New Guy Table Saw

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Blog entry by Endgrain123 posted 09-07-2015 01:18 AM 2929 reads 0 times favorited 14 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Lots of great info on this blog! Hoping to get a little guidance here. I am new to woodworking after finding a stash of rough walnut in my Grandfather’s garage after he passed. At this point, all I want to do is build some end grain cutting boards as many of you have done. I have a planer, dust collector and jointer from cragslist that do a great job. All I need is a the table saw. I have very little invested in this and don’t want to spend a lot on table saw as there is a chance this will stop at cutting boards given my attention span on new projects…but who knows! My question is this: Are the inexpensive table saws at lowes going to cut the strips and crosscut again to make a decent joint? A friend has let me use his big commercial SawStop and I’ve been spoiled. I don’t have much space and considering the Dewalt job site saw, or maybe the house brand Kobalt. If I really get into this I will step up to the nice stuff but I really just want to get started here. Thanks!

14 comments so far

View TheFridge's profile


5678 posts in 908 days

#1 posted 09-07-2015 01:27 AM

a used craftsman contractor saw can be made to fit the same footprint as the ones you are looking at while giving you upgrade ability and solid performance.

Edit: Find a jobsite saw and try it out before you buy it. Not a huge fan of universal motors.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View fatman51's profile


335 posts in 1258 days

#2 posted 09-07-2015 06:27 AM

like The Fridge Said, and you can find a used craftsman and sometimes even a Delta or Rockwell contractor saw on Craigslist for less than you will spend at Lowes. Anything with a belt and an induction motor will do a much better job with your walnut than the little portable saws. I paid fifty bucks for the old Craftsman saw in my shop. Just be careful to run it before you buy and make sure that it does not need repairs. There are plenty of good used saws out there.

To answer the rest of your question the Dewalt saw is better than most of the other dubious plastic universal motor type saws out there. The Makita saw does pretty good but its expensive.

That said, you will want a good combination blade or a very good ripping blade to do what you want to do and you will not approach the quality of cut that you get with the saw stop without spending some money, nor the safety.

-- The Constitution only gives people the right to pursue happiness. You have to catch it yourself. Benjamin Franklin

View TableSawCentral's profile


2 posts in 414 days

#3 posted 09-07-2015 07:47 AM

Hi, as the others have said, the SawStop is very expensive. Their new jobsite saw still comes in at $1400 on amazon. I’m a big fan of the of the DeWalt DWE7480XA, its basically the upgraded DW745 which was a huge seller for DeWalt. Its $400 with the stand and $380 without. If you are going to need the ability to cut dado’s then you won’t with this saw, the shaft for the blade isn’t long enough. Instead I would probable go for the DeWalt DWE7490X. it cost $499 so $100 more than the DWE7480XA but can cut 13/16” dado’s as well as being able to rip full size sheets of ply in half.

For size and price alone The Bosch GTS1031 wins at $349. It can even cut 1/2” dado’s.
I recently wrote a best portable table saw article which does a comparison of the best small table saws around at the moment. So these are my own opinions, but hopefully will help you make the right choice for you

As the others have said as well. chucking the blade that comes with any saw and getting yourself a decent combination blade from the likes of Freud will make unbelievable difference to your cuts.

Hope this helps


-- James,

View canadianchips's profile


2310 posts in 2419 days

#4 posted 09-07-2015 01:50 PM

For small projects like what you are talking about a small jobsite saw will work.Keep the blade sharp !
I have used ryobi, skil, Dewalt jobsite saws. They all worked BUT I was never happy with them (I have had a contractor saw in my shop all my life.SPOILED) I guess we get comfortable with what we get used to using !

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View paxorion's profile


1100 posts in 1467 days

#5 posted 09-07-2015 05:23 PM

I went through the same dilemma and wrote about my rambling a while ago.

I don’t have the space or mobility to go with a full sized saw at home, so I use the Dewalt 7491RS (their high end saw), and it does a good job for what you looking for, albeit for a high price tag of $500+. Space permitting I would definitely recommend look on Craigslist for a full sized saw. I’m also spoiled by a local makerspace where I regularly use a Unisaw.

-- paxorion

View cabmaker's profile


1473 posts in 2231 days

#6 posted 09-07-2015 05:51 PM

Sounds like your a prime candidate for a used cont. saw like a delta 1.5 hp

Plenty available south of 250.00 and will out perform anything new under a thousand that I know of

Enjoy the journey JB

View bigJohninvegas's profile


183 posts in 884 days

#7 posted 09-07-2015 08:17 PM

I agree with cabmaker. Sounds like you don’t mind shopping craigslist. I bet you can find a good used saw out there for a good price. Like others here have already said, make sure its a belt driven saw, not one of those direct drive ones. What ever saw you wind up with. Remember that none of them cut straight out of the box. Everything is adjustable, and must be fine tuned. There are some good post here on how to tune a table saw.
Good Luck.

