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Craftsman Table Saw Miter Slots...

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Forum topic by gop1ayoutside posted 414 days ago 2709 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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gop1ayoutside

11 posts in 415 days


414 days ago

Hey guys – finally joined this excellent forum after being a spectator for quite some time.

I am looking to purchase a first table saw and going to take a look at a craftsman model 315.228390 this weekend. I have heard a lot of craftsman table saws have goofy undersize miter slots, but this is a pretty substantial contractor saw with a heavy cast iron top, not a light-weight “portable” with a stamped or aluminum top. Does any one know if all the craftsman saws have the small slots, or if this particular model does?

Also, does anyone have comments on how much of a handicap the under-sized slots are? Is it possible to find/make/jury rig basic accessories like miter sleds and feather boards if it does have the smaller slots?

Any other comments or experiences relating to the quality of this saw model would be appreciated too, I’ve found some information including a review from a couple years ago on this forum.

Thanks in advance!


17 replies so far

View Kaleb the Swede's profile

Kaleb the Swede

1110 posts in 605 days


#1 posted 414 days ago

Hi there and welcome to lumberjocks. I just bought a newer craftsman model 21833, it has the normal miter slots that are 3/4 inch and a cast iron top. Some of the cheaper craftsmans have the smaller slots (the one you are looking at does not thankfully). About 2-3 months ago my saw was a skilsaw table saw with the smaller slots. Let’s just say I hated it with a passion. The slots have tabs on them that made making sleds or buying/making jigs for it next to impossible. I ended up grinding off those tabs carefully with a grinder to try to make it work. Although it did it was never perfect. You have to bear in mind a good cast iron top is ideal for a woodworker. We many times use heavier woods, and plywoods, so the smaller saws are extremely deficient in this area. Also those cheaper saws in many cases have an extreme lack of power, so you have to really slow down the feed rate; it will still give you burns, and be underpowered.

If you have the choice, go with the 3/4 miter slots (i.e. the saw you are looking at), stay away from the smaller ones. Hope this helps. There are a lot of better woodworkers on this site with a lot more experience/know how on table saws, but I am pretty sure that they all may agree with me on this one. Enjoy, this hobby and this site are very addicting

-- Just trying to build something beautiful

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gop1ayoutside

11 posts in 415 days


#2 posted 414 days ago

Thanks for the input- I’ll bring a ruler or something with me just to take an accurate measurement of the slot size but yes i am trying to get a saw that is substantial enough to be a good first saw for woodworking but not spend too much, I think this might be about the right kind of thing. I’ll post more if I go through with it.

View WhoMe's profile

WhoMe

1107 posts in 1879 days


#3 posted 414 days ago

I have a 80’s vintage craftsman contractors style table saw. When I bought it, I thnk itwas aboout the middle of the contractors line nd it has the standard 3/4” mitre slots in it. Since you are buying what sounds like a cabinet saw, I’m betting that you will be fine.

-- I'm not clumsy.. It's just the floor hates me, the tables and chairs are bullies and the wall gets in the way.. - Mike -

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knotscott

5430 posts in 2011 days


#4 posted 414 days ago

My former Craftsman 22124 hybrid saw had standard miter slots too….that particular knock against Sears saws doesn’t apply to all of them. There are many benchtop and portable jobsite saws that don’t have standard miter slots….and it’s not exclusive to the Cman brand.

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

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toolie

1745 posts in 1264 days


#5 posted 414 days ago

Is it possible to find/make/jury rig basic accessories like miter sleds and feather boards if it does have the smaller slots?

that’s not something you’ll have to worry about with that saw. it’s miter slots are the same as the miter slots on the ridgid 3650 and 3660. they are full sized miter slots (3/4” wide X 3/8” deep) with a t-slot at the bottom. almost all conventional after market jigs and accessories should fit them.

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

View patcollins's profile

patcollins

994 posts in 1501 days


#6 posted 414 days ago

If you have such a saw you can use a sled that has guide rails that go on the outside of the table, there is no real need for the guides to go in the miter slots. My fathers saw was one of the small craftsman aluminum top bench top saws and this is how he made a sled for it.

View Goodsh's profile

Goodsh

49 posts in 556 days


#7 posted 414 days ago

I think it’s only a few of the Craftsman that have this problem. Sounds like yours probably won’t have the mitre slot problem but it’s worth double checking. I’ll tell you about mine so you can make sure the one you’re looking at doesn’t have the same issues. Mine is a newer jobsite style (item 097 827 835 10 in Canada; I think 21807 in the US) and does have the narrower mitre slots with the tabs and it’s really annoying and pretty much impossible to get accessories for it. I took a grinder to the tabs and it’s better but still annoying. Pay attention to the fence as well.

The fence on mine is mediocre at best, very finicky to set parallel to the blade and pretty much never 90 degrees to the table. Also has no dust collection but I built a cabinet and enclosed the entire thing other than a few small holes for air to flow in and the dust collection is great now. The design of the table makes it almost impossible to make a zero clearance insert and I haven’t found an aftermarket one so I’d suggest taking the plate off and checking it out. Oh, while I’m at it the mitre gauge is laughable. It’s so loose in the slot it probably has 5 degrees of error in it with the movement back and forth. I’ve never bothered using it.

The saw itself has decent power and will cut through 2 inches of hard maple without too much trouble. I get by with it but would prefer a more solid hybrid or cabinet saw (or even contractor saw with better built accessories). Hopefully yours turns out to be what you’re looking for. Good luck!

