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JET JWTS-10JF Table Saw

10-inch blade, 5/8-inch arbor
Cast iron table and trunnion
JETFence - Rip capacities - 30-inch right, 24-inch left
Right leaning blade
Mobile base

Text & Photos by Tom Hintz

   Visit any of the woodworking forums and you are likely to see requests for opinions on table saws. Often there is more than one. Woodworkers research, investigate, ask questions and downright agonize over deciding which table saw to add to their shop. Whether it is their first or tenth table saw seems to have little to do with the complexity of this decision making process.

   When the time came to add a table saw to my workshop I did a considerable amount of research of the contractor-level saws on the market. In a perfect world knew I would buy either a JET or Delta cabinet saw, but the tool budget dictated otherwise.

   Before long, I was focused on the offerings from Ridgid, Delta and JET. I considered a few other brands but felt these three were the prime candidates in my price range.

   Before someone gets the email urge, I fully understand the following regarding a table saw purchase:

  • I know it's not a cabinet saw.

  • I know others feel there are better contractor-type saws out there, including from my three primary manufacturers.

  • I know it is not three or five horsepower.

  • I know it does not have a Biesemeyer fence.

  • I know it has steel extension wings. (So what?)

  • I know it cost a fast grand less than "the ideal" saw. I will get the ideal saw when I have the ideal amount of cash to spend on it; and my ideal wife agrees.

(Above) The undercarriage of the JET is pure cast iron and quality machining.
Click image to enlarge
(Above) The JET mobile base is heavy duty all the way and works great. The saw moves around the floor effortlessly when I want it to, and stays put when I want that.
Click image to enlarge

The result of my research was that the JET JWTS-10JF table saw most impressed me. I felt the JET was better built and better equipped for my present needs, and those I can foresee developing in the relevant future.

   My first adventure with my shinny new JET JWTS-10JF saw turned out to be getting it home in my Toyota Camry. I am convinced that potential woodworkers lucky enough to possess a functional forethought gene make their first woodworking-related purchase a pickup truck.

   The JETFence and mobile base came in separate boxes, both of which fit in the back seat, at large angles, with no room to spare. The saw was another story.

   The Woodcraft salesperson from whom I bought my JET JWTS-10JF helped me get the primary saw box in the trunk--most of it anyway. With well over 60-percent of the saws weight inside the trunk, and angled downward, I was confident my Camry was unable to generate sufficient acceleration to flip it back out.

   I keep a length of rope in the car for just such an "emergency" tool buy. I lashed the trunk lid securely to the box and drove like a rational person on the way home.

   Assembling the JET JWTS-10JF was easy and accomplished in approximately four leisurely hours. All of the parts were there, all fasteners were present and all of the parts fit perfectly. The instructions are, for the most part, easy to follow and generally lacked the plethora of dumb spelling and grammatical mistakes often found in poorly translated instruction manuals.

   One thing that surprised me was that nearly all of the alignments prescribed in the assembly process were right on the money, right out of the box. I set the blade to 90-degrees and checked it with my combination square. Right the first time. Crank it over to 45-degrees, and it was right again. I was getting the warm fuzzies about this saw and had yet to plug it in.

The JETFence (top) was easy to align, and has remained aligned since.
(bottom) The heavy fence rail extrusion is in no small way responsible for the repeatability of this fence.
Click images to enlarge

   After assembling the fence and aligning it with a miter slot as per the instructions, I tightened the bolts and it has retained that alignment ever since. I have yet to see any kick back tendencies, burn marks or irregular cuts.

   The fence assembly is rigid enough to withstand any reasonable side loads it may encounter. Certainly, it could be deflected if a lateral force is excessive, but I doubt the high-priced alternatives would fare much better under similar loads.

   One of the eye-catching features of this JET JWTS-10JF is the front fence rail. It is a heavy aluminum extrusion with enough meat to withstand most inadvertent foolishness with no loss of accuracy. A large, easy to read scale is inset into the rail, visible through a magnifying lens insert in the fence base. The fence marker needed only a very small adjustment to be true to the outside of the blade.

   My JET JWTS-10JF came with stamped steel wings. I know the saw looks very nice with cast iron wings, but other than that, I have serious doubts there is any other tangible advantage to the cast iron. This is especially true of the JET steel wings, which are formed from very heavy gauge steel. Their surface is formed into a smooth grid pattern and logo, covered with what appears to a baked powder coating. Together they allow work materials to slide across their surface easily.

