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For the money, not a bad saw.

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Review by Dave Rutan posted 01-20-2015 09:40 PM 5422 views 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
For the money, not a bad saw. No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I bought this saw several years ago as my first table saw. I shopped around for what I could afford and decided that this was the one I wanted. In no way to I regret that decision. Coming into the hobby from the ground up I wanted a saw that had all its parts. I would have been pretty clueless about any Craigslist buy as to features, missing pieces, etc. Aside from the metal stand, there was no assembly necessary to get this saw up and running. Everything was aligned properly and has served me well.

Pros:

-It cuts wood
-Adjustable riving knife
-Plastic guard that can even be used with beveled cuts
-Removable anti kickback pawls
-Portable
-Push stick included
-Removable safety key
-On-board storage for fence, guard, pawls

Cons:

-Finicky fence (best to measure and tap to get it parallel to the blade.)
-No zero clearance insert available (can be worked around)
-Small table (It’s a small saw, but would be that much better if blade were more towards the back)
-Chintzy miter gauge (better to use jigs for accurate cuts)
-Miter gauge loose in miter slot.
-Aluminum table disallows use of magnetic jigs, holders, etc.

(but then it’s not advertised as a cabinet saw)

All in all though I think this is a good saw for the money. I wasn’t happy with the look of the two other candidates in the price range when I looked at them in the store. For me this has been a good learning saw. When it gives up the ghost I’ll buy something a little better. I need to keep my tools portable.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!




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Dave Rutan

1729 posts in 2274 days



12 comments so far

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jimr1cos

31 posts in 1972 days


#1 posted 01-20-2015 11:18 PM

3 years ago a Black Friday special brought the Skil delivered to my door for $70 .The cons listed by Dave are valid, but so are the pros. This was a great starter saw; I learned from it and have since upgraded. The Skil has a new home
in my son’s garage

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runswithscissors

2804 posts in 2111 days


#2 posted 01-20-2015 11:22 PM

By “angled” cuts I assume you mean bevelled?

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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Dave Rutan

1729 posts in 2274 days


#3 posted 01-20-2015 11:34 PM



By “angled” cuts I assume you mean bevelled?

- runswithscissors

Um, yes. I’ll fix it. ;-)

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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Oldtool

2680 posts in 2277 days


#4 posted 01-20-2015 11:34 PM

Got the same saw at Big Box when on sale for less than a hundred, which was my reason for purchasing it because I was just starting in woodworking at the time. I agree with you Dave, on each & every Pro & Con, nice review.
Looking back, there are some issues that would entice me to go another route: the freaky insert plate, and the poorly designed fence. As for table size, well, it is what it is when it comes to a table top saw.

-- "I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis. The point is to bring them the real facts." - Abraham Lincoln

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laketrout36

200 posts in 2113 days


#5 posted 01-21-2015 01:24 AM

Years ago I sold almost the same saw and was glad to see it go. It worked great for soft wood such as pine. Anything harder and the blade would move. More precisely the motor was mount was plastic and that would flex thereby giving an inaccurate cut.

Great saw for softwood projects. Hardwood projects I found were better suited to a different saw. Hopefully you have better luck.

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Dave Rutan

1729 posts in 2274 days


#6 posted 01-21-2015 01:35 AM



Years ago I sold almost the same saw and was glad to see it go. It worked great for soft wood such as pine. Anything harder and the blade would move. More precisely the motor was mount was plastic and that would flex thereby giving an inaccurate cut.

Great saw for softwood projects. Hardwood projects I found were better suited to a different saw. Hopefully you have better luck.

- laketrout36

I should take a look at the motor mounts on mine. Hmm… I’ve noticed it cuts better with a new blade.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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dawsonbob

2960 posts in 1841 days


#7 posted 01-21-2015 04:47 AM


Hmm… I ve noticed it cuts better with a new blade.

- Dave Rutan

Yep. Don’t they all?

-- Mistakes are what pave the road to perfection

View RadioActiveRich's profile

RadioActiveRich

68 posts in 1603 days


#8 posted 01-22-2015 06:22 PM

Dave’s assessment on this saw is dead on. Both his pros and cons are the same as I’d have written.

