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SawStop PCS175 with 36" T-Rail - 6 Month Review

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Review by Matt posted 05-05-2016 05:28 PM 7484 views 1 time favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
SawStop PCS175 with 36" T-Rail - 6 Month Review SawStop PCS175 with 36" T-Rail - 6 Month Review SawStop PCS175 with 36" T-Rail - 6 Month Review Click the pictures to enlarge them

I purchased this saw after finally committing to building out my long dreamed about woodshop. I had a bunch of contractor/jobsite grade tools and didn’t really have any experience with professional grade WW tools.

Background: (I’m a hobbyist)
Originally I had purchased a Ridgid R4510 (R45101) and it failed while trying to rip 12/4 poplar. Sure…... it was a lot for it to cut, but what’s the point of a blade height of 3 1/4” when it can’t cut that much. (Yes I was using a thin kerf rip blade). This left a hole in my shop, a big hole. In doing my research I was looking initially at the Grizzly hybrids, the Laguna Fusion hybrid and the Sawstop Contractor 1.75 model. I mentioned the Sawstop contractor model and it’s safety feature to my wife (and it’s associated cost) and her response: “That seems like a waste of money – you’re safe in the stop”; I guess she doesn’t value my fingers. I on the other hand knew that while I’m mostly safe in the shop (I’m human) I know that I am also good at hurting myself. I really liked the hybrid models, but I couldn’t get over the “if only I had spent the $500” to get the brake nagging thought in the back of my head. That made up my mind on the Sawstop – it’s just money, as of now, you only get one set of fingers. So I started pricing out the contractor saw stop and by the time I was done with dust collection port, 36” T-Rails and cast iron table extensions I wasn’t that far from the cost from the Sawstop Professional Cabinet Saw 1.75 with 36” rails (which included the dust collection and cast iron wings already.) Finally on my thought process, if I’m spending 2100+tax, might as well just spend 2500+tax and since it’s about 20% difference on a already large purchase – that at least in theory I won’t have to upgrade, ever.

The saw was easy to assemble (you’ve read the reviews on the instructions already – their exceptional), and it was basically perfect from the factory. The blade to miter was less than 0.001 in alignment, and the fence took a little adjustment on the where it mounts to the rails to get it square, and further alignment to the blade to fence measuring tape. Overall unboxing, set up, and tuning was about 3-4 hours. (I wasn’t keeping track and wasn’t in a rush).

First power on was weird – it was SO quiet compared to the Ridgid, it was smooth vibration free and had a very nice hum to it. I ran some 3/4” poplar through it and was very pleased with the power, how solid the fence was and the cut from the factory blade. ( I was using Diablo’s on my Ridgid). On to the main event – the 5’ rips of 12/4 poplar (I was making a loft bed and the 12/4 was the posts). The saw with the factory blade, made those cuts with ease; mind you I wasn’t feeding at a “fast” rate, but I don’t think that I was feeding them any slower than I usually feed things on the table saws. There were a few moments where I was a little over zealous and could hear a hint of motor labor but it was 12/4 – so I’ll blame that on me. Initially I had no complaints with this saw.

The six month review – and now the complaints (Which are petty and few)
1: The table surface was very shinny when I got it. I’m good at sweating while I work (no matter how slow I’m moving if there is any humidity in the air) and the drops that hit the table (even with Boeshield) rust faster than I can finish my cut. (Ok it’s a bit of an exaggeration – but it takes no time at all.) The table also scratches pretty easily so that first scratch was painful, now ehhhh….. at least it’s getting use. This is in my opinion a petty complaint because my bandsaw table (JET) and Jointer bed (Grizzly) rusts just as fast, they just were a whole lot cheaper.
2: I do not have the overarm dust collection or the dust collection blade guard. The dust coming from the blade on final dimensioning cuts (where the waste side is =/< blade kerf) is thrown directly towards the front of the saw. This was similar to the Ridgid but more pronounced on the PCS. This is leading me in the direction of the overarm setup, but am having trouble with the $330 price tag for occasional dust in the face. (I wear a respirator most of the time.)
3: I didn’t think that I had the space for the 52” rails. I do with how my workshop “flows” and I should have purchased them. (Mind you, I haven’t had a need to rip anything larger than 36” that I recall since purchase – but it would make for more horizontal storage area to the right of the blade for things like push blocks, or sacrificial fences.) This isn’t really a complaint about the saw, but about my planning, but something that I wish I had really considered when purchased the saw – thus mentioning it here. It’s about 16” and just $100 more…..