   The blade height and angle adjustment handles are nicely made and operate very smoothly with minimal effort. Both wheels have locking handles located at their centers that make one-handed adjustments easy.

   The biggest problem in assembling this saw was getting the large electric motor in place and adjusted. The process is not complicated, just awkward due to the substantial weight of the motor and the angle of the mounting plates.

   I cut a length of 2x4 long enough to prop the motor plate up at a more level attitude. That made this portion of the assembly and adjustment much easier. After removing my "crutch," I lowered the assembly into its operating position, made the final adjustments, and tightened the mounting bolts fully.

(top) The miter gauge (I know it's dusty, this is a working machine!) supplied with this saw is all metal, heavy duty and the pre-set stops were right on the money.
(bottom) The miter slot is a real "T" slot and accommodates all tools designed for this standard configuration.
Click images to enlarge

   The sheer size of the electric motor (1 ½ hp rating on 110 current) had me worried that my wimpy-acting circuit breakers would surrender when I hit the "on" switch. I pushed the "On" switch expecting the worst, but the saw hissed up to speed and ran smoothly. No warm cords or unsteady circuit breakers.

   The miter gauge supplied with the JET saw is full sized, and made of actual metal. It has a nice flip-stop that engages adjustable stops at zero and both 45-degree increments. All three preset stops were right on the money as far as my measuring capability could reveal.

   The miter gauge bar has the horizontal wheel on the leading edge that fits snugly in the corresponding t-slots on the saw table and prevents wandering or tipping out.

   The mobile stand included in my deal is also very heavily built. The rectangular tubing used to fabricate the framework is heavy walled and shows first class welding throughout. The single swivel roller is heavy duty, features a foot-operated lock and has no tendency to bind up under the substantial weight of the JET JWTS-10JF.

   The stationary wheels have a hand-adjustable brake/lock that works easily. A nice touch is a metal bushing that protects the stationary wheels from the bolts that serve as axles.

    My shop is small which means I am constantly moving the JET JWTS-10JF saw. The JET JWTS-10JF moves very easily when I want it to, and stays put with the "brakes" set. The three-wheeled mobile base is both wide and very low, both of which contribute to the extremely stable feel you get when working with the machine it supports. I cannot think of anything else to ask of a mobile base.

When you first reach for the "On" switch, you see this is a seriously designed machine. The switch is positive, big and placed where you need it.
Click image to enlarge

   With the saw now completely set up and all fasteners checked a final time, I was ready to cut wood. My appreciation of this piece of equipment was just beginning.

   In the weeks since I bought my JET JWTS-10JF-10JF saw I have run untold feet of lumber through it. I ripped 2x6's with ease, cut very accurate rabbets and even cut 45-degreee miters that match my best combination square perfectly.

   Though I have used my new JET JWTS-10JF extensively, and tried all of the operations I can think of, I have yet to find a problem or tendency I am unhappy with.

   For those who might seek my advice, I think you owe it to yourself to look at the JET table saws very hard before making your final decision. It is probably impossible to build a table saw that meets everyone's expectations, but I think the JET is very close. For the money, I do not believe there is a better contractors style table saw on the market.

UPDATE: (Note: This JET has been replaced in my shop with a Delta contractor-style saw. To see that review - Click Here)

I have been running every board I can find through this saw and it continues to breeze right through them. No burning, chipping, kicking back, nothing. It runs smooth and stays perfectly aligned. I checked it again yesterday and the blade and fence are both right on the money with no adjustments since I set it up the first time.

  

 The JETFence is surprisingly stable and gives no hint of deflecting. I do block it when ripping 4 x 8-foot sheets of plywood because of the tremendous leverage that size material brings, but I would block any fence under the same conditions.

   I have added a home-made dust collection system (see the link below) and a SystiMatic blade, but other than that, the JET remains as it came out of the box.

   The mobile base is a great addition that you should consider. I believe this one is an HTC and is worth every penny paid. The saw rolls around the shop effortlessly, and being able to lock all three wheels makes it stay put when I want it to.

Read about how I greatly improved saw dust collection on my JET for $20! - GO

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