LumberJocks

Initial Review - Impression

  • Advertise with us
Review by Kalison posted 02-18-2016 03:06 PM 4758 views 3 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Initial Review - Impression No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

Hello,

Long time lurker and first time poster.

I picked up my SawStop Jobsite Saw about a month ago, maybe just a little more than a month ago… so I thought I would share my initial impressions of the saw.

I began my tablesaw days with a skil saw jobsite saw… which was the first and worst saw that I have ever bought. I used it enough to finish a simple project or two, and then I put it in the corner. Accuracy, Repeatability and Reliability were all very poor… but, it was 100 bucks…. you get what you pay for. I remember spending 20 minutes getting the “fence” to align and then even if I got that right, there was so much runout in the arbor and the “trunion” moved so damn much that all my cuts would be wavey.

I am used to working with my Dad and his late 90’s American Unisaw, which is just a wonderful saw to this day. He has made so much fine furniture with it and he still does this many years later.

So I was looking at the Delta Contractor Saw (36-725) found at Lowe’s. I initially picked that saw and I was disappointed in it almost all the way around. Although it was quiet and sturdy, my rear rails never lined up and my fence rail had so much flashing from the split that it needed to be filed off, even then they didn’t line up well enough, no matter what I did, that if I brought the fence near the seam it would kick my fence off square or parallel. The rear rail was not bored correctly and I wasn’t about to trying to bore them out… not with the fence rail already being a mess.

There is a lot more to that Delta Story, including the poor customer service… but, I digress… this is about the SawStop Jobsite Saw.

So during my endeavors with the Delta, I noticed that while it would work in my “shop” garage, it was a little big and I couldn’t really get it out of the way completely… maybe I just need a new house :D.

So back to looking at smaller more portable jobsite style table saws. I initially did not want one because that Skil just burned me so bad, that I had just about written anything but proper cabinet and hybrid saws off.

As I did more research I found that there are many people out there making wonderful things with their jobsite style table saws and they had the same problem with space as I did… so began my search again.

Now, I decided on the SawStop because I know two people personally who have lost two and three fingers from their own table saws. My father has been woodworking for longer than I have been alive and he has all his fingers, so there is something to about being aware of everything… however, he even told me that if he ever had to get a new saw, he would get a SawStop… which was big for me. My Dad is a proud person, but, even he knows that nothing is 100%.

So, my personal feelings about people who try to push safety on people aside, this was my only option at the time.

Jobsite portability became important as I actually love the fact that I can put this thing in the corner of the garage like it is not even there. This saw also looked like one of the best saws out there for precision and repeat-ability.

Assembly:

Easy! You have to put the saw elevation handle and the cart handles on. This shouldnt take you more than 20 minutes. That is honestly all you need to do to get this up and running… of course power and all that.

Build:

This is a well made saw. I have looked at many Hybrid saws and many jobsite style saws… this one honestly comes in on top or at least close to the top jobsite style saws.

The cart is sturdy and works smoothly without any issues. The tabletop is not the most flat saw top that I have ever seen, however it’s mountains closer to level than any of the other jobsite saws that I ran across in my search (judging mainly by the many display models). Most people thought I was crazy even checking for that on a jobsite saw… as they assume the only thing you do on those is rough cuts.

The unit as a whole while fully deployed could be a little more sturdy, but, it hasn’t been an issue for me yet.

All the plastic parts feel like nice high quality parts. The tabletop itself feels like a nice anodized aluminum surface and it does not flex on the main table, the extension part will flex a little if you lean on it, but I doubt anyone would have issues with it with normal working. I have had to rip down a few 3/4” plys already and never had any issues.

Fence-

The fence rail is aluminum and its extrusion and feels strong. The extension system is smooth and doesn’t bind when deploying or stowing the extension.

The fence itself is light, while feeling heavy enough to feel well made. It has two smooth sides of (guessing) 1/8”-1/4” phenolic plywood. They look replaceable. The locking mechanism works well and squares up nicely when its all locked in. It glides nice and smoothly on the fence rails.

The fence does have adjustments you can make for parallel and locking strength.

Blade Alignment-

I checked for blade parallelism with the miter slots. Mine was a couple thousandths off, with the rear of the saw away from the fence/miter slot. Being as I don’t know how to adjust blade parallel (and I have not seen them release how to), and its a minimally out of parallel, I decided to ignore it.

Arbor looked dead on, no run-out at all. I don’t have a bunch of fancy tools to gauge it… but, if it has any… well I can’t see it and I doubt it will cause issues with my work.

