by Chuck Bender
Most woodworkers only dream about owning a European sliding table saw. The size and price tend to be limiting factors, particularly for those not making a living from their woodcraft. The Hammer K3 Winner series of table saws breaks new ground on both fronts.
Hammer, a part of the Felder Group, has managed to include all the performance of a high-end sliding table saw for only about 10 percent more than a quality American cabinet saw. But the competitive price and size doesn’t mean the company skimped on quality.
Out of the box (technically off the shipping pallet), the K3 Winner comes nearly fully assembled and ready to go to work. I invested little time in putting together the rip and crosscut fences – both came accurately calibrated.
Not only was the 90° stop on the crosscut fence accurate, but the flip-stop scale was dead-on as well. “Assembly” was as simple as sliding the aluminum extrusion along the mounting plates until it hit the positive stop.
I made my first test cut with the stop set at the 16″ mark and the board came off the saw exactly 16″ long. When it comes to accuracy, there just isn’t any more you can ask.
The saw comes loaded with some great features; the sliding table is the most useful. If you build lots of case pieces, the sliding table is far more than a convenience – it speeds work significantly. Plus, its accuracy makes it a joy to use.
Another feature I like is the generous access for changing blades. Not only is there a ton of room, it’s easy to get to: Move the slider completely out of the way, slide the guard in the opposite direction and you have total access to the retaining bolt and flange. After years of sticking my hands inside American-made saws, it’s a pleasure to not bang my knuckles on the edge of a cast iron top.
The Hammer can handle both 10″ and 12″ blades, but not with your standard 5⁄8″ arbor. The K3 uses a 30mm arbor with twin locating pins. This means added expense for blade purchases, but it also means you’ll get cleaner cuts with no blade slippage.
The blade stabilizer is held in place with a socket-cap screw, so changing blades with an Allen wrench seems a bit odd at first.
Dust collection is extremely efficient on this saw and there’s virtually no vibration. The machine is solid and, with a single-phase 4-horsepower motor, has enough muscle to tackle the toughest materials.
The one complaint I have is the adjustment handle – and yes, “handle” is singular. There is one mobile adjustment wheel for both height and angle changes. You need to move the wheel from the front of the saw to the side and back to make changes. If you’re not paying attention, you could be spinning your wheel without effecting the desired change.
The K3 Winner 31 x 31 saw gives you 31″ of crosscut and rip capacity (though custom configurations are available), but it only occupies and inch or two more floor space than a Powermatic 66 saw with a 30″ rip fence.
If you’re looking to bring European precision to your woodworking, the Hammer K3 Winner gives you all the features you’ll want at a reasonable price.
Web site: Hammer
Blog: Learn more about how easy and accurate setup is for the K3 Winner. (to come)
From the November 2014 issue, #214