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View fstellab's profile

New Craftsman Table Saw - New Woodworker

by fstellab
posted 01-03-2013 12:45 PM


31 replies so far

View docholladay's profile

docholladay

1286 posts in 1714 days


#1 posted 01-03-2013 01:33 PM

First of all, your final comments are the choice that I would make. I had one of those Craftsman job site table saws a while back. Just like you, my wife bought it for me for Christmas. I actually used it for several years, but eventually gave it away to someone and bought a contractor saw (used). That was a huge improvement, but now, I wish I had held out a little longer and saved up to buy an actual cabinet style table saw. If I were in your shoes, had the money, and my wife would not be too offended, I would return the little saw you have and either get a refund or exchange it for a different saw with the features that I wanted. Craftsman does sell “real” table saws with normal 3/4” miter slots that can use normal table saw accessories. They are usually in their professional series of tools. Their “Hybrid” saws (which means cabinet style design with contractor saw power) have been quite popular and have decent features at reasonable cost. Certainly worth checking it out. Otherwise, if you don’t want to exchange this saw, you may want to consider building the saw station that Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) designed and built for his show. You can find plans and video here: http://www.newyankee.com/index.php?id=53#!/~/product/category=1855062&id=7916588. It would greatly enhance the functionality of that little saw. Ultimately, that saw will be a compromise for you over the long haul, but as has often been stated, it is not the tool that determines the quality of the work, it is the skill of the craftsman. There are many examples on this website of very high quality work being executed with very simple tools. Personally, I’ve gotten to the point that I do a lot of my own work with hand tools. I’m to the point that I am considering getting rid of my table saw all together to make room for a larger work bench in my shop.

Doc

-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

3455 posts in 2615 days


#2 posted 01-03-2013 02:06 PM

At the risk of sounding like a bad guy…......
Take that saw back to Sears.
It is a saw built for light duty “hacking” on wood.
You can pick up a pretty darned good TS by searching the Bay or newspaper.
I just don’t think that you’ll ever be really pleased with the saw, but,by golly, sounds like ya have a “keeper” in the bride. After all, how many would buy ya a saw?
Bill

-- bill@magraphics.us

View Austons_Garage's profile

Austons_Garage

41 posts in 686 days


#3 posted 01-03-2013 02:33 PM

I’d probably take the saw back if you can, but be sure to explain why to your wife. Mine would go apeshit if it just disappeared and a different one appeared in its place.
My “first” table saw (as in the first one that didnt belong to me Da) was and is a Rockwell contractors saw that I paid less than $100 for. There’s plenty of them out there and Unisaws and clones for a little more if you’re willing to restore them. Even with stamped steel wings an older Delta/Rockwell has the wieght and quality of construction you really need. I happen to think its a lot better to have something thats used of higher quality than something new of lower quality; from airplanes to kitchen knives.
What I am not considering that you may, is that a heavy saw is not particularly portable without a mobile base.

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#4 posted 01-03-2013 03:37 PM

Folks,

I need to add to the list of issues, just in case anyone is thinking about buying this saw:

When I try to set the blade angle to 90, the wheel works smoothly until about 85 degrees, then I need to put
a lot of pressure on the wheel to force it to 90, then while the holding pressure, tighten the wheel lock. If I don’t do this procedure, when I manually check the blade it shows 85 degrees.

I can imagine that in the middle of a cut that this would loosen up.

I am calling Sears today.

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View Thalweg's profile

Thalweg

69 posts in 2061 days


#5 posted 01-03-2013 03:51 PM

If you’re binding, there is a safety issue with the saw. You’re at risk of kick-back. Once you explain to your lovely wife that the saw is unsafe, she will want you to return it. I did that and she made me buy a Sawstop.

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1578 days


#6 posted 01-03-2013 04:08 PM

If your wife thought enough of you to buy you a table saw,she certainly would want you to be safe. Return it.

-- Life is good.

