Mastercraft Hawkeye laser review

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Review by BeachedBones posted 07-22-2009 03:49 AM 23909 views 1 time favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Mastercraft Hawkeye laser review No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I was noticing that there were no Mastercraft saws reviewed, so I though I’d jot one down for those Canuks out there. Mastercraft is a store brand of Canadian Tire if you don’t know.

I bought this saw because I’m working on a flooring install away from home, I was using a small old Craftsman saw that I’ve had for 14 or so years. The old Craftsman cooked it’s bearings and toasted the motor. Anyways, I needed a portable saw to replace that one and finish the job. I bought this saw just for this, and still have full intent to buy a proper shop saw sometime soon.

This Mastercraft Hawkeye Laser 10” jobsite table saw with sliding mitre table and laser line 55-6811-4, I bought on sale for 259$ plus tax. which was a little more than I wanted to pay for a cheap secondary saw but I just couldn’t bring myself to pay money for the crappy 150-200$ entry range saws available here.

Here’s the box open

The saw was fairly complete, and went together easily in 20 minutes. The assembly instructions were very strait forward, you don’t really need to read them. One odd thing about assembly is that the saw comes with 1 foot not attached. I guess this made it easier to pack somehow.

You can see in this photo the folding stand has one adjustable foot to help you level it for a secure feel. Even with this the saw is a little tippy for my tastes. Beaing a portable saw it is light weight with aluminum top etc, and that adjustable foot is too far towards the middle of the already narrow legs on the side that folds within the other. It’s better when you push the saw than pull it. I’ll have to be careful when cutting oddly balanced items.

The saw comes with a slide out outfeed support and telescopic side table extension as well as the sliding miter table which all combine to make the table feel bigger and more useful when dealing with larger materials. The rip capacity is 30”. An odd thing for me is not being able to use the rip fence on the left side of the table, due to the mitre sled. I’m sure that this would really bug me if this were to be my only table saw.

The way the outfeed support is supposed to attach uses plastic clips that keep the support from sliding down the tubes instead of tucking into the table. The stock configuration keeps the outfeed support extended about 2” even when fully collapsed. This annoyed me right away for I saw it wasteful in trying to keep the size down for transport. I pulled off the clips and ran some tape around the tubes, I cut down the wasted 2” to just about 1/4 inch, just enough to clear the rip fence along the back of the table. I’d recommend doing this if you buy this saw.

The saw has nice locking/ clamping holders for spare blades, the rip fence and the mitre guage. Oddly enough it doesn’t seem to have any place for the blade wrenches or dato insert. The DO however fit nicely under the miter sled. I’m going to find something to block them from sliding out from the ends of the sled. Hopefully that will keep them secure. The sled locks in place.

The rip fence locks square, and is pretty standard for a low end table. no surprises here. The blade raising and lowering control works quicker and easier than my old craftsman. I do find it odd however that the angle adjust is done by unlocking the blade, and pushing on the blade raising/lowering control to change the angle. I’ve always had a separate control for this. The raising/lowering wheel can be pushed in and twisted to relocate the handle if it’s in your way without changing the blade height. Nice feature but not really necessary.

Setting the blade parallel to the fence was necessary as it was out a couple degrees from strait. The saw has a useful but awkward to reach adjustment under the front of the table. So that went pretty strait forward. I didn’t use and dial guage to test accuracy… it IS a lower end saw after all. The mitre sled runs true, but as with most stick on angle guages, the sticker is not aligned perfectly square the the table. Not detrimental but I’ll have to remember that it’s off by a degree. I do like how the taller fence and sliding table make it much easier to hold pieces secure than the standard low end guage could.

Another thing that annoys me is that the saw has a light up logo to tell you when the saw has power. I don’t really like this because I have a tendency to leave my saw plugged in. I know, not the safest, but there is little risk of anybody inadvertently tripping the saw on in my house. I usually drop the blade below the table when I’m done with the saw anyways.

The dust collection bag is not as useless as some because the base of the saw has less dust openings than some other cheap saws.

All in all, I think this will work for me as a descent, lower cost, secondary saw, mostly for rough work. I wouldn’t want to do any real detailed woodworking on it…. Now I just need to find a nice shop saw. Hope this review helps.

I don’t care for lasers on table saws, and believe that blade guards are only good for the inexperienced users. For users comfortable with saws, they cause much more problems and safety hazards than they are worth. I don’t use them, so won’t review them. Don’t really care if you agree with this, sorry.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

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201 posts in 4254 days

9 comments so far

View RedShirt013's profile


219 posts in 4514 days

#1 posted 07-22-2009 05:51 PM

Always nice to read a canadian tool review

I’ve got one of these basic saw some years ago, no sliding table, no rip extension, no outfeed table. The tabletop is aluminum but with tons of grooves topside, presumably to save material. Fence is out of plane depending on where you lock it down, and mitre gauge and fence are POS.

