LumberJocks

Modest Accuracy, Flimsy Design, Dangerous Features

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Review by mot posted 2411 days ago 4427 views 0 times favorited 22 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Modest Accuracy, Flimsy Design, Dangerous Features No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I wrote this review for Epinions in 2004 and felt that, as Sears is still selling the saw, it is still relevant.

Pros
Outfeed extension

Cons
Extremely unsafe saw. This is an avoidable kickback waiting to happen.

The Bottom Line
If you buy this saw, you will end up buying another saw in a very short period of time.

I was given this saw as a gift. It was a thoughtful gift and I appreciated the sentiment….however…

Saw Specs from Sears:

15-amp direct drive ball bearing motor produces 5000 rpm
Extension allows for 24” right and left rip capacity
Diecast aluminum table with outfeed support
rip fence with self alignment and quick release
45º right/left adjustable mitre gauge
Motor produces 3hp at peak
Carbide-tipped blade
Rolling casters
Dust collector bag
Table without extension is 26 7/64×19 1/2”

First Impressions:

Flimsy and light. The entire saw is made of aluminum and plastic and HAS to be used with the enclosed stand. The owners manual gives suggestions for permanent benchtop mounting, but the theme is, it has to be mounted permanently to something as the strength of the saw itself is integrally reliant on the surface it’s fixed to.

The table extensions are clamped poorly and if you use them, you destroy ANY accuracy that the little fence had. The reason is the table wings don’t come out evenly and aligning them is impossible. They slide out unevenly and there is no gauge on both sides of the extension to attempt to align the wings. Even if you align them to the mitre slot, the clamping mechanism is not secure enough to ensure that it is going to hold it’s position once you start work with the saw.

The fence is flimsy and movement is ragged. I did, however, get it squared but even with continued use, I didn’t gain confidence in it.

The blade insert fits below the level of the table. This makes this saw insanely dangerous to use and drastically reduces the accuracy of any rabbets or dados you are going to cut. There is a rubber spacer/washer on the outfeed side of the blade insert to allow for some adjustment to compensate for this, however, the blade insert then is too loose as the screw holding it would not be secure with the insert level to the tabletop. I think one could put in a washer/spacer to help with this problem but if you change your inserts out as often as I do, (switching from dado blades to cutting blades) it becomes one more little piece to control during the swap.

It is not possible to make a safe, zero clearance insert for this saw as there is only support for the insert on the right side of the blade. There is nothing to support the insert on the left so it is not possible to do tongue and groove rails and stiles with this saw.

The arbor is short and only allows for a 1/2 inch stack. Plus, with a 1/2 inch stack you can’t use the arbor washer. Though most tablesaw manufacturers suggest that not using the arbor washer is okay, as long as the arbor nut is grabbing all thread of the arbor, I just don’t like the idea.

The mitre slot is not standard. Therefore, in order to make featherboards and crosscut sleds, you have to either find some milled aluminum that fits the slot or mill your own guides out of some hardwood. This is inconvenient more than anything, but the slot is shallow, narrow and retains the guide only by 1 cm lips that are placed about every 12 inches along the slot. I made some inserts out of oak and they work okay, but the slot is not smooth and the little lips catch your homemade rails and…well, it became a frustrating process. Now, I make all my own jigs for my shop. There are many that like to buy featherboards and assorted other saw utilities that require a standard mitre slot. They will be out of luck. Also, as this saw seems to be directed to the casual woodworker, I think the non-standard mitre slot would lead the casual user to skip important safety issues with tablesaw use, due to the inconvenience of the mitre slot.

The dust collection bag is almost useless. I found that I was able to contain the arbor nut and washer when I dropped it trying to change out the blade. It also provided a softer cushion for my outside cutter on my dado stack, when I dropped it as there really isn’t very much room to get your hand into the table top. The dust from this saw all comes blasting off the top of the saw right at you and out through the blade elevation adjustment slot. I’m not sure any falls into the bag, possibly only when the saw is starting up or shutting down.

The outfeed attachment is a pleasant surprise as it works exactly as it is intended and is very useful, so thumbs up on that point.

The blade guard with splitter is a great feature, but removing it and replacing it, depending on the current use of the saw is a real exercise in dexterity. It has one screw for a fastener and I feel like I have pop cans on my thumbs trying to put it back on.

The power button is a pull-up switch with a safety insert. It seems to function quite well and removing the insert disables the switch thus disabling the saw startup. Of course, unplug the saw before any blade or table adjustments and don’t rely on this saftey feature.

Now, I use this saw for all sorts of things, but not large sheet rips or very long rips. For those type of applications, I use jigs and a circular saw with stable saw horses. I do, however, use this saw for cross cuts, smaller rips, tenons, dados, rabbets and various other joinery du jour and the mitre gauge slot and the fence, combined with the blade insert join together to form this rating for the saw.

