Bridgewood BW-10TS
Tilting Arbor Cabinet Saw

By Jason Gauthier


BW-10LTS Bridgewood BW-10TS Specifications
  • Blade Diameter:  10"
  • Arbor Diameter:  5/8"
  • Max. Depth of cut @ 90:  3 1/4"
  • Max. Depth of cut @ 45:  2 3/16"
  • Table Size:  27" X 40"
  • Arbor Tilt Range:  0 -45
  • Blade Speed:  4200 RPM
  • Motor:  3 HP, 1 PH, 230 VAC
  • Table Height:  34"
  • Overall Dimensions with Fence:  44" X 39" H X 84"
  • Weight-Net/Gross:  409/474lbs.
Features:
  • 3 V-belt drive; hinged motor cover
  • solid cast iron table with extension wings
  • 4" diameter dust collection hook-up
  • Magnetic starter
  • 50" Align-A-Rip fence system
Choosing A Saw

Choosing a cabinet saw was definitely the most difficult tool purchase I have had to make. Not only were there an overwhelming number of choices, but also a huge number of reviews and opinions to wade through.

After mulling the issue for a couple of months, I decided upon the Bridgewood BW-10TS. I was unable to find any reviews of the saw, but after looking over the saw at Wilke Machinery in York, PA, and comparing it to the General, Powermatic, and Delta saws in their showroom, I felt very comfortable with the decision.

I also compared the Bridgewood to the Grizzly 1023S. Although the Bridgewood was a little more expensive, it adds a little more power, slightly greater depth of cuts (1/8" at 90 and 1/16" at 45 ), and a 50+ lb. weight gain. The greatest advantages of BW-10TS, when compared to the Grizzly, are the standard features of the Bridgewood that are optional for the Grizzly. "Out of the box," the 1023S is supplied with a rail system with a maximum rip to right capacity of 25". Optional rails ($149.95) increase this capacity to 52". The Grizzly lacks a standard motor cover a $29.95 option and popular opinion suggested purchasing a better quality fence to replace the Grizzly's standard Shop Fox fence.

In contrast, the Bridgewood comes standard with 84" in rails, motor cover, and Align-A-Rip fence an Accu-Fence system clone. The Bridgewood's added standard features negate the price difference if trying to build two similar saws.

I visited Wilke Machinery in January to look at the saw and then make my decision at home. However, I was so impressed that I back ordered the saw before leaving, and awaited the late January delivery date.

Packing

I may have been overly optimistic to assume a "slow boat from China (Taiwan actually)" would deliver the saw on time. The saw did not arrive until the third week of March. Not wanting to wait the few additional days for a freight company to deliver the saw, I drove up to York, PA, to pick up the saw myself.

The saw was loaded into my truck via forklift, and consisted of four boxes the saw (body, table, extensions, motor) in a plywood crate, and the motor cover, fence rails, fence, and miscellaneous parts were in cardboard boxes.

Having unloaded and positioned the saw in the shop by myself, I can attest to the fact that this is definitely a 2+ person job! The saw crate itself is the bulk of the weight and even using an appliance "dolly" left me feeling long unused muscles for days!

Upon opening the crates and boxes, I found that the saw table was wrapped in bubble wrap, plastic, and more plastic. Parts in the cardboard boxes also were wrapped in heavy plastic.

Assembly/First Impressions

The saw had a couple small defects. There were two paint chips on the saw body. The table extension wings also have 3 small (1/8"WX1/32"D) chips or machining marks?two on the right and one on the left wing. These problems will not affect the saw's operation, so I consider them minor problems.

I may have been spoiled when I purchased my jointer from Wilke. That purchase arrived completely cleaned of shipping grease before shipment. However, my saw arrived with all bare metal surfaces covered. One benefit of buying from Wilke Machinery is that they clean and test the saws before customers take delivery, so I am assuming that cleaning my saw was simply overlooked. Some elbow grease and paint thinner had the metal clean and shining like a mirror.

Most of the assembly was a breeze. Wilke partially assembled the saw for testing. I simply needed to attach the table wings, motor cover, blade guard, wire the plug, and other minor tasks on the saw itself.

The biggest problem was with the instructions for the rip fence rails?there were no instructions! I simply had rails and a bag of bolts, washers, and nuts. I spoke to Jim at Wilke about this, who also seemed somewhat surprised that the manual lacked assembly instructions for the rail system. After a couple minutes of explanation, I had the rails in place.

When I picked the saw up, I was told that the rail system design had changed slightly from what was featured in the catalog. This may account for a couple problems I encountered. The rear rail requires four hex bolts and washers, but the access hole is too small to insert the washer. Since the rail is enclosed all around, there is no way the washer can be inserted and held in place. The other problem was that one hole used to attach the rail to the table extension was off by about 1/4".

Cleaning, assembly, and tinkering took approximately 90 minutes. The table is as flat as I can tell using a straight edge and I did not have to make any alignment adjustments.

I have been extremely impressed with the cutting I have done so far. I am overwhelmed by how much more impressive this saw is when compared to the Delta contractor's saw it is replacing. When people have said cabinet saws are less dusty and noisy, they were not kidding! The saw is quieter than our household vacuum cleaner and the enclosed cabinet contains most of the dust that used to cover my hair and clothes when using my contractor saw.

The hand wheels are extremely smooth to adjust blade depth and angle and the fence rides along the rails like a hot knife through butter. The miter gauge is heavy, metal, and there is no play between the gauge and table slots. From the cutting I have done, the 3HP motor and brand-new Oldham blade I purchased for the saw have cut through 2X6, 3/4" plywood, and 5/8" MDF without hesitation.

Summary

If I had to purchase another cabinet saw, I most certainly would purchase the Bridgewood BW-10TS again. However, there are a couple of minor changes/complaints:

  • Include instructions for the fence assembly. This is especially important since the pictures in the manual do not show the saw with the 84" fence rails.
  • Replace the anti-kickback pawls. Those supplied with the fence are not sharp enough, too shallow, and the teeth are too closely spaced to grab even the softest wood. I intend to replace these soon.
  • One hole misaligned to attach rear rail to table wing.
  • No access to install washers with bolts for rear fence rail. Supply a better latch mechanism for the motor cover. The current latch is simple a knob with a screw. Because the latch is behind the power switch, it is difficult to align the latch and turn it to close or open the cover.
  • Three minor chips on the cast-iron extension wings. Add a sloped floor at the bottom of the cabinet for better dust collection.
  • Clearer photos and more detailed instructions in general.

For me, these are really minor complaints and certainly would not deter me from buying another Bridgewood machine or this saw again. The positive aspects of this saw far outweigh the minor problems I had. When compared to my contractor saw and the other cabinet saws I looked at, the BW-10TS is superior in every aspect. It is an exceptional machine in workmanship, operation, and value.

If you do happen to look in the new 2002 Wilke Machinery catalog, the BW-10TS is missing. The saw was substituted with left-tilting arbor cabinet saw. The absence of the BW-10TS was a printing mistake and Wilke says plans to continue selling these saws. They will simply be relying on sales flyers and word-of-mouth to sell them until the next catalogs are printed.


Top



© 2003 by Ellis Walentine by special arrangement with Wayne Miller of Badger Pond. All rights reserved.
No parts of this article may be reproduced in any form or by any means
without the written permission of the publisher.