Author Topic: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes  (Read 1415 times)

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Offline Prokeezy

  • Posts: 3
Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« on: February 25, 2021, 09:39 PM »
Hello FOG,

This is my first post on here and, feeling like I’ve found a group of like minded consumers, I wanted to solicit some advice about my current table saw. A family relative got me into woodworking 3-4 years ago and I’ve made a lot of great furniture that I’m really proud of during that time. It wasn’t until last summer I was able to get a garage of my own (apartment renter in a city) to wrench my car and do woodworking projects.

So here is where I’m at- I hate this Dewalt Flexvolt battery operated table saw I bought last summer. I bought it because I had time to build some shop furniture ahead of moving to my new apartment, but didn’t know what the power situation would be in the garage. Turns out the garage has decent wiring and handles the near 15a draw on my 115v 13” planer just fine.

Now I’ve built some pretty awesome furniture out of 4/4 to 8/4 hard maple, white oak and walnut with this table saw; but not without a ton of blade deflection and lots of burning/blade marks. Honestly, I didn’t know how bad it was until I bought my TS75.

Dewalt recommends you use the proprietary 8.25” blade to extend battery life, which has a thin kerf and 24 teeth. I just threw a 30 tooth, 8” Forrest Woodworker II on it today thinking I could improve this saw, and it burned every piece of hardwood I sent through the machine despite trying to feed as carefully as I could. I’m really annoyed at this point with the machine and am not really motivated to buy a 24t Diablo blade for it after spending $120 on the Forrest. On top of all this, it doesn’t accept a dado stack which has cost me a lot of time on past projects. Should I expect worse cutting performance from a thicker kerf 24t blade, because it’s asking more from the saw?

I am planning for a cross country move in the next year and haven’t bought my “forever” table saw yet because it doesn’t make sense to have that until I move (and own my workspace). I spent all winter looking for a used contractor saw and never found the right one. If I bought a normal 115v Dewalt Jobsite table saw, do you think I would see a considerable increase in performance over this flexvolt? I’m really torn on what to do. I truthfully don’t want another job site table saw. Ideally I’d close my eyes and buy an Erika 70 or 85; but at that expense I think I’d rather have a proper cabinet saw. Not to mention, I am not sure you can get the 70 on 115v any longer. Shame that Festool’s CS50 and CS70 are difficult to get stateside, and from what I can tell have a pretty junk fence (I need to rip mostly).

Honestly I’d buy the cabinet saw to save my sanity this summer, and figure out the headache of moving or selling it down the line. But, if the corded 10” job site saw is going to hog through my rip cuts that much better I’m willing to go buy one too.

Thanks in advance!


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Offline Birdhunter

  • Posts: 3417
  • Woodworker, Sportsman, Retired
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2021, 02:31 AM »
My forever table saw is a SawStop Industrial model with the 3HP motor. Extremely powerful and beautifully engineered. But, it’s expensive, large, and requires massive dust collection capability. I get glass smooth cuts of great precision in the hardest baddest woods.

I also own the TS55 with a collection of rails.  There is some overlap in functions between the table saw and the track saw, but not a lot.

Until you can buy your forever table saw, look at an older Delta Unisaw with the Baldor motor. I had one and it was a wonderful saw with a small footprint.
Birdhunter

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2021, 07:03 AM »
I would suggest stay with what you have until you move and use the recommended blade, at least the correct kerf. The WWII puts more load on the motor and is probably reducing the blade speed causing the burning.

Or sell the FlexVolt saw and put the money toward a SawStop portable saw. Not ideal but gets you a better saw now.
-----
It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 418
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2021, 07:46 AM »
I don't think investing in a current jobsite saw would be a productive change if your focus is furniture. For me there are two good options for a table saw.  If you desire blade stop safety it's SawStop.  If you don't then by far the most cost effective option is buying and, where necessary rehabbing a classic table saw like the Delta Unisaw, PM66 etc. from the 80's or earlier before they were offshored and value engineered.  I have a Delta Contractor's saw I bought new 35 years ago.  I recently replaced the arbor bearings and the motor and with the Incra TSIII fence system and a Forrest WWII blade it performs superbly.  If I were shopping now I'd target a Unisaw as they are widely available, parts are easily obtained and when dialed in the performance would be a solid notch better than my Contractor's saw.  For perhaps $800 to $1,000 total in purchase and rehab you could have a table saw that will serve you well for the rest of your life.  If you consider this route you will find this resource to be invaluable:

Old Woodworking Machines
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 07:48 AM by kevinculle »

Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 748
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2021, 08:45 AM »
Interesting feedback on the Flexvolt saw.

I've been using a Erika 70 for on-site work the last five years or so, and I just love it for its power, precision, and compact, all-in-one nature.

