SawStop Sliding CrossCut Table review #2: Table, fence, etc

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Blog entry by mummykicks posted 04-23-2016 12:10 AM 737 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 1: Bearing Design review Part 2 of SawStop Sliding CrossCut Table review series Part 3: Using it. »

The table is an aluminum extrusion, and the auxiliary table is just another piece of the same extrusion, just shorter. It’s black anodized, but really should have been hard anodized as it scratches all too easily. A common theme I’m discovering is that Sawstop weighted form over function with this design.

Hard anodize, or perhaps even teflon impregnated hard anodize (the stuff they put on aluminum cookware to make it non-stick) would have been far superior. Adjusting the fence to different angles scratched my table top as it pulled some sawdust or something under it and I didn’t lift up on it as I moved it. Still, it shouldn’t happen at all, or the surfaces should be treated to withstand stuff like this, it’s a woodshop after all. There is some uhmw tape on the bottom of the fence, but that didn’t help. I ended up waxing that portion of the table and the bottom of the fence and the track the miter angle knob runs in (more on that later), and it helped.

The problem with the hard anodize is that it can come out looking dull and the colors are inconsistent sometimes, and maybe the marketing guys didn’t like it.

Extrusions all have form errors, so these have to be post machined to make the mounting edge flat and square to the table, and it relies on the cast iron wing/table of the saw being parallel to the miter slot (which it should be). I haven’t done a parallelism measurement yet, but I’ll get there pretty soon.

The table does it’s job very well, and slides effortlessly. Cross cutting is easy, safe, and fast. The slots in the table are not a standard miter slot size, nor a t-track size, but interestingly enough standard T-track from rockler is a slip fit in so T-track clamps and stops and such are a possibility.

When I first tried to adjust the angle it was a struggle. It is a pin-in-slot arrangement and it was window locking all the way. Waxing it helped, but it’s really a poor design (not that SS didn’t design the pin/slot correctly, that the design approach is a bad choice for this). I suppose it looks all industrial with the large knob, but it really falls flat with regards to function. A lot of people have been commenting on the lack of detents, and SS really should have taken a page from Incra’s playbook on this one. A standard miter gauge setup would have worked well here, and they could have kept the mondo knob, and had detents, and…sigh. I don’t see where there would ever be enough force on the fence where the spacing between the knob and the pivot point matters. Especially with that big ass knob clamping everything down.

It’s supposed to be +/- 60 degrees, but I couldn’t get there, at least in one direction. Not that I need 60 degree cuts often, but just saying.

It really doesn’t matter, because you need an auxiliary fence to do any mitering, at least with it installed on the wing and not the saw table. I wanted the extra support for cross cutting larger pieces of plywood.
As you can see, at 60 degrees you have no miter capacity at all in this configuration.
(it isn’t letting me add text after the pics, so the pics are at the end of the text).

So the only option is to reverse the fence, which I think will work, and it will have the sliding fence extension going toward the blade. Maybe you could get 12” out of it. This is the main disadvantage of mounting the cct to the wing and not the table, you really limit the mitering capability. As the angle increases it moves you back so far you run out of travel. Miter saw is going to get used after all…

The fence itself is beefy, as is everything on this thing. You loosen two screws to tighten the bar (like a miter gauge bar) into the table top, and from what I can tell it always biases it against the outside edge of the channel in the extrusion, if this is intentional, well done SS. Taking the fence off and putting it back on appears to repeat to 1/64”, and I’ll do some measurements soon to see how good it is or isn’t.

What isn’t good is the stops, and I guess I’m spoiled by Incra. They are sloppy until you get them tightened down, and move around on you as you are tightening them. I really don’t like eyeballing the cursor, and having to hold it with one hand while I tighten it with another. Once in place they are good enough. The 1/32” Incra fixed spacing is just better, and I miss it on this fence.

Angling the fence opposite from what is in the picture below and extending the table all the way back clears it out of the way for most of the smaller rips you might do. For wider rips you’ll want to remove the fence. I’ve made a short fence that I attach to my incra fence and use the LS positioner to set my cut dimensions. It is just SO much better, and works really well for repetitive cuts where I can just slide the piece against the fence and push it through with the slider (I set the short fence even with the front of the blade).

The slot in the front of the fence is set up for 10-32 or m5 hex bolts, not 1/4”. So if you’ve got incra stuff with 1/4” T nuts left over it won’t work. Nor will the T bolts for the rockler T-tracks (and I’m guessing Incra as well), which I’ve got a bunch of and would love to use.

I’m looking for ways to mount an Incra fence to this with a flip stop. The one thing Incra dropped the ball on was a magnified cursor for the flip stop, and if I do it I’ll steal the ones off the SS stops.

Between the shipping fiasco with woodcraft on my first two, and the fence/stop implementation on this thing I’m very close to returning it. However the table works very well and is very smooth as it should be. With a bit of infeed support I have no doubt I can handle a full sheet of plywood with this. In my particular case, the other reason for keeping it is that my router table is also my outfeed, and this slider gives me a sliding table for my router as well. I do a lot of plywood with hardwood trim and this will make handling those cuts much easier and more accurate.

I’ve seriously thought about designing my own, and indeed I still might, but it won’t be as good as this table, and even though I’m sure I can get something that works well enough, it won’t be the same. I need to use it for another day or two before I decide…

Having had to design stuff like this before, the $1000 price tag is reasonable for what you get. Linear guides are expensive, custom extrusions require $$$ for the die and you have to run a bunch of it to break even. Then it gets post machined, assembled, packed, shipped, etc.. It all adds up quick.

Everything is well made and well finished. It will work well for its intended purpose, and if you are going to buy this for lots of picture frame miters definitely mount it to the saw table and not the wing. It has its issues, but nothing that would prevent it from doing what it is supposed to do. Most of my complaints stem from how good it could have been for the same amount of money.


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