TABLE SAW REVIEW
By: Phil Krol
Reprinted with permission
I have had the opportunity to evaluate a new 4" table saw designed and built
by Jim Byrnes. Yes, the same craftsman who manufactured those superb draw
plates for list members.
I have a well-equipped shop, which includes a 10" table saw, 10 1/2" band
saw, 10" radial arm saw, scroll saw, home brew 4" table saw and a 2 1/4"
table saw. I mill all of my own model lumber from hardwood billets, boards
and occasionally logs (apple and pear). I also have an appreciation for high
quality tools and enjoy using them.
My first impression when opening the box was WOW!! This hefty gem, about 30
pounds is beautifully crafted from aluminum in its entirety which includes
the base (rubber feet attached), cabinet, table, and except for parts such
as fence, shafts, etc. which are steel.
The table measures 10" x 12" by 3/8"
thick with 2 table slots (for miter slide), one on each side of blade. The
miter slide is absolutely a work of art and unlike anything I have seen on
saws small or large, except for expensive after market offerings. This is
not a cheap make shift stamping, but rather a beautifully machined
protractor with pinned location holes deeply engraved with the degree
numbers blackened for better legibility. The degree numbers start with 90 in
the center, then on both sides are 75, 67.5, 60, 45, 30, 22.5, and 15
degrees. The bar is polished steel with a close tolerance fit (no slop) in
the table slots.
The design and craftsmanship of the fence is no exception. It is made of
steel approximately 1/8" thick by 1" wide screwed and pinned to blocks which
ride on round polished steel rods located just under the table, front and
back. There is a micrometer style adjuster for making micro adjustments to
the fence location. While not an actual mic head, it serves the same purpose
and for woodworking, is close enough.
I am told a mic head could be fitted
for extra cost, but I don't think it is needed and would be a waste of money
better spent on extra saw blades.
The fence glides back and forth very smoothly, and is locked front and back
with knurled thumbscrews. In addition, there is a 5/8" optional aluminum
riser which screws onto the fence, which has locator pins, raising the
overall height to 3/4".
There is a removable saw slot insert, which allows one to have several if
desired, for zero tolerance with an assortment of saw blade thickness. You
would lower the blade, install the insert blank then with saw running, raise
the blade cutting the new 0 tolerance slot for blade in use. These could be
made form aircraft plywood using the stock aluminum one as a pattern.
The trunnion is massive for a small saw, machined from 1/2" aluminum with a
1/2" arbor in sealed bearings. Raising and lowering the blade is
accomplished with a thumb wheel located on front of the cabinet. This
arrangement allows micro adjustment of blade height and then is locked tight
from further movement with a socket head screw operated with a long T handle
allen wrench (provided) inserted through a bushing on the right side of the
cabinet. Power is by a 1/3 hp motor, which proves to be more than adequate,
and runs quiet and smooth. The motor bearings are sealed, as there are no
The motor is mounted on a heavy duty swinging gravity bracket with a
pressure spring that maintains uniform belt tension throughout the full
range of raising and lowering the saw blade. The belt has multiple grooves
that ride on matching pulleys. A 20-tooth thin kerf carbide blade is
supplied, and a 40 tooth carbide blade is available for extra cost. Machined
flange plates (steel) are also provided and add to blade stability. 4"
slitting saw blades with 1/2" holes and of various thickness can be mounted
directly to the arbor, and adapter can be made for blades with different
size holes. Slitting blades are hollow ground and the teeth have no set.
They leave a satin like burnished cut on the wood, but are not suited to
cutting large stock.
I raised the 20-tooth carbide blade as high as it would go, 7/8". I turned t
he saw on, and it runs virtually vibration free. As a further test of this,
a nickel coin remained standing on its edge while on the saw table. I
proceeded to rip an old beech board 3/4" thick (actually 25/32) by 18" long
and hard as nails. I was absolutely amazed at the ease of these cuts. No
hesitation or stalling of the motor, and amazingly, no burn marks on the
wood. The 20-tooth blade is well suited to this heavy ripping and the
absence of burn marks on the wood is a function of the blade and feed rate.
I did the same thing with a piece of birch and hard maple. I didn't bother
with other wood, as it has been my experience that if a saw can rip hard
maple and beech, it can cut anything. The cuts were smooth and did not
require further dressing through a thickness sander as additional milling
was going to be performed on these strips with finer blades.
I changed the saw blade to the 40-tooth carbide. Blade change is
accomplished either through the opening in the base, or through the insert
opening on the table (which allow you to reach the arbor with a wrench.
[From the bottom the blade must be lowered to the maximum to be free of the
insert when sliding the blade off the arbor. From the top, remove the 4
insert screws and insert, raise the blade as high as it can go, and remove
blade. There is a flat on the belt side of the arbor that can be secured
with a wrench to facilitate loosening the nut on the threaded end.
Strips cut from the 3/4"stock ranged from 1/16" to 3/8" thick. From these
slabs,I cut planks 1/16" thick then 3/64" then 1/32". The 40-tooth blade
cuts these very well and leaves a smooth finish. The cross cut is also
smooth, but not as burnished as the finish left by a slitting blade.
Actually, for glue joints, the former is better. I can also say it was a
real pleasure using the miter slide and not having to check it for square
and angles. Just move it to the desired position and insert it for absolute
I have an assortment of slitting blades of various thicknesses, which I use
for fine work and making gratings. I mounted one that was .032" and started
dimensioning some small stuff. Strips 1/16" square, then more at 1/32"
square were no problem.
I then wanted to see just how thin uniform cuts could be made, and took a
1/16" slab and was able to rip strips 12" long down to .008" and .006"
thick. These bend into a pretzel with no steam and would be perfect for
gluing up mast hoops.
The saw performed admirable in all respects. I personally would not use a 4"
saw to rip 3/4" hardwood, as I have the 10" saw better suited to this.
However, for the model craftsman who is not into woodworking and can't
justify full size equipment, this 4" saw is by far the best machine I have
seen for a one saw model shop. With the 20-tooth carbide blade, it can rip
through any hardwood up to 3/4" thick. With the 40-tooth blade and perhaps a
couple of slitting blades, the saw can do micro precision milling on small
stock as well.
Jim clearly understands the fundamentals of table saw
function as evidenced by his design. The use of high quality materials and
the quality of build make this machine a pleasure to make sawdust with. I
just cannot find anything about the saw that would warrant a negative
Price is about $440
You can contact Jim at: