Impressions/Review of Craftsman Professional Table Saw

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A Review of Craftsman's Professional cabinet saw (22124).
I received my Craftsman table saw a few days ago. These are my preliminary thoughts on the saw.
First, let me explain my perspective and why I bought the Craftsman 22124. I am a woodworking enthusiast, taking courses on furniture making, etc., in my spare time and learning all that I can about the craft. (At the school where I am taking classes, I routinely use the delta unisaws and an ulmia cross-cut saw, but I have not had experience with other cabinet saws.) I wanted to purchase a high-end, used 50" cabinet saw (e.g., unisaw or P66) and was prepared to pay much more for it than the craftsman, but in my current shop situation I am forced to work in small quarters (so 30" is preferred) and with only 110v. This last requirement left me looking at contractor saws, hybrid sawa, Grizzly's 1023S110 and the craftsman 22124. A review on the Griz (24amp motor) indicated that a 2" piece of oak will trip a 20amp breaker, so I ruled that option out. Looking at the contractor saws, hybrids, and the Craftsman Professional cabinet saw left me with the strong impression that the Craftsman+Biesemeyer fence was the best value. In addition, I timed the purchase during the overlap of the Sears credit card sale and Craftsman days to get the saw for $690!. I figured that I could get a large fraction of that back when I sell the saw in year and upgrade to a 3HP uinsaw and, in the meantime, I would have a reasonable saw for weekend furniture making.
Here are my first impressions:
(1) Paying $49 to Sears for home delivery was worth every penny. These guys got the boxes off the truck and positioned exactly where I wanted them in my voltage-deficient garage.
(2) The packaging was very well done -- angle-iron framing with an ample supply of plastic wrap and styrofoam.
(3) The fit and finish was OK, but not good. Surprisingly, given the effort in packaging, the underlying parts were scratched and marred in various places.
(4) The table saw was not aligned properly. The cast-iron table was shifted forward almost 3/8" too far and was out of parallel by almost a 1/16". One call to customer service, however, and I immediately spoke to someone (Scott) who was very knowledgeable about the saw who explained where the 4 table bolts were located. He also agreed that the manual had a few errors and was busy writing version 2.0.
(5) The instructions for installing the Biesemeyer fence had a few inaccuracies that were annoying. Customer service knew about the errors and apologized.
(6) The rear splitter assembly is made of aluminum and the bolt in the block was improperly threaded. After tightening it to the splitter rod, I discovered a small spiral of aluminum that the bolt had cut away. The splitter assembly will not securely attach at this point. Customer service is sending me a replacement part.
(7) I have not yet obtained a feeler gauge to check the flatness of the table. It is not perfect, however, but reasonably flat. The cast iron table on my grizzly jointer (which I like very much) is in the same category of flatness -- reasonable, but not perfect.
(8) The cast iron wings needed to be shimmed (I used masking tape) to obtain a flat surface. This was relatively easy to do and is a problem common to many saw manufacturers, so I don't hold that against Craftsman.
(9) There is a small yellow circle of plastic in the middle of the table with the writing "align-a-cut" that seems to serve no purpose whatsoever. The instruction manual says nothing about it. Any ideas how to use this?
(10) The craftsman 22124 is a true cabinet saw with motor mounted to the cabinet with cast iron trunions. The Biesemeyer fence performs flawlessly.
(11) Comparison to Delta unisaw. I grew up with Craftsman tools when they were considered something great. Recently, craftsman products (e.g., their previous line of cabinet table saws) have not performed very well. I was encouraged by the news that the new Craftsman 22124 saw was designed and produced by Orion (run by some of the people who left Delta in 1999 following the P-C merger). That said, even if this is made by ex-Delta-folks, this is not a unisaw or of that caliber. Most notably, it is a bit lighter and vibrates very slightly. The trunions underneath the Craftsman do not seem as massive as the Delta unisaw's. On the other hand, it costs less than half as much as the Delta.
(12) Cutting power is surprisingly good. I cut through some 6/4 oak without any problems. More surprisingly, I have a 18amp (2HP) Penn State dust collector on the same circuit (that's 33amps in total) and the 20-amp circuit breaker did not trip. Thus, either the table saw or the dust collector were running far below their potential. My next project calls for some 8/4 oak, so that will be the real test, I suppose.
(13) The Lietz blade that is included seems fairly good. I have a WWII and a set of Freud blades, but I will probably continue to use the Lietz blade until it looses its sharpness (or I need something more specialized).
IMHO, a table saw needs to be flat, heavy/low-vibration, powerful and have a great fence. For what I want to do, 1.75HP is all that I need most of the time, and the Biesemeyer fence is great. There is some very slight vibration relative to the unisaws I know, but I suspect the vibration is insignificant compared to the vibration in contractor and hybrid saws.
I am very pleased with my purchase.
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Maybe link belts for the vibration? Re (9), the Align A Cut is used to indicate the exact cut line, so you can set to it without going up close to the blade. You can make a cut, pull it back, and scribe it on the plastic. I think some of them had a piece of metal with setscrews, so you could set up for different blades. Wilson

