Delta 36-725 Contractor Tablesaw: Follow-Up Review

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Review by thetinman posted 04-20-2014 08:37 PM 77284 views 45 times favorited 237 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Delta 36-725 Contractor Tablesaw: Follow-Up Review Delta 36-725 Contractor Tablesaw: Follow-Up Review No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

EDIT: This review was edited to add a link to a my blog on how to easily and safely align the blade. The sections on blades and blade alignment have been removed from this review and are now in a stand alone process.

Delta 36-725 Table Saw blade alignment link


I bought this saw over a month ago and wrote an initial review then. The review included many assembly tips as the owner’s manual had not been updated since the saw was first released to the market. While the review is for the Delta saw, it includes many assembly tips that may be of value to any owner of a new saw. Likewise, this review follow-up contains information that may be useful to other saw owners also. It covers many of the questions asked in the first review.

The initial review can be found at:

The response to the initial review was surprising and overwhelming. I thank everyone for their comments and kind words. This follow-up is in response to the many requests for more information after I used the saw for a while and learned more about it. Also, many of those asking for more information are people new to woodworking or returning to woodworking after many years. It is with this view that I will attempt to describe things in a way that may seem too detailed or basic to many seasoned woodworkers. This site has a wealth of knowledgeable and skilled woodcrafters and I hope that they are not bored with some of the writing nor put off by a bit of humor.

Since I bought this saw I have built a desk (that my wife confiscated) for my radio equipment and a half-dozen drawers for a neighbor’s kitchen cabinets. The desk project can be seen at:

In addition, many of my tablesaw jigs/fixtures went with my old Craftsman tablesaw and I have been building new ones. I have been changing the designs as I build new ones, again with the view towards new woodworkers. For example, instead of using a dado I use dowels. Through dowels are easy and make strong assemblies. If you can drill a hole you can use dowels. Some new woodworkers may not have ever cut a dado or might have limited funds and not own a dado set yet. This may help them learn by making jigs that help them progress to other projects. Easy to make tenon or taper jigs, narrow strip jigs or even a basic T-square circle saw guide may help to build skills as well as shop inventory. Again, I hope the seasoned craftsmen (OOPS! I mean craftspersons, craftspeople, or any other non-gender specific craftshumanoid term) are not too bored with the projects as I begin to post them.


Delta has, in my opinion, had a few strokes of brilliance with this design. In many ways the primary brilliance was going back to tried and true basics of yesteryear and getting away from “everyone does it this way now. It’s what people expect”. The heavy tubular steel framework is one of these departures from the norm. Like a VW bug from the ‘60’s or an eggshell, curved/tubular designs provide much more strength relative to weight than box designs. A lighter weight can also mean that vibration is not absorbed within the tool/machine. Fortunately, Delta got it right and this thing is quiet, smooth and rock solid.

The 3-wheels and pedal lift is another example. The pedal is a simple lever and takes but little force to lift the saw. Like all tricycle designs (forklifts, etc.) it moves more easily and turns better in small spaces than 4-wheel designs. Also, the simplicity of a simple single-point lever means there are no adjustments or connecting rods to bend or wear out over time. Lowering the saw back on its’ feet is just that – lowering the saw. It does not just drop crashing to the floor. I put the pedal on the left side of the saw. It is easier to get at and has the least weight on the lift making everything easier to control. Of course I can’t know for sure, but I suspect that the engineers always intended it to be here. Some office geek probably thought there was not enough clearance under the left table extension and was concerned about a trip hazard. There may very well be some State or Federal regulations about minimum clearance. Unless you are Ronald McDonald and walk sideways dragging your feet you cannot possibly trip on the pedal on the left side.

Possibly the most brilliant “back to basics” is the motor assembly lift design. Most saws today mount the motor on a pivot and raise/lower the blade in an arc. More expensive saws use machined dovetails. These are fine designs if done correctly to tight tolerances. Unfortunately, for this price in today’s competitive market it is difficult to get it right all the time. Parts tolerances add and subtract in final assembly. Sometimes they add/subtract in all the wrong ways. Aligning and maintaining blade alignment is difficult or impossible in this situation. The Delta motor assembly rides up and down on polished steel tubes. (It reminds me of my dad’s 1954 Shopsmith – the apex of man’s quest for a multipurpose machine –in my opinion of course) The blade is easily aligned using the trunnions and it stays aligned throughout the range of heights. The only possible variation is that the blade angle might be slightly off. This slight variation is adjusted out one time using the 90 and 45-degree stops. Then it stays where you put it. The owner’s of the saw may never even know that there may exist a very slight angle on the lifting tubes as assembled/tightened in their locking collars at the factory.

