Excellent value for a riving knife equipped saw

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Review by gbook2 posted 07-20-2010 09:24 PM 8697 views 3 times favorited 17 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Excellent value for a riving knife equipped saw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

This turned out to be a very good saw, but only after experiencing a lot of problems with manufacturing defects.

Positives are as follows:
  • the saw is very solid at 270 lbs, and the built in caster set makes moving it very easy
  • there are few cheap plastic parts, everything is cast iron, steel, or aluminum
  • the built in riving knife / splitter is very nice
  • arbor lock is nice when changing blades
  • fence is 30”
  • it has hooks on the side of the saw for all the accessories
  • Sears delivery and their parts department are helpful
  • powerful, quiet, dust collection seems ok
Negatives are:
  • some parts might be junk and bad quality
  • the included blade is junk and I didn’t use it
  • the washers for the trunnion bolts are too thin and bend when tightened (can easily be replaced with thicker washers)
  • steel extension wings aren’t close to being level with the main table when attached (can be leveled by using the fence rails to hold them in place)
  • knob to tighten/loosen the riving knife is hard to get to

The first saw I got would change alignment as the blade was raised and lowered. The fence ruler also peeled off. Sears was very nice about it, and the delivery truck came, picked up the defective one out of my basement, and dropped off a new one in the garage. Second saw I got had a crooked front fence rail, causing the fence to be out of alignment depending on how far from the blade it was. The saw also had a crooked miter gauge bar. I contacted the Sears parts group and they sent a new miter gauge bar. I tried to get new rails, but they have a $50 parts replacement limit, so they sent a technician out to look at it. The tech knew nothing about table saws, and I think he was more familiar with appliances, but I was able to show him the problem and he ordered the new rails. They arrived a week later and I replaced them.

Through an accounting error on Sears’ end, I also ended up with 3 extra miter gauge bars. This turned out to be very good because only 1 of them was straight. Either the manufacturer doesn’t check the parts before they leave the factory or they warp on the boat from China. Now, 3 months after I ordered the table saw, I have a complete functioning unit.

Overall, I would recommend this saw because of all the features and excellent price. For $300 more, I could get a Grizzly contractor or hybrid saw, but I couldn’t justify spending that kind of money for something I use on weekends. The only downside to this saw is the terrible quality control of its parts.

View gbook2's profile


10 posts in 3714 days

17 comments so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3875 days

#1 posted 07-20-2010 10:34 PM

Thank you for the well written review. I appreciate your objectivity.

You gave the saw high marks for having a riving knife. I believe a riving knife is now required on all table saws sold. Hence, this is not a feature that distinguishes this saw from the others.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View gbook2's profile


10 posts in 3714 days

#2 posted 07-20-2010 10:56 PM

Good point on the riving knife, but I couldn’t think of anything else special about the saw. A riving knife is why I bought a new saw, so it went into the title.

I believe the riving knife is only necessary for newly designed saws sold, not necessarily existing model saws, as of 2009, to get UL approval. However, ALL table saws sold after 2014 must have a riving knife to keep UL approval.

View Abbott's profile


2570 posts in 4104 days

#3 posted 07-21-2010 02:15 AM

It look’s like the new Porter Cable model at Lowe’s, I bet it’s the same saw. Porter Cable, Craftsman and the new Ridgid are all likely now made at the same Chinese factory.

Thanks for the review!

-- Ohh mann...pancakes and boobies...I'll bet that's what Heaven is like! ♣ ♣ ♣ ♣

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4176 days

#4 posted 07-21-2010 02:16 AM

Thanks for a well written review. It’s unfortunate that these saws have been so plagued with problems early on. It’s not uncommon for new releases to have some issues, but hopefully they’ll work all the bugs out with later models. The new Ridgid R4512 appears to be the same basic saw from the same factory.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View MickeyGee's profile


119 posts in 3695 days

#5 posted 07-21-2010 03:24 AM

Thanks for the review – I’ve been looking around, nice to know that Sears managed to fix your problems, but still a huge hassle to wait 3 months to be able to cut.


