New Craftsman Table Saw - New Woodworker

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Forum topic by fstellab posted 01-03-2013 12:45 PM 5489 views 0 times favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View fstellab's profile


86 posts in 2324 days

01-03-2013 12:45 PM

Topic tags/keywords: craftsman table saw 58 miter table saw craftsman newbie tablesaw oak jig question

Hi Folks,

I am new to woodworking and DIY projects, I have experience with most tools including a miter saw and 2 routers. I did not have any issues with set up and learning how to use the tools.

Then my wife got me a Craftsman 10” Table Saw with Laser Trac® (21807). This saw has proven very diffcult for a newcomer, the set up was a nightmare, the part numbers in the front of the manual, don’t match the numbers in the diagrams, and there are no numbers on the parts. If you are experienced with table saws this might not be so bad, but it was hard.

Over 3 days, with about 9 hrs of work I finally got it together, mostly by looking at the photos on the box and many web photos/discussions groups. Now, I tried to use it, the salesman sold my wife a Craftsman feather board, so I just assumed it would work—wrong this saw has a 5/8” miter track, and sears does not sell 5/8” miter track jigs.

I found a magnetic feather board for $70—- don’t think I want to pay that.
I also found some very expensive jigs that claim they will work on a 5/8” track—not too sure about these

Then I tried a cut with the saw using just a push stick, I tried to cut the side of a 1/4” 18”x18” Oak plywood ..
The saw had a real hard time cutting the wood smoothly, it kept binding, scared the hell out of me. This was probably operator error, but I am nervous about the saw.

I am about ready to send the Saw back .. but that may cause an issue with my wife.

Any ideas ?

Why would Craftsman use the odd ball miter slot … it can’t cost any more then the standard, if they did so you would have to buy Craftsman attachments … I would be OK with that.

As it stands now .. I need to spend another $200 – $300 to overcome the 5/8 miter slot .. for that money I could have got a nice Ridgid contractor saw.

Thanks folks

-- Fred Stellabotte (

31 replies so far

View docholladay's profile


1287 posts in 3297 days

#1 posted 01-03-2013 01:33 PM

First of all, your final comments are the choice that I would make. I had one of those Craftsman job site table saws a while back. Just like you, my wife bought it for me for Christmas. I actually used it for several years, but eventually gave it away to someone and bought a contractor saw (used). That was a huge improvement, but now, I wish I had held out a little longer and saved up to buy an actual cabinet style table saw. If I were in your shoes, had the money, and my wife would not be too offended, I would return the little saw you have and either get a refund or exchange it for a different saw with the features that I wanted. Craftsman does sell “real” table saws with normal 3/4” miter slots that can use normal table saw accessories. They are usually in their professional series of tools. Their “Hybrid” saws (which means cabinet style design with contractor saw power) have been quite popular and have decent features at reasonable cost. Certainly worth checking it out. Otherwise, if you don’t want to exchange this saw, you may want to consider building the saw station that Norm Abrams (New Yankee Workshop) designed and built for his show. You can find plans and video here:!/~/product/category=1855062&id=7916588. It would greatly enhance the functionality of that little saw. Ultimately, that saw will be a compromise for you over the long haul, but as has often been stated, it is not the tool that determines the quality of the work, it is the skill of the craftsman. There are many examples on this website of very high quality work being executed with very simple tools. Personally, I’ve gotten to the point that I do a lot of my own work with hand tools. I’m to the point that I am considering getting rid of my table saw all together to make room for a larger work bench in my shop.


-- Hey, woodworking ain't brain surgery. Just do something and keep trying till you get it. Doc

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4199 days

#2 posted 01-03-2013 02:06 PM

At the risk of sounding like a bad guy…......
Take that saw back to Sears.
It is a saw built for light duty “hacking” on wood.
You can pick up a pretty darned good TS by searching the Bay or newspaper.
I just don’t think that you’ll ever be really pleased with the saw, but,by golly, sounds like ya have a “keeper” in the bride. After all, how many would buy ya a saw?


View Austons_Garage's profile


41 posts in 2269 days

#3 posted 01-03-2013 02:33 PM

I’d probably take the saw back if you can, but be sure to explain why to your wife. Mine would go apeshit if it just disappeared and a different one appeared in its place.
My “first” table saw (as in the first one that didnt belong to me Da) was and is a Rockwell contractors saw that I paid less than $100 for. There’s plenty of them out there and Unisaws and clones for a little more if you’re willing to restore them. Even with stamped steel wings an older Delta/Rockwell has the wieght and quality of construction you really need. I happen to think its a lot better to have something thats used of higher quality than something new of lower quality; from airplanes to kitchen knives.
What I am not considering that you may, is that a heavy saw is not particularly portable without a mobile base.

View fstellab's profile


86 posts in 2324 days

#4 posted 01-03-2013 03:37 PM


I need to add to the list of issues, just in case anyone is thinking about buying this saw:

When I try to set the blade angle to 90, the wheel works smoothly until about 85 degrees, then I need to put
a lot of pressure on the wheel to force it to 90, then while the holding pressure, tighten the wheel lock. If I don’t do this procedure, when I manually check the blade it shows 85 degrees.

I can imagine that in the middle of a cut that this would loosen up.

I am calling Sears today.

-- Fred Stellabotte (

View Thalweg's profile


97 posts in 3645 days

#5 posted 01-03-2013 03:51 PM

If you’re binding, there is a safety issue with the saw. You’re at risk of kick-back. Once you explain to your lovely wife that the saw is unsafe, she will want you to return it. I did that and she made me buy a Sawstop.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3162 days

#6 posted 01-03-2013 04:08 PM

If your wife thought enough of you to buy you a table saw,she certainly would want you to be safe. Return it.

