In this post, I am reviewing the Delta Power Tools 36-5100 Delta 10-Inch Left Tilt Table Saw. I chose to review this saw for my first review as a table saw is the workhorse of a wood shop and this is the table saw that I currently use on a daily basis.
Before I get to the actual review, I want to state that any review that appears by me on the RistWoodWorks.com website will only be on tools and equipment that I personally have used and own myself. I feel it inappropriate to post reviews of equipment that I have never used and known nothing about. With that said, here’s my first woodworking tool review:
The Delta 36-5000 Table Saw
The Delta 36-5000 is a hybrid table saw. This means that Delta has taken the best of the features of a full-sized cabinet table saw and combined them with the portability of a contractor saw. Delta has given us a saw with a cast iron table and newly designed saw mechanism equal to their higher quality cabinet saws with more ease of moving this piece of equipment around the shop because of the steel tubular pedestal with attached lock down lever. How’s that for sounding like a pro tool review? If you need the specifications on this Delta saw, you know where you can get them… The manufacturer or one of their dealers.
Now, I’ll tell you why I bought this table saw model. I had a problem. My old table saw that I got off the floor at the “orange box” store wore out the mechanism that raises and lowers the blade. It couldn’t have happened at a worse time as I was in the middle of making my holiday selection of boxes for the year. I knew what they had for selections at the “orange box” store, so I decided to check out their competitor at our local “blue box” store. They had the same basic selections that I’d already seen with one exception. That one was a Delta 36-725. I was fairly impressed. Much sturdier that the other models and it had a polished cast iron table, not aluminum (although, the table wings were steel). More expensive than I was looking to spend.
I noticed that the fence rails were a bit cocked and off, but the knowledgeable sales woman explained that the night crew had a little difficulty in putting it together and adjusting the floor model. I liked it, but based on my buying experience with my previous table saw, I decided to go home and research the reviews. The reviews were good. One complaint everyone seemed to have was the split fence rail design. But, one review said that they thought Delta had remedied that problem with a new model. And, that model is the 36-5000. Other complaints were the usual “hard to figure out the manual on how to assemble” ones which turned out not to be true.
I checked out this Delta 36-5000 and it did turn out to be the same table saw with the complaints on the 36-725 model taken care of. Single fence rails did cost a bit more. Luckily, I had been putting away some money to upgrade my bandsaw, so I tossed that idea and went with the table saw upgrade. Assembly was painless. It comes packaged upside down and I only needed help getting it right side up after attaching the tubular pedestal and wheels as the base.
The Delta 36-5000 Table Saw is Built Solid
I could see, as I unpackaged the saw, that this machine was more robust than other contractor saws I have used. Being packaged upside down, you could see the underside and carriage mechanisms. These aren’t stamped steel like many low cost contractor saws. I saw pinion gears and the newly designed lift mechanism. Looked impressive. Once the sturdy tubular legs/pedestal was assembled and the saw turned upright, the single piece fence rails were easy to install and adjust with the leveling jig they include. Steel wings on and I decided to test the machine. I had seen this “nickel test” on YouTube for the Delta 36-725, where they placed nickels on the saw’s table on their ends, turn on the saw and see that the lack of vibration kept the nickels on end and not falling down. I tried it on the 36-5000 and it worked.
Needless to say, I find this saw a dream come true for my situation. I can neither afford the room (my shop is only 10’ x 13’), nor the price for a cabinet model. It weighs 230 Lbs and to use it as a contractor saw (as it is advertised), would take two people to lift into my truck. That said, it is mobile with the wheels and lock-down lever (I did mount the lock-down lever on the side opposite from the assembly directions so it would be more accessible). I move it all around my tiny wood shop and have even taken it outdoors to work on bigger
projects. But to load it in the truck and take it to a job site… Only if I was going to have it on-site for an extended period of time.
The table itself is cast iron with steel wings. You can get the same machine with cast iron wings for all those old Unisaw fans and those wanting more of a cabinet design you can get extended wings (either steel or cast), with floor support legs. For me, the wings are just for support, the cast top area is where the real work is done. Just excited to have a cast table top as those that have only used the cast aluminum tops will find how sturdy and vibration free these make this table saw (when combined with the tubular supports).
