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A great saw with a few drawbacks

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Review by Knotheadwilly posted 02-05-2020 02:02 AM 752 views 0 times favorited 3 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A great saw with a few drawbacks A great saw with a few drawbacks No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

After the completion of my new shop, one item I definitely wanted to upgrade was my table saw. I have had a Bosch 4100 for almost five years and I can’t say too much bad about it. It was accurate, powerful, dependable but where it lacked was dust collection. I started researching saws a while back in anticipation of my new shop so there was a lot of internet time reading reviews and specifications. I also watched a multitude of videos on YouTube to help in my decision. I had narrowed it down to Sawstop, Grizzly, and Laguna when I stumbled across a Powermatic 64B table saw. I hadn’t really given this style of saw (contractor) too much consideration because one of my main reasons for upgrading was dust collection. However, with the 64B, the motor does not sit outside the saw like typical contractor saws but is enclosed in the upper body of the saw. This interested me. I have also used the older version of this saw and was pleased with its performance. There weren’t too many reviews online but I decided to go forward and order it because the SawStop was too pricey, Laguna was introducing new models at a later date and didn’t want to wait, and I had a friend that had a bad experience with a Grizzly. (I don’t believe this to be the norm, from what I understand Grizzly makes some great products and has good customer service.) It didn’t hurt that Powermatic was running a deal with 15% off and free shipping through Woodcraft. I got the 30” model.

Set up was easy and very intuitive and the instructions were clear. All was going well until I got to the right side of the blade cast iron wing. The left one was installed and leveled in less than 10 minutes but that right one wanted to put up a fight. I don’t know how many times I removed it and placed it back on, tapped it this way, tapped it that way and lord knows what else. I finally got it where I couldn’t slide a 0.003” feeler gauge under a Woodpeckers straight edge by using a single piece of masking tape under the connection bolts to give that little bit of lift it needed. It worked and I still check it regularly and it is holding well. The fence was by far the easiest one I have ever installed. It was darn close right out of the box but I had to do a few adjustments but those were easy. I have it set holding about 0.002” to 0.004” away from the bade which is good in my books. I converted it to 220V which seems to help, I guess. I only ran it for one day at 110V so can’t really make a solid comment about any performance improvements. The dust collection is very good. With a 4” hose connected to 1.5 hp Supermax dust collector I would say it gets about 90% of the dust. There is some on the table top and a little comes out the front by the adjustment wheel but Fastcap makes something that is supposed to reduce this so I may try that. The miter gauge is decent. It is better than most stock ones I have seen. I have used it and checked the cuts and they are right on but I did make a crosscut sled which I use most of the time. The motor is only 1.75 hp but it has cut everything I have thrown at it. I cut several pieces of 2.25” thick walnut and it didn’t skip a beat. I use a Frued combination blade, regular kerf. The bade height adjustment wheel and the angle adjustment wheel are solid and smooth. A couple of things I don’t like:
1. I think the throat plate could fit better. It seems a bit on the lose side across one edge and it will dip a little. I don’t think it makes much difference to the cuts but it would be nice to have a more robust plate. I ordered a zero clearance so we’ll see how that works.
2. While I love the motor inside the saw cabinet and that benefit far outweighs any negative, getting to things inside the saw is tough, especially to clean. I bought a special vacuum attachment just so I could reach into places without taking things apart.
3. I thought the MDF extension table was a bit on the flimsy side. I don’t have it installed now because I plan on putting a router table there but I don’t think I would install it regardless of that.

If you want to see my progression through my shop and assembling this saw, go to my shop page and scroll a bit
https://www.lumberjocks.com/Knotheadwilly/workshop

Overall, it is a great saw. I don’t have any regrets about my purchase and I think it will serve me well for years. I had to give a 5 star because it wouldn’t let me give 4.5 but for the price I got it for, I suppose 5 stars is warranted.




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Knotheadwilly

47 posts in 426 days



3 comments so far

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fivecodys

1579 posts in 2268 days


#1 posted 02-05-2020 04:28 PM

Congratulations on your new saw.
Nice review as well. I have an 18 year old 64A.
I was happy to see the addition of a riving knife on your new saw. That was a much needed improvement.
Sounds like they still haven’t fixed the issues with the stock throat plate. I have been using Lee-Craft zero clearance plates for a while now and they work very well.

-- A bad day woodworking is still better than a good day working.

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sailorboy

5 posts in 10 days


#2 posted 02-09-2020 06:09 PM

I have just become aware of the “Jesseum Clear Cut Guides,” and will be getting them. I realize they will greatly improve the “Overall Control” of the material going through the saw and therefore improve SAFETY! I understand these have been around for years, but have just heard about them at a Table Saw Seminar. IMHO, anything that can help avoid an injury is a must have,

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Knotheadwilly

47 posts in 426 days


#3 posted 02-12-2020 07:13 PM


Congratulations on your new saw.
Nice review as well. I have an 18 year old 64A.
I was happy to see the addition of a riving knife on your new saw. That was a much needed improvement.
Sounds like they still haven t fixed the issues with the stock throat plate. I have been using Lee-Craft zero clearance plates for a while now and they work very well.

- fivecodys

My new zero clearance plate arrived – I’ll post if it helps the situation

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