Like many people, I love good quality tools. One of the most important tools we have in our workshop is a mini table saw with a 4″-diameter blade. We use it all the time, on pretty much every project we build. Occasionally, we use the full-sized table saw to cut large material, but in general, we prefer the 4″ mini table saw because it’s easier to work with, quieter, safer, and more precise. Thus far, we’ve used two Proxxon models, which is a German company that makes excellent small power tools for model builders. I’ve really enjoyed using their tools over the years. I have always considered their 4″ table saw the best on the market. Until now.
Earlier this year I read an article about Jim Byrnes, the founder of Byrnes Model Machines in Orlando, Florida. Jim and his crew hand build high-precision mini-table saws for model builders, especially model ship builders. I studied his machines online, read everything I could about them, and then finally contacted Jim with a special request. I wanted him to build me one of his 4″ table saws, but I needed a table and fence that could make up to a 6″ wide cut (other mini table saws can’t cut this wide).
Jim took up the challenge, made the machine in his shop, and I received the package today. It is a truly fine piece of high-precision machinery. I’ve only done a few test cuts, but I’ve already fallen in love with it. It’s by far the finest, most precise power tool I’ve ever used. I’m extremely happy with it and can’t wait to get into some serious projects with it.
Why do I love it so much? Let me count the ways…
First, its smooth, shining, machined metal surfaces immediately strike you as being ultra high quality. The Proxxon, for all its positive merits, had an aluminum table, but otherwise was mostly plastic.
Second, the all-important fence on the Byrnes is far superior to the Proxxon. The Proxxon fence never struck me as completely square and it was often frustrating to work with. I would get my stock in position, but then when I tightened down the fence, the fence would move slightly off square, which wasn’t a good feeling. On the Byrnes, the fence slides wonderfully and seems perfectly steady and square. The Byrnes also comes standard with an excellent, well-thought-out miter gage with set pins for the common angles.
I also selected the “Micrometer stop” option, which provides a true micrometer built into the saw so that you can make very fine adjustments to the fence position.
Thirdly, the saw is just a pleasure to use. I love the smooth movement and tight fit of all the components, and it’s extremely quiet and vibration-free when it cuts.
Finally, I love the old-school feel to this machine. It has a classic steel ON/OFF toggle switch on the front and various knurled brass adjustment knobs. Everything about this machine says MADE IN AMERICA with personal pride and true craftsmanship. A few years ago, if you had told me that I would someday write a review of a table saw, I would have thought you were crazy. But this saw is inspiring. 🙂