-- -- Mike

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19334 posts in 4477 days

#6 posted 07-21-2010 06:43 AM

In another forum post I made yesterday I was contemplating a new saw primarily because of the fence, but these issues are what worries me. Thanks for the info.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3772 days

#7 posted 07-21-2010 07:28 AM

I got that exact same saw a little over a month ago and I feel like it was a fine deal for $409. Like you said, the blade that came with it was pure junk, but I didn’t have any other problem with mine. This is a different saw from the Porter Cable or the Hitachi that Lowes sells. I was almost going to buy one of those before I found the Craftsman. Both of those saws have the motor inside the cabinet like the Craftsman, hanging about 6” below the arbor, but that is about all they have in common. The Craftsman has a far better fence, better casters, and a better motor. I mainly went with the Craftsman for the fence. The bright red and silver gray paint job takes a little while to get used to though; it looks like it belongs in a Nascar garage instead of a wood shop. As for the miter guage, mine was straight enough but I didn’t like the sloppy way you have to set the angles so I put an Incra V-27 on mine. With that and a couple of new blades and a good top dressing of Johnson’s paste wax and I’m liking this saw a lot.

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3849 days

#8 posted 07-21-2010 06:18 PM

a company in Hong Kong named : one world technologies makes most the power tools you can buy, no matter the brand name or the country where you buy it.
This company is a part of a larger company names: TechTronic Industries Company Limited,

-- Bert

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19334 posts in 4477 days

#9 posted 07-21-2010 07:01 PM

That is convienient. If a company wants to up grade their models, just walk out on the production floor and pick what they want ;-))

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View dankow's profile


4 posts in 3667 days

#10 posted 07-21-2010 10:57 PM

Thanks for the review. I bought a 21833 last month, and I think it’s an excellent value for ~$400. I haven’t had any show-stopping quality problems with mine. Yeah, the miter gauge is junk. Yeah, the arbor washers are worse than useless. The blade is terrible, of course. However, I didn’t spend $900, I got a new piece of equipment with a warranty and all that jazz, and if you pay the extra $30, you get in-home support. Forget hauling that thing back to Sears if something goes wrong!

One thing I’ve been scratching my head over today: Where can I find a zero-clearance insert for it? I read somewhere that Leecraft makes one, but I picked up a Leecraft CR-1 at Woodcraft, and it’s nowhere near the right size. The one that Sears sells doesn’t say that it fits the 21833, and they don’t give measurements for it. I would make one if I had a router, but I don’t.

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3849 days

#11 posted 07-21-2010 11:17 PM

“Where can I find a zero-clearance insert for it? ”
make it yourself, they are easy to make and much much cheaper.
In fact you do not need one but one for each blade and dado width you use.
I have probably 10 or 12 of them.
When you make the blank make a bunch of them , you will use them later.

-- Bert

View Bryan_M's profile


46 posts in 3844 days

#12 posted 07-23-2010 07:26 AM

I have this saw too and I also want to know how to make a zero clearance insert. Its not so easy as the insert is very thin and has clips underneath that holds it to the table…

View gbook2's profile


10 posts in 3714 days

#13 posted 07-23-2010 07:51 PM

When I got the replacement front rail, it was just the aluminum rail so I needed to contact Sears again to get the ruler tape. When I got it yesterday I was laughing… and agitated. The tape was curled up, and as I unrolled it, I saw that the entire length of it on both sides looked like it was cut with a pair of left handed scissors by a 6 year old. The bottoms of the numbers were cut off. It’s a minor part, and I wouldn’t rely on the ruler anyway, but it seems that NO part of this saw is immune from manufacturing defects.

I’m still debating about whether to return it during the 90 day return period and get the new Grizzly hybrid. All I can think is what else is defective inside the saw that I can’t see now? Will the motor fail after the 1 yr warranty period ends? Will the table crack, the fence warp, the handles come off, or some other part break during normal use 12 months and 1 day after purchase?

I have a Grizzly jointer and dust collector, and a Delta planer and sander that I bought in the early 90s. None of them had manufacturing defects. In fact, no tool I’ve ever bought had manufacturing defects, let alone multiple defects on multiple machines. The Grizzly and Delta tools were used for a few years and then sat in a damp, occasionally flooded basement for 10 years before I started using them again. NO problems with any of them. I can’t imagine if the Craftsman will be same in 10 years.

I’m starting to think spending the extra $300 for the Grizzly hybrid will be worth it if the saw is still functioning in 10 years.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


19334 posts in 4477 days

#14 posted 07-24-2010 02:24 AM

I was tallking to a mechanic today who told me the difference between Craftsman and Ridgid saws is the bearings.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View threefingerlee's profile


1 post in 3601 days

#15 posted 09-26-2010 12:40 AM

I purchased this saw last week, and assembled it very slowly, with no problems. Assembly took about seven hours, but I’m slow. Blade alignment appears to be true through the whole range of blade height. Seems to be a fine saw for such a low price. LOVE the casters on the base!
Woodcraft recommended a six-inch dado set considering the saw’s relatively low horsepower – I’m testing it on my next project, which will be a corner CD shelving unit.

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