I have been well pleased with the saw. It has performed completely to my expectations and exceeded some. All adjustments/alignments were made easily and have remained where I put them. The motor is powerful enough for my use and it cuts everything I normally do. I would not recommend this saw to those who typically run volumes of thick hard woods. It just is not designed for that. For those people I would recommend stepping up to a more powerful machine. But, that is it – the power of the motor. If you typically build shelves, cabinets and furniture, this saw will do a fine job for you. If, like me, you’re a Harry Homeowner and occasionally ask the saw to cut some 4 X 4”s it will do that too. I have read some statements from some new woodworkers or new owners that they think this saw will give them “good enough precision” for their use. Folks, that is simply the wrong point of view. This saw is capable of the same precision as any higher priced saw. Everything can be aligned and stays where you align it. The precision is up to you.

I have no buyer’s remorse with my new saw.


I left out the specifications in my initial review. A retired engineer left out the basic specifications! What a rookie mistake! I’m going to punish myself and delay having a beer someday.


Max depth of cut at 90-degrees: 3-1/2”
Max depth of cut at 45-degrees: 2-1/2”
Max rip width right of blade: 30”
Max rip width left of blade: 15”
Max dado blade width: 13/16”


1-1/2 HP belt drive
5/8” arbor
10” max blade diameter
Amps: 13 120-volts, 6.5 240-volts
Note that the motor can be wired for 240-volts. The procedure is described in the new owner’s manual.


A new owner’s manual has been written and is shipped with new saws. It is also available on-line at:

I have read the new manual and it is an improvement over the out-of-date original. The manual now includes many corrections/updates as well as instructions for rewiring the saw for 240-volts. The errors about adjusting the riving knife described in the original review have not been corrected. But, this is a simple procedure and not too difficult to figure out.

Blade Selection And Blade Alignment

See my blog at

The parts diagram is also available on-line at:

Now lets start talking about understanding and using the saw.


The riving knife works very well. This is the first saw I have owned that had one. All the previous saws had the splitter and anti-kickback pawls on the blade guard. Of course the blade guard assembly was a pain to put on and off so, like most people, I just left it off. Like everyone else, I learned to hold the work piece firmly so I didn’t get a “George Washington”. That’s where the wood is thrown back and up – right towards your face. You get wooden teeth – that’s a “George Washington”.

While ripping a piece of lumber with this saw I suddenly felt quite a bit of resistance. I increased my grip, stopped feeding, held in place and looked for what was binding. I saw nothing abnormal. I hit the switch with my hip and waited for the blade to stop. I looked and still found nothing. I lifted the anti-kickback pawls and pulled back on the piece of wood to remove it and it was stuck. I looked and found that I had cut through a twist in the grain and the kerf had closed and was binding on the riving knife. I mean it was tight. This was new to me. I never had a saw with a riving knife. In the past I simply held firmly and listened for the blade to sing if it began to eat a kerf. We’ve all heard the back of the blade sing as it eats a closing kerf. I always have a couple small wedges within reach to jab into the kerf to hold it open if this happens. I grabbed a wedge and popped it into the kerf and finished my cut. Well, I was impressed. My cut wasn’t ruined by the back of the blade gouging out a path through the twist. The board didn’t buck. It just got harder to push. Generally I do not like all the added expense, the typically less usable product and the 100’s of idiot labels Washington imposes on us. But I must admit that I like this riving knife thingy. It’s not in the way. It’s easy to remove for cutting a dado. And it simply works without interfering with anything. That’s one in a row Washington. Keep up the good work.

