Real Life Reviews: Craftsman 16489 Roller Support Stand

I have used roller support stands around the shop for years, and, like clamps, it seems whenever you think you have enough you find you need another. Now that the second shop has a table saw, it was only a matter of time before a full sheet of plywood made it’s appearance, and with it came the need for additional roller stands.

My first stop was at my local Lowes when I bought the plywood, where I found a single Kobalt roller stand available. I purchased it, but since I needed at least one more and thought I had seen that Sears had their stands on sale I headed over to the other side of town.  The Craftsman 16489 stands were indeed on sale at $12.99 each, and as the older Craftsman stands I have at the main shop have served me well and the price was excellent I went ahead and bought two.

Unlike the Kobalt stand (and my older Craftsman stands), which came fully assembled in a large, relatively flat, box, the Craftsman 16489 stands were packed much more compactly in a smaller box and required some assembly.  The stand body itself was already assembled, so the assembly was a fairly quick mounting of the legs and the roller head using a provided hex wrench.  The legs had a semi-captive barrel nut, but the roller head needed a wrench to hold the nut – not a big deal, but somewhat interesting that only 1 of 2 required tools were provided.

During assembly I noticed 2 things about the 16489 design that seemed different from prior experience:

  1. The “heavy duty steel construction” was pretty lightweight.  In particular, the square tubing of the body seemed remarkably thin relative to other stands I have experience with.
  2. The barrel nut mounting of the legs to the body seemed reasonable, but with the combination of the thin tube and the oversize hole needed to be able to get the barrel nut into place during assembly it felt a little less stable than another “leg mounting required” stand I have used that had a welded nut in the tube and reinforcement around the mounting area.

That said, once everything was tightened down the stands seemed sturdy but a touch light relative to other stands I have used,  and I had no concerns with using them.

In use, however, I was less than satisfied. I had the two 16489 stands positioned on the outfeed side of the saw as I ripped a 4×8 sheet down the middle.  The stands worked well catching the plywood as it came off the saw, but when I had finished the cut and lifted the end of one of the pieces to pull it back to me the stand seemed to slide on the floor a touch before the wood started rolling on the roller, and as I pulled the piece back the stand fell over.    On it’s own not a big deal, though it’s the first time I’ve ever had a stand fall.  What surprised me most was when I went to pick it back up I found that one of the legs had become detached from the body.  On a closer inspection I saw that the square tubing at the bottom of the body had twisted slightly, and that had allowed the barrel nut to come out on that side.  I have no way of knowing if it twisted prior to falling over or after the fall, but when I reassembled the leg to the body I noticed that the tubing had twisted enough that when one end of the twisted leg was on the ground the other end was about an inch above the ground.  I was able to twist it back to something approach flat relatively easily by hand.IMG_0436IMG_0437

The roller head on these stands appears to be quite good, so I’m crediting the slide and subsequent fall less to an issue with the head than to the geometry and relatively light weight of the stand not being enough to counter the weight change which occurred when I lifted the end of the piece of wood it was supporting and changed the force direction from vertical to having a sideways component.

In summary, now that I have these stands and at the price I paid I will keep using them, but I’ll reserve them for relatively light duty jobs and maybe put a concrete block on the legs to give it a bit more stability.  Knowing what I do now, though, I would not have bought these stands as there are may other options out there that are more suitable to the job, and I’m disappointed that Sears has opted to take a very good older stand design and changed it to where it’s not capable of doing the same thing.

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