Miter Slots-

Speaking of the miter slots… I am a little disappointed, they ARE standard 3/4” by 3/8” T Slot, however I think they could be machined with a little more precision. They are straight but at the ends of the table they close up just a tiny bit. Mine are oversized as well, they measured .764 through the body of the table and at the very ends they close up to .762… has not been an issue as of yet… just thought I would note it.

Miter Gauge-

The miter gauge is an absolute joke. I mean… the miter gauge on my Skilsaw was better… I would not use the miter gauge on this saw over that junk Skilsaw gauge. I can’t believe for 1300 dollars you get such a ridiculously poorly designed tool. Yeah, I know… most people end up getting aftermarket ones… but COME ON!!!! This saw costs TWICE what the next highest quality competitor has to offer! Even a 600 dollar Dewalt comes with a tighter fitting STEEL miter gauge that looks like it at least wont flex on you like this garbage 1/8” molded plastic POS. I wont even start on about how loose the damn thing is in the slots.

Blade-

You get a very basic combination 40 tooth blade. It’s okay, seemed to be well balanced, though seemed like it has some run-out. The blade itself will serve basic functions.

As for the trunion assembly, it looks beefy and the blade raises and lowers on two steel rails (almost exactly like the Delta 36 series of table saws), which keeps the blade nice and straight when raising and lowering.

Protection-

The micro guard assembly for the blade is nice, and I actually use it. You get all the usual suspects and a separate riving knife. Obviously you get the Sawstop blade stopping technology.

Sound-

While this saw is louder by far, than any cabinet/hybrid/contractor saw with an induction motor… this universal motor runs quieter than some others and its has smooth power.

Features:

While I thought it would be a gimmick.. the one rotation up and down for the saw blade is just brilliant. I love it. You can still fine tune it by “palming” the elevation wheel and gently turning. While this is not nearly as SUPER accurate as a 100 turn elevation wheel, it will get you so close that I hardly think that anyone will have an issue dialing it in. The elevation is super smooth and as stated before, it raises on two steel rails which keeps the blade nice and aligned.

Tilt adjustment is equally as brilliant. Squeeze the ring located behind the elevation wheel together with the wheel and swing! I love how quickly I can turn this to any angle I want, then fine tune it with the fine tuning knob, located on the front of the housing. I have a wixley digital angle finder, and I can get this blade exactly where I want, each and every time, with the system they employed.

The on-board tool storage is nice. Everything has its place. Plently of power cord for most small shops or jobsites. The fence has a holster like storage with a lock. The push stick is stowed just above that with a nice pull and lift assembly, which you can do without looking after just a few times using it. The built in storage box is also a very cool feature, that I didn’t think I would care for… however its come in handy. It holds the joke of a miter gauge, riving knife, micro blade guard, instruction manual, an additional Sawstop cartridge, allen keys for various adjustments and even a place for your pencil and measuring tape!

I love the half turn knob on the rear of the cabinet/housing that releases your spare/extra blade and the blade wrenches, another small feature that I have come to really appreciate. Half turn unlocks the spindle and another locks it all up… no 100 turn wingnut or knob. It’s very secure as well. The blade wrenches are nice thick and I don’t think you’ll bend one anytime soon… more than I could say about a Dewalt I used, as well as my skilsaw.

Dust collection is excellent. It comes with a 2.5” port for your most common shopvac. I tested it with a shop vac and a 2.5” to 4” adapter for my dust collector.. both methods worked incredibly well! My dust collector was more effective overall, but, you all know. The dust shroud is thoughtfully engineered to use the turbulence that the blade causes to force the majority of the dust down the shroud. Usually I don’t believe marketing stuff like this, but you can tell there was some engineering in the shroud. Speaking of the shroud, there is a nice magnet that holds the rear of the shroud that allows you to swing it out of the way…you can actually get a whole hand in there when doing a cartridge change or just cleaning/adjusting!

The fence its a T style fence. It locks and unlocks with a push of a button on the top of the fence… looks like a red teardrop. It’s easy to use and even though it does not take much force to activate or de-activate it locks firmly and self aligns every time. Also on the top in the middle of the fence there is a twist knob that deploys a little metal shelf for when you have the table extended but need to cut something that comes up short of 24” inches. I have already needed to use this, and even though it looks like a little thing piece of metal, it has worked just fine for ripping some 3/4” ply. The phenolic plywood faces are also a nice touch.

My saw came with a throat insert that had a nice yellow sticker it on saying that due to supply I had been given an “upgraded” throat insert. Now, this was a nice surprise to me, because the normal jobsite throat plates are a joke at best… they are thin cheap plastic… and they want 30 dollars for one, what a rip. Mine was made from what looked like their normal throat plate materials and it is a good deal heavier and thicker than the standard plates. It goes on to say that if I were to order another throat plate, I would receive the “standard” plate. This is a bit disappointing as the “upgraded” one is very nice and its exceptional compared to any other jobsite saw plates I have seen… its also zero clearance. I would pay 30 or more to replace this plate instead of that standard plastic junker they usually come with.