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a1Jim

112026 posts in 2213 days


#8 posted 414 days ago

I owned a craftsman table saw years ago and found it to be a substandard tool and a company with poor customer service. I don’t have any experience with more recent sears saws but I know there are better saws out there.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

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gop1ayoutside

11 posts in 415 days


#9 posted 412 days ago

Thanks again guys. I ended up buying the saw. It’s a contractor-style saw with a cast iron top. The left wing is stamped steel and needs a little adjustment to sit perfectly level with the top but that can be handled in due time. the right side wing is cast iron & machined to accept a router, this is good because it means I don’t need a dedicated router table in my small shop (I am guessing it will take a craftsman or maybe a porter cable). It’s a very solid, heavy top. The miter slots are 3/4 inch opening at the surface of the top stepped out to make a t-slot underneath. It came with an upgraded blade that the previous owner had put on there (rigid brand I think, not sure the exact one).

It doesn’t have any dust collection but I might get one of those cloth basket type setups with a vac hose port that you attach to the bottom of the saw like this.

I made a couple of test cuts pushing a 2×4 through it, it did pretty well but there were small burn marks where it went through big knots. I guess it’s time to get some kind of a saw set-up jig and put in the effort to get everything lined up really really straight (I suspect the fence may be slightly out of parallel). A brand new blade might also be good, to remove a dull blade as a factor.

Any suggestions on a set-up jig or a reasonably priced long-lasting general purpose woodworking blade?

View Richard's profile

Richard

400 posts in 1327 days


#10 posted 412 days ago

I believe your saw was made by Emerson Electric. I have a Ridgid (also Emerson Electric) that is very similar in design. If you haven’t found it yet, you can grab a copy of the owners manual from http://www.hammerwall.com/

There’s tons of advice here about saw set up and tuning.

-- "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain

View Craftsman70's profile

Craftsman70

241 posts in 761 days


#11 posted 412 days ago

That’s a pretty good saw. The router wing and the fence are both an upgrade versus the average Craftsman contractor saw of that time. As you said noticed it will cut better once aligned. I recommend the PALS used on my slightly older but similar saw. I can’t tell from your picture, but the only negative I’ve had with the 315.xxx saws was the bracket that holds the blade guard is less substantial than older models and that makes it a bit harder to keep lined up with the blade. But overall, that’s a nice saw that should serve you well.

View toolie's profile

toolie

1745 posts in 1264 days


#12 posted 412 days ago

I believe your saw was made by Emerson Electric.

the 315 series c-man saws were built by ryobi.

http://vintagemachinery.org/craftsman/manufacturers.aspx

Any suggestions on a set-up jig

i attach an inexpensive dial gauge to my miter gauge. that saw can be aligned to dead parallel. here’s one of my saws at it’s last alignment check up:

or a reasonably priced long-lasting general purpose woodworking blade

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O7UESC/ref=ox_sc_sfl_title_10?ie=UTF8&psc=1

this blade gets good performance and value reviews. there’s no need to spend for a forest WWII at this point. adn try to stick with 40 teeth in a general purpose blade. it’ll provide a good cut and handle both ripping and crosscutting operation fairly well. as needs change, a 24-28 tooth rip blade with a steep hook angle is very handy for bevel ripping operations, along with a 60 tooth blade for finer crosscuts.

BTW, even though i sometimes use and incra 1000SE, an incra v27 or an osborne eb-3 are a good value, better miter gauge, respectively, than my 1000SE.

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

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5430 posts in 2011 days


#13 posted 412 days ago

That saw has the upgraded fence, and is pretty similar to the Ridgid contractor saws. There are thousands of them in service. Get it aligned, and with a good blade should serve you well. The blade shown looks like a 50T Freud…..likely an older Avanti/TK906, LU84M010, or a Freud made Sears 32810. If so, it’s worth giving it a good cleaning with a household cleaner and a stiff nylon or brass brush, and trying it out. If it’s dull, you can have it sharpened, replace it, or both. Current Blade Bargains

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

View RibsBrisket4me's profile

RibsBrisket4me

1376 posts in 1141 days


#14 posted 412 days ago

Toolie is on point with both of his posts. 315 saws made by Ryobi/TTI and pretty darn good, servicable saws. Standard 3/4 inch slots and no issue with most aftermarker gauges like Incra, Osborne etc.

I have a 113 saw (Emerson) made in 1996 and I have both a Incra and Osborne EB-3 that work very well.

Congrats on getting a good saw.

BTW, the Freud 40T LU86 is my fave blade.
http://www.amazon.com/Freud-LU86R010-10-Inch-General-PermaShield/dp/B00020JOBO/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1373920024&sr=8-1&keywords=freud+lu86

-- http://www.PictureTrail.com/gid6255915

View gop1ayoutside's profile

gop1ayoutside

11 posts in 415 days


#15 posted 410 days ago

Thanks again for all the good tips!

I splurged and spent some of the money I did not spend on a brand new table saw for a Freud Premier Fusion Thin Kerf blade and an igaging digital saw gage from Amazon, with these I hope I can make some really good, predictable cuts without binding, burning, or having to force the work through. I think I may also order a zero clearance insert eventually but that can probably wait a little while until

Another question is, what is the best tool / method for checking the blade angle prior to cutting? Something that could help me with setting for angled cuts in addition to vertical cuts would be ideal. Right now I have, umm, a cheap combo square… I can hold it up to the blade, that is about it. That said, it seems to work reasonably well.

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