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1814 days


#7 posted 01-03-2013 04:19 PM

Safety first. Ask your wife how important 10 fingers are. Don’t mess around with it.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View Swyftfeet's profile

Swyftfeet

169 posts in 826 days


#8 posted 01-03-2013 05:10 PM

It was a very well intentioned gift… The saw has 2 factory defects that I can see.

1. the arbor tilt issue…
2. 5/8th T-track.

Thank her profusely but explain that safety add ons for this saw will be more expensive because they are rare and potential kick back issues.

show her this thread and this video

“Kickback video”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcS0TAabedc

-- Brian

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#9 posted 01-03-2013 06:07 PM

+1 on showing her that video. then, go get one of these:

http://www.sawstop.com/products/professional-cabinet-saw/

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1578 days


#10 posted 01-03-2013 08:27 PM

@toolie,I understand where you are coming from recommending the SS and I know your intentions are meant well but obviously there is considerable price difference. For a new woodworker that could scare the devil out of his wife.

-- Life is good.

View SnowyRiver's profile

SnowyRiver

51451 posts in 2135 days


#11 posted 01-03-2013 08:46 PM

The old saying is very true with tools. You pretty much get what you pay for. My first table saw was a bench top Delta. I think I only paid about $150 for it new. I was able to do some things with it, but even though the motor in it wasnt much bigger than an electric shaver, I always felt it wasnt safe. The fence didnt hold tight, was difficult to position, and the table was small. I had the saw on a stand with wheels so even the slightest pushing on it would tend to almost tip it over. I agree with everyone, that it probably would be in your best interest to return it and find something else. I know everyone on here has their personal choice for saws, but the name brands like Saw Stop, Delta, Powermatic, Grizzly, and others will do much better for you. Most of those companies build a smaller contractor type saw if you choose not to spend more on a cabinet saw. Dont forget to look on sites like Craig’s list and Ebay for good used contractor and cabinet saws. They are often half the price of a new one and many are in excellent condition. The ultimate is of course a good cabinet saw…once you have one of those, you probably will never want anything else.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1626 days


#12 posted 01-03-2013 11:08 PM

If you need to stick to a jobsite type saw and you want to stick with Sears, look at this saw, the 21828.
It has a 15 amp motor, standard miter slots, and can mount a 6” dado . These are all good things to look for in any saw and it is compact and easy to build into the aforementioned cabinet Docholiday spoke of.

As a bonus, it only costs $200. Really one of the sleeper deals out there.

The other alternative would be to step on up, and spend an additional $200 to the 21833, which is the same saw as the very popular Ridgid 4512. This looks like a real cabinet/hybrid saw, has a cast iron top (with steel wings), 1 3/4 hp belt drive induction motor. Definitely not portable at over 200 lbs, but it is on wheels. I have one of these myself and mine has some alignment issues, but I think most of the bugs have been ironed out of this design by now. Mine is 3 yrs old.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View Tokolosi's profile

Tokolosi

667 posts in 1010 days


#13 posted 01-03-2013 11:56 PM

I have the same saw. Its a finicky bitch. Here are my thoughts:

I dont use the blade guard and laser track. It makes the saw more dangerous than it is without it. Riving knife only. Please make your own desicion about this as this is just my opinion.
I use the most expensive saw blades I can find. Lots of binding/power and quality of cut finish issues is (imo) as result of low quality blades, dull blades or wrong choice blade for type of wood or cut.
I make my own track guides and jigs.
I use a sled that is larger than the table.
The fence, well it just sucks. And because of the clamping mechanism you cant set it were the miter track is. I use sized spacers between my fence and blade if that is an issue.
Measure at both sides of the blade to the fence and never trust the printed scale. As a matter of fact I have tape over mine.
Same for the tilt. I measured and cut angle jigs to set the angle if I tilt it.
The lift mechanism will jam up if you dont keep the screw threads clean. But its easy to flip over and clean.

All in all its not a bad saw. I like mine. Its certainly not a cabinet saw and Im sure there are better ones out there. Its powerfull enough for what I need, pretty mobile in my small workshop space and, just like a woman, if you finesse it, it will treat you right.

