Jet 10" Portable Table Saw

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This article is from Issue 7 of Woodcraft Magazine.

JET’S NEW PORTABLE table saw comes in the leg-stand model shown here, or as a bench-top unit.

By Lee Gordon

IT’S A BIG DAY IN THE LIFE of any tool reviewer when the doorbell rings and there stands a courier with a great big package. It doesn’t matter what time of year it is, that delivery guy wearing brown or the gal sporting purple and orange might as well be dressed in red and trimmed with white fur because it always feels just a little like a holiday.

In the case of the Jet Model 708315LSB 10" portable table saw I was assigned to put through its paces, something else made it seem reminiscent of Christmas morning: The contents of this carton came with “some assembly required.” Fortunately, the folks at Jet have eliminated much of the guesswork by loosely attaching most of the fasteners to the components they are meant to secure. Thus the assembly process went fairly quickly and was, for the most part, headache-free.

Be aware that the saw is manufactured with metric rather than standard hardware, so don’t be surprised when the assembly instructions call for a handful of metric tools – a couple of hex keys and a few box-end wrenches, which aren’t included.

Many table saws require that you begin the assembly process by laying the tool on the floor, table-side down. For the big cast iron-topped stationary saw in my shop, this required plying a burly neighbor with adult beverages to enlist his assistance. The Jet, on the other hand, features a top fashioned of milled aluminum with handholds on either side. The whole thing weighs a mere 79 lbs., making it easy to assemble and easy to move about the jobsite unassisted.

For your convenience, the saw comes with the blade already installed, so be careful during the unpacking process. There are some protective foam pieces that are wedged in fairly solidly around the motor that need a little tugging to free them, and you’ll be working pretty close to the blade.

THE BENCH-TOP SAW INCLUDES a single extension wing, while the leg-stand model includes a wing on both sides. Both feature a rear outfeed support.

Up and running

Once I had the tool put together it was fi nally time to make some sawdust. I decided to start with the fairly easy task of cutting up some plywood. Trimming up a few panels of both 3/4" and 1/2" stock was a breeze. As you might expect, the little Jet’s 15-amp motor with its poly V-belt transmission didn’t labor at all while dispatching such relatively thin and soft material. What you might not expect is that the fence – which is neither heavy nor bulky – would be precise and easy to adjust, but it was. It didn’t wobble while being moved laterally, and always locked down perfectly parallel to the blade.

The saw’s specifications say its maximum rip capacity is 241/2", but I was actually able to trim a couple of panels an inch wider than that. Since I was using the saw as a portable machine, I decided against attempting to work with a full 4x8 sheet of plywood. Such an operation is not always wise, even with a much heavier saw, and this tool’s light weight and portability, potentially its greatest advantage, can be a liability for workpieces of that size. However, the saw’s stability can be enhanced simply by bolting it to a work table or, if you have the optional legs attached, right to the fl oor. I opted for the more temporary solution of piling some old sash weights onto the handy lower steel shelf. This made the saw feel more substantial, while still maintaining its desired portability. Both models of the Jet saw include a pull-out outfeed support for large workpieces.

BOTH VERSIONS of the Jet table saw provide lots of options for on-board storage.

Next I crosscut a 2' piece of nominal 4x4 material (in reality 31/2" thick), which is about a half inch more than the saw’s maximum 90-degree cutting depth of 3", fairly typical for 10" table saws. However, in keeping with the Jet’s compact nature, the face of the supplied miter gauge is only 51/4" across so the prudent thing to do was to attach a larger auxiliary fence to the gauge to enhance its stability. The manufacturer has provided screw/bolt holes in the gauge face to facilitate this procedure. The miter gauge’s bar is slightly less than a foot long and fi ts into a T-slot to keep it securely in place on the table. As with most miter gauges included with saws, this one had the tiniest bit of slop, but not enough to be overly concerned about.

Moving on to testing with some hardwood, I used a hunk of 4/4 stock that I tried both crosscutting and ripping. The Jet was up to the task, although the motor did labor a bit compared to its behavior with softwoods or plywood. To see if I could improve upon that, I replaced the factory-installed blade with my Forrest Woodworker II. The resulting cuts, while perhaps a tad smoother, were not drastically improved. This further confirmed to me that the blade supplied with this saw is a pretty good one. I just wish it were a little easier to change. Virtually everything about this saw is relatively small, including the throat plate and the opening it covers. The arbor shaft extends past the insert’s two  attachment points in this relatively tight space so it is not possible to drop the blade straight down into the opening; it must be slid in at a slight angle. On the plus side, the two arbor wrenches store conveniently and securely on the side of the saw. (In fact, everything stores on board; an extra blade goes beneath the wrenches, the miter gauge and fence stow on the other side, and the cord wraps on the back.

THE LEG-STAND VERSION of the Jet saw includes a bottommounted dust collection shroud.

Both models are 15-amp machines, running at 5,000 rpm. Both also come supplied with something more manufacturers should include: a push stick. 

The Jet Model 708315LSB leg-stand model we tested had all the available bells and whistles, including the optional leg stand, right and left milled-aluminum extension wings, and a removable dust collection shroud. The 18" x 28" table expands to 55" with both wings extended. With legs attached, the table stands 35" from the floor. It sells for $249-$279.

If extreme portability is your need, the bench-top model of the saw (708315BTC) eliminates the leg  stand and dust collection shroud, and comes with a single extension. The 28" table expands to 41" with the wing extended. The saw weighs 52lbs., and sells for $179-$199. 

Additional information is available at jettools.com.

— When not in his shop, Lee Gordon is a copywriter and announcer who has voiced thousands of radio and television commercials. He lives in West Hartford, Conn.

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