During a typical scrolling project, you’ll spend a great deal of time installing and removing the blade to thread it through starter holes, then re-tensioning before you can continue. Blades are held in place by small clamps or notches on the ends of the saw’s upper and lower arms. What I typically do is keep the bottom end fixed in the saw, and release the top clamp to gain access to the blade end. Eventually, you’ll need to loosen that bottom clamp as well to change out the blade when it breaks, dulls or you need a different tooth profile. The easier this whole process is to repeat, the better!
Craftsman provides a wider opening under the table than some other machines, in order to reach the bottom Allen screw that releases the blade. I appreciated that access. Trouble was, the included T-wrench wasn’t quite long enough to reach the bolt easily. The top mount also clamps with an Allen screw that holds the blade securely, and that was easier to do. A removeable throatplate in the saw table would be helpful for visibility’s sake below the table, but this saw has none.
The 21602 has effective dust-clearing provisions. An articulating blower arm on top keeps the cutting area clean, and Craftsman provides an elbow underneath to attach the saw to a 1-1⁄4" shop vacuum hose — a handy feature to direct the hose away from your lap when seated in front of the machine. For $119 as of 2011, this saw is worth its cost.