The anti-kickback pawls also work well and there is no reason not to use them with the new riving knife. I made an oak zero clearance insert and found the pawls could be a pain. They worked fine except when lowering the blade. As the blade came down the pawls did not ride on the ZC plate and rotate backwards, as they should. Instead the teeth stuck in the oak and pushed the back of the plate down. I had to remember to hold the pawls up with my left hand while cranking the blade down with my right. Only two solutions came to mind: file the points of the teeth down (as many do) or make a metal ZC plate. I couldn’t find anything but the thin hobby aluminum or copper locally. Then I thought about the plate that came stock with the saw and made a ZC plug to go into that. It works very well and actually stiffens the original plate. I made another for 45-degree angles. I use the oak ZC plate as a dado insert since the pawls aren’t used for a dado cut anyway. The link for the ZC plug shows how to make a single plug with a hand held router. A half-dozen plugs could be made at a time out of sheet stock on a router table or on the saw using a stacked dado.

Now let’s talk about getting the anti-kickback pawls on and off the riving knife. They are simple to attach and remove – after a lot of choice words until I figured out for myself how to do it. I confess that, more than once, they were very close to getting flying lessons. Now I don’t even think about it when I take them on and off. For those of you that may feel mentally challenged like I felt, here’s how I learned do it. Everything is from the front of the saw – as it should be.

Hold the anti-kickback pawls in your right hand and press the silver button with your index finger. Slip the pin into the slot and push down a bit. RELEASE the button. It will not “snap” into place as described in the manual if you keep the button depressed. Now finish by pushing down on the black plastic tab with your right thumb. It will snap into place. Press the button – slip into the slot – release the button – press with your thumb – snap. It is so blasted simple. Simply press the button with your right index finger and it will pop up to be removed. My God how long I fussed with this thing.

The blade guard is also well thought out and works well. Something I like about it sounds trivial. Both guards can be snapped into place in the raised position. It sounds trivial until you’ve used other saws where you have to hold them up with one hand (or your head) while you measure to the fence. They are a valuable safety device and I will not enter a dialogue here about whether or not they should be used. Table saw users simply have their way of working.

Now let’s talk about how many times the blade guard almost got flying lessons trying to put it on. Like the anti-kickback pawls, it is so absolutely frustrating to fuss with the thing so much and find that it is so blasted simple. Here’s the easy way.

Raise the saw blade up quite a bit. It does not have to be all the way up but high enough for the anti-kickback pawls to move down and out of the way. Hold the guard in your right hand. But here hold the metal bar with the plastic pieces on top of your fingers. Don’t try to find that blasted slot. Just slip the rounded end over the riving knife just above the anti-kickback pawls and resting on the pin. Now pull up and towards you. Let it find the slot. When it does continue pulling towards you but in a downward arc until the bar is horizontal. Now flip and close the locking lever on top and it’s in. To remove it just flip the locking lever then lift while rotating backwards and finally pushing down when the bar is vertical.

For both the pawls and the guard, try it a couple of times. I can’t really describe it but they are super simple if you stop really trying to do it. Just go with it and they just happen. In the mean time, feel free to express yourself in colorful ways.


The fence is a pretty darned good one for a saw in this price category. It’s the best fence I’ve ever had on a saw. It locks over the back fence rail and has two locking pads on the front fence head. The saw is locked by pressing down on the locking lever. The lever is attached to a cam inside the fence head centered between the two locking pads. The cam pulls the fence against both the front and rear rails to lock it securely. You do not need to force the handle all the way down. You’ll feel when it is tight enough. I only push mine halfway down – basically until the handle is horizontal. The fence does not move. I only raise this point to emphasize the fact that you don’t have to honk anything down on a table saw. That includes the locking knobs on the blade height/tilt wheels. Resist the feeling of comfort you might have by over tightening and learn what is tight enough on your saw and stop there. Your saw will last many many years without premature wearout and constant adjustments due to over tensioning.

Let’s adjust the fence.

First square the fence head. Yes, I know the book says to square the fence and then the fence head. I have found that squaring the head sometimes throws off the fence alignment slightly so I do it first. Squaring the head is kind of a mislabel as you are not really squaring the fence head (the part in front with the locking handle). You are making the left face (side) of the fence perpendicular to the table. It’s the only fence adjustment where “square” really means “square”. Lock the fence. Place a square against the left side of the fence and use the two nylon screws on top of the head to tilt the fence until it is square to the table. Turn the right screw clockwise and the fence tilts left. Turn the left screw clockwise and the fence tilts right.

