Makita joins DeWalt with an external riving knife release so you don’t have to reach into the throat to loosen it. We actually ran into an issue with the design because of a slightly bent plate holding the knife in place. That aside, the intent of the design is sound and should make for an an easier experience. Because of the external release, Makita screws down the throat plate in place. You should only need to get in there for blade changes if everything functions properly.
To avoid such scenario, you can take a moment and check our full reviews out. We offer more than enough insight into the capabilities of particular models we consider are worth checking out. Therefore, if you’re in a dilemma about which table saw to buy; don’t hesitate to refer to this article. The more you know about a certain unit, the fewer problems you’ll have when the moment of purchase comes.
A riving knife is a piece of metal that comes included with your new saw. It’s shaped like a surfboard fin. Sadly, not all models come with this crucial part. If you purchase a model without it, make sure you design one for yourself as soon as possible. The construction of this piece is not a big deal at all; you can cut the shape in a matter of minutes and install it. Its purpose is to prevent the wood and debris from getting caught in the back of the blade which consequently kicks back thus jeopardizing your safety.
The riving knife and blade guard actually have a quick-release so you can easily remove it. This is important because, in the past, these elements were so hard to install once removed people would simply leave it off. Now that there is a quick-release feature it makes it much easier to put back on and avoid the involuntary donation if OSHA decides to visit the job-site.
If you want to increase your safety, get a saw that has a flesh sensor. Doing so though will increase the price quite a bit, so only get it if you can afford it or care very much about your safety. A flesh sensor will stop the saw in as little as 0.01s after it comes in contact with your skin. While the blade will be damaged beyond repair, you’ll be safe.Now that you know a bit more about the factors to consider when getting a cabinet table saw, let’s take a better look below at some of the best models you can currently buy.
If you’re looking for a machine with high capacity, the SKIL 3410-02 has a 3.5-inch cut height with the ability to cut through four times the material on each pass. The consensus among reviewers is that, for such a low price, you end up compromising on miter gauge and saw blade quality. Luckily both of those things can be replaced if you so choose.
As for extensions, I have added the TS1002 and TS1003 outfeeds (rear and left side respectively) – They do a great job supporting the workpieces without making the saw the least bit tippy. For my use, I don’t get much use from the left side support, but the rear outfeed is great. Much nicer than setting up an outfeed stand and trying to dial it in.
Table saws can pose a serious risk of injury, since part of the spinning blade comes up above the surface of the table where it can come into contact with the user's hand as it guides the wood. Thanks to voluntary safety standards introduced by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) in 2007, pretty much all table saws now come with blade guards that minimize the risk. Modern guard systems are easier to remove and replace as needed – an important feature because inconvenient blade guards are apt to be left off the saw.
Both saws were almost equally quick to setup for use, with the DeWalt coming out slightly ahead. The throat plate, which is thicker and sturdier than Bosch's, is slightly easier to remove and reinsert. The DeWalt's blade cavity offers greater clearance, which makes locking down and loosening the riving knife easier without scraping a knuckle. Dewalt's riving knife adjustment required less wiggling and hunting to get it set properly.
As you can tell, this particular type is in the middle between portable and contractor. Some people can finish their projects with bench top saws, but the ones who can’t usually opt for hybrid saws because they are cheaper than contractor ones. One cannot say they are cheap per se, but it’s a significantly smaller investment in comparison to contractor models.
Which leads to a problem. A standard blade should not have that kind of space around it. Fortunately, Bosch sell very inexpensive throat plate blanks that can become zero clearance inserts. I have one for each of my three main blades and a fourth unused one that I put aside just in case. While I can make my own, it just isn’t worth the hassle as these are pretty affordable.
This is a truly great saw, except that it is really tough to adjust the blade and rip fence for parallel. Once adjusted though, it is a fine piece of engineering. What I like best is that the saw is built for the job site. It is extremely beefy, but no too heavy. In my opinion, it strikes a nice balance. Its cart stand is the best in the industry, bar none. Once adjusted, the saw returns to its settings extremely well. It is obviously built for the long haul, and should last a contractor many years. I would definitely purchase this saw again. Now with the things that I wish were better. First, adjusting the blade for parallel is just plain hard. Mine was out from the factory by 4 thousandths. It is a trial and error process, and the instructions suck. Here's what to do: 1. Loosen the four screws indicated in the instructions. Starting from behind the saw, center the blade housing in the rear left to right as best you can, then tighten one screw not quite snug (you want the housing to rotate on this screw when you adjust the front). Next move to the front of the saw and loosen the lock lever for blade angle adjustment (the housing won't move unless you do). Now, begin experimenting with holding the housing at 90 degrees with one hand while sliding the housing back and forth with the other until square. When you think that you are close, lightly tighten one of the front housing screws. Check for parallel (look for videos on how to check a table saw blade for parallel), then tighten the blade angle adjustment lever. With these screws and the lever tight and locked, check again for parallel. If it is still good (I got it to 1/1000 inch of parallel), then lock all the screws and check one more time, if it's still good, then you are done with blade housing adjustment.
Contractor units are the next step up from portable (or jobsite) table saws. A contractor table saw has a worktop and motor assembly that looks a lot like a cabinet model, only it’s missing the cabinet! Contractor units aren’t quite as portable as a job site saw, but they’re about half the weight of a cabinet saw. They pack a lot more power than a portable unit, and their cutaway stands make them fairly manageable for folks who have helpers to assist in getting the saw off the truck and set up at the site.
Both of these table saws have a port that connects to a shop vacuum for dust collection. The DEWALT features a 2.5” port, while the Bosch has a 2” port. However, neither seems to do all that great a job. The Bosch might fare a little worse as far as the dust port clogging, but the DEWALT has some problems in this area, too. The Bosch is said to spew sawdust on the floor as though there was no dust collection port at all. The DEWALT racks up some complaints about the same problem.
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.
I can’t tell you how many times we’ve pulled out other jobsite saws only to have accessories fall off, or require off-tool storage. Bosch designed the GTS1031, however, to securely hold all of its accessories, even including the arbor wrenches (both of them) and an allen wrench for adjusting the riving knife and dust ejection points among other things. Our favorite was the rip fence, which simply flipped upside down and stored underneath the table – clever! About the most difficult adjustment was the riving knife, which is a tool-less maneuver, but one which requires you to stick your hand way into the blade cavity to reach the release lever. When making any adjustments to the blade, it goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) to disconnect power to the saw as a precaution.