The 6 month positives:
All the initial review statements are still valid – the blade is still square to miter slots and fence (neither have moved at all), the fence still locks very solid, and it’s still vibration free with a nice hum.
I’ve since used it for many different hardwoods (red and white oak, cypress, poplar, toasted poplar and purpleheart) up to 8/4 for both ripping and cross cutting and it’s a pleasure to work with. I did upgrade to 40tooth WWII (0.125” kerf) and that also is a wonderful addition to the saw.
I’m very happy with the power of the saw – I’m a hobbyist so a few extra seconds cutting something doesn’t cost me money – it likely also keeps me safer.

Other notes: Changing the blade from a 8” dado to the 10” WWII (It’s basically all I use) takes less time than on the Ridgid even with having to change the brake cartridge – changing the brake takes about 20 seconds overall after you’ve done it more than three times.
I am lucky that I haven’t needed the brake or had any false triggers. I have not used the bypass mode at all. (Well with the one exception of figuring out how to use it, but not actually cutting anything with it on, and the keys just sit in the lock.)

Overall, it’s an outstanding saw that I have absolutely no buyers remorse over. It has exceeded all my expectations, it actually puts a smile on my face when I use it. (Versus the “ohhh that sounds hard on the bearings thump” when starting the Ridgid.) I will say, that since I’ve not had a use for the brake, I’d likely write a very similar review on the other saws that I was looking at well because my comparison is really limited to this, the Ridgid, and what I recall from shop class in 8th grade, two decades ago.

This is a “stock photo”. I’ll add some pictures later, but there are pictures of mine in my “workshop”.

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.




View Matt's profile

Matt

160 posts in 1030 days



15 comments so far

View RibsBrisket4me's profile

RibsBrisket4me

1554 posts in 2585 days


#1 posted 05-05-2016 06:27 PM

Nice review. Thanks for taking the time to write it up, and enjoy tour new saw!

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5490 posts in 3742 days


#2 posted 05-05-2016 08:16 PM

I have had mine for 4 years now … never a regret or a negative experience … love my saw!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View AZWoody's profile

AZWoody

1360 posts in 1303 days


#3 posted 05-05-2016 09:57 PM

Nice saw. If your wife doesn’t value your fingers, you’re definitely not doing something right :D

View Matt's profile

Matt

160 posts in 1030 days


#4 posted 05-06-2016 02:58 AM



Nice saw. If your wife doesn t value your fingers, you re definitely not doing something right :D

- AZWoody

She gave me the “ok” to buy it – i can’t be doing something that…. wrong. When i pointed this out to her.. she did feel a Lil bad. it was cute.

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

View devann's profile

devann

2246 posts in 2772 days


#5 posted 05-06-2016 06:01 AM

Nice looking saw. Thanks for writing about it Matt. And thanks for actually taking the time to use the tool for a while and become familiar with it before you posted a review. Well done.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View ellen35's profile

ellen35

2738 posts in 3512 days


#6 posted 05-06-2016 10:52 AM

Thanks for your review. I’ve had mine for about 9 months and agree on every point. It is a precision machine…and quiet too.

-- "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." Voltaire

View Mip's profile

Mip

453 posts in 2157 days


#7 posted 05-10-2016 08:33 AM

I got to say, this is a pretty good saw, very well built. I’ve used one for a couple of years at the local tech shop here in Detroit. I just don’t like Gass’ business practices such as making the federal government install his blade braking technology onto every other manufactures saw, among other things. I’m sure you guys have heard and read about the lawsuit from Osairio’s lawyers and the CPSC rulings, so I won’t go into detail here. Other than that, it’s still a nice saw. Sorry for the rant; I’ll get off my soapbox now.

View BeamOH's profile

BeamOH

1 post in 1691 days


#8 posted 05-12-2016 11:56 PM

Thanks for taking the time to provide a very helpful review. I’ve been trying to decide my next move (up) from a Rigid R4512, which is actually a pretty decent saw, especially considering the price. You review convince me to go the with SawStop.

Best to you!

