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Craftsman 10-inch Contractor Table Saw Model 21833 Review

By on Jan 25, 2013 in My Tools | 7 comments

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Not Really a Contractor Saw

Be sure to read the July 2010 and Dec 30 updates at the end of the article.

First, this is not a contractor saw by the definition that most of us have come to accept. A contractor saw is usually light weight, portable and easy to transport. This saw is none of these. It is in fact an inexpensive cabinet saw.  It weighs over 265 lbs, has a cast iron top, large induction motor, belt drive and is big.  You can easily move it around your shop with the built in casters, but it is not portable like the other contractor saws on the market.

Click here to purchase this saw: Craftsman 10 in. Contractor Saw (Sears#21833)

Specs:

Sears is getting very light on their catalog descriptions so I’ll go through the specs and elaborate enough so you can make an informed decision.  (The italicized statements are from the Sears.com description)

Model 21833 Contractor Saw

Solid and powerful, the 1 3/4-hp motor delivers 3,450 rpm:   This is the enclosed heavy induction motor that will give you plenty of torque to cut even the hardest wood.  The system is belt drive with heavy, cast iron supports and mounts.  It is a lot quieter than the cheaper saws.

Heavy-duty cast-iron table features stamp(ed) steel extension all supported by a sturdy stamp(ed) steel stand. The main table is cast iron.  The side extensions are steel.  The cabinet and legs of the unit are heavy gauge  steel.  It is made of bolt up panels that are finished in the standard Craftsman gray.  The whole thing goes together well.  The fit and finish is as good as the old 22114 you have seen on display for the last 6 years.

Features 10-inch left tilt arbor: This saw uses a table mounted trunnion so it never goes out of alignment like the cabinet mounted trunnion saws can.  The riving knife and splitter are an integral part of the trunnion assembly and is designed to stay on the saw.  The saw meets the new 2009 safety standards.  It comes with a standard width throat plate and a dado width plate.  The plates are 1/8 inch steel and you can easily make a zero tolerance plate using 5 ply hobby plywood or a piece of 1/8 inch steel plate.   The industry standard left tilt 5/8 inch arbor handles up to a 10 inch blade  and a 13/16 dado.

T-square fence with front/rear lock: The fence locks in the front and you can easily adjust it parallel to the blade if it gets out of alignment.  It also has a guide in the back to keep the fence from lifting up (why I don’t know?)

4-inch Dust Port:  Industry standard port.  You can easily hook up to a whole shop dust collector.  You will need a 90 degree 4 inch elbow and waste gate to complete the assembly.

Includes miter gauge and blade.  The 21833 uses the industry standard 3/4 inch T-slot miter gauge so you can use after market attachments in the slot.  The blade it comes with is a cheap combination blade so be prepared to buy the right blade for your application.  Myself, I have 14 different blades for different tasks but a 40 tooth carbide blade for general purpose cutting of panels and pine and a 60 tooth carbide blade for the finish work will get you started.

If you are ready to build fine furniture, kitchen cabinets and other woodworking where you need a perfect cut you can buy TENRYU Blades

Wt. 265.0 lbs. It is a nice heavy saw and the integral casters really work well to move it around.  I would gladly trade my 22114 for this saw just for this feature.  The casters work great!

Pros:

Very similar to the  Craftsman 22114 in features but less money!   Will probably replace the 22114 eventually.

Great saw for the money.  Has a cast iron top.

I like the cast iron top because I just can’t get used to a granite top saw. I use my saw for more than a saw.  It is also a workbench, flat surface and a “get this stuff out of the house” place for my wife.

Meets all the 2009 Safety Standards.  It has a real usable riving knife!

Good solid fence.  The fence has t-slots to accept accessories and jigs.  It is a standard width so you can use your old jigs.

Plenty of room in front of the blade.

Has an arbor lock so you only need one wrench to change the blade!

Cons:

You must assemble this saw and the instructions are not the best Sears has written.  Read the instructions two or three times, lay out all the parts and go through a dry run of the assembly BEFORE assembling the saw.   Personally I have assembled over a dozen cabinets saw and this one took me 3 hours to assemble.  There is one spot where you NEED three or four guys to turn the saw over, so plan ahead.

Myself I like the fact that I put the saw together.  I know all the parts that make up the saw, the quality and that it is assembled correctly.  By assembling it myself I know where all the adjustments are and I can now quickly check the alignments from time to time.

