Large Machines

Here is a list of tools that I either own, have owned, or have had the opportunity to try in the past.

 

Dewalt DW745 Table Saw 

You can buy the Dewalt DW745 here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

 

This is the tool I use the most in the workshop, it’s a good quality contractor’s saw so is relatively easy to carry it around (even though I don't do that often), and I have found it to cut well and accurately.  I bought it new (and I very rarely buy new tools) for around £400– I figured it was worth spending a decent amount of money for it, as I knew I’d be using it so much.  I wanted a low profile riving knife for it but couldn’t find one for sale anywhere, so I ended up cutting the existing riving knife with my angle grinder and then shaping it on the grinder and belt sander – which worked out really well.  I also made a table saw stand for it which is mounted on casters so I can move it around the workshop with ease, there's a video for that on YouTube here if you want to see it.

Likes

  • The rack and pinion fence is excellent
  • The saw is very solidly built and feels robust, and I expect it to last many many years
  • Cuts very accurately - good enough for precision work with a zero clearance insert 
  • It's easy to tune up - squaring up the fence with the blade and setting the marker against the measuring tape can be done with allen key/screwdriver

Dislikes

  • I find the saw to be loud (ear protectors are a must while using)
  • The arbour doesn’t take a dado stack as it's an EU model
  • The mitre gauge that comes with it is rubbish, flimsy and doesn’t fit snugly in the slots, however that seems to be a common problem 

Axminster White Sliding Mitre Saw

 

This tool is no longer available to buy.

Before I got this, I did all my cross cuts on a cross cut jig on my table saw.  Now I use it for virtually all my cross cuts.  The sliding arm allows a cutting capacity at 90 degrees is 300mm and it has a maximum recommended depth cut of 60mm – it’s more than adequate for most cuts.  I bought it second-hand from a local woodworker who was advertising items for sale.  It was a real bargain! If you happen to find one, I'd recommend getting it.

Likes

  • Cuts very accurately and cleanly – there is virtually no movement / play in the sliding arm when it's fully extended
  • Has an induction motor so is much quieter to use than most electric saws which I really like
  • Good cutting capacity
  • It's a compound mitresaw so tilts and swivels for lots of angle cutting options

Dislikes

  • Doesn't have a depth of cut adjustment, so can't cut grooves/slots on it
  • I had some issues setting the fence square to the blade - there wasn't quite enough adjustment in it.  I tried adapting the fence by drilling out the holes to be wider, but still couldn't get it square.  I'm sure that this is probably not a manufacturing fault with the saw itself - I suspect it may have had a knock or something at some point before I got it.  Anyway, I got around this issue by replacing the stock fence with an aluminium angle at my mitre station.  Video documenting the process is available here.

 

Charnwood B350 Bandsaw

You can buy the Charnwood B350 here: Amazon UK

This is a 14" bandsaw purchased in December 2015 to upgrade my ELU EBS 3401 (see below).  It is one of Charnwood's "premium" models. I bought it new from Kendal Tools in the UK for around £500.  You can check our my video about it here

Likes

  • The rack and pinion table tilt system is excellent
  • Quick release blade tension
  • Rip fence is sturdy and accurate
  • Saw is powerful, cuts through thick blocks of hardwood and softwood with a decent quality blade fitted
  • Has some great accessories: a built in flexible light, a dust tray, useful places to hold mitre guage and push stick
  • Was well tuned straight out of the box 

Dislikes

  • There is a tiny bit of slack in the mitre slots when using the mitre guage, but less than 1mm of play so not too bad
  • The supplied 3TPI blade is poor quality and dulled very quickly

 

 

 
 
 
Elektra Beckum Planer/Thicknesser HC260M
 

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a good price.  It performs well and feels like a quality machine.  I’ve never used another planer/thicknesser so I don’t have anything to compare it with, but I'm generally really happy with it.

Likes

  • Quiet induction motor so it runs pretty quietly for this sort of machine
  • Build quality seems very good

Dislikes

  • I’m not too fond of the fence system and how it attaches to the top while in "jointer” mode - it attaches with a single cam lever and is awkward to tighten.  

