Osborne EB-2 Review

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What I Like

What I Don't Like

Bottom Line

Bottom Line #2

Bottom Line #3

An Update

Calibrate It

Osborne EB-3

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EB2 I use several crosscut sleds (shop-made and purchased) and a JDS Accu-Miter. Thus, when comes to reviewing the Osborne EB-2, I have a number of accurate and time-tested crosscut tools to compare it to. All testing was done on a well-used, but well-tuned Powermatic 66 table saw.

Cost: $120.00
Manufacturer: Osborne Mfg
Retailer: Hartville Tool

What I Like About the Osborne EB-2

  • It requires no adjustment, in fact there is no way to adjust it.

  • It is accurate at 90° and 45°. I made a picture frame and the joints were perfect. At 90°, there was a .003" difference across 5-1/2". Interestingly, there was the same difference across a 10" workpiece. (My JDS is accurate to within .001" across 5-1/2". Of course, I am not sure my machinist's squares are even that accurate.)

  • It is very light and has a good feel to it.

  • The fence has two faces: Standard Aluminum on one side and an abrasive surface on the other. The abrasive surface keeps the workpiece from slipping. The surface seems like the non-slip material used on stair treads.

  • The fence is a generous 25-1/2" long.

  • Good Manual.

  • Comes with the two allen wrenches required during installation.

  • Very easy to change the EB-2 from one miter slot to the other.

  • Setting angles and returning to 0°/90° is a snap. It always returns to exactly 0°/90°. More often than not, my JDS Accu-Miter does not return to 90° using its shot-pin.

  • The miter bar is adjustable in two places for width to fit a particular miter slot.

  • The designer, owner seems to be a great guy and certainly thinks outside the box!

What I Don't Like About the Osborne EB-2

  • It has no adjustments. Better not drop it! The documentation states a .002" tolerance. My experience was .003" at 90° degrees across a 5-1/2 board. After fine-tuning my JDS, it cuts < .001" across 5-1/2".

  • Compared to my JDS Accu-Miter, the construction seems a bit fragile.

  • The fence flexes. The literature states that the triangle design prevents flex. This is mostly true at 0°. However, you lose some amount of the triangle advantage as you rotate the fence towards 45°. For my liking, there is too much flex in the fence. Also, the flex was not caused by a sloppy miter slot/bar fit. After noticing the flex, I used the miter-bar adjustment to lock it in the slot and the flex was still present. I must say, the flex did not appear to affect my cuts. Also, if you hold and use the gauge as recommended in the manual, you probably won't flex the fence.

  • The fences clears the blade by 2" at 90° and 3" at 45°. This is too much in my opinion. When mitering at 45°, it seemed that half of my workpiece was left unsupported. Delta cabinet saws and its clones place the miter slot approximately 1" closer to the blade than my PM66 so this may not be a problem on those machines.

  • The flip stop works okay, but it is a bit flimsy compared to the robust JDS flip stop.

  • The measuring tape is mounted on the face of smooth side of the fence. Thus you cannot use it when using the abrasive side (Of course the numbers would read in the wrong direction if you swapped faces). In my opinion, face-mounted tapes are harder to use than top-mounted tapes (like the JDS). To defend the Osborne, it's the only miter gauge I know of that gives you the choice of a smooth or non-slick face.

  • The T-slot washer raised the miter bar above the surface of the table. I tried several fixes and finally tossed the washer aside.

  • Three small vinyl sticky strips are supplied to be applied to the bottom of the fence to reduce the friction when sliding it across the table. They work fine, but result in lifting the miter bar above the slot. This can be adusted by adding shims between the fence and the bar but didn't seem worth it. Plus, when rotating the jig around to use it in the other slot, the fence catches and rolls up the strips. Acetone cleaned up the mess.

  • Have to drill holes or ??? to mount an auxillary fence.

  • The fence could be a little taller. It is only 2-1/2" high. My JDS, seems much taller (it's not, it's approximately 2-3/4").

  • This complaint is aimed at any conventional miter gauge: Once you have used a crosscut sled (Shop-Made, Dubby, Biesemeyer,etc.), you get used to the support the sled gives to the bottom of the workpiece as well as to the trailing edge. This bottom support provided by the crosscut sled reduces the chance for error by reducing virtually any chance that the workpiece is going to rotate or shift as you push it through the blade. This is particularly noticeable when cutting panels or wide workpieces. This why I do 90% of my crosscutting using the Dubby or my shop-made sleds.

The Bottom Line

The Osborne EB-2 is accurate, requiring no adjustments right out of the box. The machining, feel, and overall quality is very good. However, compared to my JDS Accu-Miter, the tool seems a bit fragile. I pray that I never drop it. The fence flexes and the flip-stop is flimsy. For home shops it's accuracy, adjustment-free setup, and light weight make it a good choice. For commercial shops, it's accuracy and repeatability are plusses, but I am concerned about its light construction. Evidently, Black and Decker is not concerned as the EB-2 is used as the protractor for the sliding table of the new Dewalt table saw. Of course the unit is beefed-up quite a bit! Furthermore, I received an e-mail from Mr. Osborne stating that a revised miter gauge is planned that addresses the complaints he has received regarding the EB-2.

Rating: out of 5!

The Absolute Bottom Line

Most miter-gauges are flawed. The best bet is to make or buy crosscut sleds unless you have money to burn. My shop-made sleds are perfectly accurate and often safer to use than miter gauges. Crosscut sleds handle small work and large panels. However, I wanted an aftermarket miter gauge for a second table saw, and since I had the JDS I thought I would try another--the Osborne. If I had to choose between the two, I would take the JDS for its robustness and adjustability.

We recently toured several medium sized furniture shops and one large furniture shop in Iowa. We counted more than a dozen cabinet-type table saws in the shops and all but one had the standard miter gauge (most had a wooden subfence). The lone aftermarket miter gauge was a Woodhaven. Virtually every saw had one or more shop-made crosscut sleds in use or hanging nearby.

An Update

Thanks to Hartville Tool's liberal refund/exchange policy, I exchanged the Osborne EB-2 for the Incra Miter Gauge. Also, the problem I had with the JDS Accu-Miter shot-pin assembly is now fixed thanks to the great customer support at the JDS Company.

The new Osborne / Excalibur EB-3 has fixed the flaws I found (and documented to Osborne). You can read our review of the Osborne EB-3 by clicking here: Osborne EB-3 Miter Gauge Review.

Calibrating Crosscut Devices

There are numerous ways to calibrate a crosscut device to be square with the blade. Unfortunately, using a carpenter's square or even a machinist's square does not always cut it. There are three methods that are regarded as being the best practice methods for squaring a crosscut device (miter gauges, sleds, and sliding tables). Click Here to read about and view demonstrations of three methods for calibrating crosscut devices.


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