I am saving up for a Sawstop though.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#14 posted 01-04-2013 03:11 AM

For a new woodworker that could scare the devil out of his wife.

i don’t usually make suggestions like that. every “i’m a new woodworker, what TS should i buy” has someone who suggests a 5 hp, 3 phase 1941 unisaw wiith a 52” bies fence as the only saw the new WW should buy. for once, i wanted to be that guy. consider it a tongue in cheek remark.

You pretty much get what you pay for.

i guess i don’t generally agree with that sentiment. i cobbled together a 10” c-man aw with a a t2, CI wings, a ridgid open stand and a ridigid herc-u-lift for<$200. i kept that saw and a souped up ridgid 2412 and sold a 3hp unisaw i refurbished as it wasn’t as mobile s the two contractor saws. and consider the poor buyer of new jet and powermatic tools. they pay top dollar for tools that are never rated top tools in their class in comparative tool tests. i prefer to approach tool purchases form a value perspective rather than a brand perspective.

fstellab…..............i’d suggest this overview as a good starting point for determining how much saw you need:

http://www.rockler.com/articles/table-saw.cfm

it’s really easy to get caught up in the “tim the toolman” syndrome of “more power” always being the answer
to every problem and situation. and it’s real easy to overspend for features you don’t need.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5460 posts in 2031 days


#15 posted 01-04-2013 10:41 AM

The Craftsman 21833 is pretty much the same saw as the current Ridgid contractor saw (R4512). If you can, I’d return the saw you’ve got, and get a full size belt drive saw with an induction motor.

Tips for Buying a Table Saw

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View SalvageCraft's profile

SalvageCraft

274 posts in 1181 days


#16 posted 01-04-2013 03:11 PM

Regardless of the weird track size and obviously bad design/documentation issues – if it’s not making clean safe cuts you need to get rid of it. If you are worried about how your wife might feel about you returning it, imagine how bad you BOTH will feel when that thing kicks back and pulls your arm in to the blade!

The Ridgid contractor saw is a great saw. So is the Dewalt 745 in a rousseau table (with the added bonus that you can drop a router into the table extension).

Get a reliable machine that you feel safe using.

-- Jesse --

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#17 posted 01-04-2013 04:21 PM

Folks,

First, I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to help me with this decision. I am finding out that one of the best things about woodworking is the woodworkers.

The Craftsman saw is boxed up and the online paperwork is done … so the saw is going back.

The first real power tool I purchased (after a drill) was a Ridgid MS1065LZA Miter Saw. That saw is an incredible tool, using the supplied blade, my first cut went through a 2×4 like is was made of air. After 4 months of almost daily use, the saw still performs as it was new. I was expecting a similar experience with the table saw.

As a result, I am very partial to Ridgid tools. I just missed a R4511 on Craiglist, he was asking $420. So I think I am going to try to talk Home Depot into letting me use the HF 20% off coupon and get the R4512 for about the same price. Couple more questions …

What is the difference between the R4511 and R4512 other than the granite top ?

I can’t find any new bad reviews on the saw, there were some older posts about not enough play around the trunnion bolts, is that still an issue ?

Is there any other saw I should look at ? I looked at the Jet Portable TS very nice .. but its out of my budget, I also looked at a Makita 2705 … interesting but it is more expensive then the ridgid.

Thanks again folks.
-Fred

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View SalvageCraft's profile

SalvageCraft

274 posts in 1181 days


#18 posted 01-04-2013 04:35 PM

I can’t speak to the differences between this models but I can give some coupon/savings advice if you’re buying from Home Depot or Lowes.

HD and Lowes will always beat each other’s prices by 10%. If you find something cheaper at one (surf the website), go to the other and they’ll beat the price by 10%.
Also, if you go down to your local post office and ask for a change of address packet, the packet contains a 10% off Lowes coupon. HD will accept these too. I’ve used the 10% coupon in conjunction with the 10% price matching deal on a couple of large purchases. A little extra legwork to the post office and price shopping saves a couple hundred bucks here and there :)

-- Jesse --

View crank49's profile

crank49

3434 posts in 1626 days


#19 posted 01-04-2013 06:42 PM

The Ridgid 4511 was a great saw.
The Ridgid 4512 is not so great of a saw.

