I wrote this article because I rely on my DW743 every day to earn my living, and I love that it enables me to make just about anything!
The Iconic DW743 Flip Over Combination Saw From DeWALT
The DW743 flip over saw and its cousin, the DW742, have been around for years and are a firm favorite with carpenters and builders alike—and for good reason.
If you are reading this, then you are probably a handy sort of person who is trying to decide which saw to buy with your hard-earned cash. Yes? Well, this review is for you, and it's based on my extensive experiences with the DW743 flip over saw.
I love the two I have and wouldn't swap them for anything else because of their sheer versatility, reliability, toughness and ability to get you out of a tight spot when you don't have the right-size material on hand.
Is This the Right Saw for Me?
Ultimately, you need a rough idea of your type of work to decide if the DW743 flip over saw is the right saw for you. For example, if you do mostly sheet panel work, you might want a plunge saw or dedicated table saw with a larger bed. If you regularly cut unusually large, complicated cornices then maybe a dedicated larger blade, sliding chop saw is a better proposition.
However, as a general, all-purpose saw, the DW743 is going to be very hard to beat. I use ours for just about everything.
There should be no doubt in your mind that this is a proven and well-designed combination saw; it could even be argued that it's cheap for the performance. Don't worry, we have all been lured by cheap tools and mostly lived to regret it!
However, the DW743 is an icon. Its design incorporates great capabilities and versatility, for either the workshop, hobbyist, or site work.
Is the DW743 Tough?
This flip over saw is robust and will cope with daily site work for many many years; cutting tough materials and handling the rough handling, dirt and wet that site work sometimes entails. This means that for workshop, home or hobby use, the DW743 might easily outlast your sons, son!
This flip saw is built for tough conditions on site. I have inwardly groaned when pushing too hard on a wet section with a blade past its best; but that motor just keeps on pushing back! Both of my DW743 saws are years old and carry many battle scars but have never broken down.
My first DW743 was even stolen from a barn in the middle of the night by some ratbag on foot. (The job couldn't manage without it and we never expected to see it again. Hence saw number two!) A local farmer called the police a few days later after finding the saw in a ditch on his land, a couple of miles away from the barn.
Well, we dried out that saw and stuck it straight back to work where it belongs and it has not missed a cut since!
What Is It Like to Use This Saw?
Ergonomically it works well as the table height and sturdy legs make placing timber on it simple. As with all these saws you will need side supports to hold longer timber lengths safely while you cut. You will get away with two but three is better (two to the left of you and one to the right to catch the off cut). You could buy dedicated supports but a great tip is to screw or cable tie timber 'packing' onto your existing 'saw horses'. We use the metal folding type with a four by two screwed to them, exactly the right height and makes handling long lengths a cinch, especially if working alone.
The switchgear is robust and reliable with safe no volt type switches, no false starts and a softish start up. The blade guards automatically move up out of the way on cutting and have a slotted design so that you can see 'through' the guard down to your line if required. Moving the saw down and through the material has a steady weight and feels sure with no hint of 'play' anywhere.
Flipping the saw into table mode is simple and only takes a few seconds. Pull the saw down and locate the rear threaded bar then simply flip the bed over and it locks into place. The riving knife or separator blade can be dropped into place either before flipping or afterwards and is just a simple hand tight fastener. The riving knife also has a simple clip on blade guard which automatically lifts over the wood when ripping making it totally safe.
The DW743 flip over saw is primarily a woodworkers saw and handles the normal stock sizes found in most jobs with ease. Dry timber such as framing CLS or studwork can be cut as fast as you can work, as can most sheet material up to 25mm. Ripping thicker sheets, larger sections or wet wood will slow you down a little but with a good blade, not much!
Our saws some days are running for hours on and off with no complaint, they are fairly quiet once running and but they can make a fair amount of dust if not using the extraction system. You wouldn't want to use a big saw like this inside a finished house without extraction.
Running long lengths of timber through the blade needs care, ripping down a long length of 2"x6" into 2"x2"s for example (Sorry, 47mmx150mm or 47mmx47mm to be all European!) needs a steady push and accurate feeding.
See the saws specs, further down this page for the exact dimensions that this saw will get through with ease.
Wood is not the only material either; the writer regularly cuts various plastic sheets, sections and even pipes.
