|Review by BJF||posted 01-28-2013 05:43 PM||8531 views||0 times favorited||20 comments|
I have been a woodworker for about 3 years, but have only recently gotten serious. Last March I purchased the Porter Cable, from Lowes, $599. I agonized for year over what table saw to buy. Price wasn’t the biggest issue, it was mostly concern over spending a great deal of money and being disappointed in the result. However, from some classes I took and research I did, it became clear that the equipment doesn’t make the woodworker, so to speak. I also realized that size was an issue in getting the saw into my basement. The only way in to my basement is a very narrow and step set of stairs. My DC rowhouse is about 100 years old and even with the door and the trim and frame taken off, I was limited in what I could buy. So, I ultimately chose the Porter Cable.
Man, do I love it! It has done everything I have asked of it, and I truly do not envision needing a more powerful saw. In time, if my projects get larger, that may be the case. However, I will never get a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood down those stairs, much less in my Honda Civic. I also can’t imagine cutting 3 inch thick white oak. I have cut some 1.5 inch oak and the saw handled it with no problem. The blade that came with it is great for rip cuts in hard and softwoods, awful for cross cuts or any plywood. However, I use my miter saw for cross cuts for now (until I rehab my father in law’s old radial arm saw he gave me) and the only plywood I use so far is for shop projects, so some tearout is fine by me. At present, I’m trying to decide if a combination blade would give me clean rips and cross cuts, plywood and hard and soft woods. Any advice folks have on that, please let me know!
The negatives. The steel wings were a pain to install and get flat with the table, and I worry about sagging eventually throwing off the accuracy of a cut. The fence is pretty cheap, but not too hard to adjust, once you figure it out. I do lots of test cuts to dial in a perfect cut. The rip fence scale is inaccurate when ripping to the left of the blade, but I have not done so since the day I got the saw. Again, I set fence, check it for parallel and make a test cut and then dial in the final cut.
I really like the mobile base, wheels that drop down when you need to move the saw, but flip up when you set it in place. The riving knife and blade guard are easy to install, though I never take them off. Overall, a great purchase, I truly could not be happier.