|Review by Lildrgnoflb01||posted 02-11-2012 06:24 PM||6596 views||2 times favorited||23 comments|
Chapter One: The Quest
Our story begins as our intrepid young intermediate woodworker filters through the plethora of information on the internet about table saws. Relying heavily on woodworking websites like his favorite Lumberjocks, he sorted out what he needed. He’s in search of a cabinet saw, a sure upgrade from the Ridgid contractor’s saw he’s been making sawdust with for the last three years. His vision was narrowed to two saws, the Sawstop 3hp cabinet saw, and the Powermatic PM2000, but the scales tipped once he got a glimpse of the Limited Edition Onyx from Powermatic. Black…so sexy it looked like a ’69 Camero. Add to that the fact that the Onyx will come in at about $800 cheaper where he lives, comes with three blades, a built in caster system and a seven and a half year warranty, and his mind was made up. And since our hero is a S.I.N.K, the decision was made decisively and with no argument.
Chapter Two: The Order
To his dismay, his quest might have taken too long. Not a vendor in sight had one left. Site after site was out of stock. Could his hopes for a sleek new saw be dashed? One day, he spots a vendor he hadn’t seen. Deciding to be a bit more personal, he calls and speaks to a wonderful salesperson that advised she might be able to score one, because her Powermatic Rep was actually in the building and should be able to pull a favor. A short time later, our hero receives a call.
“ I’ve got good news and bad news,” says the salesperson.
Remembering the words of Robert Duvall in the Godfather, “Good news we can have anytime, but bad news we gotta have right away”, he asked for the bad news. The salesperson, Darla, advised that the only rails they had left are yellow, instead of the new special edition black, but the rest of the saw is in black. Thinking he will truly have a one-of-a-kind saw, he pulled the trigger and placed the order.
Chapter Three: The Delivery
In a short week, the saw arrived. The freight company called three days prior to make a delivery appointment and since the vendor offered free lift-gate service, sliding it into our hero’s garage was a breeze. Total delivery came in several boxes on two pallets. The saw itself was nicely bolted to one of the pallets and was covered with thick cardboard and metal strapping. The inside corners of the box were braced with 2×4’s, a nice touch. With the help of two buddies, our hero lifted the saw off the crate. No small task considering it weighed in at over 500#’s. Those trips to the gym finally paid off for our hero. The rest of the shipment was in nice condition, with no visible damage to any of the boxes.
Chapter Four: The Assembly…or in honor of Norm…Assem-buy-lee.
Cosmoline galore. It was on the table, wings, rails and tubes. Mineral spirits and elbow grease was the order of the day. Soon the cosmoline was off like a prom dress after midnight. To his horror, a slight chip was observed on the table and one of the wings had a slight bevel to the edge that mates with the main table top. Not having experience enough to understand if this was acceptable, our hero called Powematic Customer Service. The nice lady on the line advised that these defects were unacceptable to them, and they will send a new top and a new wing. THE BOY WAS STUNNED! Now that’s customer service. Not only did they ship the new parts no questions asked, they said our hero could keep the old ones. Four days later, his new top and new wing were in place and the tuning could begin in earnest.
A cool Betterly dial indicator revealed absolutely no run-out on the arbor shaft or flange, and a straight edge and feeler gauges indicated a top so flat, he could not slide a .001 feeler gauge anywhere between the two. Tips from the Wood Whisperer and his friends at Lumberjocks, plus five or so hours of tinkering at a very leisurely pace ( a turn of a wrench, a sip of a beer…another turn of the wrench…another sip of beer) got the extension wings, table, blade and fence aligned and ready to go. He opened up the switch box and replaced the silly 5-foot tail of a power cord that came attached to the switch with a nice 15-foot rubber coated cable. The fence face was not as flat as he liked, with a dip of about .003in near the center, and the wood extension table had a crown in the center of about the same. He thought perfection was unrealistic, and with his experience still in its infancy, maybe he was asking too much.
Chapter Five: The Accessories.
Three Amana blades came in the box. A cross cut, a combo and a rip blade. All three seemed decent enough, but our woodworker decided to stick with the tried and true Woodworker II combo blade he got for Christmas. He ordered a low profile riving knife and a couple of zero clearance blanks on-line to make inserts for the dado and combo blades. The anti-fatigue mat was a nice touch, with a big Powermatic logo in the center.
Chapter Six: The Fire-Up
After placing a couple of nickels on edge near the throat plate, our hero plugged in the saw, crossed his fingers and pressed the button. The saw roared to life, but the nickels stood proud like soldiers guarding a post. He smiled with glee. He hunted down a big piece of 8/4 maple that he was saving to cut with a saw that would do the job properly and slipped it through his new machine. All he heard was the unmistakable purr that only three horsepower can make as the saw tore through the wood like Khloe Kardashian through a pepperoni pizza. He pulled on the bevel wheel, which is suppose to engage the castor mechanism and cranked away. The saw elevated about ½ an inch, and slid across the floor of the garage with ease, even with the extension table and legs attached. Granted, our hero’s floor is nice and flat, so he expected no problems.
Chapter Seven: The Grade
All in all, our young woodworker gives the saw 4 stars, but with an asterisk. If not for having to get a new top and new wing, the saw would have rated five. But if five is the best, then it should be reserved for near perfection. The fast, hassle-free customer service for the replacement parts however, makes the grade swing in favor of five stars. Four months and many board-feet later, the honeymoon is still going strong. He loves the fact that when in place, the saw only sits 34 inches off the ground, a perk since our hero is vertically challenged. The built-in arbor lock and big beefy 23mm forged wrench makes blade changes with a scrap piece of wood and a stamped-metal wrench a thing of the past. The fence glides along the rails like a roller coaster and was easy to true up square on all axes. Better yet, it locks down like a bull terrier at a mailman convention. The quick release mechanisms for the riving knife, anti-kickback paws and blade guard are working flawlessly, and are very convenient. The 4 inch dust collection port at the back of the saw collects roughly 80% of the dust; much better than our hero’s previous contractor saw, but then again, what cabinet saw wouldn’t be. If there was any gripe, it would be that for a saw running about $3K, one would think a plug and a low-profile riving knife would be included.
So as the sun sets on our intrepid young woodworker, his neighborhood is a buzz with the sound of 40 carbide teeth slicing away, the rumble of a three horsepower TEFC motor, and the unmistaken chuckle of joy that can only come from making sawdust.
I hope you find this review entertaining and useful. =)