JET JWBS-18
by Mark M


I should start, perhaps, with a confession of cheating; since I bought a floor model, I didn't have much to assemble on this saw. I did, however, have to disassemble some parts to get the beastie [320 lbs. - 3 men & a boy] in ma ‘lil shoppe so I can still give an opinion on assembly. No Brainer; if you can read it'll take you an hour; if you can't read, it'll take you 65 minutes with just the diagrams.

General Fit & Finish - As expected, fit and finish are generally JET slick and crisp; paint is even, large sheet metal areas are free of dents, dimples or warps. All welds have been flat-surface ground with no scaling observed. Castings are well deburred, free of any apparent stress cracks or ridges. The support castings were inspected for porosity that might be expected on "out-of sight" parts on machines in this price range; a very slight pitted area was found in the center of the main table trunnion bracket, but since it is not under stress during operation, I deem it unimportant. Machined surfaces are uniformly finished with no observed stray tooling marks.

Table - Measuring for flatness beginning from the far left of blade (inboard) table edge found a hump, centered at the midpoint (blade center), to gradually increase from 0.009" to 0.24" at the far right (outboard) edge measured at 90* to the band slot. Measured parallel to the blade slot (90* to the miter slot) the table is within .003" of flat across the entire surface. A call to JET and we reached the conclusion that, cast iron being the imp that it is, we'll let the hump ride for a few months to see if it changes.

Tuning - Even though I bought a pre-assembled saw, cain't use ‘till I goes over each part. The Wheels were a cinch to bring co-planar with the upper bearing adjuster; literally took 5 minutes. Lower blade guides (thrust nicely tucked up close (1/4") to the underside of the table) were tweaked to spec in a few minutes. Fence was paralleled to the miter slot, and the fence gage zeroed to the blade in less than 5 minutes. Upper guide bearings (actually graphite faces that turn parallel to the blade - not fixed blocks) adjusted easily and precisely. The upper thrust bearing presented a problem - with everything else in place, the bearing's face was tipped back from vertical about 8 degrees. I brought it into alignment by shimming the block that mounts the assembly to the elevator rod, but then had to likewise shim the blade guard which was now tilting forward. Dropped the whole assembly down to just touch the top of a piece of 1/4" stock on the table, looked up at the indicator, and, funny thing, it points to 1/4" on the dot.

Since I don't relish shims (even the nifty brass ones I used), my contact with JET on thrust bearing alignment problem resulted in a new casting winging its way towards New Jersey. (Thanks, Rick.)

Having rewired the engine for 230 (beast pulls 18 amps on 115), and increased the tension on the drive belt, closed everything up, pluged'er in, and hit the switch.

Running - Yup, I hit the switch. I also saw the blade running North to South at a goodly pace, but have I gone deaf? I don't hear nothing! Wait, wait. Lets go turn off those damnable humming air cleaners. Ah-h-h, That's much better! Yes, the beast does have a voice, soto voce though it may be. Now, what happens when I turn on the DC . . . right, the airflow through the 4" port completely drowns out the saw. Now to cut sumpin . . .

Cutting - First candidate was a piece of 8/4 walnut . . . zing-zing-zing-zing goes the stock 3/4 blade, and a nice even 3/32 slice lays over on its side for inspection. Move the fence 3/16" closer, take another whack, uniform 1/8"slice of walnut that's just as wide as that board was thick. Hard maple next, same result, 2x doug fir, samo (Those Timberwolves will no doubt improve the cut surface - when they get here). I like this machine!

Can't you find something negative to say?

Well, how about it's not leaving any sawdust on the piece, the table, the interior cabinet, or the lower tire?

That's not negative!

OK, how ‘bout the detensioner needing 2 men and an 8' bar to turn?

Well, that certainly seems negative.

I exaggerated.

Oh? How much?

Takes a 6' pole.

Well, just about the time I was getting set to resaw that 10" piece of walnut I've had under the bench for 2 years, in walks SWMBO . . .

"Do you like your new toy, Honey?"

"(Drool, drool) Yesh, Mishtrish, I do, I do!"

" Oh good! And it's all set up and ready to go?"

"Yesh, Mishtrish, i' ‘tis, i' ‘tis."

"Wonderful, now all you have to do to use it, is quit smoking, right, Sweetheart?"

"(mumble, frumble, umble) . . . yeah. . ."



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© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
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