|Review by Tucker||posted 1488 days ago||9241 views||0 times favorited||35 comments|
What can be said about this saw that hasn’t already been said by the likes of Charles Neil, Woodworking magazines in their shootouts and reviews, and even the Discovery Channel? Its safety technologies are without peer. We all know that any tool can be injurious if attention or focus is lost and that even the best guards won’t fully protect us. I’d like to approach this review from another angle: the saw as its own instrument.
That said, we can begin with the shipping. You can see in the first image that it ships not with a cardboard housing for the main saw, but a fully bolted plywood enclosure, complete with Tip-N-Tell sensors. It even had a aluminum-type moisture barrier on the bottom of the box to eliminate any wicking up.
The instructional manual was very clearly spelled out, with full color images, and precise instructions. It’s as if they wrote it and then researched the outcome while others tried to use it, then refined it over and over. Having done my fair share of technical writing I can attest to the importance of this clarity in instruction. It’s not easy to explain things so that everyone understands.
The main saw component required only 3 bolts for the extension wing and a handle for the elevation wheel. Couldn’t have been easier.
The mobile base came fully assembled. I just removed its packaging and then with some help lifted the saw down onto it. Done. It operates with a hydraulic jack for ease and has a very smooth operation.
After adding the rails and extension wings, I attached the 36 inch extension and leg and was ready for the fence and adjustments.
I am still amazed how quickly this part of the setup went. The left extension wing came attached, and was practically perfect, even for my specifications. The right extension wing and 36” extension required just a couple of taps to line up. The fence was a very small adjustment, and the blade was dead-on. Also worth noting: the fence rail tape was exactly the distance it was supposed to from the cut. It too came assembled.
The operation of the saw was quite a surprise. I can only describe the sound made by the motor as a very low hum. The saw has a dual, poly-V ribbed belt. It really aids in the operation as the second belt separates the arbor from the motor, thereby providing more stability. Very nice design for a very smooth cut. The coin test is redundant here, as the weight is so massive and the motor so smooth. Very quiet operation for a saw with this much power.
The saw smacks of weight and heavy-duty construction at every turn. The trunnions are massive and the main arbor bearing is a huge 62mm. The blade elevation mechanism is aided by a gas spring, and takes a few more turns to raise and lower, but practically no effort. I’m not sure how they did it (the balancing act), but the tilt mechanism requires no more effort to raise or lower from 90 to 45 degrees. Very smooth here also.
The fence is very stable, doesn’t rock at all, and adjusted on the first try to be spot on. It extends way past the cast iron for easier clamping and material support through the cut. The fence really glides over the table very easily. The lock down handle operation doesn’t move the fence a smidge as I’ve seen in so many others. It stays put right where I left it for the cut.
I could go on and on about the quick-releases for the blade guard and riving knife, the great dust collection, the multiple safety checks run on every startup, the idiot-proofing that went into the requirements that must be in place before it can be used, etc. etc.
I’ll just say that this saw is truly a joy to use and really provides the foundation for easier and accurate cuts. Yes, it was more for the purchase. However, as the Gucci saying goes, the quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten. I will say this about the safety mechanisms: I realize that they are there, but I believe that they actually cause me to take a purposeful moment’s pause before making a cut. I do this not only to protect myself, but to not set off the brake.