|Review by Howardh||posted 07-30-2012 03:05 AM||16474 views||1 time favorited||44 comments|
I noticed no one had posted a review about this saw so it’s time! Anyone who is interested in getting a SS ICS should consider this saw first. For a short time I had a Laguna Platinum series and was not pleased at all. Numerous problems, wobble in the arbor, not good. Sold it, saved my pennies and after a long process, decided on the Hammer. What a great decision! I have had it about 4 months and I smile every time I walk past it in the garage. Those Austrians have it going on. Set up took about 2-3 hours and it came with about double the number of nuts and bolts it needed. Another plus, no cosmoline! They use a special paper so there was nothing to clean up after it was assembled. Speaking of assembly, as typical the European manufacturers, their instructions were awful. I ended up bringing my laptop outside and followed along the Youtube assembly video they put together. They didn’t make the model I wanted, a 48” slider with a 31” rip capacity. When the saw arrived in the U.S., they cut it down for me but you can’t tell it. They did that good a job. There is a long list of features:
1. The slider. With the 48” length, you can cut a 48” piece of plywood quite easily with one person. The slider allows you to hold the workpiece down securely while the slider pushes the workpiece through blade. Your hands never get within a foot of the blade. Let’s say you want to rip a 8” wide piece of hardwood. I will crosscut it first to slightly longer length than needed and then secure it to the slider. Don’t even need the fence at this point. Just run it down past the blade and you have a perfectly edged board. Move the fence over to where you want it and make pass after pass using the slider. It’s not just for sheet goods! The slider can be locked down if necessary so the saw can be used as a conventional cab saw. The slider is about 10” wide so there is plenty of support. For added support, my unit came with a supplemental support table as you can see. It’s the angled piece bolted on the side of the slider. It provides plenty of support even on 3/4” plywood. It’s so strong I can sit on one end (203#’s) and it doesn’t flex. It’s a beautiful thing!
2. The crosscut fence. It’s about 3’ long and has a positive stop at 90 deg. It’s dead nuts on. The edge is only a few millimeters away from the blade so the workpiece is fully supported right up to the edge of the blade. The measuring tape is easily moved if you change blades from a normal to a think kerf. It also has a built in flip stop. Very solid piece of engineering.
3. The fence. It’s very cool. In the normal position, it’s 5” high and can be easily adjusted so it floats just above the top of the cast iron table. I added the micro adjust which makes it very easy to get an exact measurement. In addition, I added the Wixey digital table saw scale. It allows measurement down to .005”. I simply get it close, then use the micro adjust to get it perfect. The fence can also be rotated 90 deg to get it .75” high for use with ripping very small pieces, i.e. .25” strips. They won’t get trapped and shot backwards. The fence also adjusts fore and aft with the twist of a lever so you can use it as a stop. You have to be careful to have the end of the fence no further down past the middle of the blade to eliminate kickback. Once it’s locked down, it is rock solid. No movement of any kind. You can use it with and without the slider depending on what you want to accomplish.
4. Power. It comes standard with a 4HP single phase motor. It’s a bit loud with the 12” blade but very quiet with the 10” They use a proprietary arbor bore, 30mm with two 5mm pins hold it place. I wanted a thin kerf blade so I ordered one from Forrest and it works great. It stops very quickly, especially with the 10” blade. Maybe 2-3 seconds. I opted not to get the scoring blade but I can add it at any time. I understand it’s really good if you do sheet goods but frankly I didn’t see any noticeable tear out on the BB I was cutting recently. I can only imagine what it would look like with the scoring unit. They include a narrow wood throat plate and I use it for a ZCTP. It can also be used for a dado unit. With 4HP on tap, 8/4 hardwood is no match. No burning, no bogging down. Especially when used with the slider, the edges are jointer good.
5. Dust collection. Much better than my Laguna. It captures most of the dust. I use a dust deputy attached to a Festool CT26 and haven’t had any issues.
6. Fit and finish. Typical Teutonic quality. Everything fits the way it should and is very heavy duty. There are also loads of accessories available through Hammer but you had better hold on to your wallet! You only thought Festool was expensive. I wanted to get this cool glue cup and with shipping it’s $40! Yikes!! Not doing that any time soon.
7. Mobility. I added their mobility kit which is a set of wheels on one end and a steel plate on the other. A wheeled bar, ordered separately, is positioned under the bar and pushed down which raises up the machine so it can be moved. From that position, it’s pretty easy to move around a 700# machine. I was surprised at that. I can also use the bar for the A3-31 I have ordered.
Final thoughts. I never thought I would spend $4000 ($2990 plus a few accessories + shipping) on a machine I had never seen in person but I’m glad I did. It’s powerful, very well engineered, very safe and a joy to use. It took 3 months to get it but it’s worth the wait. I’m glad I got it over the SS. Oh! The folks at Felder in DE called me several times to make sure everything was as expected. They gave me great support on the setup and when I discovered a small part was missing, they got it to me right away.
-- If you learn from your mistakes I must be a genius.