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SawStop 3HP Professional Cabinet Saw W/ 36" T-Glide Fence System

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Review by Chris posted 11-18-2012 07:34 PM 6289 views 2 times favorited 31 comments Add to Favorites Watch
SawStop 3HP Professional Cabinet Saw W/ 36" T-Glide Fence System No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

For many years I have used a General 50-185 Contractor saw. It performed well over the years but my woodworking has advanced enough that I wanted something a little better. I have looked at the major cabinet saw brands but came back to this one because the others didn’t really trump it in any way plus it has superior safety features. I know that there are a lot of SawStop haters out there but my decision had very specific reasoning to back it up. My right index finger was severed by shrapnel while I was in the military and there was significant damage to the nerves in the hand as well. I was very fortunate, i’d say blessed, that the surgeons where able to re-attach my finger. It works but I only have about 5% of the feeling and almost no tactile feedback. So, that having been said this saw fit my specific needs very well. Now that I have completed a few projects on the saw I feel I can post an initial review.

Assembly:

I can honestly say that this is the first piece of machinery that I have assembled that required absolutely zero guesswork on my part. All of the hardware was separated into labeled blister packs; all tools that where specific to the saw are included and the detailed manual and assembly guide is outstanding.

Quality:
The build appears to be what you would expect from a saw at this level. It seems to be on par with my Powermatic and Jet equipment that I already own

Stability / Noise:
This is my first tool with an integral mobile base; it is phenomenally easy to use. Lifting and lowering is a breeze and when it is lowered the saw is rock solid. I purposely tried to move it and could not get it to budge; keep in mind I am 6’4” and 240lbs. When operating, the saw is very very quiet when compared to my contractor saw.

Use:
Riving Knife / Blade Guard: This is the first saw I have owned that it was easy to install and remove the blade guard not to mention to keep it aligned. No excuses for not using it that’s for sure. With the flip of a single lever the entire blade guard/riving knife assembly can be removed. The saw also comes with a stand-alone riving knife for those occasions where you can’t use a blade guard (Think crosscut sled, etc..).

Blade Change: The best thing about the blade change operation is the the guard/riving knife removal. Other than that it’s not much different so far…

Dust Collection: Dust collection from the cabinet has been wonderful. My 1.5hp DC seems to pull nearly everything from the cabinet. The only issue I have had is that I did not purchase the Overarm Dust Collection Kit”. I will be soon though because that will improve the dust collection from the table itself which is the only place I could find fault with the collection.

Alignment: Right from the start the saw was aligned; I did not have to adjust for parallelism between the miter gauge slot and the blade. I did have to make a very slight adjustment to the fence but that was a very simple tweak that took about a minute. Also, the clearance between the brake cartridge and the blade was right where it should be according to the included gauge. The indicator on the front of the saw for the blade tilt was slightly off and needed to be adjusted but once again it was a very simple task.

Other Item:

Now, i’m sure that my next set of findings is common to almost any good cabinet saw but they where significant enough, in my opinion, to mention. Over time using less capable equipment we get used to little tricks to get it to perform as we wish. I always complimented General for the quality of the previous saw. However, I started to realize that some of the issues I was having with projects where not necessarily of my doing. The single biggest thing I realized was with my latest project; it was a batch of step stools for different family members. I decided to pay close attention to the consistency when batching out parts. I built several of these stools and they ended up looking identical. I mean height, width, every miter, etc…

This alone is impressive enough to warrant purchasing a cabinet saw…

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein




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Chris

1867 posts in 2686 days



31 comments so far

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a1Jim

112361 posts in 2272 days


#1 posted 11-18-2012 07:39 PM

Good choice and super review.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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Ken90712

15104 posts in 1884 days


#2 posted 11-18-2012 07:45 PM

Nice review and congrats on your purchase. I have been on the fence so to speak about by this saw. I’m not a hater but think the price is a little high, althogh I understand losing a finger is far worse. Recently they tried to pass a law here in California that all future table saws would have to incorparate this great saftey feature. I did not pass which I think it should be our choice not the goverments. I have watched the video on it looks like they relly put some thought into making theis a top quality saw. Thx for the review not sure which way I’ll go but good info for me to think more on.

-- Ken, "Everyday above ground is a good day!"

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redryder

2200 posts in 1797 days


#3 posted 11-18-2012 09:17 PM

I’m not pro or con on this saw. I like the saw have but your review of the assembly would push me over to the pro side. Having to assemble anything is not what I ever sign up for but buying something with great assembly instructions is a courtesy that few manufacturers seem to care about. Sounds like Saw Stop does…...............