I have also remodeled an 'industrial chic' office complex that specified a LOT of aluminum sections and checker plate sheets—miles and miles of aluminum which the DW743 handled admirably. The special Aluminum cutting blades are not for the faint hearted though, as they produce a fair amount of noise and the material needs a firm hand, but the smooth clean cuts were awesome.
- Versatile and adaptable, making it suitable for most jobs
- Reliable, tough and capable of working in harsh conditions
- Long expected life on site and virtually forever in the home workshop!
- Has enough capacity to easily cut all common timber sizes found on the average job, 2"x4", 1"x6" etc (Sorry, 47mmx100mm or 25mmx150mm to be all European!)
- Converts in a flash from combination crosscut saw to table saw
- Portable and stores well in the truck, esp. in table saw configuration with legs off
- Good switch gear, both table and handle mounted
- Sturdy and heavy construction with its own legs makes bigger timbers no problem
- Doesn't have a plunge depth stop, although arguably rarely needed either.
- Lacks the larger cutting capacity of a dedicated table saw or big combination saw.
- Can be heavy to lift alone (I guess I'm getting old!).
- Need to remember to turn a blade stop key when cutting unique angles, you'll only forget once though!
- Dust extraction system is arguably complex and expensive, although efficient.
- Accessories are expensive.
- Everyone on site will want to 'borrow' it!
What Are the Alternatives to the DW743?
Arguably the main competitor to the DW743 flip over saw is the LF1000 saw from Makita. It cannot be denied that Makita's pedigree as a premium tool manufacturer is first rate but as the new kid on the block it still has to prove its longevity in this writers opinion. The Makita LF1000 is slightly smaller and lighter than the DW743 but arguably the specifications between the two saws are very close. The writer openly admits that he has only operated this saw at trade shows and has no direct experience of its particular merits on site. However, if it performs like the writers Makita jigsaw and cordless drills, the DW743 faces some stiff competition from the relative newcomer from Makita.
Another alternative is the Metabo KGT501. Unfortunately I don't know anything about these, so over to you! If you have one of these let us know all about it!
Any Other Alternatives?
Other alternatives to the DW743 are arguably not in the same class as they are noticeably cheaper and from little known manufacturers. However, I welcome recommendations for serious alternatives and am interested in hearing about practical comparisons.
Who Should Buy This Flip Over Saw?
It would be difficult to list everyone who would find the DW743 a useful addition to their tool kit but definitely if you are building; renovating; remodeling; restoring; extending; repairing; upgrading; fitting kitchens or bathrooms, framing works, building decks or sheds, woodworking hobbies or simply want some saw bling in the garage, the DW743 flip over saw is going to accurately and reliably cope with your cutting needs and more.
My Review: It's a Versatile, Indispensable Saw
In conclusion, this saw has proved itself on site over many years now and few would argue that it earns its keep and its coveted place in the ever crowded tradesman's truck. It is easy to use and has enough capacity for most jobs, both domestic and commercial.
It's reliability and toughness make it a survivor and it could be argued that its biggest downfall is its desirability to others, of the light fingered persuasion!
The DW743 flip over saw's ability to get its owner out of a tight spot is legendary, instantly creating what ever size timber section is needed from spare stuff lying around. Try that with a non-flippable crosscut saw!
Simply put, I have NEVER met a DW743 owner who had anything bad to say about the saw; or as one bricklayer said to the me, "it even makes a brickie into a chippie!" Now you cannot ask more from a saw than that!
Performance Specifications of the DW743
- Rapid, tool free transformation from a table saw bench to a mitre saw provides flexibility in a range of site and workshop applications
- The handle mechanism allows the guard to retract automatically in mitre mode allowing safe and easy use
- New high output, heavy duty, high torque, induction motor provides years of maintenance free use, suitable for workshop applications where low noise characteristics are desirable
- Three way extractor connection facility for efficient dust extraction
- Integrated carry handles provide greater portability
- Updated design for maximum cutting capacity across the range of mitre and bevel angles
- 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) 140x68 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/90° (W x H) 180x20 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 45°/90° (W x H) 95x70 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 45°/90° (W x H) 120x46 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/45° (W x H) 70x95 mm
- Cutting Capacity at 90°/45° (W x H) 150x20 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
- DW743N Standard
- 30 tooth saw blade
- Parallel fence
- Push stick
- 4 detachable legs
- Saw blade guard
- Assembly tool
Where Can I Buy a Flip Over Saw at a Good Price?
