Think you need a full-size cabinet saw to make furniture and cabinetry? Think again.
It’s a given that most woodworkers and more than a few avid DIYers would love to have a full-size cabinet saw in their shop. But for anyone who has a small shop, or a limited budget, a jobsite table saw is a viable alternative. There are some adjustments you’ll likely have to make to the way you work, but none that are insurmountable.
The DEWALT DWE7491X has a good mix of power, precision, accuracy and quality that make it a great choice as a substitute for a full size table saw – along with a price tag that won’t break the bank.
Motor: 15 amp, 120V
Maximum cut depth: 3-1/8″ (at 0°); 2-1/4″ (at 45°)
Maximum rip width: 32-1/2″
Rack and pinion fence
Blade guard assembly
Weight: 87 lbs.
Includes: Scissor stand, miter gauge, riving knife, 24-tooth blade, blade guard & pawls, push stick, table saw insert, wrenches
The most common wood dimensions used in hobbyist woodworking shops are in the 3/4″ to 2″ range. In my shop I typically use 8/4 hardwood rough lumber for the furniture I build. Once planed and jointed I cut it to rough size on the bandsaw or with a track saw. Cutting stock to final dimension is done on the table saw.
I find that the 15-amp motor on the DWE7491X delivers sufficient power to easily slice through 2″ hardwood without any loss of power. Needless to say, cutting anything thinner is a piece of cake.
The table top on any jobsite saw is fairly small which is why I pre-cut stock to a manageable size using a bandsaw or track saw. It adds an extra step to my work but it’s safer.
The cast powder-coated aluminum tabletop on the DWE7491X is 22″ deep and 26-3/8″ wide. With the rip fence fully extended you get a 32-1/2″ rip capacity. Distance from the front of the saw to the blade is about 7-3/4″. As with virtually all jobsite saws you can’t use magnetic accessories on the top and you’ll find that it scratches more easily than a cast iron top.
The throat plate is easy to align flat to the tabletop via four adjustment screws. It also locks into place for added safety. An optional dado throat plate (DW7444) is available.
However, the stock throat plate has a 7/16″ gap, which I find too wide when ripping very narrow stock. DEWALT doesn’t offer a zero clearance insert – fortunately they’re quick and easy to make.
You’re not going to find a jobsite table saw with a tabletop that doesn’t have a few slight dips in its surface. On this saw there is a .010″ dip on very left side in-line with the arbor and another dip of about .009″ on the upper right side – neither of which have affected any of my crosscuts or rip cuts. Whenever I need to make precise crosscuts I use a crosscut sled the width of the saw top; for small pieces I use a mini sled.
The blade on the DWE7491X was square to the table top straight from the factory. I’m not able to detect any discernable blade runout (side-to-side movement). I can get a full 3-1/8″ cut capacity at at 0° and up to 2-1/4″ at 45°.
If the blade does get out of alignment it’s very easy to adjust back to square by means of a bevel cam that you adjust by turning a bevel stop screw (there is one on the left to adjust the blade to 0° and another on the right side for 45°). I’ve not had to make any adjustments in the 6 months I’ve been using the saw.
The saw comes with a 24-tooth blade, which is best used for ripping and crosscutting rough stock. More importantly for me, the DWE7491X is one of the few jobsite saws that will accept a dado set – you can install a stack up to 13/16″ wide.
You just have to love the rack and pinion fence on the DWE7491X. It keeps the fence parallel to the blade, and the micro-adjusting knob enables you to make easy and precise fence positioning. The fence remains square to the table top and parallel to the blade at any position. Rip capacity is a respectable 32-1/2″.
The rip fence system includes a flip-over sub-fence attachment that creates support that can be used in two says. When you are ripping stock that is wider than the table top set the flip-over sub-fence at the same height as the table top – it’ll provide support for the stock so that it doesn’t flip downward. When ripping thin stock set the flip-over fence so that it sits above the table top – it makes ripping thin stock easier and safer. It takes all of 5-seconds to position the sub-fence. And when not in use you can store the fence under the table top on the left side of the saw.
There are 3 sets of lugs on both the front and rear rails that enable you to position the rip fence on the saw. The lug positions are set at the factory but you can, if you wish, easily move them. The lugs on the left of the blade are used to store the fence during transit.
There is a duplex scale on the front rack and pinion rail. Both scales are easy to read. Use the top scale (black numbers on a yellow backing) when the fence is positioned on the lugs to the immediate right of the blade. When you place the fence on the lugs furthest from the blade you’ll read from the lower scale (black on a white backing).
Removing the fence from the rack and pinon rails is a matter of releasing two latches, repositioning the fence and then snapping it back in place – all of which takes 15 seconds.
Setting the blade to make bevel cuts is somewhat awkward. You release the bevel lock lever (located behind the blade height adjustment wheel) and then swing the whole unit to the desired bevel angle. There isn’t a micro-adjust, so I always check the bevel angle using a digital angle meter. At 45° you can get a full 2-1/4″ cut capacity.
The sturdy metal miter gauge is one of the better fences I’ve used. The scale is very easy to read, and it locks firmly in place. It’s fairly narrow (5″ wide) so worth taking the time to add a longer sacrificial fence to the gauge. Unfortunately the miter bar has some side-to-side play and it doesn’t have any adjustment set-screws. For precision crosscutting you’ll want to use a crosscut sled or a precision miter gauge.
Dust collection on the DWE7491X is remarkably good. On the inside of the blade cavity, surrounding the arbor, is a metal plate that funnels dust and wood chips down toward the dust port.
On the opposite side is a canvas shroud that likewise diverts debris downward.
At the rear of the saw is a 2-1/2″ dust port. Connected to a 55L CamVac dust collector and an Oneida Dust Deputy it collects just about all of the dust and wood chips. I expect that connected to any high powered dust extractor you’ll get the same performance.
As you’ll find common on just about any jobsite saw there is a riving knife and blade guard assembly. There’s a dust port at the back of the assembly for connecting to a shop vac. The riving knife and blade guard assembly can be removed in 3 or 4 seconds without having to remove the throat plate simply by pulling a lever located on the right side of the table. Pretty nifty.
Another nice feature is the large paddle that sits atop the on/off switch – you can use your knee to quickly turn the saw off.
Obviously, the DWE7491X doesn’t have the same performance standards as a cabinet saw, but it can still provide the power, precision and accuracy needed to make furniture and cabinetry. If you have a small shop (or an even smaller machinery budget) then the DEWALT DWE7491X will definitely satisfy.
Here are two projects I made with the DEWALT DWE7491X: