|Review by David Grimes||posted 04-09-2011 08:51 AM||8437 views||0 times favorited||4 comments|
I just received this glorified miter saw stand. It was well packaged and delivered undamaged. Assembly was very simple and straightforward as were the instructions.
I have been looking at this and the Craftsman version for quite some time. The only differences in the two are paint color (Portamate orange, Sear red), the Sears only has one wheel whereas the Portamate has two… and the Sears is about $50 higher in price. I got mine for $199, no tax and free shipping.
This item comes with a “free” vise and worklight. Both appear to be useful items that perform their intended function.
There are three (3) fully adjustable roller supports with flip stops (one each at the ends of the support arms and the third on the light mount that can be positioned anywhere on the sturdy extruded aluminum main rail). I had them all level and aligned with my 10” sliding miter saw table height in a very few minutes.
The telescoping support arms allow a whopping 114” of spread when both sides are fully extended. Fully retracted results in a minimum spread of 65 1/2”.
There is a built-in switched and lighted power strip with four (4) grounded 120 volt receptacles. There are hinged cover flaps for each to keep dust out when not in use.
There is a built-in storage compartment with hinges plastic cover that measures 1 1/2” deep x 2 1/4 high x 10 1/2” wide. I would put this lid at the top of the list of “most easily breakable”. However, I can probably use this for many years without tearing it off its hinges.
Extra pairs of machine mounts are readily available for about $25 each. They can be mounted beneath miter saws, sanders, scroll saws, drill presses, etc. etc. and remain on the machines (they have flat bottoms and hard rubber feet) for very simple and quick attachment to the work station, then easy removal after use. I will use this for my miter saw mainly, but I will also use my scroll saw and belt/disc sander here as well.
I read many reviews at several sites while deciding on whether or not to purchase this item. One complained of being unable to get a replacement bulb from Sears. I will cross that bridge when I come to it. Several others complained about the Sears one-wheel version being difficult to transport and maneuver. I am not even going to assemble my two wheels since mine will not be transported. Other complaints (or in some cases worries) had to do with the plastic handles used throughout the unit and including on the machine mounts. My take on those concerns: I believe I can personally use this station and all the plastic adjustment handles for many years without damaging them from over-torquing. However, I don’t see anything on this unit that could not be easily repaired or even upgraded with new handles, carriage bolts, even a spot weld if ever needed. I don’t expect that to be necessary. it seems sturdy enough for my purposes.
This work center is loaded with useful features that are not even available on the run-of-the-mill miter saw stands at any price. At $199 this is a steal. It would be a great addition for most home shops and even the serious craftsman if used as a shop fixture. Park it. Use it. Drag it around the shop. it will be fine.
On the other hand, if i were to take this fine product out of my shop and deliver it to my crew (where it would get shop usage and job-site usage), I would say that two months tops and most of the peripheral accessories would be rendered MIA or FUBAR. We have the Dewalt stands for the rough piling onto and transport. They don’t have much to fall off except the stop and the feet cups (gone long ago).
I gave four stars for features, value, and basic sturdiness. It probably should be 5 stars because of the value to price. If this same design were beefed up in just a few ways, it would then cost significantly more and would still be fragile for rough abuse and transport just due to all the appendaged peripherals it is covered in.
I’m glad I bought it. I would recommend it to a friend.
-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia