My wife is jealous

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Review by sawdustroad posted 05-07-2008 05:29 PM 5594 views 0 times favorited 26 comments Add to Favorites Watch
My wife is jealous My wife is jealous My wife is jealous Click the pictures to enlarge them

Deciding that I wanted to purchase a saw with a designed-in riving knife was the easy part. Finding one that was available was a totally different story until a week ago.

My decision criteria: Riving Knife; Price < $2000; Power > 1.5 HP; Dust Collection; Step up from a contractor saw

My selection. This was the easy part. After stopping by the local Woodcraft and seeing the quality fence and other design features of Steel City made them a shoe in for the top choice. And they had a Riving knife saw, or so I thought. Apparently manufacturing the saw was proving to be more difficult than I thought, and it took nearly 4 months to get my hands on one. That’s a long time to be out of a table saw.

When the new saws came in, my contact gave me a call and I took an early trip up to the Woodcraft in Loveland, Colorado. They had both granite and cast iron 359xx series saws, still in the box, so we took it to task to take a look at them. The granite top was an easy sell for $50 and it looks great, flat as can be, smooth, and as heavy as you can imagine.

Getting the saw home was easy, as they loaded it up with a forklift; but getting it off the truck in the steel-cage within a cardboard box was more challenging. With two 4×4 cedar boards, and some good timing, my neighbor and I were able to slide it off with no problems and get it in the garage. After removing the cage, I got a full look at it. Everything looked great and I’ve seen no damage due to shipping.

Putting it together was simple and other than everything being huge, the materials and instructions were adequate to get the saw together. one bug in the design was the milled holes for attaching the fence guides to the table top do NOT align on the extension wing. This doesn’t bother me short term, but if they weren’t required for long-term stability, I’m not sure they would have put them in.

The mobile base: After being sold a $92 Delta Unisaw Base and finding out it doesn’t fit, I went with a Jet Base. Of course it didn’t fit, but after a few hours of hacksawing, it fits great, and I was able to get the saw and extension table mounted. Of course, I’m 100% annoyed with the base, it wobbles and the brakes couldn’t stop a sneeze. But, it moves the extremely heavy saw around, so I’ll find some way to stabilize it and get to using the saw.

Use: I haven’t yet put oak through the saw, but out of the box, most everything is stable and aligned perfectly. The only gripe I have is the insert doesn’t fit flush. I posted some pictures of the issues at:

Overall Review: The saw is solid and the top is better than I expected. I’d recommend this for anyone ready to make a purchase today. If you aren’t quite ready, I’m sure version 2.0 will fix some of the current issues.

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25 posts in 5024 days

26 comments so far

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 5231 days

#1 posted 05-07-2008 06:06 PM

Great review! Is that table extension granite also or just colored the same?

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View gator9t9's profile


333 posts in 4947 days

#2 posted 05-07-2008 06:14 PM

Great Review thank you …so much …...

I need a primer on a “RIVING KNIFE” If you do not mind explaining what a Riving Knife is and its purpose?

I have a Steel City Dust Collector ….and love it ..I had been wondering about the quality of other Steel city tools …I have been looking at the Steel City mini a next possible tool in my shop..

thanks again

-- Mike in Bonney Lake " If you are real real real good your whole life, You 'll be buried in a curly maple coffin when you die."

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4916 days

#3 posted 05-07-2008 06:24 PM

A riving knife is like a splitter but it tops off just a little below the top of the blade. This allows you to do blind cuts with it still installed.

Look at the 3rd picture on the left hand side. The thing that is right on top of the blade is the riving knife. Close to the blade, just a little under height of the blade, no reason to remove it so it stays in place and the say stays safe.

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 5010 days

#4 posted 05-07-2008 07:06 PM

I agree with your wife. I’m jealous too! Nice review.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 5200 days

#5 posted 05-07-2008 07:09 PM

Good review although I would like to hear more about the functionality and how the saw performs under load. I have wanted one of these granite top saws since i first saw them. Now that I have heard from someone that actually owns one I want one even more! As far as the inserts being low, I would just use the one it came with as a template and make my own from baltic birch.


View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 5065 days

#6 posted 05-07-2008 08:08 PM

Great review. I want to upgrade my contractor’s saw and have been looking at this one, the PM2000 and Sawstop. The granite top is, to me, the top selling point on this one. It sounds like you have a nice tool to play with. Let us know how it performs.

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

View sawdustroad's profile


25 posts in 5024 days

#7 posted 05-07-2008 08:53 PM

The right side of the saw is a standard table-board; the whole top isn’t granite, but ~ 1/2 of the work surface is.

The biggest reason I chose the SC over the PM, was price. Of course, after I saw the granite top in person I may have chosen the Steel City over the PM2000 if they were similarly priced.

Bosch 4100/Riving/24”/portable=$599-699

For $900, I could almost have 2 saws. The Sawstop at over $3000 was just too far away. Plus I’ve heard that the riving knife (along with the quick-change features) can potentially prevent a lot of the accidents that the Sawstop was designed to eliminate.

That reminds me. The quick change features of the riving knife are good, not great, but with no tools, I can safely change between riving attachments (included: 1xthin kerf, 1xthick kerf, 1xHooded splitter) I’m still giving it a 5 star rating just because I have no comparison to other saws and the new quick-change requirements. My last saw was a 2 wrench x 5 minute change and thus often left the splitter off.

Oh, and the saw came with a pretty good blade. It’s not a Forrest, but it has cut very well so far. And it saved me a trip to the store.

-- -

View StraightEdge's profile


26 posts in 4935 days

#8 posted 05-07-2008 10:13 PM

Excellent review! Much appreciated!

-- Cheers!

View Kipster's profile


1076 posts in 4996 days

#9 posted 05-08-2008 03:35 AM

I have wanting to hear someones first hand experience withis product since it came out ladt Summer / Fall.

Thank you for sharing.

-- Kip Northern Illinois ( If you don't know where your goin any road will take you there) George Harrison

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 5058 days

#10 posted 05-10-2008 12:25 AM

I am curious. How do the rails attach to the granite table? What do the bolts go through?

-- Scott - Chico California

View sawdustroad's profile


25 posts in 5024 days

#11 posted 05-10-2008 12:47 AM

The mounting holes appear to be epoxied-threaded-inserts. They were fairly clean, so I couldn’t really tell you if there was any other type of anchoring going on. If I’ve still got a shot at one, I’ll send a picture.

-- -

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 5058 days

#12 posted 05-10-2008 03:32 PM

Thanks. I figured as much. Epoxy will hold them.

-- Scott - Chico California

View jwicks's profile


54 posts in 4851 days

#13 posted 07-10-2008 05:06 PM

I just bought the 30-Inch 1.75HP version with the granite top and set it up last week. I also noticed that the table insert doesn’t sit flush. Mine tilts in at the back so even though the sides are level, the middle is below the table surface. Steel City is sending me a new one. What did you end up doing about yours?

-- Jon

View sawdustroad's profile


25 posts in 5024 days

#14 posted 07-11-2008 12:20 AM

That’s frustrating. I tried to contact them the day I wrote this review and no reply. I’m trying again now. Does your fence align with all of the holes in the granite?

-- -

View jwicks's profile


54 posts in 4851 days

#15 posted 07-11-2008 05:49 PM

I didn’t encounter any problems installing the fence (30” Industrial Type II), the holes aligned properly.

-- Jon

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