It was when I was shopping for the best portable work table saw that I first learned about SawStop technology. I was quickly impressed with its security features and the build quality of its tools. While I love the design, I don't really have room for a full size cabinet saw in my small shop. When the SawStop Construction Site Table Saw (JSS-120A60) came out, I had no more excuses. SawStop construction site table saws don't come cheap. The saw is $1,299 plus shipping. Still, almost losing a number a few years ago prompted me to pull the trigger and place an order. In the end, buying a SawStop table saw just made sense.
Editor's note: If you're just starting out, don't miss our guide to using a table saw.
SawStop Construction Site Table Saw Packaging and Setup
I ordered my SawStop Jobsite table saw from a small dealer. The saw was shipped directly from the manufacturer to my house. When I came back from get off work a week later, there was a refrigerator-sized box in my back yard. The saw sits securely in the styrofoam, and I found a clear set of instructions on how to install the wheels and how to get the saw out of the box. In less than 5 minutes, I was ready to make my first cut. I plugged it in, let it run the diagnostics, and started it up. Sounded good so I rolled it to my workshop. The saw is easy to navigate and rolls like a wheelbarrow.
The SawStop JSS-120A60 has excellent onboard storage space – something you hardly ever see in a construction site table saw (or any other saw for that matter). Just slide the table away, slide out the plastic storage compartment, and flip open. It shows the storage space for your saw guard, 3-5mm wrench and miter block. You can also fit a stock brake in there.
The fence on the SawStop construction site table saw is very smooth. It has no complicated back attachment points. Instead, the back of the fence rides on a wheel so a top-mounted lock secures the front of the fence. This front anchor is similar to how a Biesemeyer fence works. All moving and locking happens on the business side. Grab it in the middle and it won't actually slide smoothly for you. The fence easily slides left or right (glides, really) as you move the leading edge along the track. To lock it, you simply press the centrally mounted red lever.
If you push against the back of the fence, you feel a little bent. However, this is true of even the best fences. If everything is aligned correctly, it shouldn't take much pressure to slide the material evenly along the fence. One improvement is to widen the front crossbar of the fence a bit to provide more stability.
To open the table, you open the tab located just below the 6" mark on the left side of the blade, then slide the table to the right until it stops. When opened, the red measurement on the front of the workbench now corresponds to the correct distance to the right of the blade.
Sawstop built a material support into the fence. It is deployed via a top-mounted dial. This helps support your work as you scale the table. The fence is located on the newly created clearing.
Blade and Tool Access and Storage
Using a SawStop blade is easy. It's easier to remove the blade guard and swap it out for a riving knife. The non-conductive throat plate is easy to lift, with plenty of hand room to flip the release lever.
For blade and tool storage, the rear of the SawStop JSS-120A60 Table Saw has you covered. A nifty spring pin system pulls and turns, allowing you to slide on and store an extra 10" blade and two blade tools. I'd like to see more capacity here, at least to add a second blade.
The push bar, fence, and cord are located on the right side of the table saw, and everything locks nicely into place for easy travel. The lip of the plastic pusher is rather shallow, but it works in a pinch.
Bevel and Depth Adjustment
Adjusting the depth of cut on the SawStop Jobsite table saw is almost as easy as it gets. Unlike most saws, the depth adjustment wheel is geared to make one full rotation to fully raise or lower the blade. Adjusting the bevel is just as easy. You simply grab the back of the wheel and pull as you slide the blade left or right. Next to the big wheel is a fine-tuning knob that dials in the bevel to the exact degree you need. This caused concern to at least one of our pros, as there is no hard stop on the fine-tuning knob. This means that while you can calibrate the bevel stop to a perfect 90 degrees, you can always take it out of the tiniest position with a nudge.
The chainsaw's controls are very intuitive, and I really like the large paddle-style off switch that I can tap easily with my knee. The dual LED indicators display system status in a variety of different combinations. These two lights have a total of 12 different indications to tell you what the saw is doing or what mode it is in. Luckily, SawStop provides a guide on the saw itself, otherwise we would be lost.
One of these states is particularly convenient. If you put the saw in bypass mode, you can run a piece of wood or material through it and check the light to see if it will trigger. This lets you know if you can make the rest of the cut in normal mode and benefit from the protection the saw offers. SawStop actually holds a patent on this.
SawStop Dust Collector
Collecting dust with a portable job site table saw is always tricky. After attaching a Bosch VAC140A vacuum cleaner to the back of the chainsaw, it still produces a lot of fine dust. To me it seems messier than my old DeWalt. This may be a factor in requiring the blade to be exposed under the saw to allow the safety brake/cartridge to stop the blade. At the Pro Tool Reviews Shop, the SawStop is considered one of the better performing saws, with very little dust on the bottom and only fine particles on the top. I happen to be super sensitive to those fine dust bits and do what I can to alleviate it.
