|Review by Frostyjo||posted 12-20-2008 03:49 PM||42834 views||0 times favorited||23 comments|
After months of reading reviews and a little groveling at home, I finally got myself a new table saw. I decided on the Craftsman 22124. One of the first things I noticed while I was researching was the Craftsman, Delta and Steel City hybrid saws appear to be identical. The only noted differences are the fences offered, and the Delta comes with extension legs. The shipping label on the box my saw came in was labeled ‘Steel City’ and had the model number of their hybrid (with a Craftsman label right next to it). With that in mind, I don’t think it matters which one you buy and a review of one will probably apply to all. The main reasons I went with the Craftsman was I got it on sale for $890, and I like being able to address any problems in person.
Packaging: I was pretty impressed with the packing. Packing 2, Packing 3 The steel frame it was mounted in took a beating in shipment without putting a scratch on the saw or other boxes. I unpacked it myself, although a second set of hands would have been useful. After unbolting the ‘cage’ it took a little patience to get it over the top of the saw. The extension tables are held in place by angle iron and can’t be removed with the cage in place or it would have been a lot easier. The other boxes came out with no problem. The saw itself is also bolted down. All the major parts were individually wrapped in plastic and had a healthy coating of cosmoline. (it might not have been cosmoline, but it was thick and sticky like it).
I mounted the saw body on an old motorcycle jack I stripped the lift mechanism out of. Lift I did this first, since I figured this was the lightest the saw was going to get. I left the piece of packing cardboard that was under the saw in place to slide the saw on until I had it where I wanted it. It was heavy, but a careful tilt and it slid right on the lift.
Assembly: The directions were pretty simple to follow. They mentioned that none of the hardware packs are labeled, however they are all packed along with the items they are used with. I was surprised to find the v-belt doesn’t use any type of tensioner, the substantial weight of the TEFC motor holds it tight. At this point, I opted to check alignments that have to be adjusted from inside the cabinet before mounting the extension wings. The blade tilt shaft had noticeable play (reminded me of driving my ’65 Ford). The adjustment was straightforward and easy to accomplish. The table tops cleaned up easily with some WD-40 and paper towels. I started all the bolts and removed them once before attempting to assemble the tables. All the holes lined up perfect and the extensions went on with no problem. I snugged the bolts and used a dead blow hammer to coerce them to level before final tightening. The seams are smooth/flush across the length of the table. The holes in the fence rails all lined up perfect. It even comes with a small gauge to align the front rail to the tabletop. The fence guide had a thin layer of wax that I polished out. I was a little disappointed with the wood extension table. It mounts flush and is nice and smooth, but seems cheaply made. That will get replaced with a nicer one of my making. The blade guard mounted easily and took some trial and error to get aligned. I finally gave up on the book method, loosened all the screws, aligned the gauge and tightened them.
Alignment/Observations: The blade was aligned with the miter slots from the factory. I made small adjustments to the positive stops at 90 and 45 degrees. The stops align from the top of the table. The angle scale on the front sucks. The pointer is a little rounded and it’s far away from the cabinet where the markings are. I think a little tape and a piece of bent wire will fix that up. The adjusting wheels turn smoothly through the full range. The lockdowns in the center work ok, but you have to loosed them quite a bit make adjustments. Star knobs would work better than the T-knobs it comes with. I like the tool-less removal/replacement of the blade guard and it stays raised for changing blades/aligning cuts. The factory blade insert has 4 adjusting screws to level it and has a cut-out so it can be removed without pulling the blade guard. The out-feed table is flimsy. The table itself serves the purpose and is heavy enough, but should have been mounted using 2 supports on the corners instead of one in the center to eliminate rocking. I do like that it folds down for storage and doesn’t need tools. The fence aligned with a little trial and error. It didn’t come with the allen wrench (maybe missed in packing). It adjusts easily enough, except that you have to slide it to the end of the table to get to the adjusting screws. The adjusting screws turn very easily, so I’m not sure how well they will hold adjustment with prolonged use. I might put a little Teflon tape on them to help hold them. I really like the built in fence ruler. The two screws that hold down the marker lenses keep them from turning/moving while tightening and they have thin, crisp lines. The miter gauge fits well in the slot. It has adjusting screws along it’s length to adjust the fit. The washer at the front (to keep it from falling off the table or kicking up in the slot) hung up a little at the far end of the table. I removed it and now it fits great. It has adjustable stops at 90 and 45 both ways. I like this far better than the ball and spring type. The aluminum miter extension is ok. It comes with an adjustable stop, can be adjusted sideways and removes easily. I don’t care for the aluminum sliding across my tabletop. It’s a nice feature, but will be replaced by a wood extension. The hold down clamp on the miter gauge works well for quick cuts. It has a spring latch for quickly raising/lowering and holds nicely when snugged down.
Use: It’s quiet!! It has a low hum when started and passed the nickel test. The Leitz blade cuts nice. I ripped some scraps I had around and it cut without any noticeable slowing. Since a good blade will greatly increase the performance of an ok saw, I figure a good measure of a saw’s power is how it cuts with a poor blade. I stuck a 40t Oldham blade I use on plywood in it and chopped up some 3/4” plywood and 2” poplar. Even with the old blade it had plenty of power and easily ripped without slowing. The built in fence scale accurately aligns and makes repeatable cuts. The fence locks down tight and is solid along it’s entire length.
I think the saw was well worth the money and I’m very happy with it overall. I gave it a 5 star rating because it performs like I expected, the fit/finish was great and it assembled without any hassles. If anyone has a question, please write me.
-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, you have an electrical problem.