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Blog entry by JimmyNate posted 03-28-2009 08:17 PM 1483 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I finally settled on a Sawstop Contractor model for my table saw. First, the bad news:

$1449.00 Contractor saw and steel stand
$190.00 Cast Iron wings
$390.00 52” T-Glide fence
+tax= $$$$$$$$—-still too recent to do the math and remind myself.

I didn’t get the moble base ($160) or the outfeed table ($???) as I don’t plan to move the saw around the shop and I plan on making my own outfeed table.

The good news (happily there’s plenty of this):

The assembly was a breeze and the instructions are AMAZING! I’ve bought many ‘assembly required’ toys over the years and I’ve never seen such organized, simple, clear instructions. The hardware was clearly packaged in color-coded step-by-step packaging so nothing was open and loose until I needed it.

The quality of the parts and packaging was exceptional. All metal parts were lightly oiled and critical surfaces were adequately protected with packing materials. The parts for the stamped steel stand and wings were powder coated and gentle on the hands. No burrs or sharp edges to worry about on these parts.

One packing flaw, the horizontal braces that provide rigidity to the base are 2 different lengths. The shorter length goes between the legs on the front and rear. The longer braces go between the legs on the sides. My saw was mistakenly packed with 4 long braces instead. You might wonder why this isn’t in the bad news section. The phone number provided on the first page of the assembly instructions was promptly answered on a friday night by a real, live english speaking person who transferred me to their warranty dept. Again with no waiting, another real, live english speaking person answered (Gretchen if I recall) and after verifying the part number of what I was missing, promised a 2nd day air delivery. Now that’s service. I could complain that the part wasn’t included to begin with, but it was clearly a mistake of hand-packing very similar looking parts that could have happened to any company. As far as I’m concerned the folks at Sawstop really shined and I am confident that if I need anything from them in the future, they’ll be great to work with.

After feeling out the strength and stability of the stand without the 2 missing supports, I determined it would be more than adequate to complete the assembly. (I pushed as hard as I could trying to spread the unsupported legs apart and didn’t get even the slightest movement. When this stand is tightened down, it is very strong and rigid. I wouldn’t dare try moving the fully assembled saw by ‘walking’ the legs on this stand but I have confidence in it’s vertical load-bearing strength and weight distribution.)

Forging ahead, I recruited a helper and lifted the body of the saw onto the stand. Four bolts later I was locked down tight and ready to install wings. Having sent my helper away prematurely, I had a little trouble handling the cast wings while trying to bolt them in place. It would also have been nice to have extra hands while leveling the wings but I prevailed and the cast wings lined up nicely with the top.

After putting on the cast wings, the fence rails seemed like a piece of cake.

Once I put the fence table in, I had to monkey the rails to keep everything level. The instructions had me tighten the rails to the saw top before installing the table but I was off just a smidge and that compounded to 1/4 inch at the far right end of the rails.

Some fine tuning to the fence and we’re done!

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

7 comments so far

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8901 posts in 4395 days

#1 posted 03-28-2009 09:00 PM

This is pretty exciting.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana,

View oldskoolmodder's profile


801 posts in 3975 days

#2 posted 03-28-2009 09:26 PM

That’s cheaper than it cost me to get my 1 little old thumb sewn back together, not to mention the 12-14 hours lost that day, and lost revenue from not being able to work for over a month. Price is the only thing that people seems to “complain” (if you want to call it that) about with these saws. When I think about how careless I was for a brief moment, then yes, the Sawstop is a good deal. Problem is we don’t plan on being careless.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2543 posts in 4253 days

#3 posted 03-28-2009 11:13 PM

Cool! Good for you man…Thats one of the fun things about this site….It’s always so exciting to buy tools vicariously through other lumberjocks! Man, that 52” fence just dwarfs the rest of that saw….The cast iron wings look spiffy..the one I am used to seeing at Woodcraft has the stamped steel. I cant wait for the next installment! You will be cutting up hotdogs in no time!


View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 3646 days

#4 posted 03-28-2009 11:33 PM

Yeah, I’m anxious to put it to work.

I’ll post an update once I’ve got the fence finished.

I’m not a fan of exposed blades attached to motors in the first place, so the quality riving knife, blade guard, and flesh-sensing brake aren’t afterthoughts to me. Stories like yours from even the most competent, experienced, careful woodworkers helped lead me to the conclusion that I might realistically have 1 in 100 odds of having a table saw accident at some point in my life. If the blade brake feature makes this saw cast $1000 more than a saw and fence that is in all other ways comparable, then I look at it as insurance against my fingers of $100,000. If I’d lost fingers or a thumb, I’d gladly pay $100,000 to have them back. Since 99 times out of 100 I will have lost money on the saw stop, that one time has to be worth 100 times what I paid for the feature. That logic may not be perfect (any statistician reading this would cringe) but it helped me put a value on the safety features and feel like the decision is a rational one and not a knee-jerk based on fear alone without common sense.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 4117 days

#5 posted 03-29-2009 01:36 AM

Jimmy, this is a gorgeous saw that will give you years of enjoyment. I firmly believe that you get what you pay for with regards to tools and you have a top-notch saw with this one. It is also a huge bonus to get this kind of customer service with it as well. After you have had time to enjoy your new toy why don’t you post a review of it.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1520 posts in 4420 days

#6 posted 03-29-2009 11:09 PM

Dude, don’t be doin’ this. I’ve gotten along so far quite well without a table saw, but too many more picture spreads like that and I’m going to be measuring the shop, seeing what I can fit in…

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4170 days

#7 posted 03-30-2009 12:53 AM

Congratulations Jimmy!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

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