I've been reading the wreck for a while now (mostly through google searches
in the archive). I've found a lot of useful advices here, especially on tool
I started getting into woodworking after getting (for very cheap) a used
General 8 inch jointer from an uncle who is a professional woodworker (he
swaped it for a huge 12 inch model) . I bought some hand tools, miter saw,
router, etc. and took some night classes. Now I'm hooked on it.
However I was getting very frustrated with my very bad and even dangerous
table saw (an old worn out portable saw). I needed to spend a lot of time
just measuring and aligning the fence for each cut and still the results
were unpredictable. The thing was shaking like hell and the table top was
way to small.
So I followed an advice I saw a lot in the wreck and waited to be able to
afford a decent table saw and blade. After reading all the possible reviews
I could find, I finally opted for the General International 50-185 (left
tilt) and bought it for Chrismas. I also bought a Forrest Woodworker II (40
teeth) a Freud Super Dado (SD508) and "The Table Saw Book" by Kelly Mehler
(my best investment !).
I bought the saw from a General dealer nearby (I live in Canada, so there
are plenty here) and was able to bring it home in my car (medium size -
Mazda 626) after opening the box and loading the parts one by one.
Once home, I found out that this is no "plug and play" device. It took me
over 25 hours (3 days straight) to clean, assemble and _ADJUST_
First, like almost all the other reviewers of that saw, I must say that the
instruction manual is awful ! A lot of the steps are omitted and the
pictures, drawing and instructions are unclear. With a little bit of
patience you can figure it out but still I think they could have done a lot
The table top I got (middle section) was twisted. Putting a straight-edge
diagonally across the top would reveal a gap (or bump depending on the side)
of 1/16" to 3/32". Fortunately I was able to make is straight (although not
perfectly) by adding shims between the table top and the steel cabinet
supporting it (as described in "The Table Saw Book"). This was a long and
frustrating trial and error process.
Then came the extension wings. Fortunately, those were perfectly straight.
Unfortunately once bolted to the table top they would both tilt upward quite
a bit (up to 1/8"). Here come the shims again ! I used paper shims (as
described in TTSB) and was able after another session of trial and error to
make them perfectly flat with the top.
Next step, install the blade and check the alignment with the miter slot.
Again, the thing was not aligned properly. I had to ajust the trunion (again
as described in TTSB). This was the most frustrating step. It took me
forever to get a decent alignment and still it is not perfect. I am
considering getting those "PALS" alignment bolts but I don't know where to
get them in Canada.
Then came the fence rails. Again I had to shim the rail (square tube) to get
it level (although this is expected and described in the fence instruction
The 90 degree and 45 degree tilt stops were perfectly set and I didn't have
to do any adjustments to them.
The fence is great. It is the main reason I bought this saw. It is made in
Canada and is the same fence used on the expensive General cabinet saws. It
is very easy to set and very precise on every cut. I made a lot of
verifications using a dial caliper and I get perfect widths every cut !
The table is very heavy and very stable. There is almost no noticeable
The engine (2hp) didn't have trouble ripping through 2 1/2 inch tick oak
(thickest hardwood board I tried).
The miter guide slides nicely in the slot and was easy to set up for perfect
90 degree cuts
Now that it is fully adjusted, I am pretty satisfied with this saw. It is
leaps and bounds better than my old portable saw and not too far from the
Unisaw and General 50-450 that I get to use in my woodworking class.
I can now get started on my next project, building a cradle for my new born
expected for this summer...