Attention! Steel City cabinet saw issue

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Blog entry by Speednork posted 02-25-2009 08:27 AM 14998 reads 1 time favorited 23 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi all. I wanted to pass on a concern about an issue I had with my Steel City cabinet saw. I bought a new granite top saw in January. I bought a stacked dado set a few days ago and decide to try it out. Long story short, when I tightened the nut down the arbor broke right in the middle of the threaded area. This cracked spot had not been an issue up to this point running only a single blade. After a few moments of amazement I called Steel City and they took this very seriously. They sent me a new arbor right out and requested the old one back to evaluate the situation. I am glad they did. If this had broken with the saw up to speed the potential of several blades flying around was very real. Take this information for what it is worth. I thought it was worthy of a mention. This is in no way meant to cut down Steel City Tools, I post this for the safety of others only. I am overall satisfied with my Steel City saw and I am very impressed with their service department.

-- In the time it takes some people to plan a project they could have built the project. Work from within not from paper.

23 comments so far

View PG_Zac's profile


371 posts in 4360 days

#1 posted 02-25-2009 08:54 AM

Hey Speed,
Having professionally dealt with metal failures in the distant past, I can see what happened.

The pale grey section is the piece that broke when you tightened the nut. The darker section of the break area was a lamination in the steel even before the thread was machined on the arbor. This fault could have happened during the forging of the blank, or even during the pouring of the molten steel – both of which would have been before Steel City received it.

This fault would have been near impossible to see with the naked eye, and I can only assume that no x-ray, dye penetration or ultrasound tests were done during the manufacturing process.

I’m not surprised that they took this seriously, and I’m sure they will be having some intense discussions with their material suppliers to ensure that more thorough testing is done in future.

You were lucky!!!

-- I may be schizophrenic, but at least I have each other.

View JuniorJoiner's profile


497 posts in 4412 days

#2 posted 02-25-2009 10:15 AM

thanks for posting this, i think i will call a former coworker and have him LPI (liquid penetrant inspect) my saw.
it’s really an easy process. and if manufacturers are not doing it. i would rather do it myself, than find a flaw the hard way.

-- Junior -Quality is never an accident-it is the reward for the effort involved.

View TraumaJacques's profile


433 posts in 4472 days

#3 posted 02-25-2009 01:32 PM

Oh my god! can you imagine ( no I rather not) if this would have happend at full RPM. I can only picture Ninjas stars stuck in the shop walls.
If this was the first time you used a dado set it was probably the first time that “part “of the arbor was stressed because the nut was further away from the base of the arbor.

I am sure SC will have a few choice words with the suppliers.
Thanks for posting.

-- All bleeding will eventually stop.

View mleedix's profile


63 posts in 4522 days

#4 posted 02-25-2009 03:26 PM

Whoa!!!! Glad you caught this one before the stars stuck somewhere or they could have easily missed the wall. Curious to see how Steel City proceeds.

-- - Michael "Over 300000 species of trees, yet we take the credit for their beauty..."

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4929 days

#5 posted 02-25-2009 03:27 PM

Wow that would have been like a scary movie if that let go at speed with a full dado stack…thank god it broke when it did. Sounds like your getting good customer service from SC.
Aside from the problem, how do you like the saw? I have been considering buying this saw..


View Speednork's profile


65 posts in 4365 days

#6 posted 02-25-2009 03:53 PM

So far the saw run really well. I spent many years running a 3hp Unisaw and this saw seem to hang in there. I haven’t run it to much yet as I am setting up a new shop and lots of fires to fight. If you buy one the very first thing I suggest you do is check the granite top to be sure the miter gauge slides in the slot! (Needless to say I had an issue with this too) SC service jumped at this problem as well. I guess the bright side of this is I now have a nice granite surface plate that matches my table saw. I will try to write a full review of my experience in the near future.

-- In the time it takes some people to plan a project they could have built the project. Work from within not from paper.

View modestmouser's profile


42 posts in 4519 days

#7 posted 02-25-2009 05:24 PM

looks like they used granite for the arbor too!!!

hardy har har!!!!

View PurpLev's profile


8642 posts in 4620 days

#8 posted 02-25-2009 05:52 PM

holy [email protected]&.... Thanks for sharing, I dont even want to think about the possible scenarios this could have had.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4645 days

#9 posted 02-26-2009 04:49 AM

Maybe someday the Chinese will find out how cheap it is to use eddy current for inspection.

I wonder if Delta integrates anything like that for the Unisaw.

Frankly outside of setup cost for the machine/ programming eddy current cost next to nothing if integrated into manufacturing correctly.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 4557 days

#10 posted 08-25-2009 09:44 PM

It is best with saws to buy from American source or British or European not chinese junk.And now you will see why this looks like a bad casting with a long term crack in it the light grey metal is what was holding it together nothing else.Your health is too important to trust to bad manufacturing and couldn’t care less quality control. in other words not fit for purpose this should never have been let near any human being at any time.Mistakes happen but I wonder how many more like this have slipped through.You were extremely lyucky old chap.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View EEngineer's profile


1137 posts in 4585 days

#11 posted 08-26-2009 03:55 AM

LOL! Steel City, now made in China. Why? Well, because the quality is the same, only the price is cheaper because of lazy Americans! Yeah, you can bet there will be some serious discussions with those Chinese suppliers… right up until they find that American quality will cost just about the same as “made in America”, then it will be dropped!

Makes me wanna run right out and buy some of Miki’s Chinese plywood. Yeah, the only reason we get crap is because we demand it!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View a1Jim's profile


118153 posts in 4549 days

#12 posted 08-26-2009 03:59 AM

View Metalman's profile


2 posts in 4114 days

#13 posted 10-18-2009 04:48 PM

I had this same type of failure on a brand new Steel City table saw this past May. I am a university professor in metallurgy and took some time inspecting the failure, including examining the fracture surface using a scanning electron microscopy. The failure appears to have occurred as a result of embrittlement during the tempering process. The scary thing here is that such tempering is typically done in batch processes, so it is likely that many other arbors out there are also affected. The store I purchased the saw at had seen at least one other failure like this on a saw they had sold. While Steel City offered to provide me with a new arbor, they were unwilling to provide me with any information that indicated they 1) understood the problem and 2) had taken steps to rectify the problem. So, I did not have any confidence that a replacement arbor would be any better. Given that, I choose to return the saw rather than risk a potentially life threatening injury. I

View pickles's profile


68 posts in 4385 days

#14 posted 11-23-2009 08:23 PM

Well, my arbor snapped on Friday. I tried installing my dado set and when I snugged up the nut it broke! I’ve used the dado stack atleast twenty times in the ten months I’ve owned the Steel City saw. I called customer service and had to leave a message; I’m waiting for a call back.
broken arbor

View Metalman's profile


2 posts in 4114 days

#15 posted 11-23-2009 11:33 PM


Your failed arbor looks identical to mine. The very large pre-crack area and the much smaller rapid failure area. I think this is a real safety issue, but I haven’t seen a recall on these saws yet. I did see a government ordered recall of the Ridgid R4511 saw for the same or similar problem. I thought that Steel City had something to do with the Ridgid saw, but the distributor is listed as One World Technologies, so I am not sure. Anyways, glad to know you weren’t hurt.

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