|Review by bobdobbs||posted 04-03-2010 07:55 AM||40746 views||0 times favorited||20 comments|
Thanks to Laffayette Jack, for having one of the only reviews anywhere on this saw.
I was in the situation of having my old craftsman portable die mid-project. I was never very happy with that saw anyway, so I started looking at craigslist for real saws and just stopped by Lowes to see what they had for prices. Being surprised to see the Porter Cable saws (both PCB220TS
$299 and PCB270TS $599) as well as all of the other Porter Cable tools that I’ve never seen (Planers, Jointers, Scroll Saws, drill presses, band saws…) I was kind of concerned that they bought or were bought by another company and just had the PC name put on another low end piece of… equipment. If you’ve looked, you’ll know there really is NOT a lot of information to go on, so y’all be glad to hear that I was very happy last weekend when I went and made the purchase.
I’ll give a short review first because I am far from an expert and have limited experience using many different saws. then I’ll ramble for as long as you’d like to read:
Pros: Standard 3/4” miter slot, SEPERATE blade angle and blade height adjustments (and the angle has a locking mechanism), cuts a very clean edge…PRICE$
Cons: Extruded aluminum fence that needs better anti-stick/easier slide solution, the blade insert is not (what i find) to be standard and more importantly, is made out of sheet metal and flexes with too much force.
Firstly, keep in mind that this saw was $299, where the next similar saw (price wise) is the rigid that you can get at HD for $499, then you get into the $600 plus range, where at that price I start trying how to figure out how I can keep the car, motorcycle, 3 bikes and whatnot in the garage as well as getting a contractors saw with a cast iron table and a real fence. The collapsible rolling stand seemed pretty sturdy, but after I finished modifying my saw cabinet (see pictures) that got folded up and will go into storage just in case). The stand was pretty easy to put together and I was able to figure out the bags (why would the manual call them bag A, B, etc… but not label the bags?? – my assumption: so we can feel like we’re really smart when we figure out which is which.) I did fully assemble the whole thing including the riving/anti-kickback/blade guard, and it was intuitive enough that the only thing that i really had to read the manual for was inserting the riving knife into the saw (hint: you have to unscrew the locking nut THEN push it in!). I like it when it’s intuitive.
So anyhow, the saw is put together but it wont fit my cart which is the basis of my compact shop so i got to make my first cut. The blade was well aligned out of the box so I was pretty happy not to have to fuss around with that. I cut a piece of 3/4” shop birch ply and ended up with a very broad smile because, (with my 60 tooth blade) it cut clean, straight and quiet. (quieter than the 3 year old craftsman). I did some quick cuts on some 1/2” Padauk and Purple heart (just to see) and both cut cleanly and again straight. I did find that the fence needed to be aligned a bit, but I’ve developed the habit of hitting it with the speed square before cutting anyway, so no big deal for me.
The next day I cut dadoes, rabbets and tenons as well as crosscuts and a few rips, all on purpleheart of the 3/4” variety. I have to say again that my only experience with a table saw since high school (1983) has been the craftsman that benchtop that is now going for $189, so I may be a bit over awed. I was extremely happt that using the miter gage for a quick crosscut actually gave me a clean cut as well as a good right angle cut. The miter gage moved smoothly and with very little play. I cant see how you can get any tighter with an aluminum slot). With the stacked dado setup (at about 1/2”) I was annoyed to find that the blade insert didn’t come close to fitting. Other than that, the cuts were clean (more pictures) and although slow, not too difficult.
All in all I’m happy with the saw and the only thing I’ve found so far that I don’t like are 1 major and 1 minor issue. Frst the minor issue. At the back of fence there is a wedge that runs along a channel that is parallel to the locking mechanism, the problem the problem is there is a little piece of plastic that is (was) stuck to the bottom of the fence to make it smoother. That little piece of plastic doesnt stick very well. I plan on cleaning the glue off and use some UHMW slick tape.
The second and much bigger problem, is the blade insert. It is not the standard rounded rectangle, and it is 1/8” or less steel that snaps in wit a locking clip. The first issue I had was that is was slightly bent down, so i was catching the back edge during cuts. That was easy enough to bend back into place but then i found that the thing actually flexes if you’re pushing down too hard and when making cuts that are in that range (about 2 1/4” to the right of the blade). The only fix I have for that is to get used to not always cutting from the right. Also, the damnable thing wont fit when my dado stack is installed…agaon, have to get used to cutting from the left of the blade in these situations or figure out how to make an insert for that situation.
All in all, I’m very happy with the saw and look forward to making a jig or 2 that I can make to overcome the blade insert issues… as well as that crosscut sled I’ve always wanted.
Mark (AKA bobdobbs)
more pictures at:
-- If I had some ham, I could make some ham and eggs...if I had some eggs.