Dewalt DW745 Jobsite Table Saw
When I was building a 6′ privacy fence, I needed to be able to split pickets lengthwise when I got to a corner. The best way to do this is to rip it on a table saw. The Dewalt DW745 is regularly on sale at Home Depot for $230 brand new, so I figured I would pick one up and use it. Eventually, I ended up upgrading to a larger contractor saw, but I got a good bit of use out of this one first.
The Dewalt DW745 is a small jobsite saw made for portability, and, for what it is, it worked great. If you need an inexpensive but decent-quality saw you can lug around and store compactly, it works really well. If you’re actually rolling it to jobsites on a regular basis, Dewalt also sells a corresponding rolling stand that I haven’t used myself but looks to be useful.
A saw this size is going to have a 120V universal motor, which means its very loud compared to my contractor’s saw. However, it’s also extremely compact, which is a benefit to portability. This saw actually cut very well with the motor and stock blade. I mostly used it for softwood, which is very easy to cut, but it also did fine with the domestic hardwood I put through it. For it’s size, I would say it’s actually fairly powerful.
It’s worth noting that saws in this class are not powerful enough to cut dadoes. In fact, as with most saws like this, the arbor is simply too short to accomodate the width of a dado stack. Dewalt does this intentionally to prevent you from trying to do dado cuts on a saw that isn’t powerful enough.
The rip fence included with the Dewalt I found to be excellent for a saw this size. It extends out to 20″ using the telescoping rails and a flip-down support, which is about as much as I’d want to try to rip on a small saw like this. The fence was square out of the box. The scale on the saw was even pretty accurate; definitely more than accurate enough for the type of carpentry jobs you would typically perform with a saw like this.
It has a knob to make fine adjustments to the fence, which a lot of people find to be a gimmick, but I actually thought was useful. It’s no big deal to tap on the Unifence I have on my contractor’s saw for small adjustments, but I found the little knob to actually be kind of handy.
The Dewalt has a very small saw table that is entirely plastic to save on weight (45lbs). For serious woodworking, the table is probably too small and light. However, for a saw you can store on a shelf, throw in the truck, and use at a job site, the resulting portability is more than worth it.
It does also include standard 3/8″ miter slots. Some saws in this class have goofy non-standard sizes, so this was a nice feature. However, there is no t-slot support.
My main nit to pick with this saw was the phenolic plastic tabletop’s durability. It seemed to scratch really easily and was quite scuffed by the end of using it for a couple of months. However, I’m not sure what else could really be done about it; phenolic plastic is one of the more scratch-resistant plastics, and a cast-iron tabletop would really increase the weight.
The table top is also quite small, something like 2’x2′. Again, great for portability, but a bit small to safely cut anything larger than a couple of feet wide.
This saw comes with a 2.5″ dust collection port on the back, intended for shop vacs. If you run it without a shop vac, it sprays dust all over the inside of the saw. However, with a vac hooked up, it actually stayed fairly clean.
Riving Knife and Blade Guard
Being a much newer saw than my contractor saw, the Dewalt has the expected modern riving knife, anti-kickback pawl, and blade guard setup. The blade guards are clear plastic and mounted on springs, so that they hold down against the workpiece. They can be flipped up out of the way, and serve to prevent you from sticking your hand in the blade. If you lift them all the way up, they lock out of the way.
The anti-kickback pawls look like two riving knives mounted upside down. They are intended to hold the workpiece down and prevent it from kicking back, as the name implies. (This is where part of a workpiece catches on the blade and shoots back at the operator.)
Lastly, the riving knife wraps around the blade and serves to prevent two freshly cut pieces from binding together and catching on the saw. This is also an anti-kickback measure.
In general, it was nice to have all of these safety features, especially since they have quick-release removal tabs if they are going to get in the way during a cut. Also, they all can be stored on the side of the saw. If you do this, and retract the blade, the tabletop becomes entirely flat for storage.
One downside is that the anti-kickback pawls in particular could get in the way of a perfectly safe cut, if the wood being cut was too thick. That was a little frustrating, as I didn’t like to have to defeat a safety feature to use the saw. Still, having a real riving knife was greatly preferable to me over the custom splitter I had to make for my contractor’s saw.
This is a great saw if you need something for carpentry or that you can easily store on a shelf. It cuts really well and has a great fence for its size, and the price is definitely right. However, if you plan to do any serious woodworking, it probably won’t be enough saw at the end of the day.
Just as a thumbs up to home depot, I was actually able to return the saw after using it for a month or two, which I almost felt bad about. I was completely up-front about having used it for awhile, and I was very clear that nothing was wrong with the saw, I just realized I needed a bigger one.
They simply have awesome customer service, at least at the one by my house. I didn’t like it, so they took it back. That makes a loyal customer out of me, for sure.