Newbie Craftsman table saw question

Hi,
First time post but have been following the group for awhile. I'm looking for a table saw and have been eyeing the new saws that Craftsman is selling. I've read alot of good things about the saw with the Beismeyer fence but not much regarding the others. Has anyone in the group had and experience with the other models (#22114 or 22104)? The one with the Beismeyer fence would be a nice one to own, but I'm not sure that I can spring for that much cash without knowing how serious I'll get with this hobby.
My concern with the other saws was the Craftsman fence seems to have quite a bit a flex in them compared to the Beismeyer. The rear of these fences deflect almost and 1/8" on the saws I've looked at when slight pressure is put on the rear of the fence. Is this something to be concerned about? I'm afraid that if it deflected during a cut that whatever I'm working on stands a chance to become a 'wooden missile'.
Thanks in advance for any comments/opinions,
Dale
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Dale, I don't know why the usual helpful crew hasn't answered you yet, but since they haven't, I'll give it a shot. I never owned a Craftsman saw, but I've used a few. I know nothing about the specific model numbers you mentioned. (See why I didn't answer earlier?) In general I'd say the higher end Craftsman saws (with cast iron tables) make pretty good starter saws for a beginning woodworker. But don't buy anything with a fence that isn't solid when it's locked down. You can live with a fence that is sloppy, where you have to measure to the front and back of the fence before locking down. It's a pain, but you can deal with it. But a fence that deflects when it's supposed to be locked down is an accident looking for a place to happen. Hope that helps.
DonkeyHody "We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again---and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore." - Mark Twain
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selling.
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Dale:
I'm not familiar with those particular model but I do own a 30 year old Craftsman saw that I'm perfectly happy with. I've put the Sears Align-A-Rip 24/24 fence on mine and it is extremely accurate and stable. I've built many cabinets with this saw and have no issues at all with its stability. You are well advised to inspect the saws the way that you are, however I am surprised to read that any saw today would exhibit the type of slop you're seeing in the models you reference above. I think I'd check with the sales guys first, or maybe do a little more peeking around yourself, to see if the fence that's on there is properly installed. Even the cheapest junk fence on the market should not allow 1/8in of slop. Remember that these saws are typically thrown together for display and it's very possible that the ones you're looking at simply aren't put together properly.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@sprintmail.com
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I also am not familiar with the model numbers you mention, but I do have a Craftsman contractor style table saw with steel extension wings. I have the Align-a-rip fence too (the 24x24) and find it to be adequate. I do remember that when I first got the saw the fence seemed a little loose when clamped down and I had to make a tension adjustment. I also had to adjust the alignment a tad. Since then, however, it has been stable, accurate and straight.
I just checked the Sears website and it looks like the 22104 is one of the newly designed saws too. I'm not sure what the differences are other than the 22104 has a closed stand and does not have the Bies fence. If it has the same internals as the 22114 then it should be a good saw for the money.
Wayne

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Thanks to everyone for responding. Hope no one minds if I pick up the thread here.
This particular saw is one of the new Craftsman hybrid saws. The one I'm looking at is the middle of the line model #22114. It has the all cast iron table top but has the Craftsman fence instead of the Beismeyer. It also has the hybrid style cabinet instead of the closed cabinet like the saw with the Beismeyer fence. I went back to Sears today to have a look again and even though the fence looks like similar to the Align-a-rip (from what I can tell from pictures of the Align-a-rip at least) I think that's maybe where the similarity ends. I tried everything I could think of to look at to see why it may be flexing. The fence is made from extruded aluminum and I'm thinking it just isn't stiff enough not to flex under pressure. The lock down on the rear of the fence only seems to be there to keep the fence from lifting off the table top. I was a little disappointed after seeing how solid the Beismeyer is. I'm was hoping it it was possibly a less than enthusiastic setup by the Sears sales staff, but I've looked at it at a number of different stores in the LA area (I'm up to 5 now) and seem to be getting the same results. I even opened up the machine and thumbed through the manual and couldn't find anything in it to suggest a solution.
Cheers,
Dale