On/Off Paddle works well and is easy to operate. There is a main power switch as well as a simple plasti by-pass key for cutting wet woods or conductive materials.

The extension of the table, that goes from 14” rip capacity to 25.5” operates smoothly and it only has those two settings, there are none in between. Once locked in the out position its solid and does not droop under its own weight.

Accuracy:

As I noted before, blade alignment was good (couple thousandths rear away from miter), arbor run-out was non existent (again I don’t have a fancy tools to measure it). The structure of the trunion seems to be nice and solid, it does not jump during start up. This saw will actually pass the nickel test if you are careful pulling the on paddle, which has a pretty solid clicking detent.

Fence was dead on out of the box. If its not, you can easily adjust parallel and cutting measurements. You can also adjust clamping pressure, which they recommend if you need to change it. Many have stated that the front of the fence deflects… while this is true, if you have your clamping pressure adjusted properly, it will take a decent amount of force to cause this to deflect. Much more than I suspect anyone actually needs when feeding stock through. The fence also glides very smoothly, reminds me a lot of a cabinet saw. Again, when I cut some test stock, my ruler on the fence was dead on, and needed no adjustments.

As noted before, the table is not the most exact flat table I have ever seen, you’re going to be hard pressed to find fault with the results… I don’t think I have seen any indication that the less than 100 perfect tabletop has messed up my work so far.

Miter slots could be better milled in my opinion, and closer to normal 3/4” wide specs. Any adjustable miter guide should make this a non issue, as the miter slots are still milled very straight and parallel to the blade. Also as stated before… throw away the worthless stock miter gauge… seriously I am very pissed off about how much they just did not care about this thing.

I have ripped a many 8×4’ ply boards since I got this, and they have been impressively dead on. I thought with all the talk of deflection and the extension being out there, that it wouldn’t be worth a damn.

Every time I have set my fence to a length, it has been dead on. I haven’t even thought of checking it before cutting so far. This makes me very happy, especially considering my previous experience with my Skilsaw fence (LOL).

Summary:

Overall, I think this is a nice accurate saw, it has its shortcomings as a portable saw vs a cast iron saw… however its short comings might be overcome by its extreme portability and ease of use. That’s something you have to ask yourself. I will say that this is one of the best compromising saws that I have found.. just my opinion.

Biggest disappointment is the miter gauge. Everyone who has bought this saw should get a written apology along with a new improved reliable miter gauge.

Also, SawStop… SELL US THE “UPGRADED” THROAT PLATE!!!!

Miter Slots could use better milling, closer to .750”

This is a 1300 dollar saw… I don’t believe anyone will agree with me on a lot of these points as you can get a good cast iron saw for around this price. However, if space is a premium and you want the SawStop Tech… this is the way to go. But, I do believe its a well built accurate saw with lots of nice little innovative features that some people will love.

Okay, so this was a little longer than I expected it to be. I will update or submit a new review once I have had this saw a while longer.




View Kalison's profile

Kalison

3 posts in 1006 days



11 comments so far

View jumbojack's profile

jumbojack

1685 posts in 2768 days


#1 posted 02-18-2016 07:05 PM

One of the most comprehensive reviews I’ve ever read here. Thank you.

-- Made in America, with American made tools....Shopsmith

View Kalison's profile

Kalison

3 posts in 1006 days


#2 posted 02-18-2016 09:32 PM

Thanks! I didn’t mean for it to get this long. I will be updating with some pictures soon.

View JB Brackett's profile

JB Brackett

12 posts in 1674 days


#3 posted 02-18-2016 09:51 PM

Very good review. Love the thoroughness and truth about both the good and bad. We’ll done! Thank you!

-- “If you can visualize it, if you can dream it, there’s some way to do it.” —Walt Disney

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

1240 posts in 2138 days


#4 posted 02-19-2016 01:52 AM

Good review. It doesn’t need any added credibility, nor would my words supply it if it did, but my experience matches your conclusions.

My brother told me one day he got this same saw, and my initial reaction was that he wasted his money. I am not a Sawstop hater, I am actually planning to buy a PCS soon, just didn’t think this jobsite model was worth the cost. When I went over to look at it, I had my mind changed. It is very well executed, and you can see the things you get for your money, besides the safety technology.

I didn’t look at the miter gauge, but everything else was well done, well fit, well finished.

Definitely an option here for folks who want the safety, but don’t have the space.

