|Review by OttawaP||posted 03-15-2008 01:45 AM||15500 views||2 times favorited||12 comments|
I had posted this tool review of my cabinet saw purchase a few years ago on a couple woodworking forums, I hope it helps. The picture above is actually the right tilt 50-250 model, the left tilt is the 50-260.
Here’s my review on my new GI 50-260 3 h.p left tilt cabinet saw. I’ll try not to get to wordy and keep it short as possible. I ordered it from Mark’s Machinery and had it the next day!! It was more of a good timing thing I think it’s usually 2-3 days. Very well packaged and shipped, it arrived with no damage or missing pieces. The usual oil coating seemed harder than ever to get off, maybe I just couldn’t wait to get the thing running. All rumours about GI manuals are true, they suck. It’s a good thing that a table saw comes with very few parts.I’m probably pretty picky when it comes to assembly so it took me the better part of a day to do it. The GI mobile stand rated at 500 lbs is ok but not great. The last time I saw so many parts was when I installed a garage door. The saw at just over 400 lbs seems about max to me for this stand. I have my rails supported so this helped alot it’s now rock solid. I would look for something more heavy duty for this saw or just sit it on the floor and forget it.The side extension wings are tough to install alone. Get some pipe clamps and then get some more. The right side was bang on level but I found the left ever so slightly dropped down along the far left side. I checked to see if there was still some gunk I forgot to clean preventing a clean mating surface but no. I guess that the two mating surfaces do not meet at 90 deg. (i’m talking less than 1/32” lower). I placed a folded post-it note under each bolt and it brought it up perfect flush. A minor annoyance. The tables themselves are level, clean as as close to a perfect grind as I would hope to get. I have a good straight edge and looked hard to find any real warp or dip with my feeler gauge. I was impressed. Weeks before, In another store, I was able to compare the General top with the GI top on the contractor saw. In all honesty I thought the quality of the grind looked the same even though the General is supposed to have a more “mirror” like finish, I didn’t see it.Squaring up the slots to the blade took way longer than I thought it would, Maybe I’m just picky but I put in alot of rubber mallet time. A tap here a tap there, here a tap there a tap everywhere a tap tap.
The arbour was factory set to a perfect 90 deg and a perfect 45 deg – WOW. I mean perfect dead on, no adjustment req’d, the buck stops here, see ya later bye, done deal.
The General fence is awesome. It weighs more than the benchtop saw I use on site. An odd thing, This fence is only made for the General version of the saw so the holes don’t line up. It’s much then like any after market fence, you have to drill holes. No big deal, but I thought it strange. They give you a masonite depth gauge to use and it’s fine but you need two to make it easy. I used my 4” adjustable LV square (the most handy tool you will ever own BUY ONE) and set it to the obscure measurement of 27/32” or something like that so I had one on each end of the table. Due to my garage area I was hoping to buy a 30” rail set but it’s only available as 52”. I cut mine down (sniff , sniff) to a 40” max. cut, not a bad compromise.I made a extension table out of 3/4” MDF and 3/4” baltic birch frame with laminate top.The fence is so strong and accurate it’s hard to imagine until you play with it.
The table saw insert is ok nothing special. I found a couple of burrs on top at the screw holes and filed them flat. I found the insert had a slight warp in it and I had to put it in my vise to tap it back straight. I will be making 3 inserts anyway (zero clearance, dado, and a tilting zero clearaance) so the factory will end up in a drawer as a template.
The General miter gauge is pretty good, very solid cast and very tight in the slots. Nothing special but very well made and rock solid.
It was time to rock and roll. I had been using a old junk blade to align things in case it got hit with a wrench or something. I released the stop button and hit on, Nothing happened. Did it again – nothing. Panic set in. I then realized even though my brother in law put in a new pony panel in the shop for me, the main breaker in the basement was still off. With the breaker on I hit the button again. The motor sprung on strong. ( I also had previously tightened the belts). With the crap blade I cut a 2×4 in half. Holy S#%T what a nice cut I could not beleive the blade I had kicked around and abused could produce it. I proceeded to cut some cherry, oak, maple, and oak ply – I was smiling like a kid in Toys R Us.I now put in a new Forrest WW2 and cut the same pieces. All I can say is they are as close to perfect that I think I have ever seen. No visible scoring, no burning no splintering. Under EXTREME examination and looking very hard with a light at an angle some VERY faint scratches can be seen . The cuts are ready for a light sand and are good to go.I cut some 2 1/4” oak and cherry with tons of power and perfect cuts. The quality of the cut is better than the dressed sides of the bought stock.This saw won’t bog under anything from what I can see. I cut some 4×4” soaking wet p.t. to full depth 3” cut. The difference between a contractor saw and this thing is huge. The saw does not even seem to know there is any wood being pushed thru it. I pushed the wood fast and it was like sliding it accross a table ( ok that’s an exageration ), but you get the picture.
That’s it, If I forgot something let me know. I’m very happy with the saw. I don’t see the point in spending more for the General version.That version gives you a heavier gauge cabinet, an included extension table, Made is USA motor and made in Canada everything else, non plastic gaurd ( i prefer to see thru it ), insignificantly slighly heavier arbour. The same fence, miter gauge and warranty.
I’ll rate the saw a 9/10, just because there is always room for improvement.
Hope this helps