Don’t ask me why, but I love Craftsman tools, especially the older ones. I read horror stories about them here and there, but it seems as though everything I have purchased with the Craftsman name on it has performed well for me. When I was first putting my shop together in a dingy, damp basement of our old house in Acton, MA, I knew that the table saw was really the backbone of the shop. I searched craigslist for a deal every couple of days. Sure, I wanted to go spend $2000 on a nice Craftsman Pro model, but I knew that wasn’t in the budget. I found a number of saws in my price range, but they did not seem as though they were good enough despite the fact that I did not even know what “good enough” meant.
My wife and I were on Cape Cod looking for furniture of some sort. I don’t remember what piece of furniture we were looking for and the odds are I didn’t really know what we were looking for that day either. I was just along for the ride. We went into a small shop in Harwich, MA and it opened my eyes to the “good enough” label I was stuck on. In the shop was furniture with a very Caribbean mojo. There was wicker mixed in with exotic woods and funky designs. I opened up some of the cabinets and explored some of the joints and found it exceptionally well-constructed. The exterior was made to look rough and antique-ish, but inside I could see that they were built by craftsmen with likely a coral of high-end tools. I found the owner of the shop and got to chatting with her about the furniture. She pulled out a photo album and began to explain.
The furniture came from a family business in Haiti. I started to peruse through the photos. The table of the table saw was an old door with a slot cut in it. The rusty circular blade looked to be one of those monstrous blades you see at a timber mill. The power for this contraption was provided by a belt wrapped around the bare rim of a small motorcycle. The picture was of a man standing at the foot off the door ripping a board of some dark wood while a kid sat smiling on the motorcycle holding the throttle.
Good enough?! Here I was a rookie woodworker wondering if a $500 table saw was good enough for me and this family in Haiti was churning out beautiful furniture with a moped-powered mill saw made from an old door. So I ended up with an old Craftsman 10″ table saw. You know, the kind you come across occasionally at a yard sale and think to yourself, “The just don’t make budget table saws like that anymore.”
So for this tool review, I would break this one into pros and cons:
- Price (About $300 in good condition)
- Construction. This is an old school craftsman with lots of iron. It is a challenge to lift with 2 strong guys.
- Simplicity. Everything is open and adjustable. It is easy to clean and use.
- Reliability. Judging by the age of this machine and the use that I (the 3rd owner) have put it through, it is a reliable work horse
- Needs to be re-calibrated about every 3-4 hours of cutting
- Very loud
- High electricity consumption (just judging by all the other lights in the house going dim when I power it up
In summary, I got exactly what I paid for. I love the weight and construction of the saw. I have no need to move it anywhere or to bring it with me for any reason so it is a true shop saw. If you stumble on one of these beauties on craigslist or at a yard sale and you are in the market for a fair priced, work-horse saw, this is a great piece of machinery. I would recomend either making or buying a feather board to keep those long rips straight. I have had this feather board for years and use it for almost every cut. Some other must-have accessories for any table saw are a dado blade (I use this one from Amazon) and some roller stands for cutting long boards like masts. Faire Winds!!