The only thing I’ll add for those who might get this saw is that there is a defect you need to be aware of. If you use the safety hardware (riving knife etc) you need to be aware that the lever used to tighten it can be used with the lever (inside the saw) turned upward to tighten the knife. If you do this and then use the saw to cut a bevel with the blade raised more than half way up, the lever will push itself loose against the inside of the saw and the knife and all the attached hardware will just collapse. VERY bad if it happens in the middle of a cut.

If you don’t raise the blade much or use it to cut angles, you won’t likely ever see it, but it could sneak up on you when you finally do. You know? Once you’re used to the saw and let your guard down. (Cue dramatic chord)

The two ways to avoid this problem are to remove the hardware altogether (which I suspect most people do) or make sure the lever that tightens the riving knife is used in the DOWN POSITION to tighten it. You can do this by just spinning it all the way around and then tightening. It’ll be obvious once you try it.

Still and all, this is a GREAT saw for the money. My son and I use it a lot. Wish the fence was better, but you get what you pay for there I guess.

Thanks for the review Dave!! ;)

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1729 posts in 2274 days


#9 posted 01-22-2015 08:08 PM



Dave s assessment on this saw is dead on. Both his pros and cons are the same as I d have written.

The only thing I ll add for those who might get this saw is that there is a defect you need to be aware of. If you use the safety hardware (riving knife etc) you need to be aware that the lever used to tighten it can be used with the lever (inside the saw) turned upward to tighten the knife. If you do this and then use the saw to cut a bevel with the blade raised more than half way up, the lever will push itself loose against the inside of the saw and the knife and all the attached hardware will just collapse. VERY bad if it happens in the middle of a cut.

If you don t raise the blade much or use it to cut angles, you won t likely ever see it, but it could sneak up on you when you finally do. You know? Once you re used to the saw and let your guard down. (Cue dramatic chord)

The two ways to avoid this problem are to remove the hardware altogether (which I suspect most people do) or make sure the lever that tightens the riving knife is used in the DOWN POSITION to tighten it. You can do this by just spinning it all the way around and then tightening. It ll be obvious once you try it.

Still and all, this is a GREAT saw for the money. My son and I use it a lot. Wish the fence was better, but you get what you pay for there I guess.

Thanks for the review Dave!! ;)

- RadioActiveRich

I’ll have to check that on mine. I generally only use the riving knife, push sticks and common sense for safety equipment (aside from my eye, ear and lung protection), but it’s still worth checking just in case. Thanks! -Dave

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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Michael smith

52 posts in 1292 days


#10 posted 02-15-2015 02:29 PM

I have this saw and I find the miter slots are are sloppy . I have been tempted to cut the four small tangs to clear the miter tracks however the tracks are under 3/4” so a good miter gage does not fit. I did make a sled for cuts, I found after several cuts the blade does not stay 90 deg to the top. I lock it using a small clamp in the slot. I tightened it once and found I couldn’t tilt the blade at all. The fence does not set at 90 deg. So I I use a big carpenters square each time. My riveting knife has been removed way to much vibrations and it loosen up.
The insert plate is poor fit & the supports ( again tangs are very close to the top) which prevent you from making your own insert. No support if the insert is cut to clear the tangs.
Would I recommend this saw never.
Mike.
It’s just my point of view. Again old school.

-- Http://www.woodworkermike.com

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knotscott

8103 posts in 3462 days


#11 posted 03-21-2015 02:24 AM

Curious why you’d rate it 5-stars with that list of drawbacks?

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Dave Rutan's profile

Dave Rutan

1729 posts in 2274 days


#12 posted 03-21-2015 10:54 AM



Curious why you d rate it 5-stars with that list of drawbacks?

- knotscott

The stars show how happy I am with the saw, not how it compares to a Norm Abram special. I listed the good and the bad so that others would know about the saw’s limitations and not think it was the end all be all of table saws just because I’m happy with it. Would I be happier with a slightly beefier saw? of course, but this is the one I could afford when I was getting into the hobby.

-- Ni faru ion el ligno!

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