Building My Work Shop #11: Powermatic 66 vs The Rest

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Blog entry by Crushgroovin posted 01-15-2011 09:43 PM 4807 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 10: Slotted T Crank Handle for Powermatic Belsaw 12" Molder Planer Drum Sander Part 11 of Building My Work Shop series Part 12: It was a VERY Merry Christmas! (Mega Tool Gloat!) »

I have finally decided to make the big move to a real Table Saw. Ditching the Shopsmith and getting individual tools instead. Picked to a nice Drill Press yesterday, getting a Delta Disc/Belt Sander today, already have a Lathe, Bandsaw, and others.

Browsing my favorite local Shopping Mall (Craigslist) I come across some nice looking hybrid & Cabinet saws priced all over the map. For the most part there are some amazing old Table Saws that would be very nice. The Grizzly 3HP saws are around $300, a couple older Unisaws are $450 and 3 beautiful amazing drool inducing Powermatic 66’s are all listed at $1,500. I know these are nice saws and all but are they really $1,200 better than the Grizzly? Are they really $1,000 plus better than the Unisaw? I mean thats a lotta Cheddar for a Gold Colored Saw!

Oh and I really don’t need to hear responses from people who don’t own a Table Saw or haven’t posted any projects. Looking for responses from people who have actually used these machines!

For those of you into Classic Woodworking Machines, take a look at this classic “20 Delta Milwaukee Bandsaw I am helping a friend sell. Built in 1953 it looks like it was built last week, but they don’t build them like this anymore. It has Cast Iron throughout. If I had a bigger shop I could buy it myself!

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

9 comments so far

View lew's profile


12102 posts in 3782 days

#1 posted 01-15-2011 10:39 PM

My Woodbridge (similar to a Grizzly) has served me well.

Granted, it’s a little under powered but that’s never really been a problem and new it only cost around $500. My only real complaint has been that, when I tilt the blade, it (the blade) has a tendency to no longer be exactly parallel to the fence. It is my understanding this is a trait of most of the contractor saws that have the motor hanging on the back side of the saw.

Don’t know if this helps.


-- Lew- Time traveler. Purveyor of the Universe's finest custom rolling pins.

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#2 posted 01-15-2011 10:49 PM

I bought a vintage JET 10” contractors off Ebay for a few hundred bucks and I absolutely love it. Power galore and some history included. However, if I’d seen a Powermatic for $1500, I probably would have jumped on it. It all depends upon what you plan to do with it, I suppose (router table insert, dado blades, aftermarket dust collection, etc.). Cabinet is king, no doubt about it. I just had a hard time justifying the $3000 saw I wanted.

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Bertha's profile


13529 posts in 2720 days

#3 posted 01-15-2011 10:49 PM

I meant Craigslist, not Ebay. I’ve got hand planes on my mind :)

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View Marc5's profile


304 posts in 3369 days

#4 posted 01-15-2011 11:43 PM

I am in your camp regarding laying out that kind of cash. The rest of my comments are based on what I have experienced as a hobbyist. I am assuming you are not using the saw in a industrial application. I have a combination a Delta table saw that has served me well with no problem or complaints. I also have a Grizzly 14” band saw and jointer which are several years old again no problems. If I were going in your situation I could find a few more tools I would want and need for $1k or so. Good Luck!

-- Marc

View Bob42's profile


456 posts in 3817 days

#5 posted 01-16-2011 04:03 AM

I have from Craigslist a 10” 3 hp Jet cabinet saw and love it. I paid $600.00 for it and s it’s about 4 years old. I couldn’t justify paying that much more. I agree with marc you can get a lot more stuff.

-- Bob K. East Northport, NY

View David175's profile


101 posts in 2716 days

#6 posted 01-16-2011 04:17 AM

I have a 1958 uni, 5 HP… the top has been milled and polished, then set up…I dont see how it could get any better

-- Dave..Pensacola Fl.........In GOD we trust

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3779 days

#7 posted 01-16-2011 06:56 AM

I think I paid around 500 bucks for my jet cab saw with bessy fence and the long rails. It’s around 20 years old and still cuts like new. Yep craigslist is great. And so is the old cast iron.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18290 posts in 3702 days

#8 posted 01-16-2011 07:07 AM

I have been very happy with my little mid 70s Craftsman contractor saw, but my WW has been very casual. Not much real hardwood cutting that was more than 4/4. I am beginning to see that 1 hp is probably not gong to cut the mustard when i start wanting to rip 8/4 hardwood. I would definitely go for 2 or 3 hp if you are making the change.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View rsmith71's profile


269 posts in 3069 days

#9 posted 01-16-2011 04:58 PM

I’ve been watching CL alot and the price you found on the PM is a bit high. That said, the old Unisaw is a very good saw, but having used both Deltas and the Powermatics (many different saws over the years), I feel you will have a very hard time finding anything better than the 66. The Accufence is a Biesmeyer clone and is reliably accurate, they have plenty of power, and the cabinet and top are heavy and well built with no vibration. Now there are exceptions to everything and I’m sure people have used bad machines that color their opinions but the first Model 66 I used over 20 years ago is still in use in the same shop. $1500 seems high to me for a used saw but I don’t know what the average price is in your area. Personally, I’d keep looking out far a better price but the Powermatic is worth the investment.

-- Robert - Haven Wood Crafts

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