Strange comparison: Craftman 24830 vs Jet Super Saw?

I've decided my new tablesaw needs to be left tilt, with reasonable dust containment. And a blade that runs true with no wobble. My search was narrowed down to the new Dewalt, and the new Jet Super Saw. Yesterday I was leaning towards the Jet at $850.
Was in a Sears store this morning, and found their 24830 contractor saw: cast wings, dust shroud underneath, including a dust containment bag (or port for vacuum), and left tilt. Has a router mount on the left wing. The fence is OK, though nothing special for sure. The raise/tilt wheels are a little floppy, but they work. It boasts a "3hp" cap-start induction motor. The saw is $450.
Question: Is a guy on a budget going to forever regret this Sears unit? Also looking at teh new Dewalt planer ($479) and the Performax 10-20 sander ($499). Saving $400 on a TS would be nice, if the saw worked. I'm not a professional cabinet maker, just interested in making a few pieces for the house over the next few years. But I DO want/need a saw that will cut a straigh line . . .
Thanks for your insights,
Scott
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quick to set, and reliably square. However... The dust bag and router mount are useless, and the 3hp motor is probably about 1hp. The saw does not compare to the more expensive ones, but will very likely be fine for your use.
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Scott, I have the same saw (24820...same saw, different mobile base), and it's really not a bad saw. You can also save an additional $45 (10%) if you buy it during Craftsman Club days. There's no doubt the Jet and Dewalt you mentioned are better saws, and they should be for twice the price. If it's set up correctly, this saw will cut a perfectly straight line. The fence (although aluminum) locks solid and square, vibration is minimal (especially with link belt), the miter slots are parallel, the power is sufficient (actually 1-1/2 hp, 13 amps), and the router wing and mobile base are also nice features. My only gripes are fairly minor...fence catches a little when sliding over where the two piece rail system connects (had to do a little filing...don't know why they went with the two piece???), the router wing is only drilled to fit Craftsman or Ryobi routers, and the dust shroud catches most of the bottom dust, but tends to throw a lot of dust on the top of the table. I also had a little excess arbor flange runout (.0015") on my saw, but my brother has the same saw, and his was just under .001", which is about as good as you can expect. I got them both down to .0005" using my tenoning jig and a honing block. I'm sure you'll probably get a lot of Craftsman bashers replying, but speaking as someone who owns one, I'm quite happy with my saw and think it's well worth the money.
Tom
snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote in message

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Scott - I have a 228390 (I think it's similar - no dust collection- think the motors are the same) - my wife gave it to me for Christmas '02 (GREAT wife!). It's not the Jet/Dewalt/Unisaw, but it cuts a straight line. I put a link belt on it and a Freud 40T Combination blade, and I just bought the Freud 24T Glue Line Rip blade. After putting the better blade and the link belt on it, I noticed a big improvement in the cutting power, particularly on rip cuts. I've cut 2" stock, and as long as you watch the feed rate, it does a great job. Out of the box the blade was square and straight. The top seems flat, but I didn't check it down to .0001" with a gauge - as I said, I don't need that kind of precision right now. Like Tom said, the fence works fine with a little modification, although I think there are better fences available if you really needed it.
It's really nice to have the router table set-up on it. I've used it quite a bit in the several projects I've done to date. True it is drilled to fit Craftsman or Ryobi, but I think I saw an adaptor in the tool section at Sears, or somewhere in their on-line parts that will let you use other routers. I bought a Craftsman router that I use with the router table, and so far it works fine (I also have a PC 8529 for non-table use :)) !!). I've cut rabbits and dados with it without a problem.
Like you, I'm not a pro woodworker - I just enjoy working on small stuff and doing some furniture projects. It has been a great saw to learn on. Is there a Jet or Unisaw in my future - hopefully - maybe when I get closer to retirement (so I'll have time to use it more!!) and have some more experience. If I went into one of those saws now, it would be like expecting a rat to fly an F-18 :) - ain't gonna get it off the ground, or if it does, only bad things are gonna happen...
Just a newbie's opinion, FWIW -
Nick B

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Thanks for the feedback. I must say, the Craftsman looks pretty good otherwise. However, the 24830 did make a mixed first impression in one area: the plastic wheels on the display model were very loose and floppy/wobbly, as were the plastic crank handles. The other models on display had different wheels, and seemed better . . . Wonder what's us with that?
I just learned this morning that Jet has their "Green Tag" deal going through April. Since I was going to buy the little Performax sander anyways, if I buy a second piece (e.g., the Super Saw) then I get $100 off. And if I wait two weeks, Woodcraft will give me 10% off anything I buy. This brings the Super Saw down to almost $650, which is closer to the Craftsman at $500 (or $450 with the club discount). So, I may spring for the Jet after all.
I'll report back on whichever ends up in my garage!
Scott
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As much as the Craftsman has been good for me, if I was doing the buying, and it was a $200 difference, I'd buy the Jet.
Figure you'll "grow into" it!
Let us know what you end up with -
Nick

