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Shop Fox W1819 Table Saw Review (Almost Great!)

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Review by Hawk_Guy posted 12-12-2014 04:41 AM 7043 views 0 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Shop Fox W1819 Table Saw Review (Almost Great!) Shop Fox W1819 Table Saw Review (Almost Great!) Shop Fox W1819 Table Saw Review (Almost Great!) Click the pictures to enlarge them

I received my order neatly packaged in 3 boxes contained on a single pallet. I paid about $1500 which included lift gate delivery and an 8” dado blade set “valued at $150”. Nothing was damaged and all parts and hardware were accounted for. Saw took about 5 hours to assemble and align with no helpers.

First thing that surprised me was the color which I don’t think is accurately depicted in any online literature. It has an almond color that can only be described as something that used to be white (a sort of dinginess). My wife actually commented and said “I thought you said the saw was brand new” assuming that the off-white color was a sort of patina. The cabinet itself is well made and has a ramp underneath to aid in dust collection (not sure if the Grizzly G0690 also has this). The hand wheels are very robust and massive. However, the blade height adjustment wheel is extremely difficult to move when raising the blade and I’m a pretty big guy. The blade tilt wheel was pretty well adjusted out of the box, within 1/10 th of a degree at 0 and 45 (measured with wixey digital protractor).

The on/off power switch box came with a 6’ cord which I believe is similar to the Grizzly G0690. This was not gonna do for me so I fabricated my own 15’ power cord. The switch box was prewired with 14 gage wire which is odd because the specs called for a 20 amp circuit. Anyway, I chose to go with a 12 gage wire for my power cord.

The cast iron tops were very well machined and contained no burrs or quality defects. The tops were machined to a very nice finish. The only odd thing about the tops was the fact that the outside edges of cast iron were wrapped in some sort of vinyl sticker/wrap rather than being painted. In my opinion these will delaminate and expose the surface allowing for rust to easily form. The miter slots were aligned parallel within 0.003” of the installed blade when measured from either slot. This was excellent in my opinion.

The rails and fence are on par with a biesemeyer style fence and are massive! I was sort of able to square the fence but noticed that the face of the fence waves in and out about .005” and is caused by the screws that hold the face of the fence to the body. I think this is typical of most fences and for woodworking is something I think I can live with. There is one gotcha with my fence though. The front part of the T that rides the front rail was poorly assembled. The backside of the angle iron “T” has a flat bar that is riveted in place and has 2 pads of UHMW polyethylene (one at each end) that are pulled into the front rail when the cam in the handle goes over center. They serve to hold the fence in place once locked down. These pads are adjustusted in and out using large set screws which will A) increase the clamping and ridgidity of the fence when locked and B) move the fence in and out of parallel with the blade/miter slot when adjusted independently. Well, in theory if I back both set screws all the way out both sides of the flat bar and both pads should be dead even. That’s hardly the case here and they are offset by about 3/16” which severely affects the fences ability to be squared. Sorry if that was hard to follow but I will add pictures to help the reader.

Other issues I discovered with the fence include the magnifying lens for reading the measurement tape was installed upside down, and one of the two rivet heads holding us the flat bar to the angle iron is completely missing.

My other gripe about the fence is the amount of deflection that can be witnessed when setting the handle to lock down the fence’s position. Not sure if this is normal but my old Delta with T2 fence system never exhibited this behavior. I think it’s OK because once locked down the deflection brings the fence to parallel with the blade. Maybe someone else can chime in on this I’ve got very little experience with this system.

As for vibration, I never even bothered with the nickel test as this saw seemed to vibrate a good bit which I assume is attributed to the 3 traditional belts which have memorized their shape after being set in the the same position for god knows how long.

All in all I am happy with my purchase with the minor gripes detailed above. I will probably contact Shop Fox about getting a replacement fence if I just can’t make it work. I also purchased the D2058a heavy duty mobile base which is listed as an accessory for this saw. It seems that the foot print of the cabinet is smaller than the minimum dimensions that can be achieved with the base. I’ll have to cut the base down to make it work I guess.

Do the folks with the Grizzly version (G0690/G0691) experience any obvious deflection when setting the handle on the fence? Is this normal?




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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days



16 comments so far

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dday

155 posts in 1509 days


#1 posted 12-12-2014 06:16 PM

I’m just really amazed at the amount of time that we, as woodworkers, tinkerers and hobbyists, spend getting our tools ready to be used. These tools are not cheap, yet still come with defects and problems that require, sometimes pretty ingenious, method to true them up or make them consistent. I know we are looking for machined precision in our woodworking cuts, but man, it really gripes me to pay a LOT of money for something that isn’t right out of the box.