-- mike...............

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Lenny

1272 posts in 2222 days


#4 posted 11-18-2012 11:20 PM

Nice review Chris. Thanks and continued best wishes with your saw. I will be purchasing a Sawstop soon. I wonder if you would comment on the operation of the off/on switch? I understand you have to get all green lights or something like that before the saw will start up. This too is a nice safety feature but I wonder if it has been a hassle of any sort to you? Is it something you just have to get used to? Also, while researching the saw 2 months ago, I learned that the overarm dust collection system comes with the 3 hp cabinet saw purchase. Has that changed? Did you possibly get yours before they offered it free with the 3 hp saw? Thanks.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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Chris

1867 posts in 2686 days


#5 posted 11-19-2012 12:20 AM

Lenny,

The overarm dust collection dust not come with the saw normally; It may have been a special deal at one time. As for the power switch; yes, you do have to wait for the saw to complete it’s self test and give you a green light. However, I have not found that to be any sort of an issue or concern. I have taught a class at the Woodcraft here in Jacksonville where I ran into a issue with the self test. I turned out someone had monkeyed with the brake cartridge and it was failing the self test so the saw wouldn’t start. Took all of a couple of minutes to correct.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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Lenny

1272 posts in 2222 days


#6 posted 11-19-2012 01:12 AM

Thanks Chris.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

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JHopper

3 posts in 710 days


#7 posted 11-19-2012 01:46 AM

Thanks for the review, I have been looking at table saws and am looking into this one, however the price-tag is a little high, but do definately like my fingers.

View Chris 's profile

Chris

1867 posts in 2686 days


#8 posted 11-19-2012 02:10 AM

Like I mentioned I had very specific needs that this saw meets. I already have one messed up hand and have no desire to make it two.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

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ScottStewart

113 posts in 827 days


#9 posted 11-19-2012 04:03 AM

Redryder,

I have exactly the same saw. The light issue never has been a problem. It takes about 15 seconds after I plug mine in for the self diagnostic, by the time I am ready to go, the saw is too.

I wondered about this when I got the saw. It’s not a problem.

View Howie's profile

Howie

2656 posts in 1618 days


#10 posted 11-19-2012 10:26 AM

Nice review. Nice saw and I’m glad you are enjoying it.
I’d say the only reason there are people that dislike the sawstop is because of the way the technology is being pushed at people.

-- Life is good.

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Chris

1867 posts in 2686 days


#11 posted 11-19-2012 12:39 PM

Howie,

I think you are correct….. However, we can’t place the blame for that solely on SawStop. At the risk of bringing on a legal / political debate I would say a certain legal ruling does come to mind as well.

-- "Everything that is great and inspiring is created by the individual who labors in freedom" -- Albert Einstein

View Rj's profile

Rj

1047 posts in 2326 days


#12 posted 11-19-2012 04:05 PM

My Two cents is that if you can afford to spend the extra $$$$ its worth it, as hospital bills and the down time it takes to heal I guarantee you won’t regret spending the extra cash …. thats if you can heal enough to get back to work again even the most seasoned woodworkers get injured!!
I’ve owned the industrial series SawStop for over 5 years and love it they have Great customer that stands by their product.

-- Rj's Woodworks,San Jose & Weed Ca,

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TheDane

3877 posts in 2358 days


#13 posted 11-19-2012 05:16 PM

Chris—I have had my PCS for about 6 months now … have no regrets at all! The overarm dust collection is terrific … on rip cuts, it gets 90+ percent of the dust.

—Gerry

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View CL810's profile

CL810

2147 posts in 1683 days


#14 posted 11-19-2012 05:38 PM

I just finished assembly of my PCS last night. My experience mirrors Chris’s. The manual is great. When reading it I never had a “Huh?” moment. Everything is perfectly clear and ACCURATE.

As to the tune up I only made two adjustments. Squaring the fence and the blade tilt was off one-tenth of a degree. Both were finished in a matter of minutes.

-- "It's amazing how much can go wrong when you think you know what you're doing."

View doordude's profile

doordude

1085 posts in 1678 days


#15 posted 11-19-2012 05:50 PM

great review. when i sell a house i’ve got. this is the second item i’m going to buy. my wife has recently told she gets the first purchase…a replacement dishwasher

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