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 Contractor Cabinet Saw
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)
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 the Craftsman 3/4 hp Portable Dust Collector Model 21335, the Craftsman Mini Dust Collector Model 21393 or a whole shop dust collector like the Craftsman Professional 1-1/2 hp Dust Collector Model 21337 to it. You will need a 90 degree 4 inch elbow and waste gate to complete the assembly. The Craftsman Dust Collection Starter Kit Model 21388 will give you all the fittings and hose you need and then some to hook this saw up.
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!
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!
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 Contractor Cabinet Saw 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 July 30, 2010
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 Contractor Cabinet Saw