 

 

Record Power BD150 Benchtop Belt and Disc Sander

You can buy the Record Power BD150 here: Amazon UK

Bought from Screwfix for £139.99 on "special offer".  This is much more powerful than my older Clarke sander (see below), although there was a slight belt tracking issue (belt wouldn't run true) and the sanding belt ended up cutting through the piece of metal that supports the top piece of the machine. Therefore I had to super glue on a piece of metal to create a gap so that it would operate properly... For that reason I wouldn't necessarily recommend this machine!  It is running OK now though.

 

 

Clarke CDP101B Drill Press

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand from a local woodworker for a really good price. I am looking to upgrade at some point, but the drill press isn't a tool I use very often so it can wait.

Likes

  • Performs well
  • Well built

Dislikes

  • None
  • Seems under-powered, sometimes it stops mid-drilling if you don't clear the chips frequently

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke CBG6SB 6” Benchtop Grinder with Sanding Belt

You can buy the Clarke CGB6SB here: Amazon UK

I've used the grinding stone a fair bit, and I use a 400 grit sanding belt for sharpening - putting a new edge on to old stanley knife blades so that they can be used again and again - that sort of thing.  I bought it new from Amazon, it was £65, and I’m happy with it for that price, but it's not a high quality tool.  For the occasional user it does the job just fine

Likes

  • Seems powerful enough to get most jobs done

Dislikes

  • The grinder eye shield guard broke the day I bought it – I dropped something on it so it’s my fault, however it does seem very brittle and cheaply made - but you get what you pay for and I always wear goggles when I use it anyway
 
Evolution Rage 3 sliding mitre saw and stand I NO LONGER HAVE THIS
 

You can buy the Evolution Rage 3 here: Amazon US or Amazon UK

Evolution got in touch with me and asked me if I wanted to try out this saw in a video, and kindly sent it to me free of charge.  I did a video review and comparison between it and my Axminster mitre saw which is available here. I also made a wine rack pallet wood project build video which is available here.  I was generally really impressed with the saw and was happy with how it performed.  I consider it to be good value as it isn't expensive,  I would have liked to keep it as a jobsite saw as it's light and easy to manouvre (and the stand that it came with is excellent), however it's very rare that I do any projects outside of my workshop, and I didn't have any space to store it, so I sold it.

Likes:

  • Ability to alter the depth of cut adjustment for cutting part of the way through material
  • Blade cuts through metal with ease - great for pallet wood projects or wood which might have nails in it
  • Light and portable
  • Has a lazer guide which seems accurate
  • Sliding arm is smooth and easy to manouvre
  • Cuts accurately 

Dislikes:

  • Doesn't cut quite as clean as my Axminster saw (probably due to the differently designed blade)
  • My Axminster has an induction motor so it's quiet, the Evolution does not, although at this price point you wouldn't expect one!

 

ELU Bandsaw EBS 3401 - I NO LONGER HAVE THIS - I UPGRADED TO CHARNWOOD B350 (SEE ABOVE)

This tool is no longer available to buy.

I bought this second-hand on eBay, replaced the blade and gave it a good clean up.  I was never satisfied with the way it performed and I don’t think it’s a very good quality machine. 

Likes

  • It cuts.  It does the job, but not particularly well

Dislikes

  • Build quality not great
  • It lacks power
  • Fence system is not accurate 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Clarke CS4-6C Benchtop Belt and Disc Sander - I NO LONGER HAVE THIS - UPGRADED TO RECORD POWER BD150 

I bought this machine second-hand from a local woodworker who was advertising items for sale, it was very cheap as it had seen a lot of use over the years.  

Unfortunately due to it's age the idler shaft that fits inside the drum on the belt sander started to wobble and needed replacing and the part is no longer available to buy so I bought a new machine (Record Power BDS150 - see above).

Likes

  • Decent build quality

Dislikes

  • It lacks power for some tasks