Overall, I don’t recommend this saw as even small jobs and infrequent use only serve to magnify it’s safety issues.

Recommended:
No

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)




View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2662 days



22 comments so far

View Karson's profile

Karson

34870 posts in 3026 days


#1 posted 2411 days ago

Other than that Tom What do you think of it a fish reef.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware karson_morrison@bigfoot.com †

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2500 days


#2 posted 2411 days ago

Since Sears was taken over by KMart their tools have been mostly junk.

View Dadoo's profile

Dadoo

1763 posts in 2616 days


#3 posted 2411 days ago

Excellent review Tom! Craftsman needs to pull this one from the catalog.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6646 posts in 2605 days


#4 posted 2411 days ago

Hi Tom;

It is good of you to post your experiences with this saw. If you save someone from wasting their money on it , it was worth the time to write.

Many of these small saws are pretty much useless, and instead of helping someone to get a feel for woodworking and then move up to a better model, often they think they don’t have the talent necessary to make woodworking an enjoyable hobby, so they give up.

It’s too bad manufacturers feel the need to make products like this.

Lee

-- by Lee A. Jesberger http://www.prowoodworkingtips.com http://www.ezee-feed.com

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2499 days


#5 posted 2411 days ago

Thanks for being tom, Frank.

Scratch that, I meant thanks for being frank, Tom. I agree that it is necessary to scare people out of buying tools like this sometimes even when they are just trying to save a buck… it’s not worth it. I see a lot of Craftsman tools come and go through our shop and I am always weary of them. Anything Craftsman with a cord I avoid like the plague. There hand tools are ok for shop use but if it plugs in it will probably either break or kill you.

-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com

View gizmodyne's profile

gizmodyne

1763 posts in 2715 days


#6 posted 2411 days ago

Great review.

Just curious… 2 Stars for the outfeed? What are you holding out for?

-- -John "Do I have to keep typing a smiley? Just assume it's a joke." www.flickr.com/photos/gizmodyne

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2662 days


#7 posted 2411 days ago

1 star because it does have a spinning blade that protrudes through the table. Another for the outfeed. I used to have a professor, while in University, who felt that a failing grade was a failing grade…why belabor the point. At that time, in Canadian Universities, the grading system was out of 9. A 4 was minimum pass. A 3 was a failure. A 1 and 2 were possible, but he figured they weren’t worth giving. A 3 made his point loud and clear. :)

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2786 days


#8 posted 2411 days ago

nice review ….. gives the beginners, such as myself, an idea of what to look for.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View CedarFreakCarl's profile

CedarFreakCarl

594 posts in 2679 days


#9 posted 2407 days ago

Well Tom, I truly wish I had read your review in 2004, because in 2005 I bought one in 2005. I guess for 200 bucks it was ok. About a year later, I burned the motor up in it. I later bought a Ridgid TS3650. I’ve still got the Craftsman, but it is now the portable base for my OSS. It does that real well in that capacity. Live and learn.

-- Carl Rast, Pelion, SC

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2862 days


#10 posted 2406 days ago

I gave mine 2 stars. 1 for the same reason Mot did: it has a blade that spins and protrudes from the table.

View rikkor's profile

rikkor

11295 posts in 2500 days


#11 posted 2406 days ago

I threw my last Craftsman TS into the steel barrel at the recyclers.

View Dick, & Barb Cain's profile

Dick, & Barb Cain

8693 posts in 2925 days


#12 posted 2406 days ago

It’s way to bulky for a boat anchor.

-- -** You are never to old to set another goal or to dream a new dream ****************** Dick, & Barb Cain, Hibbing, MN. http://www.woodcarvingillustrated.com/gallery/member.php?uid=3627&protype=1

View mot's profile

mot

4911 posts in 2662 days


#13 posted 2405 days ago

It’s too bulky but too light, Dick. It can’t weigh 60 lbs.

-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)

View dalec's profile

dalec

613 posts in 2514 days


#14 posted 2402 days ago

Thanks for the review. It is great getting the real feedback with these LJ reviews.

Dalec

View Hawgnutz's profile

Hawgnutz

526 posts in 2702 days


#15 posted 2364 days ago

I started out with this exact TS back in 2004. It served me OK, but it did have a lot of failings. These Craftsman saws are designed for thr weekend warrior doing a deck or some other one-time project. I bought mine because of eth wheels made it portable and I could wheel it in and out of my little storage area. I now have a Ridgid TS 2400 with big wheels! LOL

I made some great banwood frames with it, but I would NEVER buy another! It is strictly entry-level!

Nice review.

God Bless,
Hawg

-- Saving barnwood from the scrapyards

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