I suggest using your own tools.  You will need a 10 mm Open End Wrench, a 13mm Open End Wrench, a 4mm Hex Wrench, a 5mm Hex Wrench, and a 8mm Hex Wrench as bare minimum.  I also suggest a set of ratcheting combination wrenches or a 3/8 inch metric ratchet set.  You need a high quality 12 inch or larger straight edge to line up the table extensions.  I used my 24 inch aluminum level as the straight edge for that task.  I also used a dial caliper to check the parallel alignment of the fence to the blade. (The saw I assembled…. the fence came out of the box aligned perfectly!)

You can go here to view the assembly manual to see if you have the experience to assemble this saw ManageMyHome

It does not use the more common 1/2 inch thick throat plate.

I don’t have a problem with the steel extensions.  They are powder coated, smooth and flat.

The front fence track is a little tricky to assemble and align to the blade.  Just take your time and expect to align it a couple of times before you get it right.

My Final Thoughts:

I would make a table extension to fill in the gap on the right side fence extensions.  This is common for most cabinet saws in this price range.  I like a lot of room and you can easily make an extension out of 3/4 plywood or an old counter top.

To learn more and purchase this saw go here: Craftsman 10 in. Contractor Saw (Sears#21833) You can order it through this link and pick it up at your nearest store. If you don’t have a vehicle big enough for the box (a van or pickup is needed) you can have it delivered for a normal fee.  You can buy an optional 5 year Purchase Plan from Sears for this saw for around $80.  This will cover anything that goes wrong with the saw (except the blade and physical abuse.) It includes a yearly inspection by a qualified tech at your request.

Update June, 2013

I just wanted to let you know I still like this saw.  It is becoming a very popular saw and is a great value.  I really don’t think you can find a better saw in this price range.

A couple of things.  First, if you are not going to hook up a dust collector I suggest that you don’t install the 4 inch dust port on the bottom.  Let the saw dust fall out the bottom and sweep your floor when you are done.

Second, Check the motor pulley set screw when you put it together.  I had one customer where the set screw was loose.

That’s it! Enjoy Your New Saw!

Update Dec 30, 2010.

This saw continues to be one of the most popular saws Sears sells and I have a feeling it is one of the more popular saws anyone sells for the price.

If you are not going to hook it up to a dust collection system I strongly suggest you leave the dust collector funnel off the bottom of the saw and let the sawdust drop on the floor.  From my own experience I know if I left the funnel on the saw I would forget to move the sawdust and the inside of the case would fill up with sawdust and it would be a chore to clean it out.  The throat plate is large enough that you could take it and the saw blade off and use a shop vac to clean out the case if you do plug the bottom hole.  You can also use an air compressor or leaf blower to periodically blow the dust out of the case. (just a fact of life with every cabinet saw that no one talks about)

If you want a good, solid saw that you can move but don’t need to move it from job-site to job-site I strongly recommend this saw.  Read more here:  Craftsman 10 in. Contractor Saw (Sears#21833)

7 Comments

  1. William Angle

    October 3, 2013

    Post a Reply

    I purchased a craftsman 10 inch table Saw #21833. Specs say it comes with a standard width throat plate and a Dado plate up to 13/16 inch. I received one standard throat plate 1/2 inch in width. I am looking for a wider plate to order but haven’t been able to find one to accommodate my blades witch go up to 13/16 inch wide. Do you know where I can find the wider plates?

    • Paul Sikkema

      October 3, 2013

      Post a Reply

      @William, The dado insert comes with the saw. Please check all your packaging very carefully again. It may be stuck on the backside of a piece of foam or wedged down in a slot in the foam.

      If you can’t find it you can get a replacement by clicking on this link Shop Sears PartsDirect and get 10% off your entire purchase with Promo Code: 90055

      Enter part number 31158.00, hit search and it will come up. While you are ther you may want to order a zero clearance insert. The Part Number is: 31168.00. When you check out use the promo code 90055 to get 10% off your order.

  2. knotscott

    November 15, 2011

    Post a Reply

    Having owned a Delta 36-600 compact saw, a GI 50-185 contractor saw, and Craftsman 22124 hybrid saw, and a Shop Fox W1677 3hp cabinet saw, I can honestly that all of these saws were capable of good accuracy when setup properly. If you’re not getting good accuracy from the 22114 or the 21833, something is wrong. At 385#, having cabinet mounted trunnions, and solid cast wings, I’d think with a fence upgrade the 22114 could be a darn good saw. I wish the 21833 also had cabinet mounted trunnions and solid cast wings…both are generally considered upgrades from basic steel wings and table mounted trunnions.