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fence from

This is what I was talking about when I said that I had to adjust the tension a little. With the Align-a-rip, the back stay is not just to keep the back from coming up. it is used to pull the fence into the front guides and lock the whole fence in place. I don't remember if the manual covered the adjustments or not, but they were there and simple to make.
I think if you could snap off the back cover (if there is one on this fence) you would probably see a nut that is threaded onto the end of a rod that goes all the way to the front of the fence. That nut probably just needs to be tightened a little to add a little more clamping force.
Wayne
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I've had a ryobi bt3000 for a few years, it has an aluminum fence that does not deflect at all. Rock solid. There is a rod that runs down the inside to the back that actuates a lever that locks the back end down tight. IIRC, this saw or a version of it is/was being sold by Sears, you may be able to see one when you are there. One of the very most important things I looked for in a saw when buying it was a stable fence, and in several stores was dissappointed with most of the saws, until I realized most of them were not set up and adjusted correctly. How any business could expect to sell something like that, I'll never know. Sorta like a car dealer displaying a car that does not run, or with the wheels so loose they're falling off! The Ryobi was one of the few that were correctly adjusted...
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I feel EXACTLY the same way! They set up display models hoping to INCREASE sales and end up scaring people away. How many customers walk up and decide tehy DON'T want an item because it seems so "flimsy" when proper setup would do the job.
I first noticed this about five years ago when shopping for cribs for our first child. A particular brand had been highly rated, but all four floor models were incredibly wobbly - so we got something else. Turns out they had just been put together poorly and I needed to shop away from the mega-stores. I've been learning my lesson slowly, but I have faith in Craftsman tools going back generations.... I'd like to see them displayed properly so I can choose the right one.
FWIW, I just bought one of the saws in question and noticed no deflection on the floor model (though the iron extensions weren'y installed level with the table). That Biesemeyer fence sure is nice though... it's just out of my price range.
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Personally, I would spring for the Bies fence, even if it meant buying less saw. My Unisaw is nice, but what I really love about it is the Bies fence.
DonkeyHody

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On 3 Aug 2004 03:53:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@bellsouth.net (DonkeyHody) wrote:

]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]] Boy do I agree....
The Fence actually makes the saw in my opinion... NOT that the Bies will help out on a really bad saw...BUT I really think the Bies can make a good saw into a great ( or at least a damn good) saw...
I ordered my saw with a Bies 15 or more years ago and I honestly can say that with almost daily usage it is still dead on accurate and rock solid ...I have no clue when I had to adjust it last...been years
That said... I stopped comparing fences the morning I ordered my saw and Fence Combo BUT over the years the Bies has had many clones some of which may be just as rock solid ..
Bob Griffiths
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Hi Dale: I'm not sure of the exact model number without looking it up, but I'm pretty sure that I own one of the saws in questions, mine is the one with the "value package" add ons: mobile base, router extention, etc. I will have owned the saw for two years this November. Like you I am a relative beginner, and had similar conditions when picking out this saw. I've been really happy with this saw since I got it. If this is the same saw, I'm very surprised that the fence deflects (a serious problem!) My fence is very solid. It did loosen up once, but there is a simple adjustment that increases the lock-down tension when you lower the handle. After I bought my saw, I found an article comparing saws in that price range, and this particular saw not only got good overall reviews, they were particularly impressed by the fence, noting that it was by far the best in the group which included Jet and Powermatic. All that said, I must admit that I'm already fantasizing about picking up a cabinet saw one day, but as said, I've been very pleased with this saw. Feel free to e-mail me with more questions Doug
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On 2 Aug 2004 10:33:18 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hvc.rr.com (Doug) wrote:

I used one of these saws on a jobsite a while back. it worked. not what I'd call fine machinery, but not bad either. the fence rail is joined from 2 pieces for some stupid reason. I suspect that heavy use would eat the fence alive, but for home use it will prolly be a good machine.
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snipped-for-privacy@hvc.rr.com (Doug) wrote in message

These saws were just introduced, so if yours is two years old it is not the one he is talking about.
I was at Sears the other day and was looking at these saws. The ones I looked at also had fences that deflected easily. It looked to me like a poor setup by minimum wage kids, but who knows. My thought on the OPs post was if he is concerned about losing money if he decides the hobby is not for him, the higher end saw would probably not lose any more total dollar value than the middle saw he is considering. The $300 difference is probably worth it for the Bies, the longer rails, the larger table, the built-in out-feed table and the (I believe) larger motor. This assumes he has room for the bigger saw and the concern was with loss of value, not initial outlay ;) The other thing that struck me was how absolutely crappy the miter guage was. Cranked down as hard as I could on the knobs that holds the angle in place and could very easily move the face. You would think on a $900 saw they could include something more than a $10 miter guage.
Dave Hall
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snipped-for-privacy@nhsd.k2.pa.us (David Hall) wrote in
<snip>

The miter gauge that came with the 3hp Unisaw isn't any great shakes, either. These days, mine mostly hides under the workbench, in shame.
The folks at Incra, or Kreg, or any one of a number of other specialty manufacturers offer excellent upgrade options. So do shopmade sleds.
As someone said about hand planes recently, most of these tools are really sort of kits - starting points from which to customize tools which do exactly what you, the craftsperson, really want them to do. Which is part of the charm of the craft.
Patriarch
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You should see the POS that comes with a almost $3k MiniMax 24in bandsaw!! If it cost them $5 I would be very surprised
Otherwise, I love the saw and am VERY happy that I got the mitre gauge FREE instead of buying it for extra and finding out how crappy it was.
Have the mitre gauge off my UniSaw on the band saw (and rarely use it) and have the Duginski miter gauge on the CS
John
On Tue, 03 Aug 2004 19:19:35 GMT, patriarch

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That's the one I bought as well, although it has the Kreg label on the box. Good tools. I bought the FasTrak fence for my Jet 16" bandsaw. The crowbar wasn't sufficient for me to purchase the bandsaw that I lusted after... The Jet does what it needs to do.
Patriarch
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