|Review by KnickKnack||posted 03-06-2011 11:03 AM||3735 views||0 times favorited||16 comments|
Prefix: I should say that I’m not a very experienced woodworker, so I’m not comparing this machine with anything else – I have no idea whether this table saw is better, or worse, than a Griz X, or a Bear Y.
A couple of months ago it was my misfortune to purchase a Lombarte Combi 260SW. Details of this combination 6 function machine can be found on their company website here.
Here in Portugal machinery is hard to come by, and I was pleased when the local shop pointed me to the Lombarte web site and said they were able to supply me with these “quality” machines. I ummed and ahhed and finally made my decision.
Before proceeding to the details, I should point out that I’m currently taking legal action against the shop that supplied this machine for failing to honour the (mandatory) 2 year guarantee. I reported a raft of defects 4 days after it arrived and, after an email saying they were “waiting for Lombarte” that’s the last I’ve heard from them.
To enable “normal” router bits to be used on the router table you must purchase an adaptor (for 100 euros + VAT at 23%). It’s the black bit shown in the picture. No tool was supplied for tightening the router bits in place. I thought this was strange, but who am I to argue, so I tightened it as much as I could, and tried it. Half an inch into a very thin cut into a piece of pine I hit the stop button. Well, in fact, I had to walk around the machine to get to a stop button. The wobbling of the bit was insane, and, looking at it, the bit had slipped down into the collet. I tightened it with a wrench and tried again. Through force of will I managed a complete cut of about 6 inches. It was terrible – shaggy edge and scary. Basically the whole router motor assembly wobbles and is unusable. The guy from the shop came and tried, in case I was doing something wrong, with the same result.
You can also see in the picture that the circular metal bit around the router head is lower than the table by a few millimetres making it hard to actually run any piece of wood along it without it catching.
Like most european machines, this uses a sliding table. The problem is that the sliding table part is not parallel to the fixed table part, and could not, in my many hours of trying, be adjusted to be parallel. So, depending on the length of wood you’re cutting, you get a different angle on the end.
The riving knife is higher than the blade. Maybe that’s right, but it makes resawing or any kind of dado cut hard or impossible. You can remove the knife, but you have to take the machine apart to do it.
You can see the huge gap around the blade – I didn’t like that so I looked into a zero-clearance insert. But there’s nowhere to actually rest it – there’s no ledge around the blade, just a long drop to the floor.
Adjustment of the height is via a lever – I think I’d expected something a little more subtle.
The perpendicular fence whose angle is adjustable (which you can see under the piece of oak), is flimsy to say the least, and tends to bend when the wood first makes contact with the blade, making a flat cut very difficult. In addition, the back isn’t perpendicular to the table – if you want to cut two bits of wood at the same time they won’t actually be lined up unless you do it by eye yourself.
The slot you see is, I guess, for adding your own jigs, but it’s blocked at both ends making it hard to remove the dust/shavings etc etc that accumulate there.
The planer works fine.
The thicknesser (see picture) is engaged using a lever. Well, that’s the theory. Actually to engage the thicknesser you need to reach inside the machine to engage the gears – an operation explicitly prohibited by the (totally awful) manual. You can wind up the table height using the handle, and then you lock it using a floating knut mechanism. Despite the fact that I barely used the thicknesser, the thread on this nut stripped within less than a week. Once you’ve locked it (using my own pliers now), you need to “knock” at the table to make it settle in a given position – if you don’t, it will drop during the thicknessing operation.
The infeed rollers are not level, and cannot be adjusted – maybe you can see that on the right hand side they are below, and on the left hand side above, the level of the table.
I thought this might be a nice idea. The bit remains fixed while you move the wood around with levers. In practice the table to which you attach the wood wobbles. I used it once with a small bit and got ragged edges and a serious scare with every thing wobbling around. In addition I could see no way to deploy any kind of stop block to cut mortises of known, or reproducible, width. I recently had to cut 26 identical mortises for a project I’ll be posting next week – the fact that I chose to set up my hand-held router to do this rather than use this machine’s mortiser tells the story.
A nut is missing on the bit guard.
Exactly one week ago I sent an email to Lombarte, explaining my experiences, telling them about my legal action, listing (some of) the defects in the machine, and mentioning that I was going to review their product.
Their response as of today – nothing.
This machine is terrible. In my opinion it’s dangerous, badly conceived and the company that manufactures it clearly don’t care once they have your money.
My recommendation – AVOID this machine and anything manufactured by this company
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