Follow us on Pinterest
Welcome, Guest! Log In  |  Join Now

Tool review: 3-HP Tablesaws

Pages in this Story:
You'll like a riving knife
Quick change riving knife
Enlarge Image
On most saws, the blade-guard
assembly pops out completely,
and you insert a riving knife in its
place. The best systems require
no tools.
Knife with closed-kerf insert
Enlarge Image
On saws with closed-kerf throat inserts,
you have to reach below the insert or
remove the guard and pawls to remove
the guard assembly. This also makes
blade changes more difficult.
Delta riving knife and guard
Enlarge Image
Strip the Delta Unisaw of its guard and
pawls to reveal its tall splitter. You then
lower the splitter to make it a true
below-blade-height riving knife.
Not a true riving knife
Enlarge Image
After removing the blade guard and
pawls from the Jet and Powermatic,
the splitter/knife remains taller than
the blade. Riving knives for these
saws are sold as an accessory.

You'll like a riving knife

We're all familiar with the traditional tablesaw splitter, with blade guard and antikickback pawls attached, that's been standard equipment for decades. Mounted to the trunnion assembly at the back of the saw, it tilts with the blade, but does not move up and down. A riving knife, as defined by UL, differs from a splitter in that it mounts immediately behind the blade, moves up and down with the blade, and stands no taller than the top arc of the blade.

This allows you to remove the guard and pawls yet keep this safety device in place to make non-through cuts such as tenons and rabbets. Although a riving knife won't protect your hands from contacting the blade, it greatly reduces the chance of kickback. Of the nine saws we tested, six come with a separate riving knife that swaps with the blade guard/splitter assembly [Photo A]. Many of those require removing the throat insert to access the mechanism that releases the guard or riving knife [Photo B].

Delta's system is unique. Instead of trading the splitter/guard for the knife, the guard and pawls come off the splitter without tools [Photo C], which then drops down to below the blade arc to make it a true riving knife.

As they come from the factory, two saws don't meet UL's definition of a riving-knife saw. Both manufacturers offer riving knives as optional equipment ($30-$40), but, in our opinion, one should be included as standard gear.

Continued on page 3:  All pack plenty of power


Comments (7)
donlknight wrote:

Just bought a new Delta 36-L552, why with a $150.00 difference between a 3hp and a 5hp would you go with a 3hp saw?

7/14/2015 12:53:18 PM Report Abuse
jakewith597 wrote:

I'm in the market for a new 10" table saw. A Delta 36-5152 can be delivered to my door for $1274.00. I've heard nothing but bad reviews about Delta though. Can anyone say anything good about the saw?

1/6/2015 12:44:18 PM Report Abuse
shelcom wrote:

I'll take a Canada Made General any day!

12/2/2010 02:17:44 PM Report Abuse
climbing123 wrote:

I bought a Sawstop four years ago. I debated between it and the PM2000, but couldn't be happier with the Sawstop. It is built so well and is so easy to use. I've never had an issue cutting 12/4 hard maple on it, while my old delta couldn't come close to handling it.

11/13/2010 12:22:52 PM Report Abuse
gilstebbins2328678 wrote:

You didn't indicate which brands of 3HP table saws were used in the review.

11/12/2010 04:16:43 AM Report Abuse
Tlotimothy wrote:

I once attended a power-tool event at the Hardwood Connection in Sycamore Illinois. Their shop foreman said he'd assembled hundreds of large-scale power tools "from the factory" over his career, and nothing came close to the fit & finish of SawStop.

11/11/2010 04:13:27 PM Report Abuse
hosford6 wrote:

I totally disagree. I have a SawStop ICS and it defiantly is not under powered. just finished cutting 50 BDFT of 10/4 White Oak no problem. The machining is excellent inside and out. Highly Recommended.

11/11/2010 12:18:39 PM Report Abuse

Add your comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Register | Log In

Please confirm your comment by answering the question below and clicking "Submit Comment."


Connect With Us
  • Recent Posts
  • Top Posts
See More >