I also joined the Dark Side!

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  • I also joined the Dark Side!

    We picked up my new SawStop contractor model, 36” cast iron tables with cast iron router table, 1.75hp / 120v. As per the discussion on poolhounds Dark Side slippence I chose to stay with 1.75 hp because it’s the same as the Powermatic 64 that I’m ok with. As for why a Contractor model, it’s the same as the Powermatic 64 that I’ve used for a number of years and have had no problems with. I am also using the wooden cabinet that the 64 was setting in, they are nearly identical dimensions. The main reason for a Contractor saw is I will have enough money left from my 2020 sales of Tiny Trees to also purchase the same SS for my son to replace his Craftsman TS.

    The base cabinet I’m using was originally constructed to house my craftsman version of BT3, and with a few modifications it accepted the SawStop. Now I can add a drawer where the router lift sat in the 30” Powermatic, and some other mods I’ve been putting off.

    A right hand mounted Router table was not listed by Sawstop, only a left handed lift table dangling off the left end wing. A call to their technician assistance confirmed this. But the Woodcraft salesman said it would work in the right hand configuration with the correct cast iron insert. I had to cut a couple of notches in the front and rear rails to accommodate the miter fence slots and shift the rails to a different bolt hole set, but it all fits. Shifting the rails to a bolt pattern not used on the Contractor saw did move the ruler scale one inch back, but an aftermarket adhesive tape scale will solve this problem.

    I was also able to use the leftover stamped table wings to mount on the left wing. That gives me a place to pile “stuff” so it won’t be on my shiny new cast iron!

    Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by capncarl; 10-31-2021, 09:03 AM.

  • #2
    Have fun with your new saw.
    Loring in Katy, TX USA
    If your only tool is a hammer, you tend to treat all problems as if they were nails.
    BT3 FAQ - https://www.sawdustzone.org/forum/di...sked-questions


    • #3
      Wow - that's looking very shiny !! Congratulations

      I hope you will still be lurking here and sharing your wisdom. I have definitely learnt things from you.

      Best Regards,



      • #4
        Thanks nicer20! I haven’t had my Craftsman BT clone for over 8 years. SawDustZone is a nice stress free site with some great members and staff.


        • #5
          The wood stained drawer unit located under the saw box is one of my important to me keepsakes. It is a box joint, 6 drawer unit that I think was made in a junior high industrial arts class. I purchased it 20 + years ago at a local flea market. I recognized it as one that was like those made in my jr. high school…. The first year I took the class, 1964 I think, we made stick with a propeller on it while the 2 year class made these. I remember their whole class set up cutting the parts, then cut all the box joints. Actually the shop teacher operated the equipment with the students were assistants. Then each student assembled his own drawers and chest. The next year the 2 year woodworking class was discontinued and replaced by a mechanical class, so I did not get to build a drawer unit,,,,, shucks! Our mechanical class got to watch the instructor build a dune buggy out of a VW Beetle. I paid the flea market guy a few bucks for it, he was getting ready to leave and was going to dump everything that didn’t sell in the trash dumpster. I felt like I rescued it from being crushed, and have used it for saw and jig parts ever since. Very well made little drawer unit, I wish whoever made it had signed the back though.


          • #6

            Nice - and solid looking - setup. I'm somewhat surprised about the router table supposedly being intended for the left table wing. Every SawStop with the router add-on that I've seen in my local woodworking stores has had the router on the right. My local Rockler has the cabinet SawStop saw plus the sliding table attachment as their display model; the sliding table is on the left (like the BT3's default setup) and the router table package is on the right. Is the contractor SawStop set up differently than the cabinet saw? I'm trying to remember what the display SawStop contractor model looks like - what add-ons it had and where they were positioned... can't remember right now.

            Question on the rip fence: I futzed with the rip fence on Rockler's demo saw and felt it was fairly easy to lift the far (outfeed) end vertically... making fence mounted hold-down feather boards less useful; some thing the stock BT3 fence is remarkably good at. Is that true of your saw or is it just another example of "abused and/or incorrectly assembled display model syndrome" at my local Rockler? I just happened to re-read an old woodworking magazine article on cabinet saw comparisons earlier today and they noted the SawStop fence had the lowest side-to-side deflection at the outfeed end of the fence - almost too small to even measure. So in the critical direction the SawStop fence excels. I'm somewhat surprised that none of the cabinet saws had stock fences that locked to the rear rail like the BT3 fence. It seems like such a simple mechanical thing that would improve the fence a ton.


            edit: while I was typing this reply, you added your post about the drawer unit. Cool story. The car repair side of my shop has a 2x4 framed, plywood and steel topped, workbench. The 2x4 frame and plywood began life as a up-high storage shelf (above the cars) that I built and lag-bolted to the studs in the garage of my first house. When I moved, I took those shelves with me... one became this bench. There's just something cool/neat/comfortable feeling about having something I built for my first house still faithfully serving in my new house/shop while being a link to and a reminder of that house.
            Last edited by mpc; 11-01-2021, 12:15 AM.


            • #7
              Every advertisement I saw on the cast iron router table says it is for right hand installation inside the rails on 36” fenced Pro model saws and left hand mounting on contractor saws with cast iron wings. I have seen a couple of contractor saw set ups on pinterest like the one I have so others have figured it out too.

              The independent SawStop dealers assemble the saws in the configuration the want, and probably have figured out the ways to make all the parts fit like they think their customers want. I can see a lot of room of dealers to not like SawStops merchandise methods, but must get paid well and figure if they don’t carry the merchandise someone else will. The contractor saw was listed as an 8 hour assembly. Someone that has assembled several can probably beat that time but doing it on the crowded Rockler or Woodcraft showroom or warehouse would be challenging and expensive for the dealer to pay the labor cost. The Woodcraft I purchased my saw at probably had a 1500 sf warehouse area in the back of its strip mall store, and it was packed to the ceiling with mostly SawStop boxes and a small amount of other merchandise. Their area behind the store was piled high with pallets from most of this SawStop merchandise. It seems that SawStop doesn’t sell to the public so the dealers try to warehouse what they think they can sell….. obviously they saw the container ship and delivery problem coming! This is asking a lot for small dealers to handle.

              I have not seen a saw with a Besimer type fence that had a rear hold down like the BT has. The SawStop T glide fence is really heavy by itself, and it doesn’t have any attachment points for a vertical featherboard. The only way I could think to mount a guide or featherboard would be using a Rockler clamp like shown or a recent post here……and the Rockler clamp may not have a deep enough throat. For cuts requiring a vertical featherboard on the Bessemer style fence I’d make a jig that saddles the fence and holds the featherboard and can be clamped or held down by hand.


              • #8
                looking at your picture... In the corners you have a red handled device mounted that is adjustable(?) and pushes down against the floor/blocks to restrict movement? level? both?


                • #9
                  The red handle devices are Bessey T24248 Auto Adjust, Inline Toggle Clamp, 1" That are for leveling and lifting. I don’t like to lean on the saw and have it move. I do not recommend this adjustable clamp to anyone for leveling as the just put tension in the object. I replaced regular inline clamps that worked perfectly for lifting and leveling because we needed regular clamps for another job and a Bessey salesman giving a demonstration at Rockler talked me into using them. They were also wrong. I was lucky that my floor is reasonably level.


                  • #10
                    Good looking tool in spite of no SMT.
                    just another brick in the wall...