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snipped-for-privacy@att.net (Scott) wrote in message

Yeah, mine has the plastic cranks also, although I haven't noticed mine wobbling. I would prefer metal ones too, but I didn't think it made much difference. It does lack a crank lock for the blade height, which I was a bit concerned about, but I read that a lock wasn't necessary due to the finer threads (something like 31 cranks to raise the blade vs. 8 cranks on a Delta).
It would be hard to pass up a Super Saw for $650. If you can afford that and the Performax, then that may be the way to go. Is the additional 10% off from the birthday month sale? I ask that because I just used mine last week, and in the fine print it says that it excludes all power tools. It kinda pissed me off...I don't think it's too much to ask of Woodcraft to give us a 10% discount off anything in the store once a year.
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I looked more closely at the Super Saw again today: it too has wobbly wheels! However, they do look prettier than the Craftsman. Also, the Jet fence doesn't seem to lock as positively as the Craftsman: it was rather easy to nudge it loose. And while some think router provisions are silly on a table saw, I would like one, and the Jet doesn't have it (though I suppose you could make one for it; the biggest Jet DOES have one). While on the subject, the Dewalt website has some woodworking articles, and one of them favors the tablesaw/router idea, pointing out the obvious use of the fence and large table surface, larger than most ready-made router tables, depending on the saw.
If I wait for the Sears saw to go on sale in a few weeks (very likely according to the sales gal), and get the 10% "club" discount, then it may be as low as $400, or even less. We'll see how this exciting drama plays out. ;>)
As for the Woodcraft discount, no, it's not entirely the birthday discount. They have a "10% off everything" sale near the end of February. Since February IS my B-Day month, the manager said he would extend the "everything" sale to me a bit early. Pretty decent of him, I must say. I will pick up a Dewalt planer, and Performax sander from him, if not the Jet saw.
Cheers,
Scott
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Scott notes:

Don't depend a lot on the saw's set up no the floor. There's no way of knowing how much skill or interest the person setting the saw up may have had. If the Jet is on the lfoor, ask to see the manual and see how much work adjusting the fence is. Same with the Craftsman. Look at the handles to see if they are even screwed down tightly, too. That's an assembly mistake, not a saw fault.

On a personal basis, I do NOT like router tables built into the table saw table, for a variety of reasons. The table saw has always been the most used tool in my shop, and having to break down a router set-up to use it is a PITA...and may be counterproductive if I have to return to that router set up after cutting more material. The extension table on my saw also tends to get used, covered with plastic, as an assembly table for projects when all other space is used up (too much of the time, regardless of the amount of space). Have a router bit sticking up, or a hole there, might create problems.
If there's space, a freestanding router table, IMO, is a better deal. The table surface on the saw is large, but not large in the direction many home-made router tables I've seen are. You can make a router table in your shop with any size table you wish to use. Again, if there's space.
If space is short, the router in the extension table is a good deal. Otherwise, I think, not.
Charlie Self If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them higher on my body.
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.comnotforme (Charlie Self) wrote in message

Yes, I considered that. But one would "think" the Woodcraft folks might do a better job than the temp drones Sears likely hires to assemble the tools. Of course, I've purchased bicycles from "respected" bike shops, finding I had to re-adjust every moving part once I got it home . . .

I can see that, but I do so little routing that this won't be a major issue for me. I don't have space for a dedicated router station at this time, so having the ability to temporarily convert the TS into a solid, accurate router table would be a good thing. But I did consider that I could make a table insert for the Jet, and attach it when needed, remove it when I don't. Could leave the router fixed to the removable insert. Can't do that as readliy with the Sears . . . ???
Cheers,
Scott
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Scott responds:

Normally, I'd guess that would be true, but you don't know what kind of pressures the assembler might be under--things like manning (or womanning[?]) the register, that sort of thing. I haven't really paid much attention to either of the "super" saws, DeWalt and Jet, for I quickly realized they were damned expensive for 1/4 HPO upgrade on a contractor's saw. The deal you're writing about sounds good, though, if the saw is as good, say, as the Jet top-of-the-line contractor's saw.
Still, I prefer the fence on the JTAS and the contractor's saw. Biese clone made, I think, by HTC. It is the best of the Biese clones.
Charlie Self If God had wanted me to touch my toes he would have put them higher on my body.
http://hometown.aol.com/charliediy/myhomepage/business.html
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