On December 5th I brought home a new General International contractor
saw (50-185-M1 left tilt) with the 30-inch (max rip cut) rails. I got
it from Hartville Tool for $599 + $91 for shipping as far as the local
FedEx freight terminal. FedEx wanted an additional $300 to carry it
the 13 or so more miles to my house, so I said "F**
* you very much,"
and then picked it up (over 300 puonds!) myself in the back of my PT
Cruiser. I just completed the assembly (didn't have much time to
spend on it), which included making a mobile base with Delta hardware
BEFORE mounting the saw cabinet to the stand on the mobile base.
I am very impressed with the fit & finish of this saw – with one
minor exception. When I assembled the stand, the corner holes in the
top that are for bolting the saw cabinet to the stand were not in the
locations they needed to be. The stand itself was fine (correct size,
very substantial, went together well), but there was no way to avoid
drilling fresh holes in the proper locations to accommodate the saw
table/cabinet assembly (which I considered to be no big deal). As
Kevin pointed out in an earlier post, the instructions were not very
complete (some of the assembly wasn't even covered) and there were
quite a few extra bolts, washers and stuff for which I see no need.
The table top and wings cleaned up very nicely and assembled nice
and flat. I didn't have shimming problems when I attached the fence
rails. The fence came in its own box and has a red Canadian maple
leaf decal prominently displayed, ensuring that you know it's a
product of Canada (the box the saw came in clearly said "made in
Taiwan "). To answer the questions from Greg G on the post from
1. The table height off the floor is 35-1/4 inches with the leveling
feet retracted all the way. You can add a little over an inch by
maximizing the leveling feet extensions. With the mobile base, my
table top is approx three feet high.
2. The table top and extensions are very smooth (not like the
"sandpaper" feel of a new Delta TS I recently looked at). In terms of
flatness I can only say that with the extensions bolted on, their
edges line up straight with the table edges and I can see no visible
angled dip or rise from the table top when sighting with the 24" edge
of my carpenter's square. I don't have a machinist's straight edge,
so I didn't take a precision look at overall table flatness (the
sucker's flat enough for me!).
3. The saw table itself does have a beveled front edge, but the wing
extensions do not (giving you a sharp wing corner to deal with at the
end of the bevel.
4. The power switch looks like a simple 2-button switch (green-ON,
red-OFF). The manual doesn't say it's a magnetic switch and I have
not tested it.
5. The fence is super! It's a Biesemeyer clone that I understand
General International manufactures under licence from Biesemeyer. The
front fence rail has a rectangular cross section, 1-1/2 high x 2-1/2
deep -- edges have a nice chamfer. The fence doesn't move once it's
locked in place, but I'm not sure how to measure its deflection.
I am very happy with this saw – it's the best and sexiest power
tool I own. However, at this point I've only fired it up twice. I'm
expecting delivery of a Forrest blade, a dial indicator, and a set of
PALs for the rear trunnion alignment. I want to be sure everything is
properly tweaked before I put this bad boy to work. Merry Christmas