Adding the optional SawStop Sawdust Collection Blade Guard JSS-DCG can significantly reduce top dust. It requires some configuration, and may only show up on job sites where near-total dust reduction is required.
For anyone cutting wet wood or anything that contains metal, the SawStop construction site table saw includes a cover mode. When used in this mode, you turn off an important safety feature of the saw, but you can cut conductive materials such as wet-pressed wood, aluminum, foil insulation, or any other material that can be energized.
Using the SawStop JSS-120A60 Table Saw
The first actual cut I made with the SawStop construction site table saw was in 3/4" plywood and I found a clean 90 degree edge. I have been and continue to be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the stock saw blades.
In addition to plywood, I have also treated beech, oak and maple through SawStop JSS-120A60 Construction Site Table Saw Plows through all materials with ease. The saw has very little vibration and hasn't bogged down yet. It turns out that even tearing off the laminated beech tops is no problem. If you've used any other construction saw, you'll be impressed by the smoothness of the cut, and the confidence it will give you to cut.
For further testing, and as part of a portable construction table saw wars, the folks at Pro Tool Reviews purchased a second saw and installed a 10-inch Diablo 40-tooth blade for consistency.
They pass pressure-treated lumber through saws along with 3/4-inch plywood and commercial-grade pallet lumber. The pallets hold large air conditioning and refrigeration units for Publix, a regional grocery chain in Lakeland, Florida. Stiff pallet lumber is basically 6×6 lumber with 2×6 boards on the top and bottom.
At the end of their testing, they agreed with me that this saw has a lot of power and makes a smooth cut. This is a great portable table saw for the job site.
body detection technology
There are no comments for SawStop The JSS-120A60 construction site table saw does it without the need for a physical detection safety system. The folks at Pro Tool Reviews took care of this as I didn't have extra brakes and blades to replace after the unit was activated. They actually had the saw trigger off of a super wet piece of pressure treated 2×10. The guys at Pro Tool Reviews (it was Clint – don't tell anyone!) neglected to put the saw in bypass mode before making the cut, and wanted to see how fast the mechanism would trigger!
The serially controlled braking mechanism is fully replaceable and surprisingly self-contained. It really has to be for utility. That didn't stop us from being impressed with how it's designed. Everything from the spring mechanism to the aluminum brake itself is involved in making the blade stop instantly and hide under the table to avoid injury.
The aluminum brakes not only fit firmly into the Diablo Blade, but also created a slight amount of flex. Like a vehicle's "crash zone," it bears the brunt of the blade's force and absorbs it while stopping to cool.
We will be conducting several additional tests in the near future. There is no shortage of videos demonstrating the detection capabilities of these sawmeats. Also, our comparison of SawStop vs. Bosch ReaXX contains some surprises.
It's clear that this saw has what it takes to function as a Pro Portable Jobsite Table Saw. It sells for $1400 and is a premium product. In this case, we think, the performance and features justify the price. Sawstop could have made a safer worksite table saw – but instead, they made a better table saw that also happened to be safer.
I bought my particular saw at full retail price and am having some trouble with the extension table. I believe it may have been bent or deformed during shipping. SawStop's success has been impressive. They have no trouble replacing the butt part and the customer service is attentive and knowledgeable. This attention (they didn't know I was reviewing it and I didn't tell them) fueled their confidence in the product.
SawStop JSS-120A60 Saw Additional Features
- One turn blade height
- QuickTilt with Trim
- T-Fence with ErgoLock
- Thin Blade Guard
- Tool-less zero-clearance inserts
- Accessory storage drawer
- extension clip
- Includes: Collapsible Rolling Cart, Miter Gauge, JSS Micro Blade Guard, Cleaving Knife, (2) Blade Wrenches, Push Rod, 10" Carbide Blade, Standard Stopper Box, 3/4/5mm Hex Key
SawStop Construction Site Table Saw Specifications
- Motor: 15A, 120 VAC 60 Hz, Universal
- Peak HP 4.0 HP
- Blade Speed: 4,000 RPM (without load)
- restart protection
- Dimensions (saw): 15-1/2″ H x 31-3/4″ W x 28-3/4″ D
- Dimensions (with folding cart): 45″ H x 26-1/4″ W x 28-3/4″ D
- Weight (saw): 79 lbs
- Weight (with cart): 108 lbs
- Blade Diameter: 10 inches
- Dado Diameter: 8 inches
- maximum. Right side of blade tear (extended): 25-1/2 in.