Powerful, Accurate, Versatile and Clever
The Skilsaw SPT99-12 has a larger table, T-slots for the miter gauge, true dado capability, better dust collection and easier movement around my confined work space then the well-loved, powerful but smaller previous “job site saw” it replaces after 4+ years and many interesting projects. Love those rack and pinion fences! I prefer a versatile Diablo 1050T blade on these saws for both rips and smooth cross cuts on any wood. Besides all the great features everyone mentions, the Skilsaw has some subtle but valuable features noted below that enhance its operation and versatility.
I’m a hobbyist-level woodworker doing diverse projects in a small outdoor space, covered overhead but otherwise exposed, requiring power tools that can be easily moved together for protection under tarps from notorious Pacific Northwest weather. This saw certainly seems like like it will help me grow in skill and project complexity within the confines of that workspace.
It was purchased locally at the big orange home improvement center to avoid the possibility of shipping damage noted in a few reviews, and providing immediate recourse if quality problems showed up. None so far other than the very few extremely minor things noted below.
+ All those that everybody mentions about plenty of power, great fence, smooth adjustments, easy push stick access, good safety accessories, etc. Accessory storage is nice, but mine doesn’t really travel anywhere.
+ Those substantial improvements over previous saw noted above.
+ Like most of the better saws in this price range, the blade arbor is farther back from the table front edge compared to smaller saws to accommodate wider crosscuts.
+ Stand reduces the storage footprint and easily moves to various positions in the small work space. It actually opens directly into my most used location, which is very handy.
+ Dust collection is much better than previous saw and the open underside makes it much easier to vacuum what little isn’t captured by a shop-vac through that nice included elbow.
+ 3-5/8” depth of cut allows 4x cuts in a single pass, nice since I can’t yet justify a miter saw. Cross-cutting an ipe 4x4 and 4x6 landscape timber were easy, resulting in accurately square and very smooth cut surfaces.
+ Textured finish works better than Teflon coating when clamping devices in T-slots.
+ Left-side material support is a very clever. I plan to build a melamine surface using that and the saw table with fence extension on the right to create a large assembly surface (great idea from a review).
+ T-slots on top and both faces of the fence to accommodate clamps or a sacrificial fence.
+ The stand provides useful stacking space in the “hooks” on each side for pre- and post-cut boards.
+ Fairly straightforward (I tend to read instructions carefully) and nice that the whole process was intended to be done by just flattening the box around the contents.
- One axle nut wouldn’t fully thread into place, but I had a spare 5/16” nut that worked fine. The supplied nut with deformed threads would have been OK until a replacement could be acquired.
- The pivot bolts at Location A (Step 2 in the manual assembly sequence) should be inverted, or a slightly thicker spacer used so that their protrusion doesn’t scratch the powder-coat when folded. I’ll probably add thin nylon washers there.
+ All the calibration adjustments were spot-on from the factory, with the exception of some very minor and easily accomplished fence adjustments. Clever use of the blade wrench as calibration tool for the fence bolts in Position 2. All the calibration adjustments seem to be well described in the manual.
+ I’d read about several experiences with excessive blade runout - not something that can be adjusted! Mine seems very true with my preferred Diablo 50 tooth, proven by that smooth full-height ipe cut.
- The supplied standard table insert interfered on the left with underside structure preventing it from lowering flush with the table surface. A few minutes with a metal file to the underside of the aluminum throat plate eliminated those problems. Notably, the dado and zero-clearance table inserts purchased a few days later don’t have that problem. Maybe mine hadn’t been replaced with an updated version?
I’d read other’s displeasure with the manual, but I found it quite accurate and complete including helpful hints and suggestions for use of sacrificial fences. I trust that will still be the case when it’s time to do periodic maintenance. BTW, the supplied 5mm allen wrench is as good as any that I’ve used, unlike one comment I saw.
+ No criticism of the supplied miter gauge, since I’d previously invested in an excellent Woodhaven miter gauge (reviewed previously). I like this better than the oft-mentioned Incra-types because there’s less mass hanging off the front of the table, balanced by the long and usefully heavy bar. It has adjustments (and wear spares) to ensure minimal slop in the miter slots and the necessary pieces to work well in the T-slots. It is, however, slower to make adjustments.
+ The Woodhaven works fabulously alone, but is most often combined with a Peachtree extension fence, and/or an Incra Miter Express. The Miter Express is a very clever assembly that effectively makes the table much deeper and creates a zero-clearance miter sled using any miter gauge. The inexpensive Skilsaw gauge would clamp in place fine here, although without the accurate angle positions of the Woodhaven or other upgrade gauges. I just used the Woodhaven/Peachtree/Miter Express combination to accurately and smoothly cut a 16” wide plywood shelf with zero stability issues. The table T-slots really enhanced that stability and board width capability.
+ Rockler miter slot feather board - clamps more easily in the textured miter slots compared to what it took to keep them tight in the Teflon-coated version of the previous saw.
+ Accessory outfeed support made by Skilsaw specifically for the SPT99 will help with another of my workplace issues. Attaches to existing threaded bosses on the underside of the table, and seems plenty sturdy for the purpose. Installs with just the two Skilsaw tools (5mm allen and 1/2” wrench).
Suggestions for Skilsaw:
Fix that standard table insert interference.
Reverse the stand bolts at Location A with acorn nuts over bolt protrusions for user protection.
Make the flip-down fence a full inch (or two) wide so that the fence scale is still effective.
Offer a shorter stand handle option to reduce the overall stored height for those that don’t need the truck-loading capability.