-- Life is good.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3397 days

#7 posted 01-03-2013 04:19 PM

Safety first. Ask your wife how important 10 fingers are. Don’t mess around with it.

-- jay,

View Swyftfeet's profile


170 posts in 2410 days

#8 posted 01-03-2013 05:10 PM

It was a very well intentioned gift… The saw has 2 factory defects that I can see.

1. the arbor tilt issue…
2. 5/8th T-track.

Thank her profusely but explain that safety add ons for this saw will be more expensive because they are rare and potential kick back issues.

show her this thread and this video

“Kickback video”:

-- Brian

View toolie's profile


2148 posts in 2867 days

#9 posted 01-03-2013 06:07 PM

+1 on showing her that video. then, go get one of these:

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3162 days

#10 posted 01-03-2013 08:27 PM

@toolie,I understand where you are coming from recommending the SS and I know your intentions are meant well but obviously there is considerable price difference. For a new woodworker that could scare the devil out of his wife.

-- Life is good.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3719 days

#11 posted 01-03-2013 08:46 PM

The old saying is very true with tools. You pretty much get what you pay for. My first table saw was a bench top Delta. I think I only paid about $150 for it new. I was able to do some things with it, but even though the motor in it wasnt much bigger than an electric shaver, I always felt it wasnt safe. The fence didnt hold tight, was difficult to position, and the table was small. I had the saw on a stand with wheels so even the slightest pushing on it would tend to almost tip it over. I agree with everyone, that it probably would be in your best interest to return it and find something else. I know everyone on here has their personal choice for saws, but the name brands like Saw Stop, Delta, Powermatic, Grizzly, and others will do much better for you. Most of those companies build a smaller contractor type saw if you choose not to spend more on a cabinet saw. Dont forget to look on sites like Craig’s list and Ebay for good used contractor and cabinet saws. They are often half the price of a new one and many are in excellent condition. The ultimate is of course a good cabinet saw…once you have one of those, you probably will never want anything else.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3210 days

#12 posted 01-03-2013 11:08 PM

If you need to stick to a jobsite type saw and you want to stick with Sears, look at this saw, the 21828.
It has a 15 amp motor, standard miter slots, and can mount a 6” dado . These are all good things to look for in any saw and it is compact and easy to build into the aforementioned cabinet Docholiday spoke of.

As a bonus, it only costs $200. Really one of the sleeper deals out there.

The other alternative would be to step on up, and spend an additional $200 to the 21833, which is the same saw as the very popular Ridgid 4512. This looks like a real cabinet/hybrid saw, has a cast iron top (with steel wings), 1 3/4 hp belt drive induction motor. Definitely not portable at over 200 lbs, but it is on wheels. I have one of these myself and mine has some alignment issues, but I think most of the bugs have been ironed out of this design by now. Mine is 3 yrs old.

View Tokolosi's profile


678 posts in 2594 days

#13 posted 01-03-2013 11:56 PM

I have the same saw. Its a finicky bitch. Here are my thoughts:

I dont use the blade guard and laser track. It makes the saw more dangerous than it is without it. Riving knife only. Please make your own desicion about this as this is just my opinion.
I use the most expensive saw blades I can find. Lots of binding/power and quality of cut finish issues is (imo) as result of low quality blades, dull blades or wrong choice blade for type of wood or cut.
I make my own track guides and jigs.
I use a sled that is larger than the table.
The fence, well it just sucks. And because of the clamping mechanism you cant set it were the miter track is. I use sized spacers between my fence and blade if that is an issue.
Measure at both sides of the blade to the fence and never trust the printed scale. As a matter of fact I have tape over mine.
Same for the tilt. I measured and cut angle jigs to set the angle if I tilt it.
The lift mechanism will jam up if you dont keep the screw threads clean. But its easy to flip over and clean.

All in all its not a bad saw. I like mine. Its certainly not a cabinet saw and Im sure there are better ones out there. Its powerfull enough for what I need, pretty mobile in my small workshop space and, just like a woman, if you finesse it, it will treat you right.

I am saving up for a Sawstop though.

-- “There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.” ~ JRR Tolkien

View toolie's profile


2148 posts in 2867 days

#14 posted 01-04-2013 03:11 AM

For a new woodworker that could scare the devil out of his wife.

i don’t usually make suggestions like that. every “i’m a new woodworker, what TS should i buy” has someone who suggests a 5 hp, 3 phase 1941 unisaw wiith a 52” bies fence as the only saw the new WW should buy. for once, i wanted to be that guy. consider it a tongue in cheek remark.

You pretty much get what you pay for.

i guess i don’t generally agree with that sentiment. i cobbled together a 10” c-man aw with a a t2, CI wings, a ridgid open stand and a ridigid herc-u-lift for<$200. i kept that saw and a souped up ridgid 2412 and sold a 3hp unisaw i refurbished as it wasn’t as mobile s the two contractor saws. and consider the poor buyer of new jet and powermatic tools. they pay top dollar for tools that are never rated top tools in their class in comparative tool tests. i prefer to approach tool purchases form a value perspective rather than a brand perspective.

fstellab…..............i’d suggest this overview as a good starting point for determining how much saw you need:

it’s really easy to get caught up in the “tim the toolman” syndrome of “more power” always being the answer
to every problem and situation. and it’s real easy to overspend for features you don’t need.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View knotscott's profile


8178 posts in 3614 days

#15 posted 01-04-2013 10:41 AM

The Craftsman 21833 is pretty much the same saw as the current Ridgid contractor saw (R4512). If you can, I’d return the saw you’ve got, and get a full size belt drive saw with an induction motor.

Tips for Buying a Table Saw

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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