This part is not in the owner’s manual. Note that the fence does not, and should not, sit flush on the table. There should be a gap. Ideally the gap should be the same all the way across the table. But that depends on how you assembled the fence guides. The assembly-supplied gauge does have some slop (tolerance) and the front/back rails might not be exactly where they should be in relation to the tabletop. The slop in the gauge should yield a fairly consistent gap. If the gap is really out of whack you should redo your fence rail assembly. Something went wrong during assembly. Many jigs for your saw use the fence. Some ride on it. You don’t want it really whacked out. If it is only a minor variance (as it should be) you can use the two nylon screws to level the fence. Note that you can only raise/lower the front not the back. Remember to square the left fence face to the table when you are done.

Now let’s parallel (square) the fence to the right miter slot. DO NOT adjust the fence to the front of the table – especially using a combination square and never with a big box store combination square. There are good squares and there are bad squares. The point is just plain don’t do it at all. The table, the blade and the fence work on being parallel. Forget square –think parallel. I know it is confusing when I tell you not to think square when it is called squaring the fence and worse when I throw in squaring the fence head. But just think parallel. Move the fence to the edge of the right miter slot and lock it down. It should be right at the edge of the miter slot all the way across the table. If it’s not unlock the fence and lift it off the front rail. Adjust it using the two screws in the back of the fence head. Just like adjusting the fence head they are just screws. Turn the right one clockwise and the fence moves left because you are pushing it out with the screw. The same for the left screw to move the fence right. To really dial it in, put a straight edge in the miter slot against the right edge. Hold it perpendicular with a square on the table and sight down it. There should be no gap (light) seen between the fence and the straight edge.

Now let’s take a look at how the fence is put together. Take it off and turn it upside down. Looking inside we see that there are no metal rods running through the fence as in some others. It is simply an aluminum tube with bolts on the inside. The side pieces (faces) of the fence simply slide over these bolts. If you wish to add a wooden fence, with or without T-Slots, just drill through the fence between the bolts. Then bolt on whatever new face you wish to add. Remember to recess the bolts/nuts in the new face.


Squaring the gauge is a straightforward proposition and I found nothing noteworthy to mention. I’ll simply say that the miter gauge is substantial, works well and, as noted in the original review, has adjusting screws along the edges of the blade to fine tune it if desired. For those new to a tablesaw I recommend the addition of a wooden fence to the gauge. It will give you more holding power/stability as well as allowing you to work with shorter pieces. There are many designs for an added fence. I prefer a piece of 2 X 4 because it is thick and stable even when I cut into it. I run it through the saw to square the edges and then shape it, sand it and apply some poly to camouflage that it’s a 2 X 4 but that’s what it is.


A lot of people have asked about the proper blade height when cutting.

There is a lot of talk and concern nowadays about sawdust. The least dust you will get flying around is to have the blade just barely cut through the surface. But this is also the worst thing for your blade, your saw and it can be just plain dangerous. Put a piece of ¾” stock wood alongside the blade and lower the blade until it just sticks above the wood. It does not matter what blade. Use the blade you use the most. Count the number of teeth above the blade insert. This is the number of teeth inside the board. They cannot clear themselves of sawdust. They will plug up and act as the ultimate dull blade. The blade will heat up. Your saw will have to work harder to power the blade. Combine the ultimate dull blade with all of those teeth pushing the wood back and up – right at you – and you have a “George Washington” waiting to happen.

Now crank the blade all the way up. Notice that the blade can clear itself of all that sawdust. It will run cooler, last longer and the saw will have the least effort to make the cut. Count the teeth, or rather, don’t bother to count them. It is obvious that this is the least amount of teeth in the wood possible with a 10-inch blade. That’s a lot of sawdust and a scary amount of blade sticking up. There is a compromise. I adjust my blade to clear the gullets between the teeth plus about ¼”. I do not know what the best ideal height is. This is the height I use. Possibly a more knowledgeable guy than me can offer better advice.

This completes my follow up review. I hope that I have addressed the questions asked of me and provided some useful information about the saw. Good luck with all your tools. Have fun and stay safe.

