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Craftsman Contractor TS

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Review by Marty5965 posted 550 days ago 3243 views 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Craftsman Contractor TS Craftsman Contractor TS Craftsman Contractor TS Click the pictures to enlarge them

Got this saw new for Christmas. it replaced a smaller, direct drive Craftsman TS that I had had for a few years. The box is a monster, weighing in at a little over 275 ibs. You will need help (or some lumber to use as a ramp) getting it out of your vehicle. Once on the ground though, it moves around relatively easily (at least on my garage floor) since it is extremely well packed and a sturdy box.

PACKAGING
The top packaging slab is a polystyrene tray that contains 90% of the bits and pieces with the remainder of the box being taken up by the top, business end, of the saw. Everything was well packed and arrived with no damage or missing parts.

ASSEMBLY
Assembly is pretty straightforward, assuming you actually follow the steps in the manual. If you don’t, you will be removing the back of the saw to set the blade. There was some finesse required on a couple of the leg screws and you certainly need to be patient but the saw body went together very nicely. The rails are a two-piece affair that butt together nicely and have sufficient support and fastenings so that they will not pose any alignment problems. Some of the screws on the rear rails are very difficult to tighten due to the presence of casting webs on the top. Main table is flat and true and the side tables, while not solid, are adequate.

ALIGNMENT
The blade stop adjustments (90 & 45) were right on out of the box. The fence, which is very solid and has a good supply of T slots was easy to adjust but I did have to tweak the trunnions to align the blade with the miter slots. It wasn’t much, but the front trunnions are a bit awkward to reach from the back of the saw and this, coupled with the difficult rear rail screws caused me to deduct one star from my rating. The miter slots are standard (without the “Craftsman” tang) and the miter gauge is actually usable, which was a pleasant surprise.

PEFORMANCE
I did not install the blade that came with the machine but used a Freud Combination blade instead (50 Tooth). It sails through softwoods at full height thickness but I did have to lower the feed rate on 8/4 hard maple but it cut clean and true.

CONCLUSION
I am no expert, but for me, this saw was a good compromise between cost and capability. I am sure it will serve me well as I get back into woodworking after a number of years.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....




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Marty5965

158 posts in 550 days



11 comments so far

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1238 days


#1 posted 550 days ago

Nice review. Nice xmas present. If I were in the market for a new saw, it would be on my short list.
I’ve read that these saws used to have issues maintaining trunion settings when the blade is raised/lowered/beveled. Supposedly, this is a production issue that was resolved a while back. Anyway, if you haven’t checked your saw for said problem, you might want to before the return period expires.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

477 posts in 1922 days


#2 posted 550 days ago

Congratulations!

It looks to me as though this is the same saw as the Ridgid R4512, the Masterforce (Menards) 10” table saw and the Steel City contractor saw (cast iron top). There may be others. If someone has other information, please correct me.

Ridgid has theirs priced the lowest, as far as I can tell, and they provide the lifetime service agreement. Are there any other factors that might tilt the scales toward or away from any of these brands?

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 550 days


#3 posted 550 days ago

Tedstor – I had read this about this particular model (wearing various manufacturers labels) but I believe it was on earlier variants. That said, it is no cabinet saw costing thousands of dollars and, like any tool, it is only as good as it is maintained, but I get accurate cuts that are glue up ready with my Freud blades (CMT are also very good IMO). I find that if I adjust blade height high and come down to final height I get good registration, whereas if I rise to height and stop, under tension as it were, I sometimes get about .002 difference front to rear on the blade at, or near, max height. At heights up to about 2” there is no difference. For 500 clams, I can live with that.

Mark – You are correct about the Ridgid is the same saw, can’t comment on the others. When I looked at the Ridgid lifetime warranty deal, I wasn’t that impressed, it’s a RTB setup, I won’t be sending this bad boy anywhere at 275 lbs. Instead, I sprang for the Sears on site extended service plan, which wasn’t that expensive, and it means they fix it right in my basement and, if they can’t, I get a replacement.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

477 posts in 1922 days


#4 posted 550 days ago

You make an excellent point, Marty. Thank you.

