|Review by smitty22||posted 06-01-2010 09:38 PM||27602 views||3 times favorited||63 comments|
Previous review by Bobthebuilderinmichigan and good info from BoardRunner are here:
After a few months and a couple of projects with this saw, here are some observations ;
In short, the 351-218330 seems a very good table saw for the price, with most everything I needed included. The rip fence is very good for a saw in this price class, and with a good after-market miter gauge (I caught the Incra 120 on sale) and an upgraded blade, performance is very good. It would more appropriately be classed as ‘hybrid’ vs a ‘contractor’ saw… As noted in another review, contractor saws typically have the motor external at the rear of the saw and are designed for portability, while the hybrid saw with internal motor assembly is actually much closer to a ‘cabinet’ saw. IMHO, no way is this 300 lb thingy a ‘contractor saw’. The only real problems I experienced with my saw were -
• (1) Getting if off the truck
• (2) Assembly instructions in the Operator’s Manual are skimpy at best but with a couple of false starts and interpreting the instructions, saw went together in about a day (I’m pokey).
• (3) Turning it upright after initial assembly, takes a couple or three strong folks.
• (4) A loose motor/arbor belt, easily tightened once diagnosed.
• (5) Blade alignment – see the “Unfortunately” paragraph at the end.
Features that worked or didn’t:
• Main Table – Cast, finished nicely, and very true, miter slots machined just fine. The ‘brains’ of the saw.
• Motor and arbor function – Very Good… Smooth, quiet, good power for rip or cross cut of up to 2” thick hardwoods. Didn’t have any larger stock to try, so jury is still out on the heavy stuff. This is (after all) a 115volt 1 ¾ hp saw, so wouldn’t expect it to feed thick oak very fast.
• Blade – Just OK, but replace with a good one for precision work. The Freud and Rigid worked great for me.
• Blade Access and arbor lock are excellent for blade changes.
• Rip Fence – about 4-stars, not a Beis or a PM2000 but certainly adequate, aligned OK. Just make sure to seat the fence on the front rail consistently each time before securing with the handle. It’s very repeatable if done right. Installation of the fence rails was tedious due to bolt locations.
• Arbor stops – Both the 90 and 45 degree stops adjustments are accessible from tabletop, but seemed a bit mushy.
• Blade Inserts – Both single-blade and dado plates are provided. These are metal and the support ledge bosses are only 1/8” below the table surface so zero-clearance inserts are a little more trouble to install (have to be relieved for the support bosses).
• Off/On Switch – nice, easily turned off with knee or leg. Downside: easily turned off if bumped or if switch cover allowed to fall back from lifted position.
• Extensions = OK but sure would have preferred cast versus the powder-coated steel versions.
• Blade Height/Angle adjustment – Worked OK but obviously not premium mechanisms.
• Riving Knife – and OK does it’s job. Very nice adjustment mechanism to lower or remove it.
• Blade Guard and Anti-Kickback Assy – Both work OK.
• Caster system – Outstanding! The 4 swiveling casters make it really easy to move. In the ‘down’ position on the rubber feet the saw is very stable.
• Dust collection – Chute at the bottom with 4” port, worked very well and easy access to clean saw interior by just removing the rear panel.
• Blade/arbor adjustment – this done via 4 (not 3 as manual says) bolts that hold the front and rear trunions to the bottom of the table. As noted by a couple of other LJS reviews, the socket bolt head diameter used here is too small and can be resolved by replacing those bolts with 10mm x 1.5mm x 30mm flange bolts. Without this change, the blade adjustment was nearly impossible.
Unfortunately the saw I bought has a critical defect. Even after changing the trunion bolts, the horizontal blade alignment changes radically from the lowest to highest blade positions, as much as .080” at the rear edge of the blade with respect to the front of the blade. Changing the blade angle also changes the horizontal alignment, although less severely. This condition appears to be caused by a casting or machining defect in the main arbor/motor assembly, and is not possible to correct with just arbor or trunion adjustment.
Sears service when contacted was helpful and says this saw can be repaired within the 1-year warranty period, but after the 90-day return/refund period requires removal of the saw base and fence (and return to a service center) to allow them to ship it back for repair. At this point that’s way too much trouble, and I’m pretty sure I will just sell the saw as is and reinvest in a better quality unit. After all, the blade can be aligned very well at any single height, sort of like a stopped clock that’s right at least twice a day!
If anyone has had any luck correcting this condition, I would sure appreciate knowing the solution. Thanks!