|Review by Mike||posted 03-08-2012 07:01 AM||6583 views||0 times favorited||10 comments|
Here is my first blush review after less than 5 hours of use:
the Good -
Out of the box, the blade was dead nuts on. I did not have the problem that others have had with the blade becoming off angled at full height. Assembly was actually really easy once I looked at the parts and the instructions closely on “difficult” sections. I feel that if you need this kind of table saw and have problems assembling it, you really aren’t reading the instructions and need to slow down.
The fence is well built and only needed some very minor lubrication to make it slide like butter. Additionally with the fence, I like that it does not contact the table top. This is nice since the last table saw I had scratched grooves where the fence contacted the top. The handle on the fence is nice and big. Also the handle pressure to clap the fence into place is very light so you don’t feel like you are forcing anything. The other handles on the saw are well made and easy to turn (the height adjustment is clockwise to raise which seems backwards to other saws I have used). The rails are nice too.
The anti-kick back fins are easy to slide a board through and do not hinder cutting like other saws. I did test if they gripped properly with the saw off and they worked well. The blade guard is fantastic too. It is easy to look down at the cut line. The guard is split into two pieces to allow for the non-cutting side of the blade to shield you hands. To remove the guard and anti-kick back fins is very easy. Just pull a compression tab and they pop right off.
The mobile base works well and makes a 300 lb saw easy to move around my shop which is going to be really nice.
I really love the ability to slide the power switch box left and right located under the rail system. I set it up and used the saw. I was so thrilled that I didn’t have to go hunting for the switch. This is a fantastic way to add safety and convenience at the same time.
The saw passed the nickel test with flying colors. I even did a penny test with the same results. The saw is also very quite. You still need ear protection anyway but it isn’t nearly as loud as other saws.
The ok -
While this really wasn’t a big deal to me, I feel that the bolts and nuts that come in the bags should have been divided up into sections of the build. I had to go from one bag to another between steps and then back again. By going from 4 bags to a few more I would have saved maybe 15 minutes in the assembly time as well as make it easier to find the right parts.
I do like the fact that the saw has storage built on the sides of the saw for all the accessories. What isn’t great about it is that they are positioned so low and far back from the front that you have to bend under the table top and I almost banged my head getting to things (I’m 6’ tall). This really comes into place with the push stick.
The what were they thinking -
When attaching the back rail for the fence, four out of the 8 bolts are located in ridiculous places. The bolt holes on the table top has very limited room to allow for you to add the washer and lock washer as well as thread the nut on. My fingers are average size and I struggled with it. The outside rail bolts are worse than the center two. They placed to bolt holes in the corners where the leg meets the top. I had to switch to a box wrench from my tool box to get the bolts tight. Additionally, I had to hold the wrench at a really odd angle to even get on the bolt. Very difficult.
I don’t think that someone did a clearance check on the riven knife nor attempted to raise and lower it at different blade heights. The section that holds the anti-kick back fins is bubbled outwards just a little. When the blade is halfway up, if you try to adjust the riven knife to raise or lower it, the dang thing bangs into the back of the saw! You can not lower or raise the riven knife all of the way without completely raising the arbor to it max height!
This isn’t terrible since the saw is somewhat mobile, but the dust port is located at the bottom of the saw. If you perform allot of cuts without DC, sawdust will pile up under it as expected. What isn’t so great is that you can’t just take a broom and sweep under it. There just isn’t any clearance to do it! Additionally, if you do want to attach a DC to the saw, the port is so low to the ground that your piping is going to be forced at an odd angle. Combining the low clearance and the odd angle, it is going to be a pain to plumb the saw.
The Bad -
Out of the box I noticed that paint was scratched on several different parts. Sections of the paint looked like orange peel as if they didn’t fully clean the parts before painting. I can tell that the paint is really thinly coated overall since in sections there was flaking. These were minor on each, but it is a new saw and should look like it in my opinion. If I paid full retail price I would have been pissed, but I didn’t so I don’t mind as much.
The standard blade insert was missing 25% of the paint from the top. The insert was also pitted and scratch badly. Sears is replacing it at no charge.
Here is my big gripe about the saw at this point. The riven knife design is terrible for alignment. Here is why. There is a little lock pin that allows the pin to fit through pre-drilled holes. If you try and use the riven knife without it position on the holes, the entire knife tilts to the left causing it to create pressure and pinching when using the fence to the left of the blade. This is flat out dangerous. Also, the riven knife should be smooth, the one that I got is rough and sandpaper like. Sears is sending a replacement to see if that can resolve that issue. Out of all the tuning operations, the riven knife was just a flat out pain in the butt.
Finally, while it worked out ok for me not only are the box dimensions that the saw comes in under what they actually are (bad for getting through doorways), but the saw itself with the rails is also wider than the manually actually states. If I didn’t have the room I do have, this could be a major issue.
Overall first blush review of the saw – 3.5 / 5 stars
If they fixed the paint issue I would add half a star just for that. The riven knife design lost it a star. The riven knife is a poor design and can be dangerous to someone that doesn’t know about the issue nor how to fix it. I might consider buying the saw again if it was priced at $400 – $450, but $600 + S & H of around $170 is ridiculous for the quality of the product based on the safety issues with the riven knife and the paint.
-- look Ma! I still got all eleven of my fingers! - http://www.termitecrafts.com