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5490 posts in 3742 days


#9 posted 05-13-2016 12:00 AM

You review convince me to go the with SawStop.

You will not be sorry. SawStop builds a great tool!

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View Matt's profile

Matt

160 posts in 1030 days


#10 posted 05-13-2016 12:47 AM


Thanks for your review. I ve had mine for about 9 months and agree on every point. It is a precision machine…and quiet too.

- ellen35


Thanks for taking the time to provide a very helpful review. I ve been trying to decide my next move (up) from a Rigid R4512, which is actually a pretty decent saw, especially considering the price. You review convince me to go the with SawStop.

Best to you!

- BeamOH

Hey Beam!

I’m confident you’ll be happy with the PCS. a few other items of note- if you think you want the mobile base- purchase it when purchasing the saw- you have to disassemble the saw to install it if adding after the fact. I purchased my dado insert and brake at time of purchase as well. It’ll save you a trip if you already have an 8” dado.

When i bought it- it was recommended that about once a month you blow out the cabinet. dust can/will block full tilt and affect fully raising/lowering the blade. I’ve done this about every other month (hobby use) and do not see much getting blown out nor have had any trouble with either funcion. (infact- the adjustment wheels spin very smooth and free- overall. )

The manual that is included- is downloadable on the sawstop website; can’t hurt to daydream a little. :)

A very close friend of mine has a ridgid 4512- he is very happy with it- can i ask why the upgrade?

Lastly- forgive my spelling/punctuation- I’m on a phone. i wish you the best with your purchase!

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

View Matt's profile

Matt

160 posts in 1030 days


#11 posted 05-13-2016 01:04 AM


I got to say, this is a pretty good saw, very well built. I ve used one for a couple of years at the local tech shop here in Detroit. I just don t like Gass business practices such as making the federal government install his blade braking technology onto every other manufactures saw, among other things. I m sure you guys have heard and read about the lawsuit from Osairio s lawyers and the CPSC rulings, so I won t go into detail here. Other than that, it s still a nice saw. Sorry for the rant; I ll get off my soapbox now.

- Mip

The politics surrounding the owners of sawstop suck. At the end of the day, its a quality saw, with a great safety feature at a relatively competitive price point with other cabinet saws in its class. It met my needs and is one of my favorite things about my woodshop, it realky is a pleasure to use. My other favorite thing about my woodshop- there is no political discussion :)

-- My "projects" always look better with beer goggles.

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5490 posts in 3742 days


#12 posted 05-13-2016 03:26 AM

The politics surrounding the owners of sawstop suck.

I think it is fair to point out that, to date, Gass’s efforts to mandate hi invention on other saws have been unsuccessful.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View CyberDyneSystems's profile

CyberDyneSystems

288 posts in 2268 days


#13 posted 05-19-2016 04:54 PM

Great review.

Yes, get the overarm dust guard! It is so easy to remove and re-install if it ever gets in the way, literally just seconds to swap with the riving knife or back again.

12/4 hardwood with the stock blade? That’s a 40 tooth combo blade! Get a 24 tooth rip blade and you’ll be even more impressed!

-- Without the wood, it's just working

View trevor7428's profile

trevor7428

266 posts in 1040 days


#14 posted 08-16-2016 01:03 AM

I’m Thinking about purchasing this saw. I currently have a Delta (Lowes) 30” rip capacity. I’ve always thought if only my fence would go to 36”, it would be perfect. So, I was planning on purchasing the 36” saw stop. After your review, you got me thinking should I just go to the 52”

Can someone with a 52” Fence, comment on how often they actually Rip/ Crosscut bigger than 36”
Do you guys prefer 52” or would you rather save your precious shop space and just have the 36”.

I don’t know much about sawstop. What is bypass mode and what is this brake feature. I assume to just stops the blade really fast after you turn off the saw?

Thanks for the review

-- Thank You Trevor OBrion

View TheDane's profile

TheDane

5490 posts in 3742 days


#15 posted 08-16-2016 02:13 AM

What is bypass mode and what is this brake feature. I assume to just stops the blade really fast after you turn off the saw?

No. The ‘brake feature’ slams an aluminum block into the blade when flesh is detected, drops the blade below the table, and shuts down the motor.

‘Bypass mode’ allows you bypass the ‘brake feature’ when you are cutting wet wood or wood that might trigger the braking system.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

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