Jet Contractors Table Saw
by Benjamin Borows


I recently bought a Jet 10Ē Table Saw with 30Ē Exacta fence. Most of why I bought it was because of advice I received here at the Pond, so I wanted to give my initial impressions of it.

The saw came from the store in four boxes ≠ One held the auxiliary wood table, one held the fence rails, one held the fence itself, and one held the saw, stand, and all the little parts.

All appeared to have been packed securely, and the only apparent damage was some scratches on the frame, and a tiny rust spot on the saw motor. Some parts were heavily covered with oil, yet some were totally dry. As I unpacked the boxes, I didnít find the instructions for the exacta fence installation. (My first duh moment ≠ it was in the yet-unopened fence box) I called their tech support the next morning, was on hold for less than one minute (literally ≠ after a really bad experience with one of their competitors, I time hold durationís for kicks. Itís a sickness, I know.). Although I didnít have any documentation on me at all, they faxed me the instructions immediately, and sent me out the paint for the motor and the frame.

It took me some time to put the saw together, but that was due to my unfamiliarity with it. The instructions were clear, the pictures were sufficient, and the parts diagram was simple enough for even me to figure out what I was looking at. As an added bonus (do all companies do this? I honestly donít know) there were six different bags of parts, each labeled and accurately packed, which greatly helped me to figure out which bolt went with which locking nut.

Although it wasnít necessary (I did it myself), I would recommend getting some help in putting the saw together. Holding solid iron fences with your off hand while threading bolts into the holes isnít the most fun in the world.

After I put the table together, I went to put on the fence rails. I couldnít find the screws, so again I called Tech Support. It was after hours, and the woman I was speaking to didnít know where the screws might be, so she set me up with another package. They normally ship two day, but it was the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, so I would have gotten the package the Monday following. I asked, and she agreed to send it overnight so I could set it up over the weekend. Twenty minutes later, I moved the (hollow!) front rail, and the bag with the screws slid out onto the ground. I called them back, and cancelled the order, of course, but their support was appreciated.

I

had read a lot about tuning the saw, before I got it, and had just about decided that I needed one of those magnetic dial gauges, until someone here on the Pond said to use feeler gauges. I donít remember your name, dude (dudette?), but thank you so very much. Although the feeler gauges probably took longer to use, it still only took about fifteen minutes, and the thing is tuned perfectly. And, Iíve got some bucks in my pocket, and space on my shelf thatís not being taken up by a clunky gauge. Anyone else thinking about getting a gauge just for setting up a table saw, seriously consider a $5 set of feeler gauges, instead.

Anyway, the saw was set up, and I didnít have a blade. So, (all you Forrest guys sit down, please) I put the blade from my two year old Skil bench top saw on the new Jet, and it did a decent job. Then, I put my finishing blade from my hand held circular saw on it, and it made better cuts than I have ever seen.

I didnít really see many fit/finish problems with the saw, although Iím not the best person to notice these things. The auxiliary tables bolted on, perfectly level (after some playing with it), and the saw top is now one smooth expanse of iron. Nice.

The fence is rock solid. The saw fails the nickel test (stand a nickel on the saw, turn it on, watch it not move), but I think that may be due to the stock belt. It certainly doesnít vibrate enough to bother me, and if it starts to, Iíll replace the belt and see what happens.

Overall, Iím very happy with my purchase. I avoided Delta because I had a lot of problems with their tech support on a different product, Ridgid and Dewalt because I didnít think their products was heavy duty enough for me, and Grizzly, despite some very vocal proponents, due to my fear that itíd take a lot of time to fix up, time that I just donít have. If the Jet had required such work, I could have returned it to the store I bought it fromÖ The Grizzly would have required more work to return if I hated it. I also feel that for the amount of time I spend in WoodWorkers warehouse, touching, playing, and LEARNING, that they should get my business if possible.

I want to thank the helpful, informed, opinionated, educated, and very appreciated advice from Loren Hutchinson, Dale Goralczyk, Rod Wolfy, and everyone else whose name I forgot here on the Pond for your help and suggestions. If anyone wants any more details on the Jet saw, by all means email me.


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