That being said, the Erika saws are no longer available in 120V, so if/when my 70 needs replacement, I may be forced back into a table saw + miter saw situation. If that were the case, I thought I'd be looking at a cordless Makita 7-1/2" miter saw, and was thinking of a cordless table saw (hopefully Makita, if they release one, but would settle for Dewalt or Milwaukee if necessary). These days I'm mostly performing trim carpentry and "second fix" work, so I'm more concerned with portability than capacity.

How did the Flexvolt perform with 1x hardwoods?

In terms of a "forever saw", I'm not sure there is such a thing. I just acquired a Felder KF700S with a 10' slider. It's an amazing saw, but it already has me eyeing the Format4 Kappa saws... For you, to some extent it depends on whether you need mobility or not, and what your budget is.

The Erika 70/85 saws are fabulous machines, but as you guessed they're really optimized for portable use, and for the same money you can get a really nice stationary machine.

I'm firmly in the Euro-slider camp. The SawStop machines look nice, but the blade-stopping technology only prevents amputation injuries, and does nothing to prevent kickback events and other hazards. The "classic" machines tend to not have riving knives, so they're out of consideration for me. With the Euro- saws, the operator stands perpendicular to the blade, and the multitude of clamping options and different workflow means your fingers should never be anywhere near the blade.

If your budget would accommodate an Erika 85, and you're mostly planning on working in your Shop, I'd take a hard look at the Hammer K3 saw or even the B3 saw/shaper machines. They're considered "entry level" within the European-made machine world, but I've found my other Hammer machines (A3-41, HS950) to be superior to the Asian made competitors (Powermatic, SawStop, Jet, etc...) in terms of functional performance. A Hammer K3 with 31" rip, 31" slider costs just a little more than a Erika 85, but will give you dado capability, and there's a accessory for straight-line ripping pieces longer than the sliding table.

https://us.feldershop.com/en-US/en-US/en-US/Sawing/Machines/Hammer-K3-winner-31x31-oxid.html?force_sid=bto17orspocegs89rdsu0i8ja3

The biggest challenge you'll find these days is actually getting your hands on a machine. My KF700S had a ~7 month lead time, and I see Felder is predicting a 5-7 month lead time on their K3 saws....

I hope this helps, looking forward to hearing where you land.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2021, 08:48 AM by Tom Gensmer »
CT-MIDI, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF-1010, OF-1400, MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x4), MFT/Kapex (x3), KA 65 Conturo, endless Systainers

Offline Prokeezy

  • Posts: 3
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2021, 01:49 PM »
Until you can buy your forever table saw, look at an older Delta Unisaw with the Baldor motor. I had one and it was a wonderful saw with a small footprint.

I've come to the personal conclusion that the SawStop ICS and PCS saws are pretty good value for money relative to other name brand saws. I would consider the PCS for my long-term saw. I can recall at least one occasion where a riving knife prevented some hardwood I was cutting from becoming a missile, and I'm pretty hesitant to consider a saw which doesn't have one. For that reason I've been admittedly picky in my search for a new saw. It's funny you bring up the track saw, I've been building an assembly table with an MFT-top and DashboardPWS since I bought my TS75. While I'm new to Festools and Tracksaws generally, it has cut down the tasks I need a table saw for and makes the justification for a large table saw harder to make. (for my garage/parking needs)

I would suggest stay with what you have until you move and use the recommended blade, at least the correct kerf. The WWII puts more load on the motor and is probably reducing the blade speed causing the burning.

Or sell the FlexVolt saw and put the money toward a SawStop portable saw. Not ideal but gets you a better saw now.

I am considering just getting another thin kerf 24t blade and keeping this thing for the time being, it's really my only option if I keep it. Do you think the SawStop Portable Saw can handle 8/4 hardwoods from time to time? Realistically, I use 4/4 90% of the time. If someone can vouch that it is a decent option I'd go for it. Youtube reviews tell me that the SawStop Jobsite Saw is less powerful than the Dewalt jobsite; so curious if I'm missing something on this. Logically though, a 115v saw is going to be more powerful than a 60v saw...

I don't think investing in a current jobsite saw would be a productive change if your focus is furniture. For me there are two good options for a table saw.  If you desire blade stop safety it's SawStop.  If you don't then by far the most cost effective option is buying and, where necessary rehabbing a classic table saw like the Delta Unisaw, PM66 etc. from the 80's or earlier before they were offshored and value engineered. 

Thank you for your input on the jobsite saw not being ideal for furniture building. It feels that way, honestly. That's why I decided to buy a normal kerf high-quality blade and try to make it work. Not having a dead-flat cast iron top sucks. I always find myself thinking about the lack of surface area, the small fence, and how I am going to compensate for that. I'd love to get a PM66. I like the Powermatic stuff, even the recent made-in-taiwan stuff; I guess they're all built in the same factories anyways. Space and the move makes it a losing ROI proposition. If your Delta Contractor saw with the Incra Fence and recent updates came up on Craigslist, I'd pay asking price! Ha! Weighing your comments here about another jobsite saw...

