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Initially I was excited about getting this then thoroughly disappointed after using it.

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Review by LarryDNJR posted 1588 days ago 7491 views 0 times favorited 24 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Initially I was excited about getting this then thoroughly disappointed after using it. Initially I was excited about getting this then thoroughly disappointed after using it. Initially I was excited about getting this then thoroughly disappointed after using it. Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was looking for a cheap but effective option for cutting pen blanks since I don’t really have a workshop setup yet for the space nor the money for a large band-saw or table-saw even. So searching around on the internet I found this tiny little table-saw at Harbor Freight.

http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=93211

Listed at $39.99 it didn’t seem like to bad a deal. It claims it can cut 3/4” and cuts at 14,000rpm which should be just fine for pen blanks.

After getting it home I was excited to open it up and try it out. Well first thing is the blade on the arbor wasn’t secure all the way, I had to tighten that myself. Starting up the unit it sounded good wasn’t to loud and seem to run just fine. After putting a pen blank down against the blade while it was off I could see that it was still about 1/8th or so off from being to cut all the way through the top of the blank. This required me to do 1 pass flip it and run another.

My second issue with it was the fact that even while going slow the motor ended up getting bogged down on me. That required me to go in for small passes back out a bit and proceed forward a few times.

The third issue I have is the miter gauge knob was not very comfortable on my fingers and whole gauge didn’t slide very well in the track. I felt a little uneasy having my hands that close to the blade with something that didn’t slide with ease.

Lastly the fourth issue is with the plastic guard. First time I turned it on it had scraped the side of the guard a little until I tweak the position of that. Also the rectangle guard on the top where you tighten the screw had cracked a little to easy.

I know most woodworkers probably would overlook or not even use something like this. I was personally looking for a cheap, simple option with a small footprint and I feel I wasted my time and money buying this item. I will be returning it to the store in the next few days.

It looked like a cute and neat little saw at a good price but with it’s deficiencies it wasn’t worth the time and concern of my safety and quality of work.

My bottom line with it is save your money and find something else. If it was able to cut one pass all the way through the pen blank and not bog down at all I would be happy with this item. It did not deliver on that unfortunately.

Pros: Cheap Cost Small Design

Cons: Cheap Design Unable to cut 3/4” or above

Product Description from website.

For quick and easy cutting operations. Perfect for picture frames, molding, and plastics.

  • Maximum depth of cut at 90°: 3/4’‘
  • Includes blade guard and adjustable angle plate
  • Blade capacity: 4’‘
  • Comes with one 4” diamond blade and one 4” maganese steel saw blade

Motor: 0.9 amps @ 110 volts, 14,000 RPM
Power cord: 6 ft
Table: 7-5/8’’ x 5-5/8’’ x 6-1/2’’; includes two miter slots
Weight: 6 lbs.

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH




View LarryDNJR's profile

LarryDNJR

209 posts in 1677 days



24 comments so far

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12237 posts in 2680 days


#1 posted 1588 days ago

You might consider a small bandsaw for this task. Check craigslist.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeison's profile

Jeison

947 posts in 1691 days


#2 posted 1588 days ago

Heh I saw this little guy at our HF. I was half tempted to buy it just as a conversation piece lol. But yea, just from handling it just screamed cheap. If I ever see it on a decent sale (like closer to $20-25) I might get it for kicks, also thought maybe I could mount it to a drop in plate on a router table and use it for cutting up dowels or other small quick jobs, like trimming strips of hardboard for jigs and such.

Plus its cute.

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View LarryDNJR's profile

LarryDNJR

209 posts in 1677 days


#3 posted 1588 days ago

I’ve been looking haven’t found anything yet and most band-saws I find online after $120 and up. It would be nice to find something similar to the size maybe a little larger of this saw but would actually cut through the pen blanks maybe in the $40-80 range.

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12237 posts in 2680 days


#4 posted 1588 days ago

I did a quick search

http://columbus.craigslist.org/tls/1625881789.html
http://columbus.craigslist.org/tls/1620442432.html

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View Jeison's profile

Jeison

947 posts in 1691 days


#5 posted 1588 days ago

Larry, would a decent jigsaw do the job? ShopNotes #23 has a cool plan for a table that you mount a jigsaw to and turn it into a scroll-saw-like setup. If it looks useful to you fire me a PM with your email and I’ll send you the plans. It does look like it can accomodate 3/4” stock from some of the pictures, but I suppose that depends as much on the jigsaw. Looks like it would be easy enough to add a simple fence and/or miter guage to to cut straight blanks

EDIT I already had a few people ask about this, so for anyone who wants it I uploaded a copy of it here

-- - Jei, Rockford IL - When in doubt, spray it with WD-40 and wrap it with duct tape. The details will attend to themselves.