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#2 posted 12-14-2014 01:51 AM

Update

I played around with the set screws on the fence and and tried to even out the gaps but this makes the locking action too hard and forces the front end to lift up off of the table. Bottom line is even if I accept those issues the fence moves considerably from its intended position.

I’ve contacted shop fox via email and have lowered their rating to 3 stars. Let’s see how they rectify the situation and then we’ll see if the rating changes..

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#3 posted 12-17-2014 12:55 AM

What the heck guys? Over 800 views and not a single person can offer up any advice whatsoever? Please help!

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#4 posted 12-19-2014 01:50 AM

OK, after speaking with Shop Fox’s customer service rep I’m baffled. He offered up a solution to get the blade height adjustment knob turning freely. He stated that if I backed off the retention nut at the end of the height adjustment shaft (aft trunnion side) I would fix the issue. Well I loosened the nut just a tad (as directed) and nothing happened. So I loosened it some more and then some more, you get the idea. The nut did absolutely nothing to alleviate the binding of the gears.

Onto problem number two. Above in my review I highlighted some quality issues with the fence. First off the there was a rivet head missing on the assembly. The tech rep explained to me that that was normal and that it will sometimes fall out. Besides the fact that the rep just basically explained that their quality control is bogus I’m really frustrated that this gentleman tried to convince me that this was how rivets work. I’ll leave up to anyone who fabricates metal parts for a living to drop in their 2 cents. I was actually pretty offended but remained cordial.

Next problem with the fence. The fence rides a square tube using 2 glide pads that contact the back face of the tube. The glide pads are attached to a flat bar that is held in place by 2 rivets (in my case 1 and a half). There are two set screws behind each gliade pad that can be adjusted to push on the flat bar to do 2 things, adjust the clamping force on the fence and adjust the fence parallel to the blade. The flat bar on my fence is bent so that when the set screws are backed all the way out the fence is way out out parallel to the fence. No big deal right? Just use the opposite set screw to make up the difference. Only problem is that now the clamping action is too tight and the fence is a pain to align because because of the offset in the set screw being so different. I explained this to the rep and he explained that I was adjusting the fence all wrong. He tells me that the set screws are only used to adjust the clamping pressure and the only way to adjust the fence to parallel with the blade is by using the knobs on the front of the fence that contain the knurled nut and plastic balls. We went round and round and I tried my hardest to convince him that he was dead wrong. That fact that I’m being told how to adjust something by someone who has no idea what he’s talking about really burns me up. For kicks I copied page 71 of the manual (I assume the G0690 is identical) to show him how absolutely wrong he was. Its been 2 days and he hasn’t responded.

The rep is, in my opinion, someone who has no real technical knowledge and is relying on a script provided by some half wit engineer who has never turned a wrench in his life.

I was under the impression that Grizzly and Shop Fox were owned by the same person and that they were sister companies. The crazy thing is when I referred to the G0690 as the sister saw to my shop fox he reacted like that was crazy and said “that’s hardly the case”. I also read that shop fox’s customer service was excellent compared to Grizzly’s awesome reputation. This is what sold me on the shop fox along with a 2 year warranty. What good is a warranty when you can’t convince the company that there is something wrong with the product?

In closing I can live with the issues and shouldn’t have to after shelling out $1500. I will hire somone to raise and lower the the blade ☺ and grab some straight metal stock, head to the machine shop and fix my brand new POS fence. 3 stars is what I’ve given this saw and company and 3 stars is what they earned. I would urge the next guy to stick with grizzly apparently they replace parts that are defective.

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Picken5

258 posts in 2772 days


#5 posted 12-19-2014 03:57 AM

You’re way more patient than I’d be in that situation. You’ve spent a lot of your money on a product from a supposedly reputable company. I suggest you call Shop Fox and talk to them again. I’d tell them to replace the fence and fix the blade adjustment knob — at their expense. I’d also suggest you telling them to do it reasonably quickly. After all, they have your $1,500 and all you have is a very expensive tool that performs like a far less expensive tool. If the tech rep can’t help you, ask to speak to his/her supervisor. If they still refuse to help (or say they can’t), or if they take too long to rectify it, I’d tell them to pick it up (again at their expense) and refund your money.

Having said all that, I’ll be the first to agree that even the greatest companies sometime make mistakes. After all, everyone’s human. To me, one of the most important aspects of a first-class manufacturer of anything is how they deal with and correct their mistakes.

