Potlach Feast

new tool

Ok, so after 10+ years of woodworking, my Jet Supersaw is the first real piece of equipment that hasn’t been rescued from the garbage, found at a garage sale, or ‘given’ (read, ‘no longer useful’) from a relative. Well, its a big step for me, but I couldn’t be more happy with the purchase.

After entirely too much research, testing, prodding, poking and reading various magazines, I decided to go with Jet’s new supersaw. For the balance of price vs performance, this seemed to me to be the hands-down winner. Woodwerks had a 10% off everything sale every time the Woodworking show comes into town. The saw sold itself even that the current price. The 10% discount was just an added bonus. I’ve been enjoying this so much, I haven’t had enough time even think about the Jet rebate.

The saw came in 3 boxes, the largest of which was approx 2.5′x 3.5′x 5′ and was on a wooden pallet. The total saw weighs in about 400 lbs fully assembled. Even after we took the motor out, and removed all of the various accessories to help the move the largest piece (the main saw) was really more than 2 people could easily manage. This thing is heavy so be warned to all of those people (like myself) trying to get this thing in your basement shop. The weight of this thing is very welcome for when you’ve finally got it in place, but it sure is painful trying to get it there. (Thanks Bernie for your help! ;).

In addition to the spot on accuracy, cast iron top, trunion size and the simple well-thought out design, I was pleasantly surprised by the additional “little things” . Things like the padded washers holding the saw to the pallet as not to mar the feet, the extra electrical nut in the wiring housing of the motor and the nice catch on the back panel, for example, were appreciated little surprises. Additional unknown-to-me-therefore-considered-extras like the “filter” at the bottom of the vacuum assembly to minimize the possibility of getting small chunks of wood in the dust collection system helped confirm my view that this machine was indeed very well designed.

The powder finish is beautiful. Except for a couple of places where there seemed to be some extra ‘dirt’ that was mixed with the powder, the finish is the best I’ve ever seen. A minor grumble, I generally like a good 20″ to the left of the blade. With the left wing in place I’m down to more like 14″. Ok, so maybe these missing 6″ will be something I’ll get used to, but not yet. I also seemed to be missing pages 20-24 in the user manual. If I ever decided to read this manual, this may become an issue 😉

I didn’t have as much of a problem with the fence as some on this list have stated. In particular, I didn’t find the deflection that has been mentioned in previous posts to be a problem. Rather it just seemed that the pairing of this saw with this fence didn’t seem, well… appropriate. Its less ‘heavy’ and smooth than the rest of the saw. After about a days worth of use, I took it off and put back on an Old Biesemeyer home shop fence that I had from my previous saw. Big improvement.

If you have the means for the Biesemeyer, I’d suggest going for it. If not, I don’t think its that big of a deal, but It won’t surprise me if Jet offers a beefier fence as a future option. I don’t mind loosing the sliding on/off switch option switching fences forced me to make. Given the Microglide design
doesn’t lend itself to working well with other table saws so I don’t expect a big after-market with this fence.

I’m usually reluctant to buy v1 of anything. One issue in particular that slightly concerned me was the motor / arbor belt. Finding a replacement may be a problem. But in the end this concern seemed small in light of the rest of the design and gave Jet the benefit of the doubt.

Getting the alignment of the splitter/guard with a thin-kerf blade has been a bit of a problem as well (I’ve never owned anything powerful enough that could use a regular kerf 😉 . Also, trying to find a zero-clearance blade insert seems to be somewhat problematic. Getting all of this to work right will are high on the to-do list next I get back in the shop. But I have to say, with the purchase of this saw I seem to be finding excuses to get back there on a much more frequent basis.