The saw’s table measures 29 x 21.5 inches which makes this unit suitable for the fabrication of large sheets of material and large wood stock. The table is made out of aluminum and is really smooth which means you will be able to slide even the largest pieces in with very little effort. Still, for extra safety, I would recommend the optional extensions when ripping longer workpieces.
One of the biggest issues and potential hazards when working with table saws is kickback. Table saw kickback occurs when wood is ejected from the saw at extremely high speed. You can imagine the sort of injuries this can cause. Table splitters are effectively small vertical bits of metal or sometimes plastic that are designed to stop the wood flying back if there is a kickback. Attached to the splitter are anti kickback pawls either side, they look like table saw blades themselves but they are in fact there to grip the wood at stick into it in case of kickback.
Having only owned saws with cast iron tops this is a new experience for me. First let me note that the right side extension is not aluminum like the rest of the top. It is steel, painted to match. The entire top appears to be powder coated with a textured grey coating. No telling how durable it will be but it does allow wood to slide easily over it. Since the top is aluminum, it lets you know that by transferring all the motor noise and vibration throughout the saw. Not a big deal really but definitely different if you are used to the cast iron absorbing much of this on bigger saws.
Other features include a battery-powered laser for lining up cuts. I found it to be pretty dim under bright shop lights and not lined up correctly with the blade. It is non-adjustable. A pullout rear extension provides some added support for long rip cuts. Rockwell also offers a couple of unique accessories: a sliding miter table ($179.99) and a power planer-style “Finisher” ($129.99). It mounts on the saw for flattening board edges.
Table saws will use one of two different kinds of drive configurations; Direct-drive motors and Belt-drive motors. In a direct-drive motor, they will link directly to the blade itself and transfer all of the power of the motor to the blade. They tend to last longer than belt drive motors and there is no belt to replace or worry about getting worn out. Belt drive motors transfer power from the motor to the blade through a belt. In this type of configuration, the motor can be offset away from the sawdust which helps the motor last longer. In general, belt drive motors need more preventative maintenance than direct-drive motors do. If you have a belt drive motor, check the tension of your belts as well as checking them for wear periodically to ensure your continued safety.
TBB used an iGauging 35-125-4 digital dial indicator to measure the accuracy of the blade position to the table miter slot. This instrument has an accuracy of .0005 inches. As part of the table saw set-up, TBB installed a new Diablo blade in each saw and these never-before-used blades were used in the measurement test. To ensure that any wobble in the blade did not enter into the test results, TBB marked a single tooth as the reference point for the measurement. The blade position was moved to the front of the saw to allow the iGauging dial indicator to hit the tooth immediately behind the carbide tooth, The iGauging dial indicator was calibrated and the indicator had a reading of zero.
The larger the motor, the higher the voltage as well, usually 240V. In some cases, you may be lucky and have a garage or workshop that’s wired for 240V, so that is why it’s very important that you check this prior to getting the table saw. In terms of the material thickness it can handle, it’s a minimum of three inches. One thing to bear in mind is that safety is an essential consideration with these saws and that’s because the powerful motors are prone to higher kickback.
It is safe to say that we live in a DIY era. Think about it. When was the last time you went on YouTube or anywhere else online and looked for something that tickled your fancy, a guide on how something is made or done, or maybe a tutorial. Indeed, we do it very often, so why should woodworking and home improvement be any different? With the prices of table saws constantly dipping and the insane number of choices on the market, you can get one for yourself and save thousands of dollars by doing things yourself instead of hiring contractors.
The blade is a 24 tooth carbide tipped blade that is durable and long lasting. You can even adjust it to a 45 degree angle for those more difficult bevel cuts. If you’re working on uneven ground, you’ll love the rear feet that are fully adjustable so you can level you work space. You’ll get a lot of use out of the onboard storage that will give you easy access to the push stick and guarding components. Weighing only 45 pounds, you can move the table saw from work site to home with ease.
Porter-Cable comes in as the most expensive of the value group, but also with the best overall performance in it. Of the three saws in this class, it had the best cutting power and also came in the top spot overall for height and bevel adjustment thanks to independent wheels. This may seem like a small consideration, but when you actually need to cut accurately beveled pieces, the adjustment wheel is a huge benefit over sliding the front height adjustment around.