This powerful, lightweight saw cuts square and true with daily use on an active job site.
A portable tablesaw is a constant on all of my job sites. I use it for everything from ripping plywood spacers for headers to trimming filler panels on kitchen cabinets. Skilsaw’s new SPT70WT-22 (previewed in “Tools and Materials,” FHB #257) is the first portable worm-drive tablesaw. It’s a riff on the company’s venerable worm-drive circular saw, and it promises to be as durable and as powerful.
The saw I tested over three months is equipped with a 10-in. Freud blade and includes an optional folding stand (model SPTA70WT-ST). The fence locks down firmly, requiring only a minor adjustment to bring it within an acceptable margin of error right out of the box. The saw has great onboard storage for a provided push stick, as well as storage for the miter gauge, blade wrench, and fence.
I put the saw to work ripping a stack of 8-ft. cherry 1x boards to width and was immediately impressed by its power. The saw’s worm-drive motor and razor-sharp Freud blade tore through the 200 bd. ft. of cherry with precision and ease. Board after board, the saw sliced through the cherry without a groan or whine. Trying to bog down the saw became a game with the crew. We ripped everything we had available trying to grind the brass gears to a halt. The saw finally met its match with some 8/4 white-oak boards and an ill-advised feed rate.
Lightweight and durable are typically mutually exclusive terms in the world of power tools, and the older I get, the more subjective the term lightweight becomes. The saw weighs 49 lb., which is in the middle range for compact saws. Although it’s not exactly easy to heft around, it’s well balanced, and the integral handles on the roll cage help make it more comfortable to carry. On a crew where we work long hours and nobody but me has a nickel invested in the equipment, durability tests are where my crew really excels. Over the last few months, this saw has been used relentlessly and has seen more than its share of muddy job sites and even the occasional light rain and heavy dew. Yet somehow it has come through all this torment relatively unscathed. It continues to cut true and square, and it shows only normal wear and tear.
I do have a few concerns. For starters, the fence is finicky to line up for removal and installation. I suspect that this results in a square lock-down, which is certainly more important than ease of installation, but the downside is that it keeps me from removing the fence when I’m breaking down the saw for transport. Also, because this is a worm-drive saw, it requires regular maintenance. The wormdrive gearbox has an oil level that should be checked regularly and changed every sixty hours of operation (six months to a year of almost daily use).
I need a powerful, lightweight saw that cuts square and true and that can continue doing so after daily use on an active job site. This saw delivered on all counts. It’s packed full of useful features and has no shortage of power. The fact that it’s still going strong after the abuse it has endured from my crew is a testament to its durability. It’s no substitute for a shop-based cabinet or contractor saw, but it’s the perfect saw for day-to-day ripping on the job site. The Skilsaw SPT70WT-22 retails for $379 and the folding stand for $79. Zero-clearance throat plates ($13) are also available.