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Wilson notes:

No. Multipoly, very flexible but no linked. Pulleys are machined, of course, or the belt wouldn't work.
Charlie Self "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith
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Multipoly? Is that anything like an automotive timing belt or serpentine fan belt?
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Leon asks:

It might be. Several Vs off a very flexible belt's underside fit into matching grooves on the pulleys. Helps a lot in attaining smoothness, and these new Craftsman saws are very smooth.
Charlie Self "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith
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If they are narrow "V's" running the length of the belt is sounds like what GM calls the serpentine belt. Very flexible and lots of surface contact area. IIRC Powermatic uses two of these on the PM 666
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Leon responds:

Sounds similar to identical. But you don't want to bring a model 666 down here to Fundamentalist country. :)
Charlie Self "Doublethink means the power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one's mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them." George Orwell
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No Nuh Uh PM 66 I meant to say. ;~)
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On 12 Oct 2004 14:20:19 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

We collect medical research data, including lab data. We were converting someone else's lab data to our system. For one variable, there were a bunch of errors, someone entering a code that wasn't assigned to any- thing. We went back to the lab to try to find out what was wrong. It turned out that the code that should have been used was "666" but one of the lab techs refused to type it in so she made up her own. The lab is in San Diego, by the way.
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GregP notes:

Where was the lab tech born and raised?
I mean, after all, we ALL know that no one is born in California. Actually, I know one guy who was. He lives about 10 miles from me in Virginia.
Charlie Self "There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up." Booker T. Washington
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On 20 Oct 2004 19:59:28 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Hey, I was born in San Diego.
met a fair number of pretty superstitious people there too. most of them from somewhere else, yep.
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bridger responds:

Perhaps I should have written that "no one who was born in CA lives there." Where are you located these days?
Charlie Self "There are two ways of exerting one's strength: one is pushing down, the other is pulling up." Booker T. Washington
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On 20 Oct 2004 21:35:43 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote:

Arizona....
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bridger responds:

Got an old college buddy who lives near Sonoita. I say near, because a million years ago he bought some desert outside town and has been living there ever since, through a couple wives, girlfriends and a slew of reconstructed motorcycles. Got himself a BS in business admin, and hasn't held a full-time job since. Works at what he needs, when he needs to, to make things work for him, everything from teaching motorcycle riding at Pima College, to leading motorcycle tours in Wales. Added to building fences for ranchers and rebuilding and selling motorcycles, he seems to do just fine.
He's from the Long Island area, in NY.
Americans do seem to move around a bit.
Charlie Self "When we are planning for posterity, we ought to remember that virtue is not hereditary." Thomas Paine
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Charlie Self wrote:

I know a woman who was born in San Francisco. She's been living here in Virginia for 20 years or so.
--
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
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Charlie Self wrote:
[snip]

Well, harumph! How about both my wives and all my children. In fact, my first wife's parents were born in California. Grumble. The very idea. Humph.     j4
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On Tue, 12 Oct 2004 13:58:36 GMT, "Leon"

Serpentine belts are polygroove, but not all polygrooves are serpentine.
A serpentine belt can have a flat pulley running on the back of it, and can use this to deliver power (rather than just being a tensioner).
If you use a non-serpentine belt as one, there's a risk of rapid wear on the back and exposing the tensile cords. These don't like surface wear at all, then your belt breaks.
--
Smert' spamionam

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On Mon, 11 Oct 2004 15:44:27 -0500, Lars Stole wrote:

Yup, If you need to make several cuts of the same type. After the first one, carefully pull the piece back and make a pencil mark on the disk. Now you can align to that mark and all the pieces will be cut the same way. Or you can use it to set the kerf width for the blade on both sides, useful if you are making cuts with the blade tilted. Make a cut from each side of the blade, mark the edges and you can see your kerf width.
Used to be in the Manual, oops, it was the old sears power tool know how book. The pictures for the "Exact-I-Cut" show, Joe Woodbutcher, using a miter gauge with a hold down to find the and mark the edges of the kerf.
And SWMBO thinks I'm crazy 'cause I hate to throw things out.
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Hi Lars and group I posted to another thread, my thoughts about the saw, which I own as well and really like. I do appreciate your thorough review. I gave one months back as well. I do hope more woodworkers will see it's merits! As for the yellow thingie.............Simply cut a board and draw it back and then pencil a line along its edge in the yellow plastic circle. You now have a guide to line up your cut on whichever side of the blade should you so desire. Works well while using a dado stack and odd set ups! Good luck with your saw. I love mine!
Happy with Sears, Michael
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The December issue of WOOD mag includes the 22124 TS among the "latest and greatest" in its "Hot New Tools for 2005" feature :-)
-- Steve www.ApacheTrail.com/ww/
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