Building My Work Shop #3: A Nice, but difficult Dilemma

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Blog entry by Crushgroovin posted 10-26-2010 08:10 AM 1731 reads 0 times favorited 7 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Next up Air Filtration Part 3 of Building My Work Shop series Part 4: So it's Decided »

So after months of being flat ass broke we have finally resolved and outstanding issue which has resulted in a cash settlement. After meeting our savings goals and other critical items I have a little bit to spend on my workshop. So my dilemma is what to do with it.

I originally had been set selling the old Incra Ultra I bought and replacing it with the LS Super System. I like the new design and the Wonder Fence is exactly what I need, oh ok exactly what I want. I don’t have a jointer so I would really benefit from the shaper type features in the Wonder Fence.

I have spent the past two weeks laid up with a sinus infection. That gave me a chance to learn Sketch up and fully design my Bad Ass Monster Router Table. It is a monster too, L44”xW30”xH44” with all kinds of storage, a down draft box, a bit drawer, the works. It’s originally based on the table Blake, SWM, & PurpLev, but of course I had to super-size it! So yeah it is the Barry Bonds version of Norm’s Router Table, allegedly.

Now of course if I am going to build a new table I have to add some little things. For one I need a router plate, for that I decided on the Incra aluminum. But hey if I am going to be doing Dovetails I need to be able to easily change the bit height so really I need a router lift. Thus I had resigned myself to spending $300 on the Woodpeck/Incra Router Lift. I almost convinced myself to buy the table top but talked myself out of it.

All total the router table was going to set me back about 800 or so.

Right now I am using a Shopsmith Mark V 510 for my tablesaw needs. It words good and I love having a Lathe, Drill Press, Disc Sander, really all that is the Shopsmith package. Really the Table saw part works pretty good. Some of it annoys me like having to move the table to adjust the blade height & angle. But the real problem is Table Saws scare the beejesus out of me. I don’t like them, I never have. I have the ultimate respect for them and am cautious about them with my every use. It is really to the point where I sometime avoid using the most used tool in Woodworking. I have no problem using other tools. Even my chop saw doesn’t bother me and my uncle lost 2 fingers on one of those things. My favorite tool to use is the Bandsaw and those don’t really have much safety guards built into them.

This is where the Sawstop comes in. Since the day I first saw that damn thing I have wanted one! But it has been severely out of reach. I mean not even close to achievable. I mean maybe I could have strung things together saved up for a year and bought the contractor version. But now I can go right out and buy the Pro Series, their hybrid cabinet saw. The only problem is, if I do that then that is it, No Incra, No Bandsaw Risor, No Bench Top Lathe, No buying 100 bf of Hondo, zero zilch zip, it’s my xmas, fathers day, bday, valentines day, arbor day present for years to come.

So yes the Sawstap is worth every penny to me. My wifes grandfather lost 3 fingers to a table saw so it’s worth it to her. The question is, is it worth replacing a tool I already have and losing out on other tools that would really be nice in the shop. So yeah sure I know “Aww I should be so lucky to have your dilemma” but man it is going to be a tough one. I spend hours researching a table saw blade that costs $42. I don’t want to think about how long it’s goiing to take me for this $2,500 purchase! YIKES!!!

I thought writing this would help me with the decision but nope….......

-- I wouldn't be so arrogant if you weren't such a moron!

7 comments so far

View wichle's profile


96 posts in 2944 days

#1 posted 10-26-2010 08:15 AM

I lost a finger tip and nicked two others. When we moved, Lovely Wife demanded a saw stop. I have the big one. Not with standing the safety, it is a great tool.

-- Bill, Michigan "People don't come preassebled, but are glued together by life"

View DrAllred's profile


137 posts in 2820 days

#2 posted 10-26-2010 09:47 AM

when I was building out our shop, my father and I looked at many types of Table Saws, and a dealer gave us a DVD about the SawStop, we watched it and my mother said to get that one, even if it costs a bit more it will pay off if there is an accident.

I have the contractor version with the 52” table extension, it takes up lots of room but I love it.

Good luck and remember safety first!

-- David, Mesa Arizona

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3819 days

#3 posted 10-26-2010 12:55 PM

Go for it! This is one of those tools that, after using it, you will be saying, “Why didn’t I get it sooner”.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View BillyJ's profile


622 posts in 3200 days

#4 posted 10-26-2010 11:45 PM

Great question. Unfortunately, real economics kicks in. Getting exactly what you want today (SawStop), is instant gratification. Is it a case of, I NEED to have an Incra lift-system, bandsaw risor, or benchtop lathe in order to do the following jobs, or are these just tools that will one day get put to use?

If you use your TS more often than any other tool in the shop – then it’s a no brainer – bring home the SawStop. If you have 15 other projects that you want to do, and will need the other tools – guess what?

ps – now I will say, gee – wish I had your problem ;)

-- I've never seen a tree that I wouldn't like to repurpose into a project. I love the smell of wood in the morning - it smells like victory.

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2931 days

#5 posted 10-27-2010 01:55 AM

Let me tell you what I do not like about mine.

The different cartridge for dado versus regular blade. Everytime you need to cut dados, you will need to replace the cartridge. It’s easy to do but a pain.
If you take your miter trough and it touch the blade by accident you are in for a new balde and a new cartridge. That will set you about $140. Other saw will just cut throught the aluminum.

The tabletop dust collection is good but gets in the way. I got rid of mine.

Oh yea, when that break engage you feel complete emptiness.

It is an excellent table saw but I do prefer the powermatic that just seem more robust. The main thing going for it is the safety system.

If you need to move it around add the cost of the base. And don’t forget another $89 for the dado cartridge that does not come with it. And also the dado insert too $39.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

View Crushgroovin's profile


234 posts in 2921 days

#6 posted 10-27-2010 02:22 AM

Thanks for the input Lanwater. I can see where accidental triggering of the brake would suck! I usually have wood sacrificial fence attached to my miter saw. If I get a Sawstop I will make sure that turns into an always. Although I don’t end up using the miter slider that much as I have a tool stand with an old Ryobi Miter Saw in the middle. But that does reinforce not letting ANYTHING conductive hit it while in use. I think though if the brake went off after hitting my hand I would only feel a rush of adrenaline!

It sounds like it’s a good idea to have an extra brake cartridge on hand though.

Yeah the sheet I have lists all the extra costs involved. Being a Shopsmith owner I am no stranger to those.

Which model do you have? The 3 hp is still under consideration but would change my timeline. Really though if it wasn’t for the safety I would be spending $600 on a used Delta or Grizzly 3 hp cabinet saw.

-- I wouldn't be so arrogant if you weren't such a moron!

View lanwater's profile


3111 posts in 2931 days

#7 posted 10-27-2010 06:27 AM

3hp cabinet saw. I also got the hydraulic base (the one with the jack) since I park all my tools when I am done.

-- Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

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