-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

237 comments so far

View keninblaine's profile


130 posts in 2721 days

#1 posted 04-20-2014 10:28 PM

tinman: You are very generous in spending a lot of time to provide all this detailed information on this saw. I haven’t bought one yet as I don’t have an immediate need, and who knows, maybe Lowes will put it on sale sometime. But I am bookmarking your threads so I can find them easily when I do get the saw. But most of all, your full analysis gives me the comfort I needed that this is a good saw for my needs. I don’t need one a lot, but when I do, I want precision, safety, and reasonable ease of use.
Thanks very much. You likely saved me over $700 by not buying more saw than I need.

-- Ken, Blaine Washington

View Ttier315's profile


58 posts in 2661 days

#2 posted 04-20-2014 11:54 PM

Terry, your reviews leave me speechless, I feel like I’m sitting in a classroom. With every update I’m learning something new. I’ve been woodworking off and on for the better part of 40 years and never thought through the concept of the blade barely clearing the work piece but the way you explain it makes perfect sense. I had learned early on to never use more blade than you need, never questioned the wisdom of it, just did it. Yet, your explanation is an epiphany! This update, as your others are, is thorough, concise and full of useful information. Delta (or any tool manufacturer for that matter) would be lucky to have you as their manual writer. You explain things so clearly that even I can understand it. Great job again, we’re lucky to have your insight.
Tom T

-- Tom T, upstate NY

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The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 3190 days

#3 posted 04-21-2014 11:09 AM

As usual, an exceptional review/follow up from Tinman. Not only do you take care of us member by addressing and answering individual questions, but the attention to detail is just astounding. Not only do you cover everything, but the way you explain things makes it very clear and easy to “see” Ive said it before and Ill say it again, Ive never read a better review then yours. We are lucky to have you around here.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View ccerav's profile


6 posts in 2636 days

#4 posted 04-21-2014 01:37 PM


Awesome follow-up. Excellent information. Great tip about the blade height. One more thing to file away in my notes.

I have done my share of larger scale building projects, like framing, decks, kid play sets, sheds, and the like. I’ve even done a good deal of trim work, i.e. moldings and casings. However, I’m very new at finer woodworking. Up until now, I’ve never come close to worrying about thousandths of an inch! I find the information you provide to be invaluable. Clear and concise to be sure, and for what its worth, I appreciate the humor.

Thanks for helping me learn. I am truly grateful!


-- while(!succeed=try());

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Don Johnson

738 posts in 3900 days

#5 posted 04-21-2014 02:54 PM

thetinman – I wish I could buy one of these saws in the UK, if only because I would have your excellent reviews (Instruction Manuals ?) to aid me in setting it up!

-- Don, Somerset UK,

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

#6 posted 04-22-2014 12:30 AM

Thanks all for your kind words of support. I hope that I was able to describe the new saw, answer the questions ask of me, and provide some clarity to a bit of confusion about some topics. I have enjoyed my new saw and enjoyed describing my experiences with it.

Don – your comments are uplifting. Thank you. I have spent some time in England many years ago. I must confess that your saws, etc. did seem quite a bit different and awkward than our American ones. However, after getting used to them, I must say that the concepts have stuck with me and I’ve wondered when we will catch up in some areas. Yes, I think that some things were overdone. But, overall the thinking was more in the direction things should go. We stuborn “offsprings” get there sooner or later.

Thanks again for your kind remarks.


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View Woodknack's profile


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#7 posted 04-22-2014 02:14 AM

Delta should hire you to rewrite the manual. The first review was exceptional, this one is among the best I’ve ever read. The “George Washington” tickled my innards. I already have an older Delta but were I shopping for a saw in this price range, I would be done shopping after your review.

