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Fences on the Steel City 35920 and 35930

5409 Views 20 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  sh2005
I saw the Steel City 35920 and 35930 Table saws in the website. I was trying to compare the two units. The differences I could tell are the 35930 uses the industrial fence (which means it has a different rail and guide) and a table board. I got couple of questions:

1) What is the purpose of table board? To extend the work surface of the table? (I have no user experience with table saws of this size and larger).

2) What is it made of, granite?

From the new product list, I noticed that the 35930 is $350 dollars more. I have read rave reviews regarding the Industrial Fence, being compared to the Bies. Someone in here I believe said that the fence on the 35920 is similar to the one on the R4511.
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yes. you are correct. that is the only difference, and it's a very good fence.

table extension is made of particle board with black formica/laminate top like on all other saws. only main table and extension WINGS (not extension tables) are Cast Iron/Granite (depending on saw model)
Hi Purplev,
I have followed your posting here in LJ for the valuable info you provide, especially your review of the R4511.

I have been planning to buy a decent saw (any contractor/hybrid/cabinet saw is decent compared to what I have :) ) I have been leaning towards the Steel City's hybrids, then I saw your review on the R4511, so I will have to go look at it. If I go with SC, I am somewhat torn between whether to save some money by going with 35920 or get a good fence by buying the 35930. I struggle so much with the fence on my current table saw that I can appreciate the benefits of a good fence that stays parallel to the blade when moved. I don't know if the local Steel City distributors have these saws on their floor - I would like to see how does the fence on the 35920 feels like.
I wonder if granite can be chipped more easily than say cast iron seems to me it could.Alistair
sh2005: glad I was somewhat useful.

when I was researching for a new table saw (after I sold mine and was really in need for one to continue some projects) SC came out with their low-end saws, I was lucky to have been able to go check the 35920 out. for limited funds I planned to get that one, and if eventually I found the fence to be inadequate, to upgrade to the industrial fence - the difference in price between the 2 is the exact price of the fence is you buy it separately, so there really is no immediate benefit to getting the 35930 (at least that's what it was when they came out to the market- you can check with SC about that).

however, when I saw the 35920 I was somewhat disappointed (in addition to the sketchy marketing techniques SC was using) and decided to drop it, and wait a little longer - thats when I heard of the Ridgid. for me - the Ridgid doe the trick, and I got it for half the cost of the SC so it was a no brainer. currently I find the fence to be adequate for my needs, and dont really see any reason to upgrade it for a $350 fence. the most I might do is replace the 2 piece rails with a 1 piece… thats' about it. it's a very good saw. and the SC 35920 should be the same.
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Hello scotsman,
I really can't speak for granite, neither do I have much experience with cast iron tables. There certainly isn't any scarcity of the opinions in the forums of whether granite is a welcoming change or a marketing gimmick, and i think I have read most of them, if not all :) To me, it seems like I don't really have a preference for one over the other. As long as the other features of the saw are good and it's within my price range. I don't know the price of the same saw with cast iron top. It would be interesting to know what the price difference would be.
You brought up one good point, replacing the 2 piece rails. What kind of tolerance in straightness would you be looking for in the 1 piece rail? I did a quick check on the steel square tubes sold by McMaster. The ones that meet the mil spec are 0.075" for 36" length.
since I'm satisfied with my fence so far, I've never bothered myself with research into those numbers. there are several online suppliers for square tubes and angle irons that seem to have done well for some people - when I ran a quick estimate on pricing it was ~$50 for the parts..not too shabby, never really looked into tolerances though since this will be bolted to the granite table+ wings which will clamp it straight anyways. again - this is not the fence itself, just the rails, the tolerances don't really need to be extremely accurate, and again, the bolts will also help keep it aligned and in line.

Alistair - granite IS prone to chipping at the corners, so some care needs to be taken. I personally believe that granite is marketed now since it's cheaper for the MFG to make as opposed to casting iron to it's margins. for me it works well, since where I live there is HIGH humidity in summertime - so one less surface to worry about rust - I with I could do the same for my Bandsaw, Drill Press, and Jointer (actually SC did the BS and Jointer already). is it better ? no it's not! is it worse? not at all.
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Just came back from Woodcraft store near my place, looking to see if I can look at a Steel City table saw… there wasn't any, and when I asked one of the sale associate there, he said that lately SC table saws and other products have been somewhat scarce because of SC's slow response time. He suspected maybe something to do with manufacturing delay. He did say that he likes their products.

