[This article was updated 10/04/21] Evolution Power Tools’ R255SMS+ 10-inch single-bevel sliding miter saw took what I call a “pinball path” to my shop, where it’s here to stay after a bit of a rocky start. Part of the initial allure of its “multi-material”—steel, soft metals, wood, plastic—cutting claim was my disdain for the cutting skills of some of the plumbers I’ve worked with. So, I thought, let’s give it a try. But I’m a carpenter, not a plumber, so wood was first on the list.
Out of the box, the saw comes in four pieces, but assembly was easy, resulting in a sublimely accurate setup. My first project was a deck resurfacing job involving toothing in multiple new 5/4x6 pressure treated boards. The cuts were clean, there was plenty of power, and the tool operated as it should. However, my love affair with this delightfully light, mobile, easy-to-use saw started to ebb. The only place dust didn’t collect was in the bag. The piles of sawdust got so big around the fence and table that it actually got onto the rail stops, and the blade couldn’t travel all the way through a cut. On a trim job, I couldn’t cut 5 1/2-inch ogee base nested, so there was beveling to be done, and I rued the day I let my old 12-inch SCMS go. Still, cuts were accurate, and with a smaller volume of dust from the thinner material to manage, it was easier to use. And it has a soft start—really soft, like, is the thing ever going to hit full rpm? For dialing in miters, cheating the saw up to the cut line, or doing any other on-off activity, this feature became annoying enough that when a new saw came along, I stowed the Evolution in a corner, thinking somebody would like it.
Then I had a project installing powder-coated aluminum track and balusters for deck rails. Without changing the multi-material cutting blade that comes with the saw,* I found that cuts were clean and the chips were much better contained in the Evolution’s continuous blade guard than with other saws I’ve used to cut aluminum. I subsequently used the Evolution on a variety of remodeling projects and became re-enamored with this versatile saw, because it is extremely light and easy to move—both to the site and around in the truck. Also, unlike other blades I’ve used cutting metals, the included Evolution blade is still running strong. This is a unique and interesting saw that is a bargain at $250 [via Amazon; $339 direct from Evolution Tools]; at the very least, it is a great back-up to a main frame miter saw. store.evolutionpowertools.com.
*Please note the blades for this saw have a 1-inch bore. To use 10-inch miter saw blades with a 5/8-inch bore (arbor) you need to flip the adapter washer on the saw.
Photo by Mark Clement.