Benchtop Table Saws


Riving knives have made benchtop table saws ‘new’ again. Could one be the tool for your shop?By Glen D. Huey
Pages: 32-38

From the October 2009 issue #178
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When you scanned this issue’s cover and discovered an article on benchtop table saws, you might have questioned our sanity; or you might have thought, as we do, that it’s about time!

Benchtop table saws have come of age. Features such as riving knives (on all the saws we chose for testing), easy-off and easy-on blade guards, and the rock-solid extension tables found on these table saws are very much in line with those found on many of the 3- and 5-horsepower cabinet saws that garner most of the press. Many of these portable machines are found in woodshops of all descriptions – you might be surprised by who uses benchtop table saws.

During the past three years, Popular Woodworking has published a column designed to introduce budding woodworkers to the craft. The column is “I Can Do That” (see page 24 in this issue) and with each completed project, experience and confidence builds. Before long, these woodworkers plan tool acquisitions. A small table saw is a great foundation on which to build.

If you have a small or temporary shop, a small saw may be just the ticket. And how about hand-tool users? It’s not practical to expect avid hand-tool-user shops to be void of all power tools. If table saw is not going to be a primary tool in the shop, a benchtop design might be the answer. If you’re a power-tool woodworker, you know the value of a table saw. You also understand what can be accomplished with a table saw and what a hardship it is not to have the machine available when it’s needed. I’ll bet that at some point, with your table saw already set up for a specific cut, you discovered the need to size another piece of lumber before you could finish the task. A back-up saw is a nice addition, but adding a second full-blown setup is too expensive, and giving up the valuable real estate for a behemoth saw might not be in the cards. Bingo. There’s the spot for a benchtop saw.

Seeing the improvements made on these saws and the need for information about benchtop table saws, we set out to review the examples that met our simple riving-knife requirement. Those saws arethe Bosch 4100, the Craftsman 21828 , the DeWalt DW744XRS, the Jets JBTS-10MJS and the Makita 2705.


From the October 2009 issue #178
Buy this issue now