Woodworking Tool Reviews

DeWalt DW788 Scroll Saw Review

DeWalt DW788 Scroll SawWhen we received the DeWalt DW 788 Scroll Saw it came in a sturdy package measuring 12 x 22 x 30 inches with plenty of insulation for the additional parts: the saw body, cast iron table and a ziplock bag with several blades, mounting screws and a hex wrench. The assembly of the machine is pretty simple and relatively straightforward involving sliding the table's rear onto the cylindrical pin located on the saw's lower arm, attaching it with two hex bolts to the bevel scale. Slide in the saw blade and it's ready to go.

In terms of how the machine is set up, the scroll's base has a 25x10.5" footprint although combined with the table brings the saw's footprint to about 33x16". The saw comes with an optional stand but during operation, we noticed the low center of gravity coupled with its intrinsic weight and a lace of vibration, making bolting down the unit largely unnecessary. Another optional accessory is the work light which can be attached through two screws to the rear left arm.

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Bosch Saw GCM12SD Review

Bosch Axial Glide Miter Saw GCM12SD ReviewOne of the first things we noticed about the Bosch saw during initial testing was the vast difference in its appearance against the other saws available for the woodworking market. The company has chosen to integrate a 2-axis multi joint arm system with 12 sealed precision ball bearings which results in awesomely smooth traveling and fine control. Bosch has taken the sliding rail system and gone ballistic with its implementation bringing out a product that can, in our opinion, easily handle 1/32" accuracy. With its sealed ball bearings, you can forget about its performance degrading or the sawing becoming any less smooth over time. The saw also comes with an integrated "glide damper" allowing woodworkers to manoeuvre to different glide actions increasing or decreasing resistance, but the default mode is just fine too. Another key advantage of the kit is its unbelievable space saving capacity: it saves up to 12" of workspace, its arm flush folding into the back of the saw so no matter how small or cramped your shop is you'll always have space for this beauty.

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Rockwell SoniCrafter Review

You can always tell a “good idea” when others start imitating you. Such is the case with the Rockwell SoniCrafter Oscillating tool. If you are familiar with the original tool of in this ever expanding field, the Fein Oscillating tool then you will know what the SoniCrafter is like too, at least to some degree. Others have recently brought similar oscillating tools into the market place like Bosch and Dremel. These oscillating type tools are often the kind of tool you think you will likely never need … until the time you finally realize just how handy and time saving they can be. True they are probably not the tool a woodworker might use every day, but for those otherwise very tough and time consuming jobs, these oscillating tools shine.

What we really liked about the Rockwell SoniCrafter is the vast range of accessories that makes this tool as versatile as possible. Not only does it cut things like wood, tile and similar products, it can also grind, shape, sand and polish these items that most other tools are useless at.


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Steel City 50130 14 Deluxe Granite Bandsaw Review

 Steel City 50130 14” Deluxe Granite Bandsaw ReviewThe Steel City 50130 bandsaw comes loaded with the following features:

• 12” resaw capacity
• Granite table & lower wheel/cast iron upper wheel
• Worklight
• Mobile Base
• Roller bearing guides
• 1.5 HP motor

There’s no doubt the features are great, but does it measure up? That’s what we’re here to tell you. We’ll start out with what works, what doesn’t and conclude with a performance review.


What Works

The components come in nicely packaged; the paint job is great and the screws are pre sorted; the fit and finish are also, mostly, great. Granite components work well we weren’t worried about table warping or rusting; the bottom part of the table is super convenient for clamping and granite wheel possesses some great momentum. Furthermore, because the mobile base has been included it saves from the hassle of purchasing a new one. That said, we did have issues with its swivel system which requires quite a bit of manoeuvrings to set it in the right position.

The fixed work light is far better than the magnetic based one that was included in the 50100 version, which didn’t have a significant enough of holding to keep it in position which was problematic. Other great aspects of the Steel City bandsaw are the 4” as opposed to the regular 2.5” dust collection ports; variable speed operation at 1500sfpm and 3000sfpm; it’s got a great trunnion and the table supports aren’t soft or easily movable like some other saws on the market. The saw also provides a quick release level for de-tensioning the blade which even de-tensioned, still has a good deal of tension on the blade.

What Doesn’t
Since it’s based on the Delta 14” bandsaw design, it inevitably suffers from the same problems: poor ergonomic structure and a poor implementation of the blade structure.

It is very surprising that despite the intervening decades in between, the ergonomic structure of this tool has not been updated although we do remain hopeful for Steel City’s subsequent versions, if only because the company is young and seems interested in wanting to improve on previous models.

Moving onto the issue of the blade guard: Steel City seems to have elected for a guard that instead of folding around the assembly guide shielding you from the blade, goes all the way the down to the bottom of the guide bearings. So what results is you being unable to see enough of the blade to guide your way through cuts, which obviously is problematic.

So over all, while it reads great on paper the Steel City 50130 14” Deluxe Granite Bandsaw fails to deliver in key performance areas and while we’ve been mostly optimistic concerning their customer support, we are disappointed that they haven’t been able to capitalize on fixing previous issues with older models. This is troubling, especially if they want to increase their market share which if they continue in this status-quo perspective, they’re not going to get very far.