About three paces from where I tested these portable table saws sits my late-model cabinet saw. As a serious woodworker and magazine editor, I can’t imagine not having it. Its powerful 3hp motor, spacious cast-iron tabletop and almost hair-splitting precision makes most other saw options pale by comparison. But all this said, a cabinet saw isn’t everything. The thought of moving that behemoth down the steps to a basement shop sends chills up my spine. I sure can’t toss it into a car trunk to help a friend down the road. My saw takes up a huge footprint of shop floor, and it cost a small fortune. I don’t know of any stationary table saw that sells for less than $700 new these days, and that can empty the coffer of a modest tool budget.
As we said in the beginning of this section, many of these saws will be used, right out of the box, for rough cutting materials and the fine accuracy may not matter so much in that application. If this is the case for a saw, the quality of the cuts and more importantly, the potential safety of the operator is going to be a function of the as-shipped accuracy of the saw from the manufacturer. So, TBB wanted to see how the various saws compared right out of the box. The results are in and, as a group, these eight saws measured up quite well for out-of-the-box accuracy.
Likes: Cuts extremely well and has excellent stability. Its blade guard and riving-knife assembly are locked and unlocked by a lever located conveniently along the table's left edge. A simple, separate shark-fin riving knife can be used when the guard is too big for narrow rip cuts. We appreciate the antiglare surface on the tape ruler that measures the distance from the blade to the fence.
As for various accessories and attachments such as rip, miter and blade guard, these can be stored in their own specially designed hangars. If you plan on using other blades (and you probably will) there is also a well where you can store all the blades you have. In order to keep the surface of the table dust-free there is a dust collection port featuring a shrouded design which can be attached to the vacuum.
We made a few test cuts with ¾-inch plywood just to get a feel of the motors we were working with. It became clear pretty quickly that not all 15 amp motors are equal. Once we knew what to expect, we moved to pressure treated 2x pine material in 7-1/2 foot lengths. Why 7-1/2? Our test material started at 15 feet and it seemed silly to have some at 8 feet and others at 6.
Kenny Koehler An avid endurance athlete, Kenny has competed in triathlons (he's an Ironman) and various other fitness activities. Still, his passions lie with his faith, family, friends, and his love for well-designed power tools. With a background in science, you'll often find Kenny chatting up engineers at media events to get caught up on the latest tool technology.
The Delta 10 in. Contractor Saw features an The Delta 10 in. Contractor Saw features an industry standard tool-free split guard design that allows a true rise-and fall riving knife by using a lever on the inside the throat plate. There is tool-less assembly of the riving knife and anti-kickback pawls. It has a large easy to access ... More + Product Details Close
Some previous buyers had motor trouble. Their units conked out early, or worked inconsistently. Apparently, that was down to cheap internal bearings used in the first few iterations of the Bosch. However, according to company replies to some reviewers who cited the issue, the problem has been addressed in the last few versions of this model. We’ve also found that reviews from the past few years are much more consistently positive.
I’m no stranger to Bosch’s 4100-09 saw with Gravity-Rise™ stand. I’ve used one several times to build projects for this magazine, including the Serving Tray Cart that appeared in the June issue. So, I was not surprised when it tested impressively here. Rip cuts were on the mark, thanks to a rugged, beefy fence that stayed parallel to the blade each time I reset it. A flip of a red lever underneath unlocks the rails so they slide out and extend ripping capacity up to 25″.
6. Clamp rip fence to check if it holds securely at front and rear. If rear is not clamped securely, un- clamp fence and turn rear clamp adjustment screw 6 clockwise for increased clamping. Try clamping the fence to verify if it self aligns and clamps tightly at the front and rear. Overtightening of the rear clamp adjustment screw 6 will cause the rip fence to be non-self aligning (Fig. 23). Overtightening may cause friction or “chatter” when fence is moved side to side.
Ridgid notches a third place finish as the only saw to include an independent blade height lock. The adjustment wheel raises and lowers with multiple full turns like most saws, but integrates a lock into the center. For the bevel adjustment, the outside of the height adjustment wheel turns a rack and pinion style system to accurately change the blade angle – a feature Makita shares.
The saw does not easily detach from the stand. Sometimes it’s beneficial to set the saw up as a bench-top saw, but the DeWALT 7491RS doesn’t come with quick release levers to accomplish this easily. In this case, you would have to use a drill to remove four screws to detach it from the stand. I wouldn’t recommend doing this unless you have to because over time the screw holes will strip.
The thing you might not like about it is the non-flat table top. Many people find this downside as quite a burden, especially if you’re processing perfectly flat wood. Also, the protective coating on the top side of this model is pretty subpar. In fact, it barely protects anything. Consequently, it will peel off quite quickly. As far as the price goes, it’s okay, but it could have been a bit cheaper.
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.