View LarryDNJR's profile

LarryDNJR

209 posts in 1677 days


#6 posted 1588 days ago

Wayne after I posted that last comment I did a search and found those two. Price ranges don’t look to bad problem with the Coshocton one the money I’d spend in gas to get there I could pay a little more for one locally. The Delaware one sounds good it isn’t to far from Columbus my concern is he’s already dropped the price from $75 to $50 in 10 days time, plus it needs a motor and it looks very close to this one http://chillicothe.craigslist.org/tls/1609032177.html that was $150 with a clearer picture that isn’t blurry. I will definitely have to keep looking around. Guess for now I’ll just use my Dad’s band-saw since I set my lathe up in his workshop till I can get a shop built later this year hopefully if I get the cash saved up.

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2130 posts in 1692 days


#7 posted 1587 days ago

The amperage of the motor is kind of a giveaway on this tool. It is under 1 amp which means it is less than the motor capabilities of a dremel hand tool. With a 4 inch blade, I can see where it would bog down quite easily. Still, it was worth a shot. For small pieces, I concur with the rest of the group, bandsaw is the way to go. For pen pieces, a benchtop model should work fine. I have a Ryobi 9 inch that I am very happy with. You won’t be resawing much lumber, but it has a fence, work light, miter slot, the table can be set at varying degrees, and it is fairly inexpensive.

Good luck,

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2540 days


#8 posted 1587 days ago

Thanks for the review..
That thing looks like a toy I’m not surprised it performed like one….but your first clue should have been “Harbor Freight”. I have a Dremel table saw similar to that one…It cuts balsa and basswood like a dream..THATS IT! I agree with Wayne..a table size bandsaw would work better for you, I think. I have seen some real nice ones cheap on Craigslist. Actually, Highland is running a sale on the Rikon tabletop band saw..very well reviewed, and its $199.00 See it here

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3525 posts in 2317 days


#9 posted 1587 days ago

People can spend $2000 on a table saw and still not be happy. Sometimes we should review the bad decisions, not the tool itself.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View dbhost's profile

dbhost

5377 posts in 1815 days


#10 posted 1587 days ago

If you are unable to through cut 3/4” stock (have you verified the stock thickness?) in a single pass, the tool is not functioning to its advertised capacity, take it back… Then go get a small bandsaw, or a benchtop 10” table saw. There are plenty of the tiny size Craftsman and Ridgid models on the used market already. Some neat features, very compact size which seems important to you…

-- My workshop blog can be found at http://daves-workshop.blogspot.com

View 8iowa's profile

8iowa

1489 posts in 2344 days


#11 posted 1587 days ago

Universal type electric motors are a poor power source for table saws. They produce very high speed with low cutting torque. My most recent 10” blade, an 80T Freus crosscut, warns not to exceed 7000 rpm. At 14,000 rpm, if a carbide tip were to break off, you would have a virtual “bullet” flying through the air. Take this thing back fast!

A small contractor’s saw, with an AC induction motor will serve you much better.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View bunkie's profile

bunkie

411 posts in 1730 days


#12 posted 1587 days ago

Is a power tool really necessary? I’d consider a small miter box (you can even make one yourself) and backsaw or Japanese-style pull saw. Perhaps even a hobby saw like those available from Xacto would do the job nicely.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View LarryDNJR's profile

LarryDNJR

209 posts in 1677 days


#13 posted 1587 days ago

You know I honestly thought about that route too. Just using a handsaw of some sorts.

-- ~Larry Columbus, OH

View WayneC's profile

WayneC

12237 posts in 2680 days


#14 posted 1587 days ago

Handsaw and a bench hook would work for croscutting precut pen blanks. I would recommend a small band saw if your ripping blanks. You could also use the bandsaw for making small bowl blanks. There is also an arguement that doing this on a bandsaw would be safer.

-- We must guard our enthusiasm as we would our life - James Krenov

View PBthecat's profile

PBthecat

53 posts in 1633 days


#15 posted 1587 days ago

Makes me wonder what the point is of producing and selling this kind of junk. Oh I forgot…

http://www.storyofstuff.com/

-- "Every hundred years, all new people"

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