the tool, there was some chatter.

The left-side blade and semi-in-line tool body deliver great sight lines; that plus a low weight of 8.2 pounds and a well-designed top handle make the tool comfortable to use. The rafter hook works. The trigger is an easy reach; the trigger-release button was easy to use in most cases, but for oddball cuts I had to get creative in how I held the saw.

It is possible to snag the blade guard — an anomaly in my experience with Bosch saws, so it may be unique to the unit I have. The guard’s lever was an easy reach for plunge cutting.

Changing the included high-quality 18-tooth blade is easy. The bevel adjustment lever is large, and the saw’s magnesium shoe tips from 0 to 50 degrees. The depth adjustment was a little difficult to reach.

If the few issues I had with the saw had been serious enough, I could have grabbed my corded saw; what’s telling is that three days into using the 1671, there were no cords to be found.

Mark Clement is a deck builder in Ambler, Pa., a PDB contributing editor, and a member of the DeckExpo demonstration team.