-- John

View kenthemadcarpenter's profile


122 posts in 489 days

#8 posted 09-07-2015 11:39 PM

Although somebody already mentioned it, I would recommend finding and older craftsman table saw. I had one given to me, after cleaning it up and making some tweets, she is my pride and joy in my wood shop.

View MT_Stringer's profile


2820 posts in 2653 days

#9 posted 09-08-2015 12:13 AM

I just bought the DeWalt 7480 via CPO Tools. Then I went back and bought the rolling stand. They have a good sale going this weekend (Labor Day).

My purpose was to have a saw for work onsite doing cabinet remodeling. I have a cabinet saw in the garage but needed something portable.

There are a couple of drawbacks with this saw:

1) The arbor is short and won’t accept a dado stack. That doesn’t bother me because I use an exact width dado jig to rout dadoes wider than 1/2 inch. I still need to do a test, but I think two 7 1/4 inch circular saw blades (and a couple of shims) will fit the arbor making it possible to rip grooves in drawer stock for the bottoms. Note: This setup works great on my cabinet saw.

2) Small table size. That won’t bother me either because I have a track saw that I use to break down sheet goods.

Also, I have an Incra miter gauge and it works on both saws. I like that.

Last note. There is definitely a big size difference in the two saws (portable vs cabinet).

Hope this helps.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Endgrain123's profile


2 posts in 415 days

#10 posted 09-08-2015 01:07 AM

Wow, I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to share all of this great info. Looking forward to getting a saw as I have planed and jointed all i can do at this point without wasting wood. I will continue to watch Craigslist for a contractor saw and will also take a hard look at the Bosch GTS1031. It would be tight but going back to Lowe’s to look at the Delta 13-amp #36-725 as well. Hope all had a nice long weekend.

View TheFridge's profile


5678 posts in 908 days

#11 posted 09-08-2015 01:12 AM

If you were to buy one new I’d go with the delta 36-725.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MT_Stringer's profile


2820 posts in 2653 days

#12 posted 09-08-2015 01:19 AM

Here are some pics I just took of my dado set up to cut the groove in drawer sides. It looks like this will work great. I have 18 drawers to build so this will make cutting the grooves a breeze.

Hope this helps.

DeWalt 7480

With Irwin Marples 50T blade installed.

Arbor length without blade

Dado setup (2ea 24T ripping blades and a pair of shims)

Setup for 1/4 inch deep groove.

Dado result. Perfect.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Grumpymike's profile


1897 posts in 1737 days

#13 posted 09-10-2015 12:46 AM

Craig’s list is a great place to buy a table saw. Usually the seller thinks his saw is worth more than it actually is or it is a great boat anchor.

If you know very little about table saws, or how to check the arbor shaft and bearings, get your buddy with the saw stop to go with you to check blade alignment and fence alignment.

Some time back I bought a Ridged 3600 for $150,
The guy I got it from said that it bogged down and wouldn’t cut straight. ... I cut one piece of wood and saw the problem … I told him that the saw just wasn’t worth the $250 he was asking but I would be interested at $150.
He was excited to move the saw and I was happy to get it. I took it home and cleaned it, and did a complete alignment on it … took about 4 hours … Replaced the dull and burnt blade, and used the saw for the next 6 years.

Good luck with your search, and if you decide to get one of the job site cheapies, you can use it for a while and upgrade after you know a bit more as to how you will use it.

-- Grumpy old guy, and lookin' good Doin' it. ... Surprise Az.

View MT_Stringer's profile


2820 posts in 2653 days

#14 posted 09-13-2015 05:09 AM

I used the little Dewalt today to cut the grooves for drawer bottoms for 17 drawers (68 pieces total). It worked great. I really like the fence and it’s rack and pinion adjustment. I have the tape measure calibrated to the fence, but I still use the old fashioned method (folding ruler). :-)

I had the dust port hooked to a shop vac via Dust Deputy. That worked pretty well. When we were through, my wife vacuumed what little sawdust there was up from the floor and the machine. Not much for the amount of dado work that had just taken place.

I might add that earlier I had ripped all of the stock with the Grizzly and cut the pieces to length with the miter saw.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

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