|Review by Walnutz||posted 01-21-2012 04:33 PM||8027 views||0 times favorited||9 comments|
There is a summary below if you don’t want to read this rather long review.
Purchase and Delivery:
I’ve had this saw a little over a year now and thought it would be a good point to review it. I decided on this saw after looking at countless reviews and considering price and overall weight.
I purchased it from my local Woodcraft store. The owner of the store delivered it to my garage for a small fee. At first I was a little concerned that the packaging looked to be rather flimsy. It had been bolted to a pallet with 2 bolts (one of which had pulled out of the pallet) and covered with a cardboard box. The owner helped me uncrate it as he said he always does before he leaves. After opening it up, we found no damage. The table top was well coated as were the extra cast iron wings. The motor was tilted and dropped down into a large block of styrofoam. All of the extra parts (fence, rails, etc.) were packed very well.
The next project was getting it into my basement shop. I’ll repeat what most people have said about these saws. They are heavy. I stripped it down as far as I felt I wanted to. I considered removing the center cast iron top but decided not to mess with that thinking that the factory had at least gotten it close to lined up with the blade and starting from scratch was something I just didn’t feel I wanted to do. I ended up using a heavy duty appliance dolly and adding tie-down straps for extra security. It took 3 people to get it down one step at a time with no injuries and no damage to the saw or the house.
The assembly and set up was pretty straight forward. It does take at least 2 people to install the cast iron wings. I was able to line them up pretty easily and get them level with the main table by snugging the bolts and tapping the wings up or down with a rubber mallet. I didn’t have to make any modifications to the mating surfaces and both wings are perfectly flush from front to back. I did have to make a slight adjustment to the table to align it with the blade. The unit did come with a worksheet showing what the table alignment specs were along with the arbor run-out. I found these measurements to be very close to actual but I wanted the table a little closer and by loosening 3 of the 4 bolts and tapping the table, it came into alignment rather quickly. The fence rails and extension table installed and aligned without any problems. Yes, the mounting bolts are hidden inside the front rail. The fence is fully adjustable with hex set screws and is very easy to get to exactly where you want it as far as aligned with the blade and parallel to the table. You can also adjust it so the face is 90 degrees to the table with the 2 set screws on top. Assembly, including installing the cord that it didn’t come with took me roughly 4 to 5 hours over several nights.
Once I had it up and running, I discovered the only negative aspect of my purchase. It had a noticeable vibration that I wasn’t expecting. It didn’t affect the cutting performance in any way the way, which was and still is flawless. I tried several things such as running it without the blade, then taking the belt off and running just the motor. With each item removed, the vibration lessened. I first contacted the owner of the Woodcraft store who promptly said he would come out and look at it the next day which he did. I was quite impressed, he would take the time to do that. He quickly agreed that there should not be that type of vibration and said he would contact the manufacturer. A day later I had a call from the service center who said they would be sending out an independent machine service to look at the saw. Long story short. Within a week of receiving the saw, they had ordered a replacement motor and belt and less than a week later he was back with the new motor and belt. I would say the vibration is 90% gone and yes I can balance a nickel on the table with it running. (Not sure why everyone thinks that’s a good test, but I did it anyway) The only other problem I had was the paint flaking off of the red throat plate. Walter Meier promptly sent me a new one. The second was better than the original but is also flaking around the set screws. I decided not to worry about it since I have replaced it with zero clearance inserts any way.
I also ordered the optional riving knife shortly after getting the saw and that works quite nicely also and is adjustable in all directions with set screws and has a quick release lever to remove it.
Like I said, I have had this over a year. I have cut up to 2 inch thick stock, both maple and black walnut, both rip and cross cut and this saw doesn’t even work up a sweat. Occasionally I recheck the set up and so far have only had to re-adjust the fence once and have had to re-adjust the 90 degree stop on the blade just recently. Otherwise nothing has moved. I did accidentally hit the fence rail with the fence and put a small chip in the rail but that was my fault. I have built a version of the “Super Sled” and the out-feed table. You can see both of those in “My Projects” The ZCI’s I am using are Leecraft purchased from Woodcraft. They make them for both regular blades, Dado and with or without the riving knife. Dust collection works quite well with the encapsulated blade. Overhead dust collection would be the only thing that would make it better when making less than a full kerf cut.
I can’t say enough about the service I received from my local Woodcraft store in West Allis, WI and about the service I got from Walter Meier Tools. I have given it 5 stars since the one problem I had was quickly resolved by the manfacturer and I have not had a single problem with it since.
I would highly recommend this saw to anyone considering a cabinet saw. It seemed to be about in the middle of the price range for 3 HP cabinet saws and the extra features of the Deluxe model make it even more attractive.
I would be glad to answer questions that anyone has. Thanks for reading.