Great value in a contractor saw

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Review by Glenn posted 11-02-2009 04:11 AM 23717 views 7 times favorited 43 comments Add to Favorites Watch
Great value in a contractor saw Great value in a contractor saw Great value in a contractor saw Click the pictures to enlarge them

I’ve been using an early 1980s-era Craftsman 9-inch portable table saw with a steel table and stamped steel extension wings. After deciding that I needed something a little more precise than this older saw, I was looking to upgrade and was attracted to the Bosch 4100-09 partly because of the reviews, but mostly because of the blade guard/riving knife it features. I wasn’t really wanting another portable saw, however, and was looking for something beefier instead. I discovered this Craftsman model while researching my options available locally and was pleasantly surprised to find it has almost the exact same guard/riving knife setup as the Bosch. This is an absolutely fantastic safety system and is very easy on/off. No tools are required to remove/modify the guard/riving knife components. The picture above shows that each side of the guard is a separate piece, and the one closest to the camera has been lifted all the way up to show the remaining components of the system. Additionally, you can remove components of the guard system separately depending on your needs (i.e., take off just the guard, or just the pawls), and with all the components removed from the knife, you can choose one of three knife heights or remove it completely, all by just lifting off the throat plate which is held down by strong rare-earth magnets. Other saw features include a high-quality extruded aluminum fence with t-track all over it and a cast iron table top with standard-size miter slots. This saw has cast iron trunnions, a 1.75hp, 15-amp motor, and v-belt drive in an enclosed steel cabinet. The motor is convertible to 220v, but I run it on 110v and haven’t needed any more power yet. Speaking of iron, this saw is HEAVY, weighing in at close to 300lbs (compared with the Bosch’s 62lbs). Assembly unquestionably requires two people. Dust collection is through a 4-inch port on the bottom of the cabinet. I don’t have a collector so I left the bottom off the saw when I assembled it. Blade removal is accomplished by pressing an arbor lock button with your left hand and using the supplied wrench with your right. 5/8” arbor accommodates dado sets up to 13/16” wide. The included saw blade is a less-than-ideal 40-tooth general purpose blade (thin carbide teeth). I have a Freud 50-tooth combo blade on order, so no big deal. Other included accessories are a dado insert, push stick, miter gauge, and arbor wrench. I should also mention that the cabinet has built-in heavy duty casters engaged by stepping on the pedal underneath. The right rip capacity is 30”. Overall, the fit and finish of this saw shouts quality engineering, and I am very, very pleased with my purchase. Considering the saw costs less than $550, it represents a great value, especially for the serious amateur. Obviously it can’t compare with a Unisaw, Powermatic, or other cabinet saw costing 3-4x as much, but I feel it compares favorably with other contractor-style saws costing $200-$300 more. And, it passes the “nickle-test,” if that is your personal measure of quality. Yes, I would purchase this again, and I don’t see myself outgrowing this one for many years.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 4196 days

43 comments so far

View Andrew Betschman's profile

Andrew Betschman

309 posts in 4032 days

#1 posted 11-02-2009 04:58 AM

Thank you for the very detail review.

-- Andrew, Ohio

View Rick Boyett's profile

Rick Boyett

167 posts in 4022 days

#2 posted 11-02-2009 05:03 AM has the saw listed for $499.99 and it is eligible for in store pickup..

I am disappointed that the wings are only stamped steel instead of cast iron..

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 4196 days

#3 posted 11-02-2009 05:17 AM

Wish I’da known that a week ago!

I was a little skeptical of the steel wings at first, too, but all of the steel on this saw is very thick and heavy, and it hasn’t turned out to be disadvantageous at all. Plus, if I squint my eyes just the right way, the shiny black paint looks a lot like granite! I think you have to go up to the $699 model to get iron wings.

One more thing I should mention, assembly is a bugger. It took me two days, there are tons of tiny little washers and screws which are easily lost, and reading the manual is a must.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View tomd's profile


2218 posts in 4579 days

#4 posted 11-02-2009 07:07 AM

Thanks for the review, good info.

-- Tom D

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 4122 days

#5 posted 11-02-2009 02:04 PM

Congrats on your saw purchase. I like the arrangement for the blade guard and riving knife.

I too noticed Sears running a sale this week on that saw. Looks to be a much better option than buying a small direct drive portable unit.

That saw should serve you well for quite a while and you can always add your dust pan back on later if the dust becomes an issue.

View ChuckV's profile


3319 posts in 4336 days

#6 posted 11-02-2009 02:54 PM


If the saw is on sale for a lower price than you bought it for, you can take advantage of Sear’s 30-day price protection policy. It is described here.

