Home Woodworking Woodworking Craftsman 21833 Table Saw Review
Craftsman 21833 Table Saw Review PDF Print E-mail
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Wednesday, 15 September 2010 01:46

When I started woodworking as a teenager, I was actually about 11 or 12, and I got my first table saw when I was around 13, back in 1991. I got Delta 10" Table Saw (34-670). I got it at Home Depot for around $350. I never adjusted it in the 19 years I owned it, but I probably should have. Eventually I decided to get a new saw, since the riving knife was now standard on new saws. It was a good time to get the riving knife and a quality saw. I searched and searched and settled on the Craftsman 21833 because it was cheap, powerful, and seemed to do what I'd need from a table saw.

 

Well, April 2010, I ordered the saw from Sears.com and had it delivered. It was a rainy Sunday morning when it came and it was huge. The box was about 2.5 ft square by 4 ft long. It took a few sessions of unpacking and dragging the sucker down the stairs into the basement, but I eventually got it in there and assembled. It was quiet and powerful. It took me a while to get it adjusted... blade parallel to the fence, fence parallel to the blade, etc. Then in June I realized that no matter how much I adjusted the blade parallelism to be absolutely perfect, within 0.001", I was still burning wood when cutting. I couldn't figure it out! I raised the blade, check the parallel and everything was fine. Then I started looking online and found other people were having alignment problems with the saw. The problem was in my opinion absurd, and a problem which should never have left the factory in China, yet there it was in my basement. Like others had done, I lowered the blade from the max height and checked the parallel... it was way off. The blade parallelism was changing as the blade was raised and lowered!!

 

Well, I called Sears and found out I could return the saw because it was defective and within the 90 day return period. None of the online posting mentioned a successful fix, and I even tried tightening and filing some parts, but it was a lost cause. So it just wasn't worth keeping the saw with a bad alignment problem. Then I called Grizzly and ordered their new inexpensive contractor saw, which turned out to be back ordered... then I got a call that the saw was discontinued. Great, back to square one for a table saw. I sold my Delta, so I had no saw for the summer. I checked the Porter Cable saw at Lowes, but it was low quality. The other Grizzly saws were expensive and backordered, and the Jets were expensive and had no riving knife. There simply wasn't a table saw in my price range with a riving knife.

I was worried about replacing the Craftsman with the same model because of all the people who mentioned an identical problem online. It seemed hit or miss to get a saw that functioned correctly. I decided to exchange the Craftsman for another 21833 and order the Grizzly G0715P in the meantime. If the replacement Craftsman had any problems, I would return it and wait for the Grizzly to come in.

The replacement Craftsman didn't have any blade alignment problems, but the fence rail was crooked... which sucked. So I called Sears and they replaced the fence rails. The miter gauge bar was also bent, so they replaced that. Because they only sent me the fence rail, I needed to order the ruler tape as well. When I got that ruler tape I laughed so hard...! The tape had been cut lengthwise with a pair of scissors and the bottoms of the numbers were cut off. Ahhhhhhhhhhh! Everything about this saw was poor quality.

Still waiting for the Grizzly, I decided to read more about it. I found the manual and parts diagram, but I noticed something immediately... the arbor lock was identical to the Craftsman... and the trunnions. Then I compared the Craftsman motor/drive diagram to the Grizzly and found that they were identical except for the riving knife. The outside of the Grizzly looked a lot like their cabinet saw... but the guts were the same as the Craftsman.

These two parts diagrams explain pretty clearly how the Craftsman 21833 and Grizzly G0715P have identical trunnion/motor assemblies. For me, it was clear that although the Grizzly had cast iron wings and a nicer fence and blade guard, it was essentially the same saw as the Craftsman. Whether its made in the same factory and therefor susceptible to the same manufacturing defects as the Craftsman, who knows. But in the end I stuck with the Craftsman.

Grizzly:

Craftsman:

So in the end, here are the positives for the Craftsman 21833:

  • heavy, pretty solid
  • built mobile base
  • seems powerful. compared to the Delta 34-670, it can easily rip a fir 2x4. however, using a thin kerf ripping blade may have something to do with it
  • 30" fence capacity
  • riving knife and split guard
  • Sears service and return policy is very nice
  • bought it for $409, plus tax and delivery... so around $500, compared to $891 for the Grizzly G0715P.
  • thin kerf blades DO work with the riving knife. The Grizzly manual saws to NOT use thin kerf blades, but the Craftsman manual makes no mention of them. So I don't know if my thin-kerf blade is just thick enough for the Craftsman and if it would or would not work with the Grizzly

negatives for the saw:

  • very poor quality control. if it was manufactured correctly and to spec, it would probably be a terrific saw
  • alignment problems with the first saw i had
  • bent fence rails and bent miter gauge bar on the second saw i now have
  • fence is kind of flimsy, locking mechanism is weak. again, probably just a manufacturing defect with my saw
  • washers under the trunnion bolts are very thin and bend easily. I replaced them with thick washers and that made it easier to align the blade parallel to the miter slots.
  • very difficult to attach the rear fence rail because of tight spaces, but it can be done
  • the guard isn't designed well because it exposes the blade from the side at certain blade heights

Overall I give this saw 4/5. It would be 5/5 except for the manufacturing problems

Last Updated on Monday, 14 February 2011 20:06
 
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