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This one could be better

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Review by woodfly posted 1929 days ago 5006 views 1 time favorited 30 comments Add to Favorites Watch
This one could be better This one could be better This one could be better Click the pictures to enlarge them

Well I’ve had the saw for almost 6 months now so I thought that it was finally time to get around to the review.
I have been saving for my “first” table saw for several years now and finally had the money to get almost any one that I wanted. My first inclination was to go with a Powermatic. For the most part I have seen very few negatives when reading reviews from other buyers/ owners. The big issue was the $$$ even though I had saved enough. The question was go with the Powermatic or go with something for less $$ which would in turn leave me with money for additional tools for the shop. I chose the latter and in retrospect it may not have been the best decision.
I choose the Steel City after reading some reviews and seeing them at the WW show. The quality appeared good and the price was attractive and for some reason the Granite appealed to me.
I purchased the saw at the local Woodcraft store just before Thanksgiving. The “deal” included the WWII blade and some blade cleaner. I think it was something under $1400.00, which included a mobile base and dado insert.The saw actually arrived in less than a week and I managed to get it into my basement shop with a little help and a big dolly. As previous reviewers have stated the shipping container is a heavy cardboard box over a welded tubular steel cage and pallet. After taking off the cardboard I noticed that one of the top steel rails on the cage had a large bend in it, however after a close inspection, I could see no damage to the saw. There was a cardboard box with a lot of the hardware in it that had a pretty large tear and it looked like some of the small plastic bags had started to come out through the hole. I was concerned that some might have already been lost, but after checking for all the parts, everything was present and accounted for.
Assembly: After unpacking and getting the saw onto the mobile base, which I also pruchased, I was ready to start the assembly. The first step was to get the Granite extension on. There are 3 studs that screw into the fixed table top onto which the extension is then bolted. FIRST PROBLEM—One of those studs was not threaded properly. While it looked like it was threaded, it actually only had rings cut into it instead of spiral threads. I didn’t even know that was possible. Regardless, all progress stops because if you can’t complete step 1 you can’t go to step 2. I called customer service and they sent the part, which arrived about 4 days latter. I finally was able to get the extension on but had a devil of a time getting it even and level with the rest of the top. It could not be adjusted the way the instructions stated and I finally had to shim it, which was the only way to get it level. The rest of the assembly went OK, however I kept noticing how much wooble there was to the saw as I was puting it all together. I began to suspect the mobile base. Before getting things completely assembled I tried to make sure everything was level but the saw still wobbled too much. I even shimmed the mobile base to where it was not touching the floor and there was still a lot of movement. I finally decided that the base was to flimsy for the weight of the saw and took it off the base and put it right on the concrete floor. That solved the problem. Don’t buy the Steel City mobile base.
Assembly complete, saw running, sawdust being generated, now for some observations:
1. The table extension has a pretty pronounced crown right in the center. On one of the photos, you can see by the level just how much.
2. There seems like a lot of vibration when the blade is tilted 45 degrees. (Steel city says they all do that) You tell me LJs, is that true?
3. The “nickle test” I don’t think so, unless its a roll of nickles!
4. The blade insert that came with the saw was unusable. The four leveling screws on each corner of the were so proud of the top (see photo) that anything you tried to push through would either stop when it hit the high spots or ride up over them, sometimes leaving you with a piece of wood in the middle of a turning blade that you could not push on through. I serious safety issue if you ask me. I called customer service and thay sent another one that was even worse. I finally took a grinder and flattened the high spots out and it seems to work OK now. When I called customer service concerning the issue again their answer was that they were redesigning the insert and one would be sent to me. That was 5 months ago. I made another follow up call a couple of months ago and they told me it was still in the design phase, but suggested that I buy a zero clearance insert. After all my trouble you might think they would send me a zero clearance insert instead of offering to sell me one. I did buy a zero clearance insert, but not a Steel City. I bought a LeeCraft and it works great. I’m not even going to go into the issues with the Steel City dado insert I bought, which was also unacceptable.
5. The Riving Knife (which I love) is supposed to have a quick disconnect, but it does not work properly. Customer service is supposed to be sending me that part also. I’m still waiting and have little to no hope that they will come through.
6. During assembly almost all factory adjustments had to be readjusted. The 45 and 90 degree stops, riving knife alingment, blade to table, miter slot to blade, fence to blade etc.

Sorry,I didn’t mean for this to get so long. I guess I’m just venting a bit.

There are some pros. Once everything was set up, I have not had to make additional adjustments.The saw makes good, repeatable cuts, has good power, and is pretty solid. (once I ditched the mobile base) The fence is very nice, smooth and solid. The Granite is dead flat and I don’t have to worry about rust.

The cons – Quality control could and should be much better and quite frankly Steel City customer service is bad. Apparently they are content to just tell the customer what they want to hear without following up or doing what they say they will do. There is more vibration than I think there should be. Not sure the Granite will “last several life times” and based on my experience so far, I dread the day I may have to call SC customer service to collect on any warrantey needs.

So there it is. Would I do the SC again. No. But it is what it is and I will make it work. After all, its just my opinion right?

-- Mike




View woodfly's profile

woodfly

14 posts in 1975 days



30 comments so far

View jwicks's profile

jwicks

54 posts in 2235 days


#1 posted 1929 days ago

I have the 35900G (1.75HP with granite top) which I bought last July.

I had a similar problem with the insert and was also told it was being redesigned. After a few e-mails they eventually sent me a zero clearance insert (made by Leecraft) which has worked fine. I’ve never received a replacement insert, but I always use the zero clearance one or the shop made dado one. I bought a Leecraft dado insert but haven’t used it yet.

