Another worthwhile upgrade over the standard saw setup (#CNS175-SFA30) is the fence system. For $180 extra, chuck the 30″ extruded aluminum fence and rail in favor of the beefier 36″ T-Glide system. The Biesemeyer-style fence is well worth the investment.
And we were pleased with the saw itself. The top is acceptably flat, the wings align for a nice level fit and the blade run-out is .001″. Decibel (dB) readings taken at ear height as you stand in operator position were only 81 dB. (That rating is less than that of a random-orbit sander.) Additionally, vibration is all but non-existent. The age-old nickel trick – balancing a nickel on its edge during operation – stood firm throughout powering up, running and winding down of the saw.
I did find a couple things I felt could have been stronger on this saw. The handles used to operate blade tilt and height adjustments are lightweight. And the blade insert is a bit springy at the rear. As small parts are cut, there could be issues with the sagging of the insert. Also, I’m not a fan of having to use a screwdriver to release the throat plate to gain access to the riving knife and brake-system area. PW
But a nice feature that pushes this contractor saw beyond most competitors is the addition of the shroud around the blade. At the bottom of the shroud is a 4″ dust port that’s unexpected. It increases the dust collection of the saw bringing it in line with hybrid saws. I was duly impressed.
In using this saw, I found it to have all the guts you would expect for a 13/4-horsepower saw. You’ll have plenty of power for most furniture-making operations, but not the kind of power you get from a 3-hp cabinet saw.
If you’re in the market for a saw that operates with a standard 110-volt household circuit, this saw competes with the hybrid models. However, the big draw with this saw is the safety factor provided by the braking system. Is that worth the higher purchase price? That’s a math problem for you to solve.
Glen is senior editor with Popular Woodworking magazine.