Wednesday, January 12, 2022

I came, I saw, I... sawed


Black & Decker BES720-XE

My terrible old Ryobi table saw shat itself fatally a few weeks ago, so today I replaced it with this — an 1800w Black & Decker from Mitre10 for a measly $299. (That's all my spending money for the next couple of weeks, but still pretty cheap for a tool like this).

Black & Decker have not really had a very good reputation over the last few decades, but the reviews on this saw are pretty good (for its place in the table saw hierarchy) and the B&D router I got for my birthday more than 20 years ago has run without issue, so maybe the sneers and jibes were all just snobbishness. I dunno.

It has no bells, nor any whistles, but it has good fences and a good cast bed, and it cuts in a straight line. The rip-fence gauge is pretty accurate, according to my initial tests: not sub-millimetre accurate, but certainly good enough for my needs. It has a much deeper bed than the Ryobi did, which will be helpful for getting the initial cut aligned.

The angling of the blade has no screw adjustment; you just have to push it over to the angle you want and lock it off. That will make cutting at precise angles a bit trickier. Also, the mitre sled's reported angle is unreliable, and will need to be set manually with a square or protractor, but to be fair I've almost never encountered a mitre sled that is properly accurate. I have a mitre saw for that sort of thing in any case.

It is much, much better than the saw it replaces, which was never much better than a hand-held circular saw.

It comes with a dust bag that sticks out the back, or you can use a vacuum on the dust ejection port, but I used some 40mm PVC waste pipe and connectors to redirect it into a plastic bin that sits underneath the saw on the trolly I made for my last one. It doesn't capture all of the dust, but certainly takes care of most of it.

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