Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Craftsman 10" Contractor's Saw Model 21833 - Part 2

In Part 1 I talked about the unboxing of the saw, and a quick overview of the assembly. 


Here in Part 2 I will discuss the issues and challenges I discovered while putting this bad boy together.


First, I'd like to talk about saw blades. A 10" circular saw blade is usually attached to an arbor with a nearly 1:1 relationship with an electric motor. That motor is usually a 3450 rpm motor in table saws. So the arbor is spinning at 3450 rpm. The edge of the blade is moving at nearly 100 mph! Also, a blade gets pretty hot plowing through wood causing heat expansion and possible warping. That is why you see the little curly cutouts in some of the better saw blades.


Now, if a saw blade is under all these stresses, you want it to be absolutely clean, smooth, solid. You want it to mount perfectly flat against the arbor. You don't want any pits or voids in the metal. Well, the blade that came with the 21833 meets NONE of those things. The arbor hole has pits *AND* burrs. There are pits throughout the blade. And the hole doesn't even fit solidly over the arbor, being a smidge sloppy. (Note that my old Delta Industrial blades have NONE of those problems. No slop on the arbor, no pits, no voids, and no burrs!) 


The first two pics in this post show both sides of the blade. That stuff makes me incredibly nervous. So that blade will *not* be used on my saw. I'll stick with my 9" Delta Industrials for now until I can order a nice Freud or Forrest. 


During the saw's assembly, there were some challenges with tolerances. Not a huge problem, but be ready for them. Things like bent steel not being bent exactly as it should. Massaging the metal by tightening screws a little at a time in whatever center-outward pattern fits the number of screws will take care of it. Also, a couple of the M8 screws had burrs on the threads. I chased those threads with a metric die set I have so no biggie. But if you don't have one, a small file should take care of it. Or call Sears and have them send you some replacements. 


One kind of biggie was on the front rail. The fence rails are each made from two parts butted together with a plastic coupler in between. Aside from the PITA that the rears were, the design seems solid. However, on the front rail, where the two parts come together, there was a raised lip on each side. This made a bump whenever the fence mount was moved over it. Plus, I had to account for those lips when adjusting the fence, so it was never as tight as it could be. I decided to sand those lips off rather than deal with the challenges of leaving them in place.  Made a huge difference in how smoothly the fence mount moved along the rail in that spot.


Next I'll talk about tuning the saw in Part 3. It was much easier than I thought it would be!

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