Seriously, the 4511 with the granite top had cabinet mounted trunnions and was a much heavier well made saw.

The 4512 has light weight, barely functional table mounted trunnions.

Like I said, I have the Craftsman 21833, which is identical to the Ridgid 4512, except for the paint job of course, and my saw has the dreaded and well documented alignment issue. The blade goes out of parallel with the miter slot when you raise and lower the blade. Not fixable. But, supposedly the manufacturer has tweaked their quality control and the current saws, 4512 and 21833, usually do not have this problem.

Another big difference in the 4511 and the 4512 is that the 4512, since it is newer, will have a riving knife and an improved guard. The riving knife is the next best safety feature you can have after a decent guard and/or the SawStop flesh detecting technology, IMHO.

-- Michael :-{| “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.” ― A H

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#20 posted 01-04-2013 06:57 PM

Folks,

just one more question:

I also looked at the Rigid R4510 portable, it has great reviews, it a good configuration for me but it is a “Direct Drive”. If I spend over $500 should I expect a belt drive ? Is not having a belt drive a problem ?

Thanks again folks.
-Fred

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#21 posted 01-04-2013 08:35 PM

belt drive saws usually develop more torque. i’d try a 4512 over a 4510. they both come with a 90 day satisfaction guaranty. try it out and if you don’t like it, return it for a refund. you’re not talking about an 800 lb cabinet saw. i think it only weighs around 250 lbs.

the 4511 was essentially a granite topped cabinet saw for < $600. but it weighed just under 500 lbs. it’s fence was not it’s strongest selling point. i bought one on clearance and sold it as i didn’t want to change form my existing TSs. the 4512 is not on the same plane as a 4511, but it is a great saw and a terrific value if it can be purchased with a HF 20% off coupon for $400. dual voltage 1.5 hp motor, integrated mobile base, CI top, much better 30” fence, riving knife and blade guard, 3 year guaranty and the LSA. that’s a lot to beat for $400.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#22 posted 01-06-2013 10:14 PM

Folks ...

The Craftsman is gone—-

A trip to Home Depot with a HF 20% discount coupon and I am the proud owner of a new Rigid R4512

Setup is so easy … I am about 1/2 done .. I just finished installing the blade. The instructions were very clear to me. I got the kid next door to help me with the 2 person tasks. The only thing that was a bit tricky, was installing the Casters and lift. It was simple to understand what needed to be done, but I had a hard time at first trying to line up the holes, the other side would fall, a wheel moved and the whole thing shift out of place. Finally I put together a wood support cage with a few lengths of 2×4 scrap, then every fell in to place.

Tip: A t20 and t25 star drill bit in a very light cordless drill took care of all the Hex drive screws, I would hand tighten 1/3 of the way, then zip .. zip .. zip with cordless drill.

I will post a final update and photo when done, I would have posted a step by step .. but there are several real good photo and video links showing the setup of the R4512.

Should I dare to make my own Zero-Clearance Insert ?

Cheers
-Fred

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View Tokolosi's profile

Tokolosi

667 posts in 1010 days


#23 posted 01-06-2013 10:17 PM

Dare away. You will be glad you did. Also make yourself a crosscut sled as soon as possible. If you don’t you will just kick yourself later. Congrats on the new saw. Have fun with it.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#24 posted 01-06-2013 10:25 PM

Should I dare to make my own Zero-Clearance Insert ?

first, congrats on the purchase. tools purchased below busty out retail always perform better than those bought at full price. assuming you have a router table and a pattern bit, it’s really easy to do. here are two of the many videos on the net showing how:

http://www.shopnotes.com/issues/090/videos/making-a-zero-clearance-insert/

http://www.woodsmith.com/magazine/extras/178/zero-clearance-insert/

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5460 posts in 2031 days


#25 posted 01-06-2013 10:40 PM

Nice upgrade from what you had! Congrats! Stock blades are notoriously mediocre, so be sure to pick up a decent aftermarket blade for it to optimize your investment….they start at ~ $27.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#26 posted 01-08-2013 11:14 PM

A while back I saw these Blades on ebay for about $30. They looked impressive so I mistaking purchased 2 of them for my miter saw. I found out later that Table Saw Blades and Miter Saw blades are not interchangeable.

