|Review by Glenn||posted 11-02-2009 04:11 AM||21056 views||7 times favorited||43 comments|
I’ve been using an early 1980s-era Craftsman 9-inch portable table saw with a steel table and stamped steel extension wings. After deciding that I needed something a little more precise than this older saw, I was looking to upgrade and was attracted to the Bosch 4100-09 partly because of the reviews, but mostly because of the blade guard/riving knife it features. I wasn’t really wanting another portable saw, however, and was looking for something beefier instead. I discovered this Craftsman model while researching my options available locally and was pleasantly surprised to find it has almost the exact same guard/riving knife setup as the Bosch. This is an absolutely fantastic safety system and is very easy on/off. No tools are required to remove/modify the guard/riving knife components. The picture above shows that each side of the guard is a separate piece, and the one closest to the camera has been lifted all the way up to show the remaining components of the system. Additionally, you can remove components of the guard system separately depending on your needs (i.e., take off just the guard, or just the pawls), and with all the components removed from the knife, you can choose one of three knife heights or remove it completely, all by just lifting off the throat plate which is held down by strong rare-earth magnets. Other saw features include a high-quality extruded aluminum fence with t-track all over it and a cast iron table top with standard-size miter slots. This saw has cast iron trunnions, a 1.75hp, 15-amp motor, and v-belt drive in an enclosed steel cabinet. The motor is convertible to 220v, but I run it on 110v and haven’t needed any more power yet. Speaking of iron, this saw is HEAVY, weighing in at close to 300lbs (compared with the Bosch’s 62lbs). Assembly unquestionably requires two people. Dust collection is through a 4-inch port on the bottom of the cabinet. I don’t have a collector so I left the bottom off the saw when I assembled it. Blade removal is accomplished by pressing an arbor lock button with your left hand and using the supplied wrench with your right. 5/8” arbor accommodates dado sets up to 13/16” wide. The included saw blade is a less-than-ideal 40-tooth general purpose blade (thin carbide teeth). I have a Freud 50-tooth combo blade on order, so no big deal. Other included accessories are a dado insert, push stick, miter gauge, and arbor wrench. I should also mention that the cabinet has built-in heavy duty casters engaged by stepping on the pedal underneath. The right rip capacity is 30”. Overall, the fit and finish of this saw shouts quality engineering, and I am very, very pleased with my purchase. Considering the saw costs less than $550, it represents a great value, especially for the serious amateur. Obviously it can’t compare with a Unisaw, Powermatic, or other cabinet saw costing 3-4x as much, but I feel it compares favorably with other contractor-style saws costing $200-$300 more. And, it passes the “nickle-test,” if that is your personal measure of quality. Yes, I would purchase this again, and I don’t see myself outgrowing this one for many years.
-- Glenn, Arkansas