I also had to adjust the riving knife to blade alignment, miter slot to blade alignment, and 45/90 stops. This was initially a pain but once I adjusted them I haven’t had to adjust since. As for the 45/90 stops, I use the Wixey angle gauge anyways and don’t rely on the stops.

I replaced the riving knife and blade guard with a Shark Guard after providing measurements and photos to Lee. That works nicely as its easy to add/remove the guard, and gets basically all of the above table dust.

-- Jon

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112011 posts in 2204 days


#2 posted 1929 days ago

good reveiw to bad about your touble.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View hokieman's profile

hokieman

163 posts in 2381 days


#3 posted 1929 days ago

This is a big disappointment. I have a SC cabinet saw with a steel top and it is great. I am sorry to hear their quality has slipped. I had some problems with my switch and they were very responsive so I would continue to press their customer relations folks until you are satisfied with the product.

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2449 days


#4 posted 1929 days ago

This is a well written review. It is a bummer to hear about the problems that you are having with the saw. One of the selling points with any tool, for me at least, is how customer service and technical support respond. Sounds like you should have had better support than you received.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View kosta's profile

kosta

946 posts in 1981 days


#5 posted 1929 days ago

Granite is as bad luck as walking under a ladder I dont like it at all now there are some better things about granite then cast iron but its has to many problems over time

-- kosta Virginia Beach, VA http://www.kostasworkshop.blogspot.com/

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2275 days


#6 posted 1929 days ago

nice review, sorry to hear this experience with SC… I was in the market for a saw, and after speaking to SC I got that feeling about them, and ended up shying away from their product and choosing a different brand. as far as setting up out of the box – I did the same (well, I did take my top off which would void any previous alignments) but I dont think thats a bad thing – it’s actually good that you get more familiar with the saw and it’s tunning right off the bat – makes it easier to do now when things are still in assembly, and you have the manual in front of you than later down the road when you’re in the middle of a project and have to stop and go back to square one… no biggy.

kosta- you keep stating that granite is such a horrible thing with so many problems – thats the 3rd time I see it – but you never explain or detail what you’re talking about ?!? do you have any bad experience with granite? any personal issues with it? any facts? related links? I’m curious….

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View Don K.'s profile

Don K.

1075 posts in 1953 days


#7 posted 1929 days ago

Thanks for the review, I was seriously considering a S/C cabinet saw (Found a heck of a deal on one) But like Purplev has already said…I just had a feeling. Two different tool distributors told me they feared S/C was going under and was dropping the S/C line (One was my local Woodcraft store) and the other one who was dropping them said he had hell getting them to back their warranty on their mini lathes, So I went another direction.

Sorry for all the troubles you are having and hope it all works out for you.

-- Don S.E. OK

View Brad_Nailor's profile

Brad_Nailor

2531 posts in 2584 days


#8 posted 1929 days ago

Great review…makes me think twice about wanting a SC saw…

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/DSO-Designs/297237806954248

View woodfly's profile

woodfly

14 posts in 1975 days


#9 posted 1928 days ago

This is why I think this forum is so valuable. If we can share our individual experiences then just maybe it will help the next guy make a more informed decision. We all work awfully hard for our money and when we decide to pull the trigger and purchase a product (especially a big ticket item) then at the very least we should expect the companies to stand behind their products. I know it is only one persons opinion, but when you can see a “trend” in those opionons then there is probably something of substance there to base your next purchasing decision on.

-- Mike

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11644 posts in 2315 days


#10 posted 1928 days ago

Thanks for the review…you just made me happier about my JET purchase ! : )

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View jwicks's profile

jwicks

54 posts in 2235 days


#11 posted 1928 days ago

Just wanted to add to what I wrote above, since I’ve actually been very happy with my Steel City saw.

I’ve had very good luck with their customer service, when you call a real person answers who knows the saw and often you’ll even be placed in contact with Jim or Scott Box who I believe own the company. The insert that comes with the saw is definitely a problem but that is easily corrected with the Leecraft insert (was only a little annoying since I bought the saw so early that the Leecraft inserts were not available).

After the initial adjustments to the saw that I mentioned above, I’ve had no issues and really like how the saw performs. I’m also glad I bought the granite, no issues there either, but obviously not for everyone. The only thing I’d change is I wish I’d bought the 50” rails.

-- Jon

View woodfly's profile

woodfly

14 posts in 1975 days


#12 posted 1928 days ago

jwicks—I found it interesting that even back in July when you bought your saw, they were “redesigning” the insert and apparently still haven’t gotten it right. I do have one question for you since you have esentially the same saw; Do you get a lot of vibration when you tilt the blade to 45 degrees? For that matter does anyone get a lot of vibration at 45 on any saw like SC told me? This is my first real saw and honestly I do not have anything to compare it to. All I know is that if I have anything setting on my extension table, it WILL be on the floor. I learned that the hard way.

-- Mike

View Dusty56's profile

Dusty56

11644 posts in 2315 days


#13 posted 1928 days ago

Woodfly …..NO vibration on my JET cabinet saw …..I don’t see how they could describe it as “normal”

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

View jwicks's profile

jwicks

54 posts in 2235 days


#14 posted 1928 days ago

Woodfly, yeah I’m surprised to hear that they haven’t corrected the insert yet. I’ve never noticed vibration at 45.

-- Jon

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8476 posts in 2275 days


#15 posted 1928 days ago

woodfly, I have the Ridgid granite saw – very similar but only 1.5HP motor only so maybe that makes a difference- but I get 0 vibrations on 45 degree bevel cuts.

what I’ve noticed about SC is that it always seems like they are chasing after their tails… redesigning things forever…. website updates with long delays… marketing machines that they have never seen before (35920 was at the store, before it ever arrived at SC headquarters… they have yet to see it – but the customer could have…. – I did). just a bit finicky… I know they are doing the best they can, but their choices seem a bit unusual to me.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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