Sorry, but I can’t compare your saw’s components to the Grizzly G0690. Never had a Grizzly saw and can’t comment on that. Sorry. But I do suspect that Woodstock International (the company that makes Shop Fox tools) and Grizzly are actually the same company. They both have distribution centers in Springfield, MO and Muncy, PA. That’s a pretty interesting coincidence if nothing else.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#6 posted 12-19-2014 04:23 AM

@Howard, thanks for chiming in. I was beginning to think that nobody was agreeing with me. I will definitely contact them again. I can live with the blade height knob but not the fence. Funny thing is I have been researching other people’s experience and reviewing the manual when I saw a picture of the fence that caught my eye. I said to myself “look at how well the fence in the picture sits on the guide tube”, it’s perfectly square on the guide. I just went into my garage to look at the fence again. This is what I found… Anyone see something really wrong here? Please help me anyone who has this fence and take a photo and share.
The whole back of the fence is at this screwy angle!

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Picken5

258 posts in 2772 days


#7 posted 12-19-2014 05:00 AM

Hawk,

It sure looks like the u-channel for the fence is splayed out. While I don’t know for sure, I’d guess that’s not how it’s supposed to be. Call them up and ask them to send you a new fence. If that’s the only issue with the fence, and if you’re willing to swap it out, maybe they can just send you a new u-channel — but that’s your call.

BTW, did more research… Shop Fox and Grizzly are indeed the same company. They just sell 2 different brands via 2 different channels. SF is sold through dealers and Grizzly is sold direct. Different warranties also — SF 2 years and Grizzly 1 year.

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#8 posted 12-19-2014 08:33 PM

Ok, so this morning I contacted tech support via email and recieved a phone call shortly there after. The rep had explained that he had passed my issue to another technical expert who was supposed to follow up with me but apparently dropped the ball. He was extremely apologetic and treated me like a valued customer. He has promised to ship a new fence assembly out today and am very satisfied after speaking with him. I believe his intentions were to do the right thing and he wanted to make sure that all of my issues were addressed. That said I would rate my customer experience with shop fox as being very good. We shall see what the new fence brings. I can’t wait to start a new project using this saw…

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Picken5

258 posts in 2772 days


#9 posted 12-21-2014 12:41 AM

Hawk — seems like even the best companies have some bad eggs in customer service—i.e. your initial contact with SF’s customer service team. The guy you’re talking to now sounds like he really wants to help and you’re well on the way to resolution. That’s great!

-- Howard - "Time spent making sawdust is not deducted from one's lifetime." - old Scottish proverb

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#10 posted 01-02-2015 12:07 AM

New fence arrived a few days ago. The U channel that rides the guide tube is much more square on the new fence. The fence needed quite an adjustment to get the face perpendicular to the surface of the table. So much so, the cursor is so far away from the tape measure that it is useless. This is because the fence body was welded to the T frame at an angle greater than 90 by a degree or two. The plastic balls that ride the surface of the guide tube literally gouged the finished surface. The fence still deflects when you set the handle but will always be square once set. I guess I got what I paid for. I really regret not getting the slightly more expensive Jet table saw. Am I being too critical? Is the fence not one of the more important features of a table saw? I’ll bump the rating to a 4 because their customer service tried to make it right and in a timely manner. I don’t believe a 3rd fence will solve anything so I give up. The quality will never be there and if you really want it your gonna have to pay for it. The other aspects of this saw are great! Sucks I’ll have to upgrade the fence on my brand new saw…

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Tim_CPWD

365 posts in 1325 days


#11 posted 01-09-2015 05:07 PM

I guess I am chiming in a bit late on this one but I am new to this site and just read your posts. I would like to add my .02 cents. First off I think you were incredibly patient with the tech rep and the initial customer service. I commend you for that as I don’t think I would have been near as patient or nice. I am assuming by now you have had a chance to do a project or 2 on your saw to see how it really works. If the saw does not stack up to your expectations due to quality in manufacturing I would highly recommend you hold Shop Fox accountable. You paid good money for this product and it should function as advertised. They provide a 2 year warranty, make them get it right even if it means replacing the saw with a new one at their expense. If they are as reputable as they advertise they should take care of you. If the blade height adjustment is hard to move maybe something is bent like the U channel was on your fence. Years down the road (after the warranty has expired) this could possibly cause other issues. I think manufacturers count on the fact that many customers will just give up dealing with them through phone calls and sending emails and accept substandard workmanship in a product. Personally if I were in the market for a table Saw, after reading your experience I would mark Shop Fox off my list as an option. I understand that things happen and after a couple of tries you found someone willing to help, but the initial problems and apparent lack of quality control you have experienced would encourage me to look elsewhere. I hope by now you have been able to get the issues resolved. If not it is certainly not too late. You have a 2 year warranty, if you feel there is a defect I recommend you make them fix it. Just my humble opinion.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca. http://www.facebook.com/commandperformancewooddesigns

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#12 posted 01-09-2015 05:59 PM