I used this policy when the price of the model 22124 table saw that I bought went down and it worked easily.

-- “Big man, pig man, ha ha, charade you are.” ― R. Waters

View Cory's profile


760 posts in 4228 days

#7 posted 11-02-2009 03:05 PM

I had this saw for a while before returning it. I must say that the idea of it is great, but little details led me to return it. First, the throat plates were a big negative to me. They’re very thin, which means that creating a zero clearance insert is quite difficult. The fence is just so-so and the window to read the measurement on the rails is terrible. I found myself squinting to read the largest numbers. The mobile base is adequate, but I didn’t like having to step on a pedal in the front AND the back to engage the casters. The Hercu-lift on the Rigid saws is much better, in my opinion.

All that having been said, I agree with Glenn that the saw is a great value at under $500. I also agree that it’s a big step up from a mobile saw or a Bosch 4100. It’s very heavy and stable. It’s also got some excellent features like the riving knife and 4” dust port. The switch is large and easy to operate and bump off with your leg. The motor was much quiter than my old Craftsman, too.

Hope that helps someone make an informed decision.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 4196 days

#8 posted 11-02-2009 09:38 PM

Thanks ChuckV! You just saved me $50. I went to the Sears store and showed them my receipt. Of course the 20-something-year-old moron behind the counter said they couldn’t price match with until I showed him the printed copy of the price protection policy. He was obviously just being difficult either out of laziness or for for the sheer sake of it. Luckily my original salesman was there who refunded me $53 without question. So now a good bargain has turned into a great bargain.

Cory, I agree those could be seen as shortcomings. Personally I wanted a 3/8” or 1/2” throat plate, but oh well. These things are always a balance between what you would like, what you can get, and what it costs. I, too, looked at and liked the Ridgids, but their granite-top saw has been recalled and is no longer for sale at the local HD, and the next one down (TS3660) was only available online.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View Boneski's profile


143 posts in 3942 days

#9 posted 11-03-2009 12:47 AM

Gee that riving knife and guard setup does look excellent – the one on my contractor saw is either completely on or completely off…. and a bit flimsy too. Out of interest, have you measured the arbor for wobble and run out? I’m currently having a disagreement over mine with the supplier and I’m looking for real world measurements from similar peices of equipment. Cheers. Simon.

-- Blinded by brilliance

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1798 posts in 4000 days

#10 posted 11-04-2009 09:34 AM

Looks great, I recieved a catlog from craftsman with this saw in it. I think craftsman is trying to compete with H.D. and the Ridgid saw that sells for 600.00 or so. You just can’t beat the value of these contractor saws. They come with everything including a good price. Have fun with your new toy!!!

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View NBeener's profile


4816 posts in 3983 days

#11 posted 11-04-2009 07:28 PM

Looks like you scored! Nice job!!

Couldn’t help notice your profile photograph. Are you related to any Brookses, originally from the Detroit area?

Your face is verrrry familiar…..

-- -- Neil

View Beginningwoodworker's profile


13345 posts in 4482 days

#12 posted 11-05-2009 02:28 AM

Congrats on your new table saw, great review.

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4185 days

#13 posted 11-06-2009 05:37 AM

Nice to see an actual user review of this saw. There’s been precious little info about it! Seems like a lot of saw for $500. Are the trunnions cabinet mounted on this saw, or are they table mounted? The saw seems to fit the description of most hybrid saws (110v belt drive induction motor housed inside the enclosure), as opposed to a contractor saw that traditionally has the motor hanging out the back.

Any chance of taking a few pics of the innerds so we can see what’s under the hood and how the trunnion system is put together?

Thanks for posting this…

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

View Glenn's profile


141 posts in 4196 days

#14 posted 11-06-2009 05:28 PM

Simon, I’m afraid I haven’t taken any measurements of runout. I don’t have a dial indicator. I did pull on the arbor to see if there was any noticeable play—seemed solid.

Knotscott, I’m almost positive the trunnions are table-mounted. I remember noticing that when I was putting it together. I’ll see what I can do about taking some pictures this weekend. Should be pretty easy—the back comes right off after loosening 4 screws.

-- Glenn, Arkansas

View Lifesaver2000's profile


556 posts in 3921 days

#15 posted 11-17-2009 10:20 PM

I am looking at buying this saw, with it on sale right now for $449.99, but the download link for the operators manual on is dead. Can you tell me what the maximum width stacked dado blade this saw can use is? I really appreciate it.

Also, I am in Arkansas too.

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