I have a 23 year old Porter Cable model 447 circular saw. It has been used for everything from building cabinet carcasses to serious residential framing. It has been left out in the rain, dropped, kicked, stepped on, fallen off of ladders, and even used a few times for cutting cinder block. Amazingly, I just put on a new fine finish blade, carefully adjusted the plate and cut up some nice maple plywood with almost no tearout.
But the saw is in serious need of some rebuilding. I went looking for parts and found that I can still get the parts I need, though from more than one source as many of the parts are discontinued. But the cost for some bearings, a new cord and strain relief, guard bumper, and brushes would be almost $100 with shipping.
So I thought it would be time to get a new saw. What a confusing mess that is! So many manufacturers, each with multiple quality levels. How do I find another saw as good as this one?
I want this level of reliability. And I want this level of accuracy. I want to be able to run my saw along a guide or shooter board and make a clean cut. And I don't want to hear from the inevitable grouches who are going to say it can't be done with a circular saw, you need an 800 pound table saw and a special building to use it in. They don't know what they are talking about. My standards are very high and the saw I've got has lived up to them. I'm not going to cut faceframes with this saw, but I've cut up truckloads of plywood with my old saw and always satisfactorily as long as the blade was sharp. (You can buy a lot of new blades for the cost of an 800 pound saw and the building to use it in!)
I don't want a worm drive saw. Or at least I don't think I do. I've never owned one, but I've used them. They seem heavy and awkward to me and I've never had any complaints about the 447. If you think I am wrong about this, please feel free to explain why.
That Festool saw looks awfully nice, but out of my price range by a few times. I think I paid around $150 for the 447. I see homeowner grade saws with good brand names on them for $80 to $100. I don't trust them. I don't think you can make a saw this good to sell for so little. I wouldn't object to paying $200 or so for an equal quality new saw, but if I peek inside and find a bunch of plastic I will feel really ripped off.
If anyone can help me select a new saw I would appreciate it.