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Thread: General International 50-090RK Table Saw Review

  1. #1

    General International 50-090RK Table Saw Review

    Haven't found any real reviews of the General International 50-090RK table saw, so here's mine.

    This is a bit of an unusual saw. It's marketed as a portable job-site saw, but it's much bigger and heavier than say the Rigid R4510/R4513 or Bosch 4100. At 230+ lbs, it's more luggable than portable - you're not going to be heaving this into the back of a truck without a friend. However, for some situations like mine, where you don't have space for a real shop saw, and have to be able to roll it over a few obstacles, it's perfect. I got this saw because I wanted something that wouldn't let me down when I made fine furniture, and unlike those other contractor saws, it has a large, heavy cast iron table, a powerful motor, a real fence, and much greater precision than one with a plastic housing.

    First, a few stats:

    Maximum depth of cut at 90: 3 1/4" (83 mm)
    Maximum depth of cut at 45: 2 5/16" (59 mm)
    Maximum rip to right of blade: 30" (763 mm)
    Dado capacity: 3/4" (19 mm)
    Arbor speed: 3450 RPM
    Table size (w/o extension wings): 20" x 25 1/4" (508 x 641 mm)
    Extension wings size (2): 10" x 25 1/4" (254 X 641 mm)
    Dust port diameter: 2 1/2" (64 mm)
    Motor (pre-wired 110 V): 2 HP, 110/220 V, 13/6.5 A


    Assembly

    It arrived on a pallet in three boxes: fence, stand and saw.
    IMG_20150303_120447.jpg

    there was some damage in transit to the box for the stand
    IMG_20150303_120921.jpg

    but the contents survived. assembling the stand was a matter of attaching the legs with 4 bolts, and the gas struts which ease the folding mechanism with 2 more. getting the saw onto the stand is really a job for two people. i managed by myself, but the saw itself is probably >175 lbs. the wings, which are rather flimsy and stamped out of sheet metal, attach with 4 bolts on each side:
    IMG_20150303_141933.jpg

    the wings don't really stay flat on their own, but will require the fence rails to hold the ends coplanar with the table. the rails for the fence come in 4 pieces, two on the front, and two on the back. the joint will be in line with the blade. two pins hold the front rail together, so that they line up rather well, with not much of a transition when you run the fence over the joint. here's the proifile of the front rail:
    IMG_20150307_090901.jpg

    the back rail is an "L" shaped piece of metal that the fence rides on top of. assembled, the fence is about 70" long.

    IMG_20150303_155208.jpg

    there's an error in the manual for the mounting instructions. it says to mount the front rail flush with the left side of the table. if you do that however, you can't push the fence all the way to the left of the saw, to get the full 12" left rip capacity - you'll only get about 8.5" - and the tape measures on the rail don't line up with the blade location:
    IMG_20150303_153559.jpg

    however, if you do shift the rail 4 or so inches to the left, to line things up properly and get the full left rip capacity, you won't be able to fold the stand down and store it vertically, as the fence rail will hit the ground. here it is about 2" down:
    IMG_20150307_090533.jpg

    this saw is sold with two different bases - the folding one pictured above, and a regular stand. it's obvious that the fence was designed for the stand, and not the folding base. i think that there used to be a different fence sold with the folding stand, but it looked inferior in the old pictures i found. i don't mind loosing a couple of inches of left rip for a better fence.

    in fact, the whole fence is far longer than anything i need - i prefer to cut down large panels with a track saw, instead of wrangling it on a table saw. maybe if i had a real shop and a large outfeed table i would feel differently, but unfortunately that setup isn't in the cards for me. so the fact that the rail comes in two pieces is perfect - removed the short one, leaving just the longer one which is 54", and more than spans the width of the table. this did not require drill new holes for the front fence, as it has a track that slides onto square bolts mounted on the table, but did require drilling holes for the back rail. i didn't feel like modifying the rail that came with the saw, so i just used a length of steel angle iron that i had. it's pretty much identical to the stock rail (except silver instead of black). i will also have to get some new self adhesive tape measures for the front rail.
    IMG_20150307_091012.jpg

    the cast iron trunions are mounted to the underside of the table with 6 bolts. two worm gears control the height and angle. adjusting them is very smooth, except that the friction clamp which locks the blade height grinds against the housing when the blade is raised. at first i thought something was caught in the worm gear, but it's just two bushings that are rubbing. i will add a nylon washer to prevent this.