I buy lots of tools and have found that Tooled Up are pretty good to deal with and are usually the cheapest. Their stock levels are good with no quibble guarantees and fast, sometimes free delivery.
There are probably lots more out there, the web changes daily!
Where Can I Buy Spare Parts for My DW743?
Come on! Have you not been listening? You are not going to need 'em! OK, OK, OK, just in case then, you can get them from Miles spares and powertoolspares. They have got a great exploded diagrams of the DW743 too.
Tips and Tricks
- To make repeated short cuts, measure and cut the first one and once the blade has stopped spinning, place the cut against the blade on the RH side and mark the upstanding edge of the saw bed with a pencil or marker at the end of the material just cut. Then it's a simple case of sliding the material through tight up to the mark and cut again and again and again! Marks easily rub off with a wet finger or cloth dipped in spirit.
- Epoxy glue a magnet onto the plastic push stick well away from the business end and then it is always to hand as you can 'stick' it to one of the DW743's metal legs. Remember, working is really difficult with missing digits.
- Once the saw is out of its warranty period you can really go to town making modifications to your saw. You can extend the saws 'table' by using a half sheet of plywood, cutting a slot for the blade. The underneath of the plywood can have thin lathes to locate it over the saw bed and turnbuckles to hold it tight. (You lose a little of the saws cutting depth so it depends what you are working on)
- Once the saw is out of its warranty period you can make a cutting box to extend the chop saw bed. This can just be a simple flat L piece of wood that fits across and is fastened to the saw bed. Repeat cuts are then a breeze using a 'stop' bead. Need a hundred pieces of CLS 554mm long for that big stud wall; no problem. (You lose a little of the saws cutting capacity so it depends what you are working on).
- If further funds allow, take a look at the accessories for the DW743, the extension bars and stop accessory is very useful and avoids home made mods as above.
- Use three saw horses to support the timber whilst cutting. Two to the left, one a couple of feet away and one further out depending on the length of timbers. The third one needs to be on the right had side to support the off cuts. You can manage with two but that third one makes all the difference, with a powerful professional DW743 you don't want any accidents and properly supporting the work piece is the way to go.
- If the house is finished and you don't want a big clean up or cover down use the DW743 outside and under a simple 3m x 3m gazebo! These can be bought really cheaply at DIY type stores or grab a battered one that no one wants anymore. They make great impromptu 'workshops' and keep any mess outside. Your clients will think that you are a real pro and whoever does the cleaning will think that you are a true genius!
What Do You Think of This Saw?
Why don't you leave a story about your experiences with your flip over saw?
Questions & Answers
Question: I have one of these great flip saws. I need to have support for longer lengths when using it as a miter saw. How do the extension bars help me do that?
Answer: The extension bars have a unit mounted to them which slides up and down, essentially extending the support of the work-piece. I made one myself out of some spare bars I had, but to be honest, I use some cheap separate adjustable roller side supports these days, one each side.
Over to You! Let Me Know What You Think!
Elmar Thordarson on June 24, 2019:
I - have a DW743 for good use for over 10 years. Last week it suddenly stopped (I starded it and a small clikc - and not working no more! What can be the cause? The coal - (are there any coal?) - or the switch...? Can you you hlelp me. Thanks (if you can help me..).
ROY CATHERALL on November 13, 2018:
Hi sent you an email
Ref trigger fault
Andrew Drinnan on February 27, 2015:
I've used both of these for years in between. Bought a 2nd hand 743 after my Elu flipover was stolen until I was able to buy a brand new 743 and recently had a 2nd hand LF1000. Now contemplating buying another as I'm handing down my LF1000 to my apprentice as a passing gift.