I should also mention that if you’ve been used to a contractor’s saw, you will find the table larger than you’re used to. The overall table with wings measures 27” x 50” with 12” before the blade. The cast iron portion measures 20” wide. With the fence rails, the saw measures 32” x 60”. You will find a full foot on the table in front of the blade, unlike most contractor saws and in line with cabinet saws allowing larger pieces of lumber.
The 36-5100 Delta Table Saw comes with a biesemeyer, T-square style fence with magnified measurement scale and a professional type miter with 1 degree increments and locking lever that locks to every 10 o.
I was a little disappointed in the throat
plate as I expected the old, traditional Delta throat plate that was around 3/8” deep and allowed for making your own zero clearance plates. The one that comes with the machine is a stamped steel plate that is a mere 3/32nds deep. You can buy plastic throat plate blanks to make your own but, I found a way through a post on Lumberjocks.com to make an insert to the plate. Zero clearance plates are a must in box making and all the smaller parts one works with. As you can see from the photo below, I have made several of these for various sized blades.
Accessories You Might Like With Your Delta Table Saw For Making Wooden Boxes
I did buy the dado throat plate for the saw. A good stacked dado set is also a must for box making if you are serious about these projects (or any other woodworking). I have a 6” dado set but the dado throat plate will accommodate an 8” set. I’ve never made a dado over 3/4” in depth, so I saw no reason to buy the larger 8” set with its much added expense. A six inch dado set is quite adequate. I bought the Oshlun 6-Inch Dado Set
Another accessory that I purchased at the time I bought the Delta table saw was an INCRA 1000 HD Miter Gauge. It’s not that the miter that comes with the Delta isn’t adequate, I just wanted more precision and the Incra gives me this and has a micro adjustment on the stop for that fine tuning needed when
working with small parts.
As with all woodworkers I make my own jigs for my table saw. One that I made right after I bought my Delta 36-5000 table saw and have used routinely ever since is an over the fence, multi-use fence. These are simply a jig that fits over your rip fence to add height to it and thus stability to your project on the table saw. This jig allows you to have three fence heights, your original rip fence (2 1/2”), a higher one of 5 1/2 – 6”, and by reversing the jig, a 7 – 8” fence. This auxiliary rip fence is made of wood so that you can bring the saw blade up to the fence without damaging the metal fence that comes with the table saw. You may note that I use both the stock rip fence and the auxiliary fence to hold my useful measurement tool, push tools and other handy things that I use daily. Of course, you will find many more jig you wish to buy or make for your Delta table saw. And, I will be mentioning and showing you some that I use in later posts.
Final Thoughts on the Delta 36-5000 Table Saw
I think that you can tell that I “love my 36-5100 Delta Table Saw”. For me, this was a definite upgrade to what I was used to. The precision and accuracy it has brought to my work can’t be over-estimated. Each of us has our own needs and shop requirements to deal with. It just happens that the Delta filled all of these for me. I was looking for a professional upgrade (although, forced to), and a sturdy saw that would fit into my tiny wood shop with mobility to move it around (and out of the way), when working on other woodworking machines.
If you’re looking for a professional model table saw but don’t have the room for a full-sized cabinet saw, this might be for you… Worth checking out. I find it meets my needs to the tee. One of the best buys I’ve made for my woodworking shop. Your table saw is your workhorse and should be the best piece of equipment you can afford. While somewhat pricey, the Delta 36-5000 isn’t the most expensive saw out there on the market in its class. It has done me well for the past couple of years and I expect it to retain its high marks into the future. If you purchase this woodworking machine, I know you won’t be disappointed and it will make a fine addition to your wood shop.
(Note: I think that since I purchased the Delta 36-5000, Delta has revised it’s marketing strategy. When I purchased, the 36-5000 is the table saw with the steel wings while the 5100 came with cast iron wings. Now, I believe they are both sold as 36-5100 with an option for either steel or cast iron)