-- Rick M,

View woodcox's profile


2386 posts in 3131 days

#8 posted 04-23-2014 04:24 AM

I dropped my girls off to grocery shop while I went into the blue store to take a look at the delta. I’d ask my mother to put this display together better. Like going to test drive a new Chevy and seeing the loose lug nuts after the door falls off. Most expensive tool on the floor and it looked like a child assembled it. I will now avoid the ceiling fan isle at this store. I know not to judge quality based on the floor models condition but it does make it hard to get a feel for it like this. I think there is quality, value and some innovation within this saw, it is also set at a good price point. It’s mobility is a great feature and works easily. The blade attitude actions felt smooth and easy in all directions, some plastic on the controls but applied well and felt confident that durability wouldn’t be an issue. Because of a monkey I have no opinion on the fence system as it was assembled to be useless. Power switch although small seemed good and located conveniently for bump shutdown. I do not remember seeing a tamper proof lockout though.
I do have a question about the blade guard/pawls-blade height operation. This saw had the blade,guard,knife and throat plate installed. When lowering the blade the pawls bottomed out on the plate stopping it at around 1-3/4”?above the table. Is this normal and is there a minimum blade height/stock thickness for using the pawls or are there more steps to be taken to get the blade below the table? Novice question?
Thank you for such great reviews on this tinman. I’m sure invaluable information for potential saw kickers such as my self.

-- "My god has more wood than your god" ... G. Carlin.

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

#9 posted 04-23-2014 10:59 AM


Thanks for positing and for getting home safely by avoiding the ceiling fan isles at this store. I try to answer your observations as you stated/asked them.

There is plastic on the saw, primarily as dress-up trim. I read many postings that the side panels are plastic also. This simply is not true. Most of these comments come from “isle lookers” where they didn’t go over and actually look like you did. The blade adjusting wheels/handles have plastic over metal. The handles thread into the wheels metal to metal.

The fence system “assembled to be useless” is not the fault of the fence. The fence is the classic Delta 3-point system and, except for screwing on the handle (again metal to metal), comes assembled in the box. What you witnessed must have been the laziest, worst fence rail assembly possible. Do the assemblers still have their jobs? As you may know the fence rail assembly process is the most critical and time-consuming part of the entire assembly process. It sounds like they made it the fastest.

The power switch on my saw is about 2-1/2” X 2-1/2”. The box the switch is in is larger of course. This is the same red colored switch on every saw I have seen. This is not small (in my opinion.) and it is, as you observed, located well. I have bumped it off with my hip. There is no child safety lockout on my saw or any that I have seen

I am at a loss to explain the riving knife/anti-kickback pawls/blade guard assembly stopping the blade from retracting. I’m having a hard time even picturing that improper assembly would do this. I never tested a “bottom limit” but I have cut quite a bit of 3/16-inch sheet stock without even thinking about it. The only thing that comes to mind is a caution I included in the assembly process in the original review – take out the Styrofoam motor packing block. I mentioned it because there is nothing in the owner’s manual – and I just checked the new one (nothing). There is only a tag on the blade tilt wheel telling you to remove it. You don’t notice the tag until the entire saw is assembled and you’re ready to fire it up. I only noticed the Styrofoam because I was inspecting, evaluating and taking pictures as I unpacked everything. I didn’t think anyone would notice it just following the assembly process. I thought at the time that the original saws were shipped without one and damage occurred, so the block and the tag were added. While I can’t be sure, I think the Styrofoam block is still inside the saw you looked at and is stopping the motor from moving through it’s entire range. If you happen to get back to that store, pop off the blade guard and anti-kickback pawls. Lower the blade without them. I’m betting the blade stops at the same place because the motor/arbor assembly bottoms out on the Styrofoam block. And, for God’s sake, stay away from the ceiling fans!

Thanks for your comments and observations Woodcox. I hope I have addressed everything in an understandable way.


EDIT ADDITION: I just reread your comments and noticed, besides the blade not going below 1-3/4”, you mentioned getting the blade below the table. The pawls and blade guard must be removed to lower the blade below the table. The riving knife is left on. There is no need to remove the riving knife except for things like a Dado cut. Even then, depending on the cut, you may be able to leave it on most of the time by simply and easily moving it to it’s non-through cut position (lower).

-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

#10 posted 04-23-2014 12:45 PM

I am posting this as a more complete description of the riving knife settings as a follow-up to Woodcox’s questions.

The riving knife has 2 positions – through cut and non-through cut. The through cut position is the high point and the riving knife is just above the blade. The anti-kickback pawls and blade guard are installed in this position all the time. The non-through cut position has the riving knife lowered below the height of the blade – the anti-kickback pawls and blade guard are removed.

