I wrote a while ago about some wood burning problems I had with my perfectly
aligned (or so I thought) table saw (General Internation 50-185 with WWII
The last posts in the thread (from Jack Novak & Klaatu) suggested that I
check the alignment with the blade fully raised and then with the blade
lowered. That's what I did. Full up, I get a negligeable difference of
0.001" between the front and back of the blade. However, when I lower the
blade to about an inch high, I get a huge difference of 0.03 (yes 0.03, not
0.003) that is about 1/32" !
No wonder I get nasty burning. Also, since this squeezes the wood against
the fence, I'm afraid It could be dangerous for kickback.
I bought the saw last December, so it is still under warranty (2 years) and
I guess this problem qualifies as a "manufacturing defect". I'm gonna try
and have it checked / replaced by General International. This should be an
interesting test of their consumer service.
Anyways, I just wanted to inform the group of my findings in case it could
help someone else strugling with his table saw. This is not something that I
saw mentionned in any "table saw alignment" instructions I found. Big thanks
to the group and Nova & Klaatu for the help.
It didn't start too well, with the retailer in Ottawa (Legere Supply)
not even returning my calls. I don't know what those people think, but
they certainly lost a client there.
So I called General International directly in Montreal. They told me I
had to ship the defective saw to them or I could bring it there and
they would fix it for me on the spot. Fortunately I don't live to far
from Montreal (about 2 hour drive) so I decided to bring it there
I met with the service guys (they were 2) and for about an hour, in a
rather "chaotic" way, they removed parts from the trunnion assembly,
machined them on the spot and tried all sorts of not-so-gentle prying
and pulling and pushing.
In the end, they managed to align the saw properly with the blade at
about 1 inch high. They said "it`s fixed now, take it home". So I just
told them to raise the blade fully in order to confirm. They did and
guess what, it was still off by about 1/32", just like when I brought
it in !
Now the service guy probably pissed at having spent an hour working on
the saw for nothing, tells me "you`re not really gonna use it with the
blade fully raised are you ?" I told him I wasn`t bringing this lemon
back home with me. He didn`t argue and he gave me a new saw.
I asked the guy if my problem was common and he said they were having
more and more problems and would have to "look into it". I guess the
quality control in Taiwan is not always consistent...
So in the end I`m happy, I got a new saw, but I must say it was more
trouble than I bargained for.
I've just finished removing the oil/wax coating and installing the new
one. There is still a difference in the alignment between full up and
full down, but much less (about 0.014 - less than 1/64"). I aligned it
at 1.5 inch, so that if I raise it I get +0.007 and if I lower it
-0.007. Seems to be a good compromise. It doesn't burn wood anymore
and cuts smoothly now.
BTW, the really sad thing is that when I was shopping for a TS, the
salesman talked up the beefy trunnion of the General, as compared to the
Unisaw and Powermatic (he sold all 3). and here you had trouble with
the "superior" trunnion.
Mathieu B wrote:
On Fri, 05 Mar 2004 23:30:12 GMT, "Preston Andreas"
|When he asked, "you`re not really gonna use it with the
|blade fully raised are you ?" , I would have demanded my money back. What
|a stupid question. And that was from the manufacturer.
The oft cited Wood Magazine TS review has an interesting exchange.
When the PM66 showed a lot of scoring on the cut, a Powermatic
spokesman said, "Scoring only occurred under heavy load (such as
ripping thick red oak) and they have since corrected the problem."
Isn't the whole idea of a %&*$#! 3 hp cabinet saw that you can cut
wood easier than with a 1 hp contractor saw? And they've been
building that saw for years and they just now figured out how to fix
it? Go figure.
1/32nd of an inch at 2" high is a problem? On a table saw with a relatively
flexible blade? Do you arrange your paper clips by size and direction?
I work with wood...it gives...and I can compensate where it doesn't (gotta
love the jointer for that one). Even when I get it "perfect", give it a few
days in changing humidity/temperature and it's no longer "perfect".
I work with relatively cheap machines ($500-1,000) and don't expect the
laser accuracy that I would get with a $5,000 machine. Have never tested
anything I own to see if a nickle would stay on edge although there are
several people posting here that think that is the test between a good
machine and a lemon...
I guess I have to say that I just don't get it...
I'd say that when the smoke detector goes off in the shop it's a good
sign that 1/32 is a problem.
Now I could compensate by opening the fence a little bit more, but do
I want to do that every time I lower/raise the blade ?
Agreed that it was a stupid question, and the guy shoulda known better -- but
it was *not* from the manufacturer. For the General International line,
General is the *importer*. The actual manufacturer is in Taiwan.
Doug Miller (alphageek-at-milmac-dot-com)
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