Laguna Fusion Tablesaw
The day had come for making the plunge - step up from my DeWalt jobsite saw (a fine machine itself) to the larger footprint, and greater capacity, of a cabinet style table saw. And true to any decision it meant juggling numerous constraints for determining that best machine. Namely it meant money, power, and functionality.
A good starting place for a purchasing decision is identifying the most restrictive constraint that drastically narrows down potential choices. For me it was power - the endlessly debated 110 versus 220 conundrum. Or is it 115 vs 240? Anyway with only 110v available in my home shop (which suspiciously looks like half of a garage and a spare bedroom) in order to consider beefier machines, typically over 2 hp, I would either have to get building on that dedicated dream shop, or add another service panel somewhere in the house to power the machine. Really didn't want to add a service panel that would tie down the machine location since of course someday I'll move into that awesome shop with two dozen assorted 110 and 220 outlets, perfect climate control, dedicated dust collection, spotlight intense lighting, dust free finishing room,...
But no damage done. The assembly certainly would have went better with two people wrestling it out, but I managed by my lonesome. The cast iron wings are challenging; my inexpensive roller stand added a very needed third hand. The good folks at Laguna do provide excellent assistance in the form of eighteen must-see YouTube videos that step through the process of installing and adjusting the saw. It's a good thing too, since the accompanying manual was more of a "brief overview" than any type of detailed reference manual.
Leveling the top was quick, and little to no adjustments were required for the fence and supplied blade. The need to stick on the tape scale to the front rail was clumsy. Again the video's provided by Laguna demonstrate a method but it would handy if the tape was already installed on the rail.
The fence can be stored on the back of the saw in a pair of bolted on brackets.
A standard 4" dust chute is located on the left side of the cabinet at the bottom. How well does it work? Hard to say. For me it's serviceable - not great but a vast improvement over the power dust blower that was my jobsite saw. Probably could expect better performance if a true dust extractor was hooked in rather than the lower powered shop vac in place (although I'm very happy with my Rigid/Dust Deputy setup). Interesting to note that the Powermatic PM1000 specifies a minimum of 350 CFM required for dust collection. Since my Rigid shop vac supplies just a little over half that minimum it’s not surprising that dust collection is less than optimal. Inside the cabinet the dust chute is channeled into two sections; the larger portion has a duct leading to the blade opening, and the other open to help evacuate dust that collects in the cabinet.
Notice the curved opening under the duct to pull dust from the cabinet.
Occasionally I'll need to remove the side panel to vacuum out some of the dust that collects in the base of the cabinet. And an adapter was needed to hook up my vac - in this case a Dust Right 4" to 2 1/4" from Rockler.
Operation has been smooth. The substantial wheels for both blade height and tilt provide fine adjustment, which does mean a fair bit of cranking to move the blade from low to high. There are also 45 and 90 degree bevel stops adjustable from the table top although they didn't seem to be "hard" stops. My experience was that I could easily push past the stops. Not a concern since I don't rely on the bevel scale and instead use a engineer square and Wiley Digital Angle Gauge for setting bevel. So much easier.
The saw has been working beautifully. Cross cut 8/4 oak with no problem. Much has been said about the less than stellar supplied blade (isn't that always the case for most machines?), although I easily pushed a fair amount of wood through it before eventually swapping it out for a Irwin Marples 50-tooth blade, my favorite inexpensive and readily available blade (about $38). The built in wheels are a blessing for bumping the saw about my tiny space. Keep that feature in mind when pricing out other saws that lack a mobile base. And my standard household 20 amp circuit has handled the load without issue. Ok, the ceiling lights do dim a bit when I first punch the power button.
So, all peachy? No complaints?
The table saw's zero clearance insert. It. Is. Not. Good.
A thin plastic thing that looks more like an afterthought ("Oh right, better throw in one of those") than a well thought out, serviceable insert. Perhaps that's a bit harsh - it is effective as long as the wood being cut is wide enough to be supported by the cast iron table, and not the insert. Things did not go right the first time I tried to slide a 1/2" thick board edgewise to cut a 1/8" rabbet. Once the wood clears the blade the back end of the insert sags, due to poor support, and the wood sinks down to catch on the insert opening.
Ended up dragging out my freshly retired DeWalt saw with its shop built zero clearance insert to cut the rabbet. The problem with the factory insert is that the slot for the riving knife is open completely through the back of insert, so the outside edge is not solid. Any downward pressure at this opening causes the plastic to sag. The solution is to build or buy a better zero clearance insert. This time opted to buy the LeeCraft Zero-Clearance Table Saw Insert JT-7. Worked like a champ. So good I ordered the JT-8 Dado Insert as well.
Not to say that this issue was a show stopper. Most of the time I'm using my shop built crosscut or miter sled so it doesn't matter what insert is used.
But now I'm ready for every cut. And the Laguna Fusion Tablesaw handles it all.
So 110v it was.
Next was to put in the budget amount - $1500. Amazing how that drops the options out, including such fine machines as the Powermatic PM1000 (around $2000). And the last factor to consider was functionality, specifically the desire to have a cabinet style saw to aid in dust collection as well as the other myriad benefits provided over contractor style. Laguna as a company received high marks due to my previous happy purchase of a Laguna 1412 Bandsaw, and the Laguna Fusion Table Saw hit all the right numbers (and it can even be wired for 220v).
At around $1300 it's not a cheap saw. I purchased mine from Rockler and paid somewhat less than that thanks to a well timed sale. Specifically it was the 10" Fusion with a 1 3/4 HP motor prewired for 110v and with a 36" rip fence (a 52" fence upgrade is also available). Numerous websites, including Laguna itself, provide all the nuts and bolts details so I'll stick to my experience with the saw after a few months of use.
Installation for the most part is simple. At a delivery weight of 350 lbs it's best to have a spot picked out for the freight drop off and a plan for getting it into the final destination. The crating was somewhat disturbing - was that my fence bent across the top?