SawStop had sent over a JSS-MCA jobsite table saw with mobile cart, and I spent some time last night unboxing it and getting it setup. The point of this post is to get things down on paper while my first impressions is fresh.
Actually using the saw – that part starts later this afternoon.
The whole process took maybe 10 minutes, including some time hunting for a hex driver.
The box is huge, which is okay since it arrived via freight truck. The saw is pre-attached to the stand. All you have to attach are the wheels and cart handles, requiring a total of 6 bolts. 6 bolts, 6 nylon insert nuts, 2 washers (for the wheels).
It’s CRAZY how different the unboxing experience was, compared to just about every other portable table saw I’ve ever set up. I quickly learned that this was the least of the differences.
Everything about this saw is just different.
Open the top box flaps, and there’s a folded poster that has very clear unboxing steps. Cut out the side panel on the “wheels side” of the saw. Lift the saw and pull it forward a little bit. Attach the wheels. Stand it up. Attach the handles. Pivot the saw to 45°. Look at the back, remove a piece of red tape and a shipping pin. That’s it.
All of the accessories are already stored where they’re supposed to be. When opening a new saw, I like to find where the guards and accessories are supposed to go. This always takes a bit of time.
Hmm… where’s the riving knife and guard assembly? Oh, it’s in the accessory storage compartment, revealed when you slide the extension over.
The setup process was simply amazing. Well, amazingly simple. Simply amazing that it was so amazingly simple?
Then I familiarized myself with the fence.
I was actually warned about the fence. Maybe not warned, but when I spoke to a SawStop VP, I was told that the fence design was unique and that not everyone was a fan. It only locks in at one side, and can deflect at the opposite and unsecured side.
I could get the fence to flex a little, but not where it matters. From the user-end of the fence to well past the blade area, it doesn’t budge. There’s no reasonable way to apply pressure to the unsecured end of the fence, so the minor end deflection is something I’m just not going to worry about.
The sides are smooth, and you can deploy a small overhang to help support workpieces when the table extension is used.
Most table extensions lock in anywhere. This one can only lock when fully retracted or fully extended. I tried to lock it in the middle, and you just can’t. I’ll have to read the manual on this. I don’t see this really affecting anything. When I need a table saw fence extended, I often need it extended quite a bit.
The jobsite saw has a 25-1/2″ rip capacity. That’s enough for me. If I need more than 24″ or 25″, it’s time to break out my track saw. I do like that the tabletop is nice and large.
A short crank of the blade lift wheel, and it’s up. Turn it back, and it’s down. There’s no slow crank crank crank crank process. This makes riving knife and guard attachment a snap, and presumably allows for quick blade changes too.
Speaking of blade changes, the wrenches are attached to the side of the saw via a half-turn unlocking knob. I’ll take a photo when it’s time for the full review. So there’s no wingnut to spin spin spin, or to drop and lose.
Will the very quick and coarse blade lift affect cutting depth accuracy and repeatability, such as when cutting grooves with a regular blade or dado stack? I’ll have to see.
Blade Angle Adjustment
Squeeze the lift wheel and a rear wheel together, and the blade angle is adjusted quickly and smoothly. I’ll have to look, but it looks well balanced. Sometimes I have to fight with a table saw angle adjustment to get it right where I want it.
That was a problem with the Bosch Reaxx. The 0° stop wasn’t set properly out of the box, and it required a lot of finagling to get it calibrated just right. Every time I tried to get it held at 0°, it would shift a few degrees due to the unsymmetrical weight of everything.
With the SawStop jobsite saw, it locked in where I wanted it, and I was stunned at how well it did this.
More First Impressions
The anti-kickback pawl has fewer “teeth” than on other saws. But it looks to provide enough coverage. I like that the saw comes with a riving knife, and a riving knife and guard assembly that has attached anti-kickback pawls. It should allow for quicker setup and takedown.
The blade guard has multiple sections that fold down to accommodate for different heights. At one point I jammed one of the plastic sections, or maybe the anti-kickback pawl. I had lowered the blade, went to check something, and went to lower it again and it was stuck. I raised the blade and it lowered properly after that. Maybe I stopped it at the exact blade height for this to happen?
But I do like the guard design, With the blade lowered, the guard keeps a very low profile. SawStop also sent over a dust collection guard, which I haven’t unboxed yet.
The controls are intuitive, but habit has me unplugging the saw after it’s turned off. I forgot that there’s a separate on/off toggle. Flip the switch to start a safety check, and then raise and lower the paddle switch to activate the saw. When done for the session you’re supposed to turn it off via the on/off toggle. That’s something I’m just going to have to remember to do. Maybe I’ll tie a ribbon around the plug as a reminder.
As with other portable table saws, it’s loud. Wear hearing protection.
The saw flickered the garage door opener light (LED panels aren’t up yet) at startup. I’m probably not going to be able to plug the saw into my Festool CT 26 dust extractor vac, I’ll likely have to plug the vac and saw into 2 outlets controlled by different breakers.
Eventually I might have to buy a fixed dust collection system and design a control system for it.
Overall, I’m very excited to test out this saw. The sawdust’s gonna fly tonight! Well, figuratively. I believe I was told this saw has exceptional dust collection efficiency.
It was playing around with a SawStop saw at a Woodworking Show that opened my mind about the brand. Just 15 minutes with this jobsite saw has me inching closer to the thought of buying a larger one for my workshop – if I can ever settle on the layout and one that’s centered around a table saw.
The features and execution suggest that the saw was designed by a user looking to address frustrations that exist with other portable table saws.
But then again, I’d expect it to be far better than other portable jobsite table saws. At $1399, it’s a full thousand dollars more than a number of decent models.
Is it worth it? I don’t know yet. But I can tell you this – I can’t wait until later this afternoon when I have a chance to put it to the test. If actually using the saw is as enjoyable as the unboxing and familiarization processes were, it’s going to be a joyfully busy week for me.
Thank you to SawStop for providing a review sample unconditionally.