    hmm. i seem to have reached the max number of pics i can upload in one post. i will add more in another post.

    the motor is mounted inside the cabinet, and drives the blade via a belt. it is very quiet and smooth.

    the throat plate is crap. very flimsy, and not flat. they should have left it connected at the back end instead of cutting it all the way through - it doesn't need the extra space even for the riving knife or blade guard. i reinforced it with some epoxy putty, and will make a few more zero clearance inserts from some phenolic blanks for a regular blade and a dado stack.

    the arbor wrenches are also complete crap. they bent the very first time i tried to loosen the nut after using the saw on some test cuts. will have to use the "jam a piece of wood in the blade" technique. not fun.

    Alignment

    the fence is easily aligned. it can be adjusted both square and perpendicular to the table. it was reasonably straight - the right side was < 1/1000" off for the first half, then evenly sloped left by 7/1000" for the second half. the left side was slightly straighter - about 3/1000", but was not parallel to the right side. with the front half of the right side parallel to the table, the left side sloped left by about 15/1000".

    this fence is heavy - maybe 20lbs. and once locked down, the back end of the fence hardly moves even with reasonable sideways pressure. very nice. it's not as easy to move small distances as some others that i've used - there's no micro adjust wheel to nudge it along by small fractions of an inch.

    there is no easy way to mount a subfence or feather boards on the fence.

    adjusting the saw blade to the table is not so easy. there are six bolts mounted on the underside of the table that have to be loosened. there's no easy way to get at them when the table is horizontal. it wasn't set quite right from the factory, so i will have to bite the bullet and do this soon. am not looking forward to it.

    Cutting

    the power switch is a bit of a pain. the safety is a metal pin that fits through the guard and the "on" switch, attached by a chain. i much prefer the style that has a removable plastic key. the "off" paddle can be removed, revealing a smaller off switch. it mounts on the front fence rail, and can be moved left and right to the position you want.

    the motor is quiet and powerful. i did a number of cuts using a forrest woodworker 2 blade in ply, fir, poplar, oak, and ipe. it handled 8/4 hardwood without bogging down, and left a very smooth cut, that wouldn't really require any touching up to glue. i am impressed - this is exactly what i was hoping for. i haven't tried a dado stack yet. dust collection is reasonable - attaching a dust vac to the port on the underside of the table eliminated about 90% of the saw dust.

    i'll update this review as i get some more use out of the saw.

  2. #2
    more pics:
    IMG_20150303_151811.jpgIMG_20150303_151825.jpg
    on the left side of the second pic you can see where the shaft to raise and lower the blade passes through a couple of bushings. that's what grinds.


    poor quality throat plate:
    IMG_20150307_091243.jpg



    note how the blade guard can be removed, leaving just the anti-kickback pawls. more versatile than just the plain riving knife.
    IMG_20150307_092455.jpgIMG_20150307_092538.jpgIMG_20150307_092939.jpg

    power switch:

    IMG_20150307_114018.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Virginia and Kentucky
    Posts
    3,300
    Certainly, the cast iron table makes up for quite a bit of the weight. The Bosch and others have aluminum tables. The website doesn't give the price for the saw. What is the retail price? Thanks for the review.

  4. #4
    retail is about $1150

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Virginia and Kentucky
    Posts
    3,300
    I see this saw actually has a screw mechanism to tilt the machine and has a cast trunnion system. This is the only "job" saw I know of with all those features. Getting it in and out of a truck will be a task though.

  6. #6
    Thanks for posting your review. I am looking at this saw too, and there really isn't much info out there. I've got a few questions about it.
    - Do you find that the stand works well for folding/unfolding? Is it solid when cutting? Any problems with vibration?
    - Have you done your blade/table alignment yet? Any problems with that? Did you check the arbour for run out?

    Thanks for any additional info.

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