I made the statement in my response to Woodcox that the riving knife can be left on for non-through cut operations most of the time depending on the “cut”. The best (most correct) description would be to say that the riving knife could be left on, in the non-through cut position, depending on the blade(s) used. For a narrow dado ¼-inch or less, I don’t bother with my dado blades. I just use my normal 10” blade and reset the fence for a second pass. Where I use my stacked dado, the riving knife, in the lower non-through cut position, falls just below the top of my blades. Just below. I use a 6” stacked dado set. If blades less than this are used I am quite confident in saying that you will be removing the riving knife to do the cutting. The point is that for a non-through cut the riving knife MUST be below the top of the blade. I see no harm in removing the riving knife for any such cuts regardless of what blade is used.

The lower non-through cut position is really just a place to store the riving knife. It has no impact/use during these operations. Many people prefer to have a standard “routine” that let’s them keep their mind on the job rather than thinking about the tool. No harm – no foul if your routine is to just flip the lever and take off the riving knife for all non-through cut operations without having to shift gears and evaluate whether or not you have to.

I hope this is a more clear and correct description of the riving knife use.


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View Keyser_Soze's profile


68 posts in 2691 days

#11 posted 04-23-2014 09:06 PM

Thank you for both of your hyper-informative and entertaining reviews. One of the few times I’ve slogged through that many words and not been bitter about the experience. You’ve convinced me that a contractor’s saw combined with best practices and a brain will be better for my use than a cabinet saw and a lighter wallet. Delta really ought to cut you in.

For those currently thinking like me, and whose Lowes refuse to take HF coupons, there’s currently a 10% off ‘online orders’ on the front page of sl*kdeal. Brings the 569 sale price down to 512 before tax. Keep telling us about your experiences/builds/modifications of the saw – you’re really the first to be this specific about it, and I know a lot of people were hesitating due to the lack of info out there.

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

#12 posted 04-24-2014 01:41 PM

Keyser_Soze…........And All Others

I don’t get squat from Delta:(

But I am happy to accept all donations:)


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View thetinman's profile


294 posts in 2658 days

#13 posted 04-24-2014 03:20 PM


I’m out in the shop this morning working on some jigs. I had a thought (sometimes that’s dangerous). I raised the blade, reset the riving knife to the lowered position and reattached the anti-kickback pawls. Lowered the blade. The anti-kickback pawls hit the table right about 1 3/4” BINGO!

If you look at the saw again you’ll probably see that the riving knife is lower than the top of the blade. The anti-kickback pawls should not be attached in this position. Oh please stay away from the ceiling fans.


-- Life is what happens to you while you are planning better things -Mark Twain

View JohnEinNJ's profile


94 posts in 3467 days

#14 posted 04-24-2014 04:26 PM

What a great set of reviews! Thanks for taking the time to edumucate the rest of us. I just bought this saw (retired an ancient Craftsman), and mostly like the fit and finish, but haven’t used it much yet. I wonder if you could give your opinion on a couple of points:

1. Because of space constraints, I have to keep the saw in a crowded detached garage and wheel it out into the driveway to work. The driveway’s a bit bumpy, so I have to lift the saw up just a bit by the rails and wheel it on the pair of wheels on the opposite end. The swiveling lift wheel just binds up on the driveway if I don’t do that. Do you think this might tend to throw the rail alignment out over time? Would it be a good idea to re-set the screws with a little LocTite?

2. I’d much rather have cast iron wings than the stamped steel. Do you think there’d be any problem with the additional weight? During the rail adjustment part of assembly, it seemed to me that I was adjusting the rails to the table, and then adjusting the wings to the rails. So I’m a little concerned that putting on heavy wings might compromise the rail alignment.

View LJackson's profile


295 posts in 2713 days

#15 posted 04-24-2014 04:43 PM

This is the first time that I have heard of having the blade higher than just above the thickness of the board. Isn’t the blade’s travel under the table sufficient time for it to discharge any accumulated dust from within the gullets?

If doing it this way causes the blade to act like it was dull, then perhaps an experiment could be performed. Running the same wood through with the blade low and high, and if there is some way to measure the force needed to push the wood through at a constant speed, then we could prove what you are saying.

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