Tim, I appreciate the feedback. I was beginning to think the concensus was that I have too high of standards. I have been able to correct all issues with the saw except for the fence assembly. I am being shipped a 3rd fence shortly to hopefully satisfy the shortcomings of the previous fences. The second one was not square and presented difficulties. By the way, for anyone who sites this fence as a Biesemeyer clone I would disagree as the design is significantly different. A Biesemeyer uses a straight/square piece of angle iron for which the fence will ride on the guide tube. Using the angle iron means that there is little room for error in the manufacturing process. Here is what I mean, the included fence on the Shop Fox/Grizzly uses a flat piece of stock that is roughly bent into the shape of a U. There are so many ways to skew the squareness of all 3 faces that (I believe) they have very loose tolerances and rely on the adjustment knobs to make very coarse adjustments to get everything square/paralell/perpendicular. Biesemeyer provides a very precise product that relies on very fine adjustments to accomplish tuning and squaring etc (in my opinion). The problem I’m having is that the U shape is so bent out of square that I run out of adjustment in the knobs to get the fence aligned and functioning properly. Realistically (some may not agree) this is a saw in a mid price range and great for a hobbiest. I was pretty frustrated at first but then I have to remember I did not purchase a Powermatic. The shortcomings in quality are a product of price point and my advice to the reader would be to consider that when buying equipment.

Another honerable mention would be the miter slots on the cast iron table. They were not of uniform width for the length of the slot. It seems that at the back end of the table, where I assume the cutter head exited the table, the width of the slot tapers inward a few thousandths of an inch. I discovered this after building a crosscut sled and had issues getting the sled to slide freely when the slot bars exited the slots at the back of the table as I pushed the sled forward. I verified with a set of calipers and then wrapped small block 3/4” plywood in 150 grit sand paper and removed material until the sled moved freely through the miter slots. Not a huge problem and the fix was simple but still a quality issue.

I will say that Shop Fox did offer to replace the whole table saw but the time invested was too much and I just did not find the benefit worth while.

After using the saw for a few simple projects I am very pleased with the performance barring the issues with the fence. If fence 3 proves to be just as quality deficient I will bite the bullet and purchase a real Biesemeyer system.

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Tim_CPWD

365 posts in 1325 days


#13 posted 01-10-2015 08:29 AM

I don’t think expecting to get what you paid for is setting too high of a standard. Glad to hear Shop Fox offered to replace your saw. To me that shows they are willing to make things right and is an indication of good customer service. Have to give them props for that. I also understand you wanting to keep the saw you have spent hours getting to know. Figuring out all the quirks is a major part of the battle. I am betting the 3rd fence is not going to be much different than the other two. You should probably start checking Amazon for the best price on a Biesemeyer fence :) I don’t think you are going to be truly happy until you get one of those. I had one on my old saw (Delta Contractor II) and it was a great fence. After 18 years I upgraded to a Saw Stop Industrial Cabinet version and they base their fence on the Biesmeyer design. These two saws are at different ends of the cost spectrum but both cut extremely accurately with the Biesemeyer fence design.

BTW how did you fix the blade height adjustment knob issue?

Sounds like you have the saw just about dialed in and are overall happy with your purchase. Congrats. Thanks for sharing a very detailed review.

-- Tim Haenisch, San Diego Ca. http://www.facebook.com/commandperformancewooddesigns

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Hawk_Guy

83 posts in 1727 days


#14 posted 01-12-2015 03:01 AM

Tim, I’m also betting the 3rd fence will be just as disappointing. We’ll give it one more shot, I’ve heard other members of this community rave about the same fence. I’ve already got the Biesemeyer in my online shopping cart. What really sucks is that the rep told me they would not take the entire fence and rail system back and credit me.

As for the blade height adjustment knob, the height adjustment shaft goes from the handle straight through the forward and aft trunnions. The back of the shaft is threaded and uses a lock nut that butts against the aft face of the rear trunnion. The shaft also has a lock collar that sits just forward of the rear trunnion’s front face. Together the nut and collar are used to eliminate any fore and aft play of the shaft within the trunnions. When I turned the hand wheel I could see the shaft moving forward or aft depending on the direction of rotation. So there was too much slop and that allowed the gear mesh to engage in an unfavorable way when the blade was raised. The nut was bottomed on on the shaft’s threads so there was no adjustment left to pick up the slack. I slid the collar down further against the fwd face of the trunnion and eliminated the play that way. Now the height adjustment knob is very easy to rotate.

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Patrick

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#15 posted 01-15-2015 05:23 PM

Im curious to hear how the third fence turned out?

I’m in the market this year and was leaning toward Grizzly GO690 bit what you’ve pointed out is a bit alarming. I could possibly deal with most of these issues given they are priced considerably less than Jet, but that gap closes when a replacement fence is needed. I never would have noticed that rail design flaw…guess I can call it a flaw since you’re on #3 now. Thanks for all the info

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