|Review by BTKS||posted 01-17-2009 06:43 AM||9596 views||2 times favorited||34 comments|
Just received and set up my new Steel City 10 inch cabinet saw with riving knives.
A couple other Steel City saws have been reviewed recently, I’ll try to limit myself to what I observed and try not to repeat too much of what the other guys had to say.
BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT: I love this saw. It was a major investment. I spent many months spread over several years researching cabinet saws. I’ve waited until I believe I won’t have to move this saw for the foreseeable future. A last minute read of riving knives in FineWoodworking lead me to checkout Steel City. This discovery slowed things down another couple of months. I’M GLAD I WAITED. I feel like I got top quality for several hundred dollars less. Not the cheapest out there, but I think they have everything the other brands have at a substantially lower price. It is not a bargain if it’s not worth having, these products are worth having. I also purchased the 14in Granite top bandsaw at the same time. More on this at the end of the review. The tablesaw works wonderfully and so smooth. It passed the nickel test with flying colors. See pics.
Packaging and Assembly:
Came intact with a steel cage around contents. Slick system, two bolts and the top comes off and the entire assembly is on a steel base. My saw had a small scratch on the motor cover door. Called the distributor asking for the color code. He contacted Steel City and they sent a small jar of touch up paint. I’ll make a plug for my distributor later in the review.
My suggestions for a smooth assembly: Preread the entire owner’s manual before anything else. The manual has clear directions with applicable pictures. Layout and inventory the parts then get started.
Use a four or perferably six foot level to set the wings. A dead-blow hammer is a big help but not an absolute necessity. The provided adjustment screws are a lifesaver. The screws will fine tune the wings before final tightening of the attachment bolts. The cosmoline on the parts is lightwieght and easy to remove. The riving knife factory adjustment is dead-on with my saw.
Saw comes with a good guard / splitter assembly with kickback pawls. Also includes two low profile riving knives. Both set below the top of the blade for non-through cuts, one for standard kerf and one for thin kerf.
I have not used the direct contact available with Steel City yet. I purchased my table saw and 14 inch bandsaw through American Grinding and Sales in Kansas City, Missouri. Rusty (the owner) has handled everything. They have been more than helpful. I don’t want this to be an advertisement for them but I really can’t say enough good at this point.
I called the Tech Dept for Steel City prior to my final decision to purchase this model. They were open to all my questions and answered with their experience and opinions. All other companies I spoke with would not make a statement or give a personal opinion about an option or detail of their machine. These guys believe in their product. I opted for the cast iron over granite simply because I can still use magnetic jigs and fences. I was concerned about the dog ears of the T-track chipping out. I like the steel top, I think the granite would be a lot easier to care for but the steel has been industry standard for about one or two hundred years. I’ll stay with tried and true for the work horse of the shop.
Fit and Finish:
Other reviews have covered the wrench hooks being too low, this is the case. One new screw hole and that’s fixed. I would prefer the hook be on the front and I’ll probably move it there later. Right now, on some magnets up front where they are easy to reach.
The top and wings are polished almost to a smooth finish. They have a texture to them that appears to be shallow marks parrallel to the miter grove. The fence, miter guage and material all move over the top extremely smooth. I don’t see this as a drawback. I’ve also treated everything with three coats of buffed out wax.
Both tops had a shallow dish. They were both dished out a couple of thousanths in the middle and dead even on both ends. You can feel the difference with a finger nail but it looks like a dark line when looking at the top.
The trunion moves so smooth. Spin the heavy adjustment wheels and they will keep spinning for a short while. If any play ever develops the dovetail ways for the trunion are adjustable for wear. Looking at the castings, this should be many many thousand trips up and down before any play develops. They were set perfectly upon arrival.
The factory 90 and 45 degree stops were dead on. Check the pictures. The stops were checked with a Wixey digital guage and came out to the tenth of a degree. I was impressed.
The rip fence is tough, solid and easy to adjust, if done in order with the directions. Pre-read the directions. I started into the set-up having used several fences. Needless to say, I backed up, read the directions and had no more difficulties.
The provided extension table provided with the 50 inch rip fence is thick and solid. A big plus, it is laminated on both sides to reduce humidty warping. I will probobaly replace it with a thicker board designed to be a router table. The nice heavy fence can do double duty for a second router table.
I got the mobile base with the saw because I’m still building the interior of my shop and have not set my final wiring diagram. I would not recommend it. I don’t have experience with mobile bases, but I would only use it if mobility is a must. I recommend setting the saw and leaving it in place. I’m going to shim mine so the saw does not shake everytime you touch it. The saw sets on corner braces inside the perimeter of the base but the base flexes allowing it to shake.
I got the tenon jig from steel city at the same time. This is the first time I’ve had a factory made tenon jig. I like it. It is similar to others I looked at but it has a quick, gross adustment and it is predrilled for left or right tilt saws. Looks like Steel City puts in the small details up front, no need for upgrades or special orders.
Oh yea, promised a note on the bandsaw. The saw comes with all the bells and whistles. Bearing guides, quick release tension etc. The saw is two speed, 1500 and 3000. Not going to get into a seperate review here. This ties the quality with service I’ve tried to convey in the above review. A packaging SNAFU resulted in receiving a 50100 (cast top) instead of the 50100G (granite top). My dealer (Rusty) American Grinding and Sales is trading out the top and fence on my next visit to the city. Apparently the cast version does not come with the fence, the granite does. He’s trading me even up and following up on any questions I have. I feel like I’ll be doing business with them for some time to come.
Hope this helps with anyone else out there trying to decide on a saw or a company for equipment.
-- "Man's ingenuity has outrun his intelligence" (Joseph Wood Krutch)