Interesting feedback on the Flexvolt saw.

I've been using a Erika 70 for on-site work the last five years or so, and I just love it for its power, precision, and compact, all-in-one nature.


Hey Tom, I'm pretty sure I've read all your posts on FOG and the Mafell User Forum about this saw! Haha. Thanks for confirming the 120v deal on the Erika 70, I thought I read that somewhere too. After making this post last night, and looking at Timberwolf tools again online; to my surprise the address on their website is just 1.5 miles up the road from me. I might give them a call just to see if they are aware of any 120v Erika's out there for sale. I appreciate your insight on the saw, I definitely see it's value. This is a hobby for me, so the ability to fold up a table saw between projects is invaluable for me long term. That considered, I think I could be equally happy with an Erika 70 or a Cabinet Saw; just doubly-poor.

If you mean 1" hardwoods, when you ask how the Flexvolt performs on 1x; I mean honestly it performs admirably. But in order to cut efficiently, it needs an aggressive 24t blade that leaves a lot of marks behind and burns are pretty common. The cut quality from the TS75 with the stock blade is miles beyond it. I can keep making it work, but if a corded 10" 115v Jobsite saw will fix this issue I'm having- I will happily go buy one and put this Flexvolt on Craigslist.

A Hammer A3-26 would go in my dream shop. Or maybe the Minimax Combo machine. I see your logic for Hammer K3. Honestly, that's kind of overkill for me right now. Who knows though, last summer I thought a cordless table saw would get me by?  [embarassed]

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 418
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2021, 06:27 PM »
"Classic" table saws need not present kickback issues at all.  The root cause of kickbacks are poor alignment between the blade, miter gauge slot and fence of the table saw.  While you are rehabbing that classic you can dial in the alignment between the blade, tabletop and slot and fence to minimize the risk of kickbacks.  Then you easily add safety devices that are no substitute for proper alignment but just provide additional constraint of the workpiece as it passes by the blade.  My classic is equipped with a zero clearance insert that includes the Micro Jig splitters.  The splitters are mounted using an included template so that the sides of the two splitter blades align with both the fence side and the outside of the table saw blade.  In my opinion better than a simple riving knife.  I also have installed Board Buddy anti-kickback wheels on the fence of my classic.  With a saw that is properly aligned and these devices to constrain the workpiece I have never had a kickback.

Offline Michael Kellough

  • Posts: 5132
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2021, 06:35 PM »
"Classic" table saws need not present kickback issues at all.  The root cause of kickbacks are poor alignment between the blade, miter gauge slot and fence of the table saw.  While you are rehabbing that classic you can dial in the alignment between the blade, tabletop and slot and fence to minimize the risk of kickbacks.  Then you easily add safety devices that are no substitute for proper alignment but just provide additional constraint of the workpiece as it passes by the blade.  My classic is equipped with a zero clearance insert that includes the Micro Jig splitters.  The splitters are mounted using an included template so that the sides of the two splitter blades align with both the fence side and the outside of the table saw blade.  In my opinion better than a simple riving knife.  I also have installed Board Buddy anti-kickback wheels on the fence of my classic.  With a saw that is properly aligned and these devices to constrain the workpiece I have never had a kickback.

But natural wood with internal tension does present a kickback issue. If you rip a piece with internal compression tension and it bows such that it pushes against both the blade and fence it can end up flying back at you before the far end even gets to a splitter.

You have a nice set but a “classic” tablesaw does not have Board Buddies and might not even have a splitter.

Offline kevinculle

  • Posts: 418
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2021, 06:39 PM »
Agreed...this is why I do most of my ripping of roughsawn hardwoods on my classic bandsaw, if things start to bind there is no kickback.

Offline neilc

  • Posts: 3013
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2021, 10:25 PM »
I have a Dewalt DWE7491RS job site saw that I have used extensively on my farm and liked it.  Both my son and son-in-laws have the same saw and they too like theirs.  I think it offers up to 32" rips from the fence.  Rack and Pinion fence adjustment is accurate and nice.  Easy to break down and move to a corner or load in a car or truck.  Downsides are dust collection and noise.

When I moved and set up a new shop in my home, I chose the Sawstop Job Site Saw.  I like it a lot - safe, portable and does not take up a lot of room.  I've found the dust collection to be good.  It has a riving knife as well as an over-blade dust collection with anti-kickback.  I debated their contractor and larger saws but did not want to dedicate that much room in a 2 car garage (I have a 3 car, but use 1 1/2 for the workshop most of the time.)

