|Review by Viktor||posted 01-16-2010 03:32 AM||18201 views||1 time favorited||10 comments|
JET 708315BTC 10” Bench top Table Saw
When I set off to find a budget and more importantly compact saw, I went through lots of online reviews and ratings. It surprised me that many people pay $200-$300 and expect a professional fine tuned cabinet saw jump right out of the box. Then they give poor rating without even bothering to set riving knife correctly or check blade alignment.
I look at it this way: There are things that you can modify, fix or adjust (flimsy fence, blade alignment, etc.), and there are thing that you can do little about (motor life span, excessive vibration, etc.)
With this in mind belt drive transmission on JET 708315BTC was a selling point.
This is the only compact bench top saw that I am aware of, which has a belt drive transmission and induction(?) motor. Typically portable saws use direct drive universal motors – essentially a circular saw mounted under a table. Belt drive decreases vibration, noise, extends motor’s life, and improves cut precision.
The saw arrived well packed almost fully assembled, all parts in place without any damage. The manual is well written and illustrated, instructions cover wide range of issues.
Most of online complains were about flimsy fence. I did not expect much from a budget tool, but the fence turned out fine. Not that it was sturdy, but it wasn’t worth than half a dozen fences I tried at store displays on similarly priced models. In fact the only decent fence that I’ve seen on a portable saw was on Rigid, and it better be for $600. The fence aligned pretty parallel to meter slots and almost did not wobble when locked. There was another problem. Its main body, an aluminum rectangular tube, was out of square in cross section. It has thin walls and can be squared using vice. It seems that all budget fences have the same design and same flaw in the locking mechanism on the far side of the fence. I already have few ideas how to modify it. Anyway, you can always clamp a block of wood to he table to use as a fence. Another problem is the fence can not be moved closer than 0.5” to the left side of the blade). The riving knife bracket gets on the way. The right side is OK. Not a big deal, use a spacer block if you need your fence very close and on the left.
The manual said that the blade was aligned with the table at the factory… Well, it wasn’t and somehow I wasn’t surprised. The alignment was a pain. I had to partially remove front panel to reach to the nuts that hold the pivot rod underneath the table. It was a trial and error task of flipping the saw over, tightening bolts, flipping back, measuring the distance, and all over again. Finally, I set the saw so I could take measurements while it was upside down. Still tricky, but I guess I won’t need to do it often. The bolts that hold the pivot rod are permanently attached (stamped in) to the table and their heads can be seen on the top in recesses. You only unscrew the nuts from the bottom and slide the bearing back and forth for adjustment. It would be much better (and at no extra manufacturing cost) to make it the other way around.
Meter gauge was too loose in the slots (nothing new here). This is easy to fix by wrapping the bottom and sides of the runner in plastic or metallic tape. Meter slots were little rough, also an easy fix with sandpaper. On the bright side they were parallel to each other! Get this the other budget saws!
Blade insert sits slightly lower than the table. I’ll have to place some spacers to lift it. Or most likely I’ll make a new zero clearance insert. This could be tricky though because of the way the flanges that support the insert are designed.
The saw came with outfeed support and a side extension table (another model comes with two side tables). Nothing special, quite sturdy and do the job. Any of the supports can be mounted on any of the three sides of the table if needed. The spacing between extension rods is the same.
The base feels sturdy and its rubber feet keep it in place without need for clamping the saw to something (at least when cutting medium size pieces of lumber).
The saw starts smoothly and is not loud. I was happy how test cuts came out (Jet 36T all purpose blade that came with the saw). Smooth, plenty of power. Perhaps not glue ready smooth, but very decent. I took a poplar board and made several slices that measured 2” x 48” and 0.05” thick (just a way to test the saw). The thickness was consistent though the entire length and width. I could make veneer on it!
Dust control is nonexistent. There is the same saw but on tall legs that comes with a dust pan and a vacuum port, but not this one. Everything was covered with dust. I may have to make some kind of shroud around the blade to suck out the dust or work outside.
Overall I give the saw 5 stars. Although there was a list of problems, keep in mind that this is a budget tool, hence the expectations were placed accordingly. Most of the issues were minor and fixable. The most important thing is the quality of the cut and it was good.