|Review by mot||posted 01-13-2008 09:22 PM||5224 views||0 times favorited||22 comments|
I wrote this review for Epinions in 2004 and felt that, as Sears is still selling the saw, it is still relevant.
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
Dust collector bag
Table without extension is 26 7/64×19 1/2”
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.
-- You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation. (Plato)