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View NormG's profile

NormG

6252 posts in 3147 days


#5 posted 02-19-2016 04:08 AM

Congrats and enjoy, they are fine pieces of equipment

-- Norman - I never never make a mistake, I just change the design.

View Kalison's profile

Kalison

3 posts in 1006 days


#6 posted 02-19-2016 06:18 AM



Very good review. Love the thoroughness and truth about both the good and bad. We ll done! Thank you!

- JB Brackett

Thank you! I try to be as real as I can. I am a pretty picky consumer, and I thought that anyone else out there like me would like to know about even the smaller details.

Good review. It doesn t need any added credibility, nor would my words supply it if it did, but my experience matches your conclusions.

My brother told me one day he got this same saw, and my initial reaction was that he wasted his money. I am not a Sawstop hater, I am actually planning to buy a PCS soon, just didn t think this jobsite model was worth the cost. When I went over to look at it, I had my mind changed. It is very well executed, and you can see the things you get for your money, besides the safety technology.

I didn t look at the miter gauge, but everything else was well done, well fit, well finished.

Definitely an option here for folks who want the safety, but don t have the space.

-Brian

- bbasiaga

If mine was destroyed today, I would run out and get another. Despite some of the issues I pointed out, it is a well made saw and I think anyone will be able to it get setup and produce great results. Yes, the price is very high… but like you said, there are somethings that you need to see and touch before you understand where the money went. Which was obviously not the Miter Gauge ;) I have an Incra 1000SE set up now, and it has been wonderful. The adjustable miter bar easily adjusted to the oversize miter slots.


Congrats and enjoy, they are fine pieces of equipment

- NormG

Thanks! I really do enjoy this saw. I love that I can really get it out of the way when I need extra space… and when I come back to use it, its the way I left it.

View htl's profile

htl

4097 posts in 1303 days


#7 posted 02-20-2016 03:03 AM

Thanks for the great review!
When I first saw how long it was I had it in my head Saw Stop was trying to get in an advertisement but your + and _ told a different story.

Now I would love to see some reviews on Bosch new contractors saw.
If it’s any thing like their routers it’s top notch.

-- An Index Of My Model making Blogs here on Lumber Jocks.. http://lumberjocks.com/htl/blog/116729

View CyberDyneSystems's profile

CyberDyneSystems

288 posts in 2332 days


#8 posted 02-23-2016 10:11 PM

thanks for a great review!

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View Willowman's profile

Willowman

9 posts in 934 days


#9 posted 03-28-2016 05:58 PM

Awesome review. Thank you for spending the time to put all of this information into words for all of our benefit. Initially, none of the Sawstops were in my budget range, so my decision was to wait and save $ until I could afford one. That meant I needed to continue borrowing my friends $49 garage sale special delta tabletop saw though. I feared for my hands and life every time I turned it on, even with the new blade I bought for it.

I had saved up enough for one of the new hybrids (lack of riving knife seemed to be a dealbreaker for finding a used saw) and like you, was leaning towards the Delta, when a damaged JSS showed up on craigslist near me. I got it for half price knowing I would need to spend a little to repair the broken fence and rails, and honestly, don’t think I will have a problem selling it if I decide it is not for me. Still, I wish I had read your review before the purchase, as it would have alleviated all of my pre and post purchase angst as to whether I wasted my money on some amazing safety technology in a saw that can’t do what I want it to do.

I started a new posting in the power tool section of the forums about the Jobsite Sawstop as a place to share impressions and upgrades to the saw, so we all can benefit from each other’s experience. Right now, I am considering putting an aftermarket fence system on the saw rather than replacing the stock set up, so will update with my findings. I will look at the miter you have too. My stock one fits so poorly it is like a musical instrument when you wiggle it back and forth in the slot. Clickety clack clickety clack.

View splintergroup's profile

splintergroup

2304 posts in 1366 days


#10 posted 03-28-2016 07:51 PM

A wide miter slot is just the beginning of grief. My Unisaw is 0.004-0.006” over and simple things like a Benchdog feather board have to be cranked down with pliers to stay put. I’ve worked my miter gauge to work like it should so all is good there, but as you say, for $1300, it should be near perfect in the areas that seem impossible to screw up.

View Surreals's profile

Surreals

1 post in 481 days


#11 posted 06-23-2017 03:22 AM

Thanks for this review. I’ve been looking for my first table saw, but I have a space problem so I’ve been looking at portable jobsite saws. I’ve seen the Stopsaw JSS, and thought it looked ok, and more rigid and useful than the Festool CMS that I’d been considering, so your review has been very helpful for me. It’s not that easy to find an independent and fair review, so special thanks.

The heads up about the miter is good.

-- Old School - the best school

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com