The table saw

Ever since I made my first attempt at making the doors for my pantry, I knew I wanted a table saw. Who doesn’t? But I knew this would be a major purchase, so I started to slowly do my research. Being probably the most expensive addition to most workshops, it’s not something to be rushed into.

So, I looked. And looked. And looked some more. I had intended to get the table saw before the miter saw, but circumstances changed. I asked as many people as I could with the knowledge, and was getting quite frustrated in the prospect of spending upwards of $700 to get a decent unit. If woodworking was going to be that expensive, it wasn’t going to be a hobby I could get into at this point.

I’d say I was looking for a couple of months fairly seriously. Saw a few things on Craigslist, but nothing for me to go jump on or even call. Wasn’t real impressed with the offerings at the stores, save for a Porter Cable unit at Lowe’s. You see, most cheap table saws these days use a non-standard miter slot, making it hard to use standardized accessories. That, along with decreased safety features and cheaper tops helps them keep the cost down.

Toward the end of May, I had my attention called to a deal for a Sears unit for a really good price, but it was a weird unit. It didn’t have any of the features I was told to look for, so I dismissed it. I was prepared to purchase the Porter Cable unit at some point near in the future. Plus, I couldn’t get the Sears one down to what others were getting it for. The Porter Cable at $299 had most of the features I was looking for, at a price I could afford. Decent top, full-width miter slots, mobile base (an essential for my tight confines). The insert wasn’t standard, though. I thought about it.

Come Memorial Day, and I wasn’t really entertaining getting the saw anytime soon. The issues I had with the circular saw wouldn’t be anything horrible for a while further. But Matt was asleep and the girls were playing, so I perused the web. Turns out, the deal was back again, and I could get it at a better price than a week ago. In that week, I did research on the saw and found out it had a well respected lineage, at least from a few die-hard defenders.

It’s predecessors were the Ryobi BT3000 and BT3100. Now, normally, Ryobi doesn’t have the name recognition from most woodworkers. It’s viewed as a hobby brand, one that doesn’t stand up to the bigger names like Dewalt, Ridgid or the old Deltas. However, since I have had quite the good experience with the One+ series of tools, I didn’t think badly of this at all.

Introducing, my new Craftsman 21829!

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The Ryobi BTS10 I was borrowing isn’t a bad saw at all. But after trying to cut an entire sheet of ply on that thing on a hill, I knew I needed something that could handle a bit more. It won’t handle that, but that was stupid of me for trying to attempt. Hopefully my first and last user error on a saw.

A bit about the saw: instead of miter slots, it has a sliding miter table. I’m not sure if it’s better or worse at this point, but miter slots could always be added later. And there’s enough users of every generation so far to provide alternatives to anything needing to ride in the slot. It also has an accessory table that I could mount my router to. Since I’m in the process of building my full table, I don’t think I’ll make much use of this. But it would be perfect if I needed to bring it to someone else’s house, certainly. It has a very accurate rip fence, once I got the adjustable bits all squared away. It has a dust collection port, the capability to run a dado stack (something I really wanted, and I’ll explain more about it another time), and the cheapo blade cut fabulous straight out of the box.

But the best thing is the base. It’s more or less a table top saw, but it’s mounted on a folding, wheeled base for easy portability. What’s more, it folds up vertically, so it takes up a minimal amount of room in the workshop.

I made an attempt making a zero clearance insert for it, but it was easier and cheaper just to order some. When they get here I’ll be sure to take lots of pictures about them. I’ll also take more pictures of the saw, because I swore I thought I had more.

That’s the last major addition I’ve made, so I guess that pretty much brings us up to date. From here on out we get down to updates as I get into the workshop. Unfortunately, that’s only about twice a week on average. I’ll try to keep it entertaining, though.

Thanks for looking.

Craftsman 21828/21829

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