Looks like they’ve made some improvements nowadays and much more usable

Like you my expectation of any WW powertools from CT is not very high, and wouldn’t count on it for precision. The Maximum stuff seems alright though.

-- Ed

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4361 days

#2 posted 07-23-2009 12:26 AM

An odd thing for me is not being able to use the rip fence on the left side of the table..

In what circumstances would you want to use it on the left?
Never seen anyone use it that way.


-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 4254 days

#3 posted 07-23-2009 02:11 AM

Using the fence on the left is occasionally preferred by me… Maybe it’s just me, I’m pretty much self taught anyways, and it seems as natural an option to me as anything. I’ll try to give some examples and reasons.

1) When ripping long and heavy stock, I prefer to push the wood using my dominant right arm, and guide with my left arm. On the right side of the table this would push my left hand in a path crossing the blade. On the left I’m clear and I can side step the table a bit to keep far from the chip/kickback path, and move to steady/support the stock on the outfeed.

2) I use a lot of reference marks on the piece based on other pieces, or space i’mfilling. In lining up piece to piece sometimes the marks are flipped mirror image style. It’s easier and more accurate for me to flip to the left rather than transfer the marks so I can see them in proper orrientation. IN other words my marks might be on the backside of the wood cutting from the right, and face side cutting from the left.

3) similar issue as above, but in consideration to keeping a face side up to leave cleaner cuts, and not get scuffed by my old table. Sometimes with odd shaped pieces you can’t really flip back to front on one side (without drawing the wood backwards into the blade, yikes)

4) sometimes depending on the saw, and with smaller pieces, the table insert isn’t flush with the top, and can cause some minor height changes or binding skipping. The left side can have a flatter surface closer to the blade.

5) Occasionally I’ve chosen to bevel off a corner along the length of a piece of wood, On the right side taking a bit off will pinch the offcut under the blade and the work piece can ride on the blade a bit giving some inconsistency and pressure on the blade. On the left side the offcut is free, the feed of the wood is cleaner. The only thing is you risk the workpiece being bound and shot back under the blade. so I make sure to have a good hold (w pushstick) and skew the fence away from the blade. I know it sounds a bit unsafe, but the feal I get off it feals more secure and consistent.

6) sometimes in my shop the other stuff can be in the way for certain pieces being cut in odd ways. Sometimes it’s a bit easier to go left hand than move the stuff, make the cut, move it back so it’s not in the way of the next cut.

7) using the mitre guage on profiled stock, I prefer to angle back from the blade than angle foreward to the blade, it just feels less jumpy to me for some reason.

Simply put, it comes down more to preference and habit, than HAVING to use the left side. Any table I’ve seen without a built in sled is built to be used lefty too.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View a1Jim's profile


118136 posts in 4429 days

#4 posted 07-23-2009 03:50 AM

View Routerisstillmyname's profile


763 posts in 4361 days

#5 posted 07-23-2009 05:18 AM

THX for explanation. it’s definitely a habit thing then ;-)

-- Router è ancora il mio nome.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4549 days

#6 posted 07-25-2009 09:45 PM

I have seen that saw very nice saw but it is direct drive and has the same 13 amps motor as their base model which doesn’t last to long.

View BeachedBones's profile


201 posts in 4254 days

#7 posted 07-26-2009 12:26 AM

Very true, I’ve heard it bog down while chewing up some apple wood already… I’ve also found that I’ve had to modify the Mitre sled by flipping the drawer slide 180’ to let me mitre at -45’ and still get across the blade. Maybe the slide was installed backwards? I don’t know. Works fine now. I definitely need a proper saw soon.

-- You know.... I think that old wood needs to be furniture.

View GMman's profile


3902 posts in 4549 days

#8 posted 07-26-2009 05:09 PM

My next one is going to be a DeWalt. That is what I have now a Canadian tire base model it is good but not accurate. The only good thing is the three year warrantee and it is easy to carry around. It is more a job site saw.

View coaltowner's profile


17 posts in 4023 days

#9 posted 02-13-2010 07:22 AM

I have to add to this, I own this saw and it came with a plastic side plate for the saw that just about killed me one day trying to cut a small piece the new ones come with a metal one and the new one cost 34$ plus shipping so i made one from alumuim

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