Top of the table saws

My eye is often drawn to weak points on machinery, invariably poor locking and adjusting knobs and levers, but on seeing the Axminster TSCE12R I was drawn immediately to the quality of those same parts that so often let others down.

There are a plastic knob or two, but of good standard, but it was the blade-adjusting wheels that caught my eye. When I clocked these gleaming away with a heavy knurled central locking nut,

I had a good feeling; this was going to be a good ‘un, although with a price of slightly beyond the £2000 mark, I suppose it should be expected — but that’s not always the case.

Cam Lock Lever

The attention to detail is undoubtedly a strong point in this machine and there’s a really neat idea; a cam lock never for the riving knife. This allows the knife to be easily adjusted for height but also on the oft chance that you remove the knife and crown guard, the usual call for a spanner and the subsequent grazed knuckles from working in the confined space can lead to the knife being left off when it shouldn’t be This simple but effective option makes it so easy to do there’s no reason for this error.

Of course there will be many, including me,who ask why you should need to remove the knife and guard In normal use. Welt I’ve been told this saw has the option to have an elongated spindle for a dado, although this is not a retro-fit option and has to be specified at the time of purchase.

As it has that option, the braking on the motor is capable of meeting the CE legislation for stopping times. You will of course need to find an alternative guarding option, the SUVA type being the usual choice.

Built-in spindle lock

While we are looking inside the blade aperture, another nice touch is the built-in spindle lock. Here a small spring-loaded pin is pushed in to lock the arbor whiie the spanner is used to loosen the nut.

Nice touches aside, the rest of the saw has to match them stride lor stride, and looking at the saw in its own right, it does so with ease.

Crosscut & ripping

The crosscut and ripping capacities match each other at 620mm, so while the crosscut carriage travel isn’t as huge as some, it does have a pretty good range, The saw is more like a high-quality classic table saw of old with the addition of a sliding carriage rather than a fullblown beam/panel saw for sheet stock.

The lack of scoring option points towards that area, but there’s no skimping on the carriage — it’s a beaut!

The running rail is solid steel with multiple adjustable bearings that position the carriage perfectly to the table while maintaining its silky-smooth glide. There’s also a lock function for when it isn’t required, but better still, with no huge outrigger the table can be lifted off its support bracket and hinged down flat against the side of the saw, which is a pretty useful option if space is on the tight side.

The crosscut fence is a step up from the usual extrusion type found on many saws, it has the usual flipstop and extending arm, but is just that bit better than many saws in this price bracket, especially the lock-off for setting angles. I’ve seen a few where a cursory locking lever on a piece of bent aluminium does the job, but the same standards as elsewhere on the saw make it easy to move and set the angles. Rip fence

The rip fence is the area where a table saw has to be good if it’s to prove valuable for flne-tolerance cuts, so no surprise that this is rock solid, with a big cast shoe locking onto the running rail- Micro adjustment is built in with a small magnifying lens cursor to aid tine tuning of the position.

For fanatics of the ‘Biesemeyer’ type of full-length fence, the aluminium extrusion will extend fully across the table and shows no sign of flex in doing so. It also draws back for safe ripping of natural timber stock, flips for ripping thinner materials and travels across the table very sweetly. Flipping up the shoe it’s easy to see why: a couple of nylon wheels run on the table surface -another well thought out touch.

Starting up

The main NVR switch is on the right of the cabinet, with the box about flush with the front of the saw so it’s easy to hit the ‘off button, but for easy operation when starting there’s a secondary start button to the left as well.

Hitting the start winds the saw up and it certainly purrs along nicely without any vibration or roughness, so onto a couple of cuts.

I’d be pretty unhappy if the saw had impressed me thus far only to tall at the final hurdle, and it didn’t let me down, ripping through cherry without a flinch, and cross cutting a piece of laminate as well as the cherry left a very clean finish with minimal breakout on the underside, indicating that it runs very stably as well as having a good-quality blade — although at 28 tooth it’s better suited for ripping.

Conclusion

The inclusion of twin mitre slots and a good-quality alloy mitre fence for cross cutting smaller work completes what is a very well constructed saw, and with the single- and three-phase options, if is very accessible to trade as well as home users wanting that bit more than usual.

You’ll need a 16 amp supply for the single phase, and a decent-sized ’shop because the saw requires a footprint of around 1900 x 1900mm with the supplied rear takeoff table and carriage in position, plus of course, enough space to get around it safely, but for the money, the Axminster Is certainly one of the best, if not the best, that I’ve seen at this price bracket-£2,239.50.

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