General provided me a General International 50-300M1, manufactured in Asia, which I found to be appointed with lots of attractive features. First off, this saw has vac hose port in the guard as well as a shroud underneath the blade for two-point dust collection — a great tag team! After my cutting test, with the top guard connected to a separate shop vacuum, the tabletop was not only cleaner than many other saws, but I could only scrounge a handful of dust from inside.
The guard offers helpful clarity for seeing the blade, and it’s mounted to a high-profile riving knife, plus a second low-position knife comes standard. They switch out with a flip-lever release under the throatplate. Still, unlocking the riving/knife guard is a bit of a hassle: the throatplate can’t be removed separately, so you have to lift it with one hand and find the lever underneath to unlock things. Other styles are easier.
You’ll need a rolling base for most cabinet saws if you need to move them around the shop, but not on this machine. It has integral casters below a cast-iron skirt that crank up and down with a separate hand wheel. The action takes a lot of cranking, but once engaged, you can turn or roll the saw around with ease.
Unlike its Canadian cousin, this saw has places to hang wrenches, fence and miter gauge, a clip for a push stick and setscrews on the miter gauge bar to snug it up in the table slots. It also has a pushbutton arbor lock for one-wrench blade changes. There’s no standard extension table or legs here, but you can add them as accessories for $126.
The saw has one feature that wasn’t up to snuff: a digital readout for bevel-tilt angles fell out of accuracy consistently after the blade was tipped beyond 17°. But, a nice manual pointer scale came to its rescue anyway.
The 50-300M1 offers a lot to like at a mid-range price, with smart offerings for safety, dust control and convenience.