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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Table Saw Advice

    I'm looking to buy a table saw. Space isn't a consideration, though it will need to be slightly mobile. I've looked at Hitachi, Ridgid, and Delta - the more "permanently" located saws. I've also looked at the Bosch saw on a wheeled stand. I'm looking for something that is accurate and durable, more than anything else. Any suggestions on manufacturer, features I should be looking for, things to avoid... all advice and/or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Coventry, RI
    Posts
    340

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    Well one of the considerations should be what do you want to use it for? If you are doing only smaller projects you don't need a cabinet saw but if you are going to be ripping full sheets of plywood you are going to want to have a substantial mass. I have a Delta 3HP unisaw which I've had for about 10 years and am very happy with it but it is expensive and heavy. It will cut through just about anything without blinking an eye. A heavy duty contractors saw would be a good choice and will handle just about any task you throw at it. The important thing for saws with 1-1/2 hp motors would be to have a thin kerf and sharp blade installed and it will be able to rip 2x stock fairly easily.

    So having said that things I would look for would be a cast iron table that is true and flat. A good rip fence that is not going to flex and that is easily adjusted. Adjustments that easy to make such as raising and lowering the blade or tilting the blade. And finally good dust collection. Hope this helps you out.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    I have a Grizzly contractor saw that I located through Craigs List for about $400. It is a 220V 2HP version, not very mobile at about 300lbs, although you can get a wheeled base for it. The Shop fox fence on it is very accurate, although it did need to be "tuned" when I got it in the shop. I have an after market fence that I did not bother to put on since this one was dead on. I did build a containment box on the rear to help with dust collection since the motor hangs off the back. I considered getting an after market belt but it passes the nickel vibration test so I didn't bother. With the out feed table I built it handles sheet goods with no problem.

    I get very accurate cuts, but a lot of that has to do with how you align the saw to start, use of feather boards and feed rate.

    Saw stop is supposed to have a contractor saw coming out soon, you may want to check it out for the additional safety it can offer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    980

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    with out a doubt a Grizzly would be one of the tops, found in many cabinet shops. but of the first three you mentioned I would try to for get the first two and stick with the delta

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    612

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    "but of the first three you mentioned I would try to for get the first two and stick with the delta"

    I was somewhat surprised to see the good reviews (from actual users, not mag writers) that the Ridgid contractor saw received on a few woodworker boards. Have you decided if you want a contractor saw on a mobile base or a benchtop model on a rolling stand? If its the second choice, you get to try to decide on which rolling stand you want to get, too! I would definitely look around on Craigs list and eBay for used before spending on new.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    More often than not, I will use the saw to rip sheets of plywood. I also will be using the saw by myself, without an extra set of hands to help feed/catch the wood. I thought about a contractor's saw, but I think the table would be too small. I know you can buy stands to help feed the wood, but at that point, why not get the pedestal saw with a bigger table?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,940

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by chief411 View Post
    More often than not, I will use the saw to rip sheets of plywood. I also will be using the saw by myself, without an extra set of hands to help feed/catch the wood. I thought about a contractor's saw, but I think the table would be too small. I know you can buy stands to help feed the wood, but at that point, why not get the pedestal saw with a bigger table?
    This is where you build work surfaces to facilitate working alone. My main work table is 4x8, on casters, and the same height as the table saw. I have it positioned directly behind the saw where it lives most of the time, however, when it comes to ripping full sheets by myself, it gets pulled more to the side so that it catches both the cut and the cut-off.

    One of my dearest woodworking friends has a contractors saw that he built a table for, basically it's a large bench area and the saw sits in a pocket in the middle, it's table flush with the surface of the bench. It works well for him, but I more agree with your sentiment that by the time you buy or build additional supports and work surfaces, you can buy a good saw that has 70% of what you need. I personally have a Powermatic. I was looking at the Delta Unisaw and the Jet version at the same time and just decided that for me the Powermatic was the better choice.

    It is my opinion that you should purchase the best tools you can afford because quality tools absolutely make a difference in the ease of craftsmanship and use of a tool. If you fight a tool, you won't want to use it nor have good results from using it. It's not worth the few bucks between love and hate. BP's suggestion of looking at Craig's List or other sources of used equipment is a good one. Keep an eye on estate sales and auctions, etc.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    I'll be the first to admit that I have little to no woodworking skills or experience. I finally have a barn with the space, the time to learn, and the money to buy some decent tools and cut a few boards too short and buy some more to practice again. I would rather spend the money once, to buy a decent tool that will do a good job and last a reasonable amount of time. A table saw, more than most tools, seems like a tool that if bought smartly, could last a lifetime. For those of you that do this more frequently and/or have made a career of it, what features should I look for and if price were not a huge object (within reason), what manufacturer would you recommend?

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Location
    Fayette County, Ohio
    Posts
    5,775

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    chief,
    As a beginner and with some cash to spend , I would sugest you look at Sawstop . If you don't want to go that high Grizzly or Steelcity
    Jack
    Be sure you live your life, because you are a long time dead.-Scottish Proverb

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    6,940

    Default Re: Table Saw Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by chief411 View Post
    ... and cut a few boards too short and buy some more to practice again ...
    LOL That just made my day! I think we've all been there at one time or another.

    You're definitely on the right track of wanting to buy it right the first time. It's been 10 years since I researched and bought my shop, at that time the tools I was most interested in were Delta and Jet, for all intents purposes, one in the same tool. My main big ticket items are of these two varieties, the exception being the Powermatic tablesaw. I've never regretted one of the tools I bought, because if there was any doubt in my mind at the time of purchase, I bought the "greater" of the two, hence the mix of Delta and Jet

    If you're interested, here's my shop:

    Powermatic 66 tablesaw
    Delta HD Shaper
    Delta DJ-20 Joiner - (6' bed )
    Delta Dust collector
    Delta 14" bandsaw with a 6" riser block
    Jet Drill Press with mortising attachment
    Jet 15" planer
    Jet oscillating spindle sander

    This brings up a few more points, if you think you're going to be doing much in the way of mortising, buy a dedicated mortising machine OR a second drill press, because you lose the drill press when you install the mortising attachment, and it's not a quick-change item. Everything I have is on a roller base and will fit neatly on one side of a two car garage when not in use.

    Buy only good quality router bits, drill bits, and saw blades!!!!! This is an absolute must if you want clean, burn free cuts and to minimize sanding.

    Hope these ramblings help.

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