In the past the only table saws I’ve used have been the bargain basement type from Screwfix and B&Q for £100 and so I can only really compare based on that and what I've seen on Youtube. I have a desire to try a little further woodworking too and a tablesaw should come in handy.
The GTS 10J is a 10” table saw with a max depth of cut of 79mm at 90 degrees and a maximum width of cut of 460mm to the right. It won a few awards when first released because of the various features which seem rather useful. All the accessories for example are stored under the table for transport or storage including the fence. It’s got soft start which is nice (though sounds rough) and a fairly robust looking frame that surrounds everything save for the cast aluminium main top and steel sliding side panel. It’s got a dust extraction adapter that’s on a little chain so it won’t go walkies too. All in all, it all rather makes sense so you shouldn't really be able to lose anything too easily.
It’s 26kg all in which for me isn't a problem since it will rarely move once set up in it’s final location. In the meantime its compact enough to not take up too much space when not in use.
First up was the unboxing. All very well packaged to protect it from bumps and so on in transit. Most of the accessories come in their storage locations right out of the box. There is no assembly required and it’s just a case of pulling it out and setting it on a stable surface. I opted to get the GTA 600 stand with it which is just a folding leg system as I don’t need wheels.
After checking that the blade was secured (not the supplied blade, a replacement 80 tooth one since I was cutting painted kitchen panels) I started getting some cuts done.
My observations so far are
- The riving knife was in line with the blade at table level but it was leaning slightly to the left by the time you got 10mm above the table. Obviously this means that the cuts are going to snag and possibly have issues so needed to be corrected. Under the table insert with the blade as high as possible it was really easy to get to the 4 screws controlling the alignment of the riving knife. 2 control lateral position front and back, while 2 control tilt left and right. A few minutes of just working out exactly what was doing what and all was squared up and no more snagging cuts.
- The table insert is of course not a zero clearance type as is it needs to be able to handle bevel cuts, and there’s not way of removing it without a bladed screwdriver to get under the front edge. Many I see on the YouTubes just have a hole for poking a finger through and removing a little more easily. There are at least 4 grub screws under the plate for easy leveling of each corner with the table top itself. Hopefully making a replacement for zero clearance won’t cause me too many issues.
- The measuring guides for the table in its non expanded and expanded states were both out by a fraction. There is one magnified adjustable one on the fence itself, and one little red arrow on the table for use when expanding the table. The red arrow could do with being a little longer and I can’t think why it isn’t. Both are adjustable and were fixed easily enough.
- The fence is apparently “self adjusting” and will clamp both front and back. It always feel secure, but it’s rarely perfectly square. I found myself regularly checking the front with a combination square and then persuading the rear to match, at times it was out by as much as 3-4 mm over the 600mm ish length of the table top. Not ideal. It’s adjustable, but I’ve not yet had a fiddle to see if I can get it to be regularly accurate on its own. From what I’ve seen most higher end fence systems only clamp at the front. The fence is at least able to accept your own jigs or sacrificial additions with a slot and pre existing holes. None are much use if you can’t trust it to be square of course.
- The mitre slots were smooth and square to the blade out of the box, and that can of course be adjusted to correct if it isn’t. Sadly they are non standard widths which is a huge problem considering that...
- The supplied mitre gauge is a crapshoot of awfulness. It’s terribly loose in the slot and so wobbles all over the shop and has no method of adjustment like an aftermarket Incra for example, which won’t fit in the non standard slots!! While trying to use it to cut across the width of a tall panel, just over the table width it was loose enough to adjust the angle considerably. The actual gauge itself seems like it might just be ok, but again it’s unusable unless you don’t need to connect one mitred cut to another. I’d like to be able to use an Incra but that's going to require some tinkering.
- Changing the blade is easy. There is a nice big lever alongside the blade to lock the arbour so you only require one spanner to get the blade off.
- Dust collection seems ok but could certainly be improved. I’m only connecting it up to a Numatic Charles which isn’t the best for the job, but quite a bit of dust is never the less appearing on the table top and even on parts of the saw under the table top. Maybe there are some holes I can cover to prevent and improve things.
- I’m not a huge fan of the bevel adjustment. It’s a lever that you pull, angle the blade and then lock back in place. Adjustable stops are provided at 0 and 45 degrees. My issue is really that once unlocked, it wants to fall to about 30 degrees under gravity, and when you move it up to 0 or 45 degrees it is trying to get back while you lock it off. A screw type adjustment might have been the better option but that probably would also add to the cost. Maybe the time it would take to go from 0 to 45 would also be an annoyance on a jobsite which is where this is aimed.
This is by far the most expensive power tool I’ve bought at £426 (including the stand) and also the most complicated. Drills, sanders and jigsaws have a lot less things that can move out of alignment and need to be fiddled with to get right, they tend to just work in my experience.
Thus far I’m relatively happy. I like the design of the saw, it seems robustly constructed and all the tools and accessories having proper storage locations onboard will hopefully help to actually keep them long term. The cuts seem to be of a decent quality considering I’ve not got a zero clearance insert and it’s quite happy doing the things I’ve asked of it so far. The niggles with required adjustment are just that, but I think they could have and should have been better out of the box. Hopefully I can get the fence operating a little more consistently.
My only real issue with the saw at this time is that damned mitre slot and mitre gauge. What on earth would possess them to a) make it non standard considering they don’t sell optional accessories and then b) provide one that is woeful I don’t know. The extra cost of the adjustable ones from the likes of Incra and Kreg can’t be that much and would solve the main issue I have.
I'll try and update once I've used it some more and tried to get the fence a little more consistent.