Not What I Expected

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Review by TedAGTG posted 10-27-2010 04:33 AM 15238 views 0 times favorited 37 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I purchased this saw new at Lowe’s and was initially happy with the performance. The first saw had much lower vibration than my previous one. The table tilts 45 degrees left or right and has positive stops at the most popular angles. The blade clamps were not easy to work with and blade slippage (and consequently blade tension) was frustrating. I was doing some fairly intricate fretwork with hundreds of inside cuts requiring blade clamping and unclamping every 45 seconds to a minute for hours at a time. TEDIOUS!! After I owned the saw for four weeks, the dust blower failed and I returned it to Lowes. The second saw had higher vibration than the first and after around 6 hours shook the motor loose from it’s mounts! I again returned the saw and the third one lasted for another four weeks until the misalignment of the upper and lower arms became unbearable. The misalignment created a grinding motion side to side and destroyed 2 cherry box lids that I was working on. Lowes was great and refunded my money. Porter Cable does not make this saw- a company called Rexon does for them. Beware! Porter Cable is owned by Black and Decker (they also own Dewalt and Delta) and their quality control seems more like a theory at this point. I do not recommend this saw. Even the one on display at the store had misaligned arms – very sad. I am opting for a used RBI Hawk – much more expensive but an established winner. Proceed with caution!

-- [email protected] WoodCraft

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28 posts in 3577 days

37 comments so far

View lew's profile


13149 posts in 4563 days

#1 posted 10-27-2010 04:35 AM

Thanks for an honest review. It is refreshing.

-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

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4541 posts in 3882 days

#2 posted 10-27-2010 04:43 AM

Thank you for the review. It seems like Black and Decker has a strategy for their brand names. All sorts of tools are appearing at Lowes with the Porter Cable brand. These are tools that Porter Cable did not use to make. It is as if Porter Cable is their brand for sales at stores like Lowes and, from what I have seen lately, they are not very high quality tools.

The Delta brand has essentially disappeared from Lowes. Is the Delta brand going to serve another segment of the market? Probably.

The Black and Decker brand is not used much at all (that I can see). They also have a brand called “Firestorm” that they are using for some real low cost items.

Hard to keep up.

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

View srdesign's profile


7 posts in 3578 days

#3 posted 10-27-2010 06:09 AM

Thanks for the review it is sad to see a brand such as porter cable going down the tubes I use to be in the carpentery buisness and they were the for runners of the buisness and one of the best.

View Chip's profile


1904 posts in 4900 days

#4 posted 10-27-2010 11:48 AM

Ted, I bought this saw a while back and how you put up with it as long as you did is beyond me. The blade changing is so frustrating it’s ridiculous. I only use it now to hog out wood from inside areas but it’s useless for delicate work. You were being kind giving it 2 stars.

-- Better to say nothing and be thought the fool... then to speak and erase all doubt!

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4040 days

#5 posted 10-27-2010 04:44 PM

Funny you should mention the older Firestorm line… I have a Firestorm miter saw, and aside from it being a fixed CMS (non slider), it has been a VERY accurate, and reliable saw that has put up with TONS of abuse… Far better than I expect from B&D… But I also have the misfortune of owning a Firestorm plunge router. Miserable piece of junk…

In all honesty, with my experiences tool wise, I have had MUCH better luck with Harbor Freight’s house branded tools than with anything that comes from B&D except of course their coffee pots…

-- Please like and subscribe to my YouTube Channel

View Vicki's profile


1127 posts in 4152 days

#6 posted 10-27-2010 05:30 PM

It’s very sad about Delta and PC. I’m a hobby ww and those brands were perfect for me. Reasonably priced, reliable, good tech support, etc. All around they were perfect for users like myself. It’s a big loss.

-- Vicki on the Eastern Shore of MD

View ic3ss's profile


392 posts in 3585 days

#7 posted 10-27-2010 07:56 PM

Bummer, and I had my eye on this same saw at Lowes. I ended up finding a Delta SS350 with about a week of use on it for $50. Being my first scroll saw, I went with that. So far it’s been a smooth runner, only issue is that it won’t take pinned blades. I’ll be in the market again if I get to a point that it’s not meeting my needs, but for now it’s a good saw.

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View a1Jim's profile


118104 posts in 4385 days

#8 posted 10-28-2010 02:30 AM

Sounds like a cut below


View ic3ss's profile


392 posts in 3585 days

#9 posted 10-28-2010 03:24 AM

Well isn’t that pretty much the trend of most of the tool industry, outsourcing manufacturing in china? When I was building my shed this summer, I found myself at Lowes more wandering the tool isles and noticing how few tools sported the Made in USA label. American manufacturing built up names like Porter Cable, Delta, DeWalt, and Black and Decker. Now they’re all made over seas. Coincidense that these are all owned by Stanley? I think not.

-- "I am endeavoring, ma'am, to construct a mnemonic memory circuit using stone knives and bear skins."

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3588 days

#10 posted 10-28-2010 04:05 AM

I’m looking to move out of my garage for the winter(-10 or worse in Michigan Januarys is not fun) and I’ve been looking at scroll saws to keep me occupied. What do I look for? Any recommendations? I’ve been wanting to do some inlay work. Any scroll saws better for that application?

View TedAGTG's profile


28 posts in 3577 days

#11 posted 10-28-2010 04:27 AM

Russ, My experience says the finer the detail, the more important low vibration is. That was one quality the Porter Cable saw had going for it (at least the first one I picked up). After I returned the PC to Lowes, I began searching in ernest for the next saw. I really didn’t have the money but the Excalibur EX-21 was going to be “the one”. The local woodworker’s store has them with stand for – gulp – $739.00. I had been looking at a couple RBI Hawks on eBay but couldn’t work out the shipping. The RBI 220VS goes for $350.00 to $600.00 used and $1200.00 new. I met a turner at an art show who had an RBI that was his father’s and he wasn’t really into scrolling so I ended up buying that at a very fair price. I would recommend a Dewalt DW788 or a used RBI. Measure twice, cut once. Good cutting!

-- [email protected] WoodCraft

View RussInMichigan's profile


600 posts in 3588 days

#12 posted 10-28-2010 05:42 AM

Thanks TedAGTG,

I’d be in the $500.00 range for a scroll saw purchase. I see the youtube videos of scroll saw masters doing some amazing things and I want to get a couple hundred hours experience getting a feel for it so I can better appreciate the skills they have, and, then too, begin thinking in scroll-saw-ese.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 3868 days

#13 posted 10-28-2010 07:16 AM

I’m curious how many hours did you use the scroll on a day?

Buying “Brands name” is a mistake, for example Porter Cable, Delta, Dewalt ,Powermatic, Jet tools quality has slipped in recent years

View Howie's profile


2656 posts in 3731 days

#14 posted 10-28-2010 05:05 PM

I’ve been looking at this saw for a month or so. I’m not a scroller(yet!) but after reading the reviews in a wood mag I thought this may be the place to start. After reading your review, I think it’s the place to start—somewhere else<g>.
Thanks for the write up.

-- Life is good.

View dbray45's profile


3388 posts in 3584 days

#15 posted 10-28-2010 08:32 PM

Black and Decker, as the story goes, moved their Maryland manufacturing to Mexico. They moved their managers to Mexico, let the machinists and line employees go and when the managers trained the new staff in Mexico, let the managers go. The Dewalt line was the original B&D “Professional” line of tools. I have been told that they have let those products slide as well. I have a few of the older Dewalt tools that have worked well but they are not the precision tools either. When a retailer that sells them told me the other day, “if its yellow and black, throw it back,” is the response, its not good.

-- David in Palm Bay, FL

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