The thing I like about the 743 is it is a little lighter (not by much) than the LF1000......that's pretty much where the advantages end for me. The 2nd hand DeWalt flipover I used doesn't even compare to the Elu. I never liked the 2nd hand 743 as it just never seemed to give me the perfect cut, which I thought was just down to it being 2nd hand. It also had problems with the chop saw trigger AND table saw button. Just about everyone I know in the trade has had similar problems. I also used a colleague's 743 and his had a problem with the table in the chop saw position where there was a slight sea-saw action so mitre's cut on the left hand where ever so slightly different from mitres on the right side. Without slating DeWalt too much as it's all just my opinion and experiences I will move on to the Makita.
I have been using the 2nd hand LF1000 for 2 years now and my only issues an apparent extra weight compared to the 743. I know you stated the LF1000 as lighter but it doesn't feel it, which I assume is because the legs are part of the table instead of removable and it is a larger/boxier object making carrying a little more cumbersome. The only other niggle I have is the butterfly screw to lock the table at an angle. When you have the chopsaw set 45 degrees to the left, the motor case is a bit close to the butterfly screw.
On mentioning these problems, I am currently swinging more towards the LF1000 but I have still not made my mind up yet and currently reading up........which is what brought me here
Federico on January 07, 2015:
Hi, I recently bought a second hand dw743.
I cannot adjust the rip fence at a true 90 degree angle, so the cut is not really parallel. There are maybe 3-4 millimiters between the chosen measure at the base of the rip fence (where you have the adjusting bolt) and the opposite side of the fence. The result is obviously inaccurate.
Did anyone find any workaround? Is there a way to use a ripping sled on this saw? The existing groove is too shallow and wide, also not angled correctly to be reliable.
Everyone is so happy with their DW743, any help in this would be most appreciated.
Ian Anderson (author) from Asker in Norway on June 30, 2013:
@anonymous: Hi Chris,
Yes they do wander out over time. I just completely re-set up mine in fact.
Re the tilt scale is best cleaned out with compressed air as taking it apart means removing the whole saw 'head' which is tricky. I would clean with a piece of wire and air. You can buy cans of compressed air from electronics shops if you don't have access to a compressor. Get a can with a thin tube nozzle.
Once completely clean (from both sides) check the saw again and use an allen key to adjust the 'stops' to make the angles right again. I found the scale on the tilt block not too accurate so I ignored them and used a good carpenters square to determine a true 45 degrees.
Adjusting the blade angle to the bed is even easier. You know the bed lock that pins the bed at 90, 45 etc?? Well, this is a concentric design that can be adjusted. From memory it's a small allen grub screw that holds it. Slacken slightly the allen screw and use a spanner on the two small flats and turn it slightly, checking for 90 degrees between the blade and the back upright (I pulled the head down and used the rear holding screw to keep it down.
Once happy that the blade is exactly 90 degrees to the bed gently tighten the holding grub screw.
Of course all of this will be easier if the saw is clean and lubricated. Blow out all the dust and lubricate the bed slides with graphite. You can use WD40 but this will attract more dust and need repeated cleaning and re-application. I admit to using WD40 on mine as I can never find my graphite lube!
The other thing you can check is the 'pinch' grub screws that run around the outer edge of the rotating part of the bed. You'll find these in the cast part of the base. Insert a (5 or 6mm) allen key and tighten the plastic grub screw so that it touches the base but doesn't hold it. get these too tight and you'll struggle to turn the saw head to change angles.
Hope this helps! I actually have all the photos from you own service with the intention to write it all up, but time escapes me right now!
Let me know how you get on!
Cheers for now
anonymous on June 30, 2013:
Help! Noticed recently that the blade is no longer at right-angles to the bed. The tilt scale does no go right back to zero. Can find no obvious reason. Any ideas? It might be co mpacted dust in the curved slide but I can't see how this comes apart.
Didge on June 03, 2012:
fantastic! So creative :)
Ian Anderson (author) from Asker in Norway on August 13, 2011:
@dcjesnetwork: They certainly are, the most versatile space saver on the market. Chop saw AND table saw, it's a no brainer as they say!
I have used mine for many hundreds of hours with no problems. Super tough.
Thanks for stopping by.....
dcjesnetwork on August 13, 2011:
Wow!! I never knew that anything like this existed. Ya learn something new everyday, but this is indeed one cool tool!
Ian Anderson (author) from Asker in Norway on March 07, 2011:
@edusoc: Thanks edusoc,
Hope you found what you were looking for.
edusoc on January 05, 2011: