Setting up my table saw

The saw came in three cartons

We had a warm spell a little over a week ago (just before the big blizzard came), so I took advantage of the warmer temperatures in my garage shop to unbox and set up my new table saw, which I’ve had since early December, but couldn’t set up because there was no room for it.  The saw is a Jet JPS-10CW, a hybrid saw with cast-iron extension wings, and I bought it from Tools Plus (http://www.tools-plus.com), which normally provides $6.50 shipping on anything, which is an incredible deal, but they were running a special post-Thanksgiving sale, and not only was the saw discounted significantly, but shipping was free!  (This is pretty remarkable, given that we’re talking about a shipment of over 350 pounds!)

The saw came in three cartons–the larger one contained the saw itself; the long, skinny one contained the fence rail components; and the other one contained the fence itself.  Everything arrived in good condition, no shipping damage, and no significant damage to the packaging, either.  The saw and its parts (legs, extension wings, miscellaneous hardware, etc.) was packed in a sturdy foam block, everything in its own compartment.  I unpacked everything and laid it all out to make sure I wasn’t missing any pieces, and everything

Parts laid out for inventory

was there, down to the last screw, washer and nut.  There were even some assembly tools included–a couple of hex wrenches and an open-end wrench.  These tools were sufficient for most of the assembly, though an additional metric wrench was needed for a couple of bolts.

The saw itself, upside down in the carton

The saw was packed table-side down in the shipping carton, and although I tried to lift it out, it was too much for my tired, old back to handle, so I cut the carton away and broke the foam packing away so I could attach the legs (which is the first assembly step).

I was impressed with how sturdy the saw felt with the legs attached.  The fit and finish of all of the parts was really quite good, too–everything fit together exactly as it was supposed to, all of the holes for bolts lined up properly, and there were no burrs or other finish issues that caused any problems during assembly.  If you happen to buy this saw, I would simply recommend that you have a friend handy to help you set it up.  Once I had the legs on, the next step was to set it upright, so I had my wife and son come out and help me lift it and turn it over.  Attaching the cast-iron extension wings was a bit of a challenge, but I used the top part of the foam packing material as a stand and with a few blocks of scrap wood, I was able to get

Cast-iron wings, still in packaging

the wings to a convenient height and bolt them on without assistance.

One other thing to be aware of is that all of the ground cast-iron surfaces are slathered with oil or grease and covered in plastic for rust-prevention.  Have plenty of rags handy to clean these surfaces off before you handle them–and this isn’t just to help you keep your clothes clean.  You don’t want to drop one of those heavy wings because it was slippery.

Wings on, no fence yet

Although I haven’t really done a full tune-up on the saw yet, I managed to get the wings pretty much level with the saw table, simply by loosening the bolts a bit and tapping here and there with a dead-blow mallet before tightening everything down.  I can’t really say whether the saw table is perfectly flat, but it looks good to me.  The next assembly step was to attach the fence guide rails on the front and rear of the saw table, and adjust the fence.  There was some leftover hardware, which I discovered was intended for use with the optional extension table (which I didn’t buy).  But again, everything fit together well, and it was pretty easy to get things adjusted.

The rip fence is a nice one (though I’ve only ever used one other rip fence in my life, so I don’t have a lot to compare it with).  The sides of the fence are extruded aluminum, with integral slots on the tops for the attachment of jigs and fixtures of various types.  The fence glides easily along the rails, and clamps securely with moderate pressure on the clamping lever.

All done, awaiting a tune-up

The blade guard seems a little unwieldy, but you can prop it up and out of the way for blade changes, etc.  Adjusting the alignment of the splitter was one of the trickiest parts of the assembly process for this saw–the guard, pawls and splitter are all one assembly that doesn’t seem to come apart easily, so while you’re trying to adjust the little lock-nuts the guard attaches to, guard and the anti-kickback pawls are sort of awkwardly in the way, and there is little you can do about it.  But patience prevails.

Most of the time people tell you to just throw away the blade that comes with a new saw, on the assumption that those blades are junk.  The Jet blade that came with this saw isn’t a Ridge Carbide TS-2000 by any means (I have one of those coming), but it isn’t junk, and I’m definitely not going to throw it away.  It is a carbide-tipped combination blade that did a respectable job on my initial test cuts.  I still have some tuning up to do, but the saw works, and I couldn’t be happier about it.

One more thing:  I will probably re-wire the motor for 240V operation.  I’ve got the 240V outlet installed, and I’ve read that running at higher voltage (and lower current) is actually better for the motor.

So, some real sawdust has finally been made in my new garage woodshop!  (By the way, please excuse the poor quality of the photos here–they were all shot on my cell phone 🙂

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