I have one more distributor I can go to see if they have any floor models, before I have to rethink my SC choice.
Just came back from Woodcraft store near my place, looking to see if I can look at a Steel City table saw… there wasn't any, and when I asked one of the sale associate there, he said that lately SC table saws and other products have been somewhat scarce because of SC's slow response time. He suspected maybe something to do with manufacturing delay. He did say that he likes their products.

I have one more distributor I can go to see if they have any floor models, before I have to rethink my SC choice.
The fence is definatly worth the extra $$ in my opion. You only have to put on fence on the saw intstead of putting that piece of junk that the other saw and the ridgid comes with on, and then realizing that you don't liike it. So in the end you end up buying the industrial fence any how. IMHO the SC industrial fence is the best fence on the market, no contest. I also think the SC saws are better than the ridgid saw, I was not impressed with the orange saw. But for $549 and less it isn't too bad. With the SC saws you also get 2 riving knives right away, not that big of a deal but it is something extra. The table board it nothing special but it does make the work surface larger. Most of them aren't flat though, whice isn't that big of a deal when you get 20+ inches away from the blade. Find a SC saw and look it over then look at that orange thing, I think in the end you will understand why it is $350 more.
I saw a granite top SC saw with the Industrial Fence at Marsh Power Tools….. it was truly an amazing fence. There were couple of Bies on the other saws. Now, those weren't set up properly, but the SC fence just felt better. The granite top looked and felt nice too.

The saw wasn't the 35920/930, but it was a 1.75, 30" unit. Apparently, the 35930 will replace it eventually.

One thing I noticed is that I didn't notice any shrouds around the blade for dust collection, when I peaked inside thru the plate opening on the table. it seemed that a shroud may become an obstacle while changing blade or removing the riving knife, but maybe not.
indeed the SC industrial fence is one of the top fences on the market… but I wouldn't call the 'other' fence "junk" lol. it has it's limitations, but those can be overcome, and it performs VERY WELL, more than good enough for many of us. As an added bonus, I was able to get a dewalt 13" planer for the price difference between the 2 saws, and still pocket the difference… as much as I appreciate the SC Industrial fence. I have absolutely no need/desire/plan to upgrade to it.

skidooman - I'm curious, in what way do you find the SC saws better than the ridgid? (since they are both made in the same factory…only using different cabinet frame). just curious, since there ARE differences between the two, but from my experience they tend to favor the orange saw.

and indeed - you do get low profile riving knifes with the SC… but for the price different this is not really "something extra" , since you could get them separately, and still pocket the change.
Yeah I will second PurpLev on the Ridgid fence. I wasn't sold on it when I first bought my saw, and I had looked at the SC and Grizzly as well.

For the money I saved on the Ridgid I figured I would eventually have to upgrade the fence, but once I adjusted/tweaked it, it is dead on and stays that way. I would be hard pressed at this point to justify putting another fence on, cause I wouldn't gain anything. I will add some UHMW faces when I get time just to dress it up a bit.

I think this saw, within its class, probably holds its own very well. Construction is solid, and I've found it to be an accurate piece of equipment. The only reason I would have to upgrade from this unit would be if I needed more hp to cut thick hardwood stock on a steady basis.

I have a skewed impression of the rigid saw because the only ones I have seen have been at the borgs. Neither were set up properly, and the fence was aweful. You know as well as I do unless you set up the fence properly it can do all kinds of unwanted things. When I had my SC saw 35912 the fence was just awesome. So easy to set up, locked real sold, slid so nice, I just cant say enough. The cabinets and construction just seems much better on the SC saw compared to the rigid. But again that was from looking at the one at the BORG. Dust collection is only so so becuase their isn't a shroud, but in that price range you wont get a dust shroud. You have to add another grand or so to get that. When you see a SC saw with the industrial fence mounted and then you look at the orange. I think you can easily see where your extra $300 goes, to me it is a no brainer. In the last 3 years I have owned 4 table saws, and that is due to my own stupidty. 3 years ago I bought a jet contractor with the motor in the cabinet, nice saw but the fence was terrible. That saw upgraded a cheap $150 crapsman aluminum topped special. The I replaced the jet with the SC. It was a great saw, awesome fence, good power, decent dust collection. Grainte top was my favorite I loved it, totally maitenance free, not much to look at but saws arn't about beauty or so I thought. Then alog came the PCS field test program. My wife talked me into buying one of those saws, and I am still totally blown away. It is the nicest saw I have ever used, and I own it. The only thing about it that isn't better than my SC is the fence. It is as close as you can get to a bies with out the name. Someday my dream table saw would be a granite topped SS with a SC industrial fence. There are differences between the PCS saw and the ICS saw, but nothing that would make that big of an advantage to me. So in the end if I would have geen smart I should have bought the SS right away. But who knew. What I am advising, is buy the absolute best saw you can afford. If you can swing 3k right now buy a pm2000 or PCS. If 1k is more in your ball park buy a SC. But if you plan on woodworking as a hobby for the rest or your life, dont do what I did and go through 4 saws in 3 years, step up to a better saw than the ridgid.
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I'll second that skidooman - buy the best saw for the money that you can.

