|Review by CyberDyneSystems||posted 05-29-2012 06:36 PM||6922 views||0 times favorited||30 comments|
My review is of the SawStop Industrial Cabinet saw ICS51230: 5 hp, 1 phase, 230 V 20 A
I have not included much for Photos, check out Stevenmadden’s review here for a nice selection;
My pertinent background:
A carpenter in various trades since 1986, I have had opportunity to use dozens of tablesaws over the years.
I consider the older Unisaw (circa 1930’s – 2006 ish) to be the industry standard cabinet saw, and have worked on about 10 different models of Unisaw alone. I have also used a few Powermatic 66, Walker turner, Oliver, Craftsman, Ryobi, Delta Contractors saw, and many more.
Before using the SawStop, I felt the best tablesaw I had used over the years that was “ownable” by mere mortals was the Powermatic 66 with an original Beisemeyer fence. I prefer the left tilt, and the T-Square fence over the right tilt and Unifence on the Unisaws.
I have a 1940’s Unisaw at home, now equipped with a Beisemeyer fence, and we have used a 1993 era Unisaw with 50” Unifence in the shop since, well 1993.
The SawStop is now my favorite. With the exception of the real industrial saws like Oliver etc..
this SawStop excels in most every category. (Please consider that for the rest of this review anytime I claim a superlative, I am making this claim to the exception of such industrial monsters as the Oliver.)
The safety system of course is the single largest factor, but the overall design is industry leading as well.
We had it set up in a few hours taking time to make sure all adjustments were perfect.
From it’s huge, beautiful castings with tight machining, to its utterly smooth operation, I was impressed that this was a superior design to the rest of the pack.
I have video of it passing the dime test, where you balance a dime on edge, and fire up the saw, and it does not vibrate the dime onto it’s side. You start with a nickle, then a penny and work your way up to the dime.
We even made a cut, a 6’ rip through pine, with the Dime still standing.
In my experience, this makes this the smoothest running saw (short of the multi-ton industrial monsters) on the market today. Period.
- The handwheel adjustments are the smoothest of any cabinet saw I have used, both brand new or well broken in. The wheels are located perfectly.
- The power switch is in the best location I have found, allowing me to switch the saw off with my knee easily as I complete a 16’ rip (a very common task in my shop)
- The Dust collection is VASTLY superior to the Unisaw or any other comparable design I’ve come across. In conjunction with the guard, you do get amazing results.
- The lock down throat plate functions flawlessly, and is easily swapped for a zero clearance for Dado stack etc.
- The fence is a dead ringer Beisemeyer knock off, so it’s suits me quite well.
- It has the proper left tilt to the blade.
- It’s table size, weight and power (this is the 5HP single phase motor) make it a dream to use. It takes what you can throw at it in stride.
The little amenities are nice additions:
- Like storage locations for wrenches, guard, riving knife and miter gauge.
- tamper proof enclosure doors, (saw will not run if the cabinet is open. Heck compare this to our 1993 Unisaw, where the cabinet access door never really closed and sealed, and was a bear to open, and leaked dust like crazy. None of this is a problem on the SawStop.)
- It has better wrenches!
- The riving knife or guard dust collection assembly swap in and out in a seconds, with the flick of a well designed substantial lever.
- The extension table is superior to the white malimine we are used to seeing.
In short, I’d want this saw even without it’s added safety features. When forced to design their own saws by the industry leaders that did not see a future in the safety system, it seems that SawStop went out of their way to make their saws superior in most every aspect as well.
That I am in a University instructing students on the safe use of these dangerous tools, means that the added safety of the SawStop makes all the things I have listed in this review, icing on the very tasty cake.