On site service would be better, that’s for sure. Though I’m in a fairly small city (50,000 population) there are a couple of Ridgid authorized service facilities within 15 miles. Loading a 275 pound saw back onto my truck and schlepping it to either of those facilities, though, would definitely be a pain.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Douglas's profile

Douglas

284 posts in 1165 days


#5 posted 550 days ago

Congrats on the saw, Marty. I have the same one, and have been getting good results with mine for the past two + years. I did replace the fence with an Incra system, but the included fence wasn’t bad. Enjoy!

-- Douglas in Chicago - http://dcwwoodworks.com

View NormG's profile

NormG

4004 posts in 1609 days


#6 posted 550 days ago

I have the same saw since February 2010. Once I got it all set up it has done a wonder job. If you find you are having issues getting it to set up, check here www.tablesawalignment.com for information on how set it up one time and be done with it.

Congrats on the saw

-- Norman

View Gopher's profile

Gopher

19 posts in 551 days


#7 posted 549 days ago

Been using the same Craftsman contractor saw for 26 years.
Regular maint. and care, it will last you for a long time.
Good choice.

View Mark Davisson's profile

Mark Davisson

477 posts in 1922 days


#8 posted 549 days ago

Gopher, your saw was manufactured by Emerson Electric, I believe. Marty’s new saw was made by Colovos (Sears made the change in 1997).

This is not to take away from Sears’ oversight of and responsibility for the continuity of the specs and quality of the saws being sold under the Craftsman name, but it is an important difference that should be noted, in my opinion.

Edit: A correction – Marty’s new saw is being distributed by Colovos, not made by Colovos. The name of the actual manufacturer of this saw is hard to determine, but it is almost certainly Chinese, Taiwanese or Indian.

-- I'm selfless because it feels so good!

View Carl_Spangler's profile

Carl_Spangler

6 posts in 533 days


#9 posted 487 days ago

Thanks for your review….............. helped me make my decision. I was vacillating between the R4512/21833 saw and the usual suspects in the $1200+ plus range and decided to go ‘cheap’ and try the 21833 Craftsman.

Anyway, I JUST setup this Craftsman TS today. Blade-Miter_slot alignment is good-excellent right out of the box when indexing with a dowel off of the miter. If there’s any blade-slot shift when raising/lowering the blade it’s small. I’ll check the alignment with better tools soon.

FWIW, I think the split fence rails are the weakest part of this saw design. It’s disappointing that they “cheaped out” on packaging by cutting the rails. It’s a real shame as the rest of the fence system appears to be well designed. This split rail design is ugly enough that I’m considering an after-maket fence/rail system. I also had a minor assembly issue due to one of the welded nuts not being centered enough in the frame rail hole. I had to slot the opening and run a thread chaser through the nut to get the assembly done. Also, one of the miter slots has a slightly sticky ‘hot spot’ that will probably need some attention. All that said, it appears to be a solid ‘entry level’ table saw.

Oh, I did the “standing penny” test and all is well when I turn ON/OFF the saw. I’ll post some more detailed comments after I put a fair bit of wood through the saw.

thanks again JohnG

View Marty5965's profile

Marty5965

158 posts in 550 days


#10 posted 487 days ago

Glad it was useful John. Still enjoying my Craftsman. I made a crosscut sled and am well into my workbench build. Next up I would like to add a drop down out feed table and, probably, a router table on the right side.

-- Marty, Columbus, OH, learning every day....

View Jokker78's profile

Jokker78

135 posts in 303 days


#11 posted 202 days ago

I have the same saw, the fence is junk, I bought a saw stop fence for mine.

-- Measure once, cut , measure again, cut and damn its still to short

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