    I agree that the 21833 and 22114 have very different designs and different feature sets. They’re in roughly the same overall category of saw (full size home duty stationary saw), and the main tables are pretty similar size, but otherwise they don’t have much else in common. The 22114 is an old enough design that it doesn’t sport a modern riving knife like the 21833 and newer 22116. I think it’s confusing to newbies to state that these saws are similar without pointing out the significant differences.

    • Paul Sikkema

      November 15, 2011

      Post a Reply

      @knotscott, yes the 22114 and the 22124 are old designs and no longer sold. The 21833 is becoming a very popular saw for Sears.

  3. opie

    April 18, 2011

    Post a Reply

    I am on my second 21833. I brought the first one back because when you adjust blade height up or down the blade goes out of alignment with the miter slot by .030 to .050 . Now have second saw and it has the same issue. I should say I am using a 1/4″ machined plate to indicate the arbor to the miter slot. At any given height i can get it to .001, but as soon as i adjust the height the back of the plate goes out .030 to .050 towards the fence. Is there a fix for this ?

    Thanks

    • admin

      April 18, 2011

      Post a Reply

      @opie, I guess I don’t expect a saw in this price range to be any more accurate than this. Sears sells this as a “contractors” saw, not a “cabinet” saw.

      I have always explained the difference between a contractors saw and a cabinet saw this way: If you do remodeling, house construction … that type of work you normally only work to 1/8 inch accuracy. (That’s why tape measures generally only go to 1/8 inch) So a contractor’s saw will work fine. If you want to build fine furniture or make small intricate jewelery boxes, etc. a contractors saw is not accurate enough and you should go with a medium priced ($1500 to $3000) cabinet saw.

      When I think of the contractor’s saws over the years, they all tend to be rugged saws that are used for home construction, and rough work like building shipping containers, warehouse shelving, etc. They were designed to last. None of the saws in this class were ever designed for the accuracy for fine wordworking.

      The 21833 fits this definition exactly. It is a great saw for home remodeling, building an outdoor shed, picket fence, paneling your basement, etc. With the table mounted trunion it is stable and will give you the same cuts all the time. But if you want a extremely accurate saw, spend more money and buy a saw with cabinet mounted trunions. This type of saw will enable you to tweak the saw for accuracy depending on where your saw is located, the humidity and the temperature.

      I had the previous version of the 21833 (I think it was a 22124) and recently sold it off. I am getting good enough in my wood butchering that I needed a more accurate saw.

  4. Labber

    April 3, 2011

    Post a Reply

    You’ve done a good job outlining many aspects of this saw, but are a few discrepancies that are worth mentioning so as not to confuse would-be buyers.

    Your reference to portable jobsite saws as contractor saws is incorrect. It’s not an uncommon occurence though, and is easy to understand the cause of because portable jobsite saws are what the majority of actual contractors use in the field these days. The traditional contractor saw is a full size cast iron saw with a belt drive induction motor that hangs out the back for easy removal, and easier transport compared to a cabinet saw, which was one of the few alternatives available when the contractor saw was developed. It’s a 60 year old design that has become largely obsolete due in part to the evolution of the modern portable jobsite saws like the Bosch 4001, Ridgid 4510, DeWalt DW744, etc., that have direct drive universal motors and plastic housings…these were incorrectly referenced as “contractor saws”. The portable jobsite saws are far more portable than the former contractor saws, and have essentially replaced the traditional contractor saw on the jobsite, which in turn has made the true contractor saw title sort of a misnomer.

    There other inaccuracy that I think is worth noting is the mention of the similarities between the Craftsman 22114 and Craftsman 21833. Main table size, duty rating, general duty classification, and the logo are the main similaries, but under the hood they are very different machines, with different designs, different key features, and different manufacturers. The 22114 was manufactured by Steel City/Orion and features full yoke style cabinet mounted trunnions that span the width of the cabinet. They’re large, easy to reach, and easy to align. The cabinet mounted trunnions of the 22114 also feature a set of connecting rods between the trunnion brackets as an arbor carriage. It weighs in at a fairly impressive 385 pounds, 120 pounds heavier than the 21833, which is a full 45% heavier. In comparison, the 21833 (made by Dayton AFAIK) features much smaller table mounted trunnions that are far harder to reach, and harder to align. The 21833 arbor carriage has a more elegant one piece cast blade shroud that’s more similar to what’s found on the 22116 granite top saw by Steel City/Orion. The 22114 has solid cast iron wings vs the steel wings of the 21833, and the 21833 features a modern riving knife vs the traditional splitter on the 22114.

    That’s all…make some dust and enjoy!

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