with that said - it seems to me that you are comparing the ridgid saw to the older models of SC which indeed DO have a better finish and a nicer cabinet. BUT the comparable SC models to the Ridgid are far from sharing the same quality and robustness. they are identical to the Ridgid, smaller in size, with the only difference being the color (grey opposed to orange) and the mobile mechanism (SC is 3 wheel and full cabinet, ridgid being herc-u-lift 4 wheel retractable base with 3/4" cabinet which from my experience works much better).

I am by far an advocate for Ridgid - and in my review I also stated that I was never a Ridgid fan, and still am not one. however, in that price range, if indeed you would go for one of those 2, I think it would make the most sense to get the same saw but for less money - which would be the orange choice. and that was my point. sure there are other options such as powermatic, sawstop, sliding table saws, combinations machines, and lots of other good stuff, but I find that out of the OP's topic at hand.
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I should add one more point to the comparison the Ridgid vs SC. The 35920, which has the "Deluxe" fence that is similar to the Ridgid's fence, is $649. Whereas, Ridgid is $599. Add the the extra riving knife that SC provides, and the prices are almost the same. The extra $350 comes for the "Industrial Fence" on the 35930.

skidooman93, what do PCS and ICS stand for?

Purplev, when not moving, does the SC saw sit on wheels or the cabinet? Based on the pic, it looks like there is a bit foot lever that needs to be pushed down to move, so my guess is that the saw doesn't sit on the wheels. The saw I saw yesterday was sitting on an aftermarket mobile base, and I could rock the saw. (probably can be adjusted.)
Sorry, fellas I must admit the saw I had was an older gereration of SC saws. It was the 1st granite sold by my distrubutor in southern mn, purchased 4/08. PCS and ICS stand for sawstop professional cabinet saw, and industrial cabinet saw. The bigest gripe I have with my whole SC experience was finding a mobile base that worked. I tried the saw on 3 mobile bases and it rocked like crazy in all of them. I ended up using a jet universal base and pounding door shimes in real tight between the cabinet and the mobile base. So it made a friction fit. That helped, so the saw woud not rock loose in the base anymore. The new mobile bases that they have that work kind of like a wheel barrow are a much better design than putting the saw ontop of a universal base. Only powermatic has any design that comes close to what SS ofers for mobility also.
I picked up an Industrial Fence Type II on ebay, the same one that comes with the 39530. I called Steel City and inquired about picking up just the rails and the guide tube. I was told that they don't sell the guide tube and rails separately. I wasn't able to get the specs for the rails and guide tube, however. The guide tube on the R4511 and, I believe, the 39520 are 2" x 2" square. I think the industrial fence uses a 3" x 2" guide tube, but the tech could not verify that information. There are pads on the fence and screws on the fence that allow for some adjustment, so I may not have to worry about getting the exact specs. He said the whole 30" industrial fence system lists for $394.96. I guess I'm stuck with making my own guide tube and rails, although I may be able to re-use one or both rails.

Interestingly enough, the person I spoke to said that as of May, they are no longer selling the 39530. His reasoning was that it was too close to the 39500G, which costs a bit more. As such, you may not be able to even pick up the 39530 even if you wanted to. You might get lucky and find someone who has one in stock, however.
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floats - this is exactly what I see with SteelCity… they are changing so many things so fast , that it's hard to be able to keep up and to feel comfortable buying their product, since you never know if they'll still be carrying it or servicing it tomorrow… very iffy. I read some reviews about people buying their tools, and never receiving them, cause steelcity wouldn't deliver…

sh2005 - when the casters are down, the saw moves on 4 wheels, but when they are folded in - the saw stands firmly on 4 LEGS , no way you can shake it around - it is rock solid! also, you can get a 10% coupon for Homedepot, or Lowes (HD accepts lowes coupons) and that brings the price down to $540.
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