Table Saw, out of comission and next steps

A few years back (3ish) we bought this saw:

While having a real table saw has been the start of the woodshop being a serious part of HSBNE, this particular model has given us grief since day 1. In no particular order, here is a list of issues we’ve had with it:

  • The rise/fall and angle adjustment handles fell apart within the first month. I took the original handle off the felder a3-31 and machined 2 adapters so we could have handles on the machine.
  • The ratcheting handles that secure the sliding table extension to the slide broke away (same garbage plastic). I replaced them with ones from ebay at $20 each.
  • The extrusions used for the fences are not standard, so you cant use standard jig kits with them.
  • The angle adjustment indicator on the front of the machine was never accurate, I had to fiddle and shim it repeatedly to get it roughly correct.
  • The pin supplied for changing the blade has been slowly bending more and more as people use it, I’m guessing due to it being the same low grade steel as everything else.
  • The blade plate around the saw is this same crap steel and is deforming slowly from blade changes, and as it deforms it raises a burr that impacts on material passing over it.
  • The screw for adjusting the scribing blade height collides with the table top which bends the whole mechanism down. It’s also made out of a mild steel flat head that was getting stripped out very quickly. I replaced it with a grub screw of the right grade and height and bent the mechanism back.
  • The mechanism that lets the sliding table fence stop at 90º is flat out hot garbage, a few pieces of stamped metal that are impossible to tune with any kind of finess. I ended up designing a replacement in cad which some other members fabricated. Big improvement but shouldnt have to have been needed. which leads me to:
  • The sliding fence cannot be tuned to be repeatably 90º because of the slop in where the pivot interfaces with the extrusion
  • I had to replace the stop at the end of the fence near the blade end so people had a chance in hell of the measuring tape on the fence ever being even approaching accurate.
  • The bolt that locked the sliding fence was of such a terrible grade that members managed to hourglass the bolt by tightening down on it with hand pressure and we had to make a whole replacement assembly. Again, cheap low grade mild steel unhardened.
  • The blade guard was flat out garbage:
    • The multipart plastic construction catches material as you’re trying to pass it through, very unsafe
    • A huge amount of flex in the construction means that the vendor, in demonstrating it to us, collided the guard with the blade repeatedly taking large chunks out of the guard
    • The mechanism to add/remove the guard is so fiddly it was determined not really feasible to teach to everyone who needed to add/remove it.
  • The slide is aluminium with steel inserts in it. I think they were smart enough to harden the steel inserts, but they didnt deburr them, so thats why the slide is so rough and bumpy rather than smooth.
  • The bar the clamp sits on was not hardened from the factory, so tightening the clamp on the bar would pull up a burr which would then prevent the clamp from going up/down the bar. We had to get the blacksmithing cause people to harden this part.
  • Clamping down with the clamp on the fence actually flexes the fence up dramatically because the extrusion is so thin, so you can have a clamp or you can be square but not both.
  • The arbour thread is the worst thread, it was cut by a blind man, loose/tight/loose/tight over the whole length which makes blade changes much harder.
  • Half the gauge stickers (angles on the slide extension, angles on the mitre fences etc) have just been destroyed and come off from normal use, just very low quality.
  • Tuning the saw so the slide runs parallel to the blade is very difficult, the way the mechanism is designed is flat out stupid. Its way more difficult than it needs to be to keep the saw cutting straight. It also tends to wander constantly just from use.
  • Its currently slowly destroying the belt that connects the main blade to the scribing blade, presumably because the rollers are not correctly aligned.
  • The ‘rise and fall lock’ has never ever done a damn thing.
  • Finally, the piece de resistance, the failure that made me write this post, the wormdrive that controls the rise/fall of the blade has totally worn away, presumably because like every other material on this saw, its unhardened cheap mild steel. See picture:

I’m kind of a bit at my wits end with this machine, we just have to spend so much time making custom parts for it and fixing things. The distributor, leda, is impossible to deal with and we’ve never managed to get a replacement part out of them. The rep for leda is also impossible to get to respond and work with. We’ve gotten a spare part once, by randomly wandering into a saw shop and them somehow having the right contacts. Any part we want, if we can get it, comes from china and is a 3-6 month wait on the slow boat.

Right now I am going to try and source that worm and gear for the rise/fall, but the saw will be out of comission and unusable until we can source the replacement.

This saw is rebranded and resold by a few different distributors:

I’m hoping I can get the part from one of these places that sell a clone. But its very clear these are a cheap chinese machine that everyone just rebrands.

So what to do, mid to long term? I’m personally pretty sick of repairing this machine, coupled with the fact that simple issues are actually big issues, like how very difficult it is to get a 90º cut on it. I think we’re probably facing the fact this machine cannot keep up with the load HSBNE puts on it and we should replace it with something more fit for purpose. We can probably sell this machine (repaired) for 1-2k, a machine that would be a step up is going to cost 6-10k. I’m not too bothered if we get another sliding panel saw or a cabinet saw. I don’t want to get a gumtree old iron thing, I want something with good manufacturer support where getting spare parts is no big deal. I dont want to get any kind of chinese rebranded machine, so to my knowledge that limits it to a few brands: Laguna, Hammer (Felder), SawStop.

So yeah. thats the deal, I’d like to hear everyones thoughts/input etc.

Re the argument for the panel saw or cabinet saw, i think the sliding table gets confused with it being a panel saw.
You can definitely get saws with sliding tables that I wouldnt call a panel saw.

The main thing I would say is not getting a saw with a scribing blade… its nice but not really something we do a lot… and you can always get around it by running the piece over twice on different sides.

The scribing blade on our saw means that the Blade is a long way back and therefore trying to use any sleds for joinery is really uncomfortable. I also thing it makes it more dangerous for shorter people.

In this video
The sawstop has a sliding table, but a traditional insert so that you can fit dado blades and zero clearance blades. Can easily breakdown sheets as well.

Anyway, totally agree with Josh’s post, the Leda saw is rubbish, and as far as I am concerned not really the best type of saw for the space. Though I am biased because I am much more interested in Joinery for which the Leda is not suited.