I looked hard at the Erika that Tom mentioned above.  Nice saw but it was going to cost over $4500 with the accessories.  It would not do dados which was a shortcoming for my needs.  But the features were nice.

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2886
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2021, 11:44 PM »
I love my Erika 85 - it is an amazing piece of machinery and is super accurate and flexible. I love being able to break it down to the task at hand and it stores out of the way. Does not do dados, but I typically use a router for those types of cuts anyway. I also have a 10 inch cabinet saw, but I have not turned it on in a few years. I keep it for when I can get a bigger shop and leave it set-up. That said, I highly recommend the Erika if you need portability or have space requirements. A large slider takes up a ton of real estate - would be really nice, though.

Tom - you think the Kappa has your eye - start looking at Martin for an entirely different level. I dream of getting a Martin jointer one of these days. I too have a Hammer J/P and it works really well - and mine is older now and uses straight knives and still works great.

Offline rst

  • Posts: 2574
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2021, 04:44 PM »
I own a PM 66 that I attached an industrial style Jet sliding table modified to cut off 4', The whole thing is almost 10' wide and I have a drop down extension made from 8020 extrusions.  I recently had to move my equipment so i will not have 220v until sometime later this year.  I bought the Metabo 36/18 10" table saw and a bunch of batteries to use in the interim. This saw has a gear driven fence similar to the DeWalt, is adjustable and works great.  While I have the 110 transformer for it, it requires more current than my Honda 2200 puts out so I use the batteries.  The first job I used it for was ripping 10 12' 2 x 4s to use as purlins.  It is also capable of accepting  a dado blade although I have not used it for that yet.

Offline cubevandude

  • Posts: 107
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2021, 04:51 PM »
Life is short, just buy the saw you want and enjoy it.  You only live once.

Offline Tom Gensmer

  • Posts: 748
  • Residential Remodeler in Minnesota
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2021, 11:48 AM »
Prokeezy:

Thanks! Great feedback on the Flexvolt performance in 3/4" thick hardwood. My proposed application would be ripping down scribes for cabinetry, so perfect edges aren't necessary. Besides, I can always clean up with a hand plane.

The other alternative I've considered for job-site saws are the Dewalt or Skil corded 8.25" saws. I suspect they'd have a bit more oomph, while still being small/portable.

ScotF:

Yeah, the Erika saws are soooo nice! I really enjoy having a pro-grade ripping and crosscutting station that can be expanded as needed to suit the job at hand. Everything from a (relatively) small core package, to the full shebang with 1M table extensions and sliding table.

Yeah, the Martin stuff looks really neat! I've been purchasing Aigner accessories through Martin USA and they've been great to work with. The feature I long for the most is actually the hand-wheel actuated rip fence, where you can adjust the rip fence from the "left" side of the saw. I don't do a lot of ripping on my KF700 (I use a parallel guide and use the 10' slider), but that would be super handy for setting the rip fence as a bump stop for crosscutting. One of my colleagues has a Altendorf that he really likes as well.

I have to keep reminding myself that the KF700 would have been considered Kappa-level equipment a decade or two ago. Then again, I fall back on my mantra of "I need all the help I can get!".

cubevandude:

Agree, with the caveat that sometimes there's an intermediate step between just starting out and getting the "ultimate" machine. But, yeah, I'm all about The Journey  8)
CT-MIDI, C-18, RO-150, RO-90, OF-1010, OF-1400, MFK-700, MFK-700EQ/B, EHL-65, DTS-400, LS-130, MFT/3 (x4), MFT/Kapex (x3), KA 65 Conturo, endless Systainers

Offline Prokeezy

  • Posts: 3
Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #14 on: March 17, 2021, 11:20 PM »
Life is short, just buy the saw you want and enjoy it.  You only live once.

Tom, ScotF, and everyone else- just wanted to say thank you for the excellent advice! I really appreciate all the comments and I feel good about my decision. I nearly bought a Powermatic P1000 Cabinet saw $1250 but someone got to it before me. Ultimately the (irresponsible) advice above pushed me to pursue an Erika. There was a year-old post on a Mafell forum for a 110v Erika 70 about 5 hours from me... and it’s now mine! Thank you all again for the help.




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« Last Edit: March 18, 2021, 12:03 AM by Prokeezy »

Offline ScotF

  • Posts: 2886
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #15 on: March 17, 2021, 11:30 PM »
Awesome! Congratulations on the saw - I am sure you will enjoy it! I have found mine to be great to use and I love being able to tuck it away when not in use.

Offline Bob D.

  • Posts: 2008
Re: Table Saw Advice- Flexvolt Woes
« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2021, 06:55 AM »
"...The "classic" machines tend to not have riving knives..."

I assume that by 'classic' you mean anything manufactured before 2009, as riving knives have been required on all table saws since then.
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It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?