This past weekend I had the pleasure of reviewing the latest in Delta’s table saw line, the Model 36-5052 10 Inch Left Tilt Contractor Saw with 52” RH Rip. This saw is positioned at the top end of Delta’s Contactor line and is marketed to professional craftsman and shop owners with a MSRP of $1,350. I would be putting the saw through its paces while building crossing a few items off my growing project list.
Delta Contractor Saw Manufacturer Features:
- Tubular stand offers support and stability
- Mobile design with two fixed wheels and one swivel wheel
- Cast iron table top with LH and RH stamped steel extension wings
- Heavy duty one piece rail system for precision cutting
- Heavy duty RH extension board with support legs
- Heavy Duty Biesemeyer style fence with Dual rip windows
- Quick Assembly stand to make assembly easier
- Blade Brake stops the blade quickly after shutting off the power
- Large, easy to access ON/OFF switch
- Tool-free split guard design allows a true rise and fall riving knife by using a lever on the inside the throat plate
- Tool-less assembly of riving knife and anti-kickback pawls
Delta Contractor Saw Manufacturer Specifications
- Motor: 15 Amp Induction Motor, 1 PH, 60 Hz
- Voltage: Dual Voltage 120V – 240V
- Arbor: 5/8 in.
- Blade Tilt: 45 Degrees
- Max. Depth of Cut at 90 degrees 3 ½ Inches
- Max. Depth of Cut at 45 degrees 2 ¼ inches
- Max. Rip Right of Blade: 30 in.
- Max. Rip Left of Blade: 15 in.
- Table Size: 20 in. wide X 27 in. deep (40 in. wide X 27 in. deep with WINGS and 76-1/2 in. wide with extension board)
- Dado Capacity: 13/16 in. X 8 in. STACKED DADO
- Dust Port Size: FIT 2-1/2″ HOSE (WITH 4″ ADAPTER)
- Width with Fence: 83 in.
- Height: 44 in.
- Depth :33 in.
- Weight: 245 lbs. Net
Unboxing and Assembly:
The Delta Contractor Saw was delivered by a local freight company and arrived in 3 boxes on a pallet. Weighing in at 245lbs I was really excited to unbox and begin the assembly process. After I started opening up the packaging I quickly realized I needed some help to free this beast from it’s cage. My dad was quick to lend a hand in the setup and assembly.
Delta did a really nice job designing protective and efficient packaging, I could see this fitting easily into a standard pickup truck bed provided you have help of a few strong backs or a forklift for loading and unloading. Parts were easily identifiable and the unboxing process was fairly simple. The saw does require a fair amount of assembly and setup, you should plan on at least two hours and I highly recommend 2 pairs of hands to work on this project.
Delta packaged the heavy saw base upside down so you can easily assemble the stand and attach to the saw base while it’s still in the box on it’s face. Once secured, you can right the saw using a scrap piece of 2’x’4 and a few strong backs.
During the assembly process we did run into some challenges. First, Delta did not label the nuts/bolt/screws, they were all bundled together in one install pack. A metric bolt gauge is essential to ensure you are using the correct screws in the correct places.
The owners manual is rather small with very small install diagrams making it difficult to ensure you are performing the correct task. During the front and rear rail assembly process we really had a tough time ensuring we were following the correct procedure and after much trial and error were able to find the correct placement. It would be helpful if Delta would post a video on YouTube or their website with detailed installation instructions. At the very least upgrade the size of their install diagrams and owners manual to better align with the class of tool.
The carriage bolt holes in the tubular frame were taped over and painted along with the frame so you will need a mallet to pop the bolts through (this could have been a one off issue with my model).
A final note about assembly: ensure you take ample time and have a long level on hand during the table wing and extension assembly process, this saw operates with a very high level of precision but it’s up to you to ensure the table and extensions are level and square during assembly. It’s also critical to ensure your riving knife is aligned properly and safety equipment is installed and tested prior to use. This process is critical to ensuring future cuts will be precise and the saw is ready for production. It’s well worth taking the extra 30 minutes to ensure the tool is level, square, and safe for use.
Design and Operation
The Delta Contractor Saw 36-5052 is a superb piece of precision machinery. The tool base and table are constructed of heavy duty steel and cast iron, not plastic like many saws on the market today. Blade adjustments are effortless by turning the handwheel handles and lock securely into place with lock knobs.
The vital t-square style rip fence assembly is heavy duty and very precise allowing you to cut with 1/16” accuracy. It slides effortlessly on teflon gliders atop steel rails and clamps securely and squarely across the table.
The tool has been designed with great onboard storage of components and accessories. Delta includes a solid mitre gauge, push stick, adjustment wrenches, and of course the rip fence. They all attach to the tool’s base making them easily accessible when you need them.
The three wheel assembly on the saw’s stand affords the 36-5052 a reasonably high level of maneuverability, especially for it’s size and weight. Delta designed a system with two fixed wheels mounted to the left side of the tubular steel base along with a single pivoting pedal and caster attached to the right side of the saw’s base allowing you to easily pivot the pedal caster and move the large saw around your shop. Once in place simply lift up on the pedal and the fixed feet will ensure the saw stays put.
Delta used laminated particle board for the extension table. In my humble opinion, I would prefer to see a piece of ¾ oak plywood here or perhaps aluminum; particleboard does not match this class of tool. During movement I successfully knocked one of the the legs off the extension table and the short screws pulled right through the particleboard. It was an easy fix but a stronger material is warranted here. Also, the adjustable feet on the extension table should be 1” longer. When the table is completely leveled with its base the extension feet are completely topped out.
The powerful 15 Amp induction motor operates quietly and with ease. I put this saw to the test with the nickel challenge- this is where you place a nickel on the table (out of the way) during operation and check for vibration or movement. The saw passed with flying colors – the nickel didn’t move at all.
My first project with the saw was making a small bookshelf using ¾” birch plywood for our breakfast room. I was really impressed with how effortlessly and quietly the blade ripped the plywood leaving a very clean cut. I also tested its mitre ability and each piece came out very precise. The bevel adjustment is great for making moulding cuts with a very accurate 0-45 degree setting.
Delta’s blade break is a handy safety feature- it successfully stopped the blade shortly after power is switched off. Also, the anti-kickback pawls work well and are easily installed into the riving knife assembly. Changing the blade was simple and uneventful, something I appreciate in this tool. Again, the on board storage of necessary wrenches keeps things close at hand so there is no fumbling through your shop looking for tools.
The extension table really sets this saw apart providing plenty of work surface, especially when working with large pieces of wood. It’s also very versatile for custom jig setups, featherboard use, and provides the extra work space for longer crosscuts.
Summary and Final Thoughts
The Delta Contractor Saw 36-5052 really exceeded my expectations and I’ve really enjoyed putting it to the test. Overall, I’ve been very impressed with the high level of precision with which this tool operates. Delta has produced a saw that delivers on it’s marketing promises and they stand behind them with a 5 year warranty. I look forward to success on a lot of projects with the help of the 36-5052 and highly recommend this saw to any professional shop or avid woodworker.
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The one question that is never answered in any of the reviews concerning this saw. Is the motor direct drive or belt driven