The Craftsman 24820 table saw has some very nice features at an entry-level price. The accuracy of the fence, when properly adjusted, will please the average woodworker and easily exceed most needs of the weekend handyman.
Recommend this product?
The saw is adequately powered with a 1.5 hp / 13 amp motor that can be easily converted to use a 220v circuit. The left tilt arbor design is preferred by most woodworkers because it allows you to tilt the blade away from the fence for most operations and eliminates the need for a sacrificial fence.
The main table section and one of the table extensions is cast iron. The cast iron extension doubles as a router table that can make use of the fence and included router table accessories. The only problem with this router table option is that the mounting holes are made for Craftsman routers. I was unable to mount my DeWalt router because the holes would not line up. The iron supports on the bottom of the table prevent anyone from drilling new holes in the top to accommodate other routers.
The absence of compatibility with other manufacturers is the only major problem that I have with Craftsman power tools. Sears distributes many high quality products. I buy their hand tools because of their quality and guarantee. I buy fewer of their power tools because of their proprietary practices. Sears makes a product that is good enough to compete with many other brands. However, the need to create tools that will only use proprietary components shows a lack of confidence on the part of Sears to be able to compete with other manufacturers.
The initial assembly and adjustment of the saw was very time consuming. Its not something that you can slap together in 30 minutes. It took me about 5 hours to assemble and adjust the saw. The weight of the iron table pieces make for a challenging afternoon if you are assembling the saw by yourself. This is something to consider if you have the opportunity to buy a pre-assembled saw.
The saw blade guard could be improved. It does not allow you to cut in the up position. You must also remove the throat plate in order to remove the blade and splitter for any non-through cuts, such as dadoes or rabbits. It would be nice to have a snap in splitter and kickback pawls.
A must have option, for those of us with limited space, is the mobile base that is included with the saw. I would prefer to see them use a little larger wheel for the base to make it easier to roll over small wood chips and dust.
The table saw also includes a basic, but good quality miter gauge. The gauge is very accurate and has slots to accommodate other craftsman accessories and shop made extensions or jigs.
It would be difficult to find another table saw with the fence accuracy, features, and overall value offered by the Craftsman 24820 in the $500 range.
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