Are these any good:

Shortly I will be doing a lot of ripping of expensive wood for the closet organizer, so I picked up the Diablo Ripping Blade at HD:

If you want to see a bunch of photos of the table saw and some accessories I got here is the link:

http://stellabotte.smugmug.com/Woodworking/Table-Saw/My-new-Ridgid-R4512-Table-Saw/27471518_pQmv8g

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#27 posted 01-09-2013 03:04 AM

where did you get the idea that TS and miter saw blades are not interchangeable? i certainly wouldn’t use a 90 tooth blade for TS rips, but it would be fine to use for cross cutting on a TS. likewise, a TS rip blade will work on a miter saw for cutting framing material where precision cuts aren’t that necessary. and yes, i’m aware of the difference in hook angles. i’ve just never seen a situation where using a positive HA where a negative was the preferred blade presented a potentially hazardous situation, even on a RAS.

BTW, your TS looks great. in looking over your pics, i’d humbly suggest considering a dust collector instead of a shop vac for your TS. and it’s great to see that you’re also an ivac switch user. do you know that they can be daisy chained together so multiple dust collection accessories can be activated when one power tool is activated. looks like this.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View fstellab's profile

fstellab

86 posts in 740 days


#28 posted 01-09-2013 03:41 AM

Yes .. On the dust collection .. its high one my list … I got the Ivac switch ahead of time because Ivac was having a 50% off deal on factory recon’s so I grabbed one.

Tomorrow, its off to HD to pick up PVC piping and connectors. I am on the look out for a “recon or other vacuum .

-- Fred Stellabotte (kamado@comcast.net)

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5460 posts in 2031 days


#29 posted 01-09-2013 10:32 AM

Suitability for TS use is more a matter of hook angle than anything else. You’ve got two good blades there…..24T for most ripping tasks, the 90T for crosscuts and ply/melamine. Careful with those wrenches against the teeth. Keep ‘em clean, and they’ll work like new for a lot longer.

Saw Blades Tips

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View FeralVermonter's profile

FeralVermonter

100 posts in 626 days


#30 posted 01-09-2013 01:59 PM

Since the saw is already gone, this is something of a moot point, but one that I didn’t find mentioned above: did you consider that the blade might be “heeling?”

I’m new to this stuff too, and just finished restoring an old RAS to service–might have gone and bought a saw if I had the money, but I didn’t, so I was pretty much locked into getting the thing to work, come hell or high water. I have to say, the experience was frustrating but invaluable, since I not only know every nut and bolt on the machine intimately, but also because I’ve learned a great deal about general principles, when it comes to saws (though I’m sure I have much, much more to learn). I have no doubt that this knowledge will serve me well in the years to come: rather than rely on customer reviews exclusively, I’ll be able to make my own evaluations based on spec and examination.

As to heeling: it can come from many directions, but the basic point is that something, somewhere, is not properly squared up. It is not the same thing as “runout.” In my case, this meant that the rotation of the blade was not exactly parallel to the slide along the arm—in your case, maybe the fence was off just a degree? Maybe the blade wasn’t exactly perpendicular to the arbor?

Like I said, total newbie here, so take everything I say with a box full of salt. But I am pretty sure of the point that learning some general principles of alignment and maintenance will go a long way, and expand your functionality in the shop in a way that buying the next new thing never will…

View toolie's profile

toolie

1762 posts in 1284 days


#31 posted 01-09-2013 02:06 PM

Tomorrow, its off to HD to pick up PVC piping and connectors.

i’ve used their drainage pipe and connectors rather than the schedule 40 stuff in the plumbing dept.. it’s cheaper, lighter and easier to work with. try to avoid using 90 bends. usually, two 45s with a 2-3” piece of pipe between them is preferable as it creates less resistance to airflow.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

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