Being a homeowner calls for a need to have a certain set of tools to upgrade spaces in need of a little charm. For an entire year I thought about building built-in bookshelves/cabinet into the large spaces on each side of my fireplace. I also decided that I would build closet storage in my master bedroom, and a bar for the basement. However, I have often had employees at home improvement stores cut the large pieces of plywood for me so that I can transport it. There are other instances that I need to cut smaller pieces of wood without having to use my circular saw, or miter saw. As I researched several websites, I realized that it would be nice to add a table saw to make things easier.
I believe that the best piece of advice came from this site, where it provided somewhat of a hierarchy of table saws and price points. I initially thought that the DeWalt DW744X and Bosch 4100-09 would be the best choices between in-store brands that fit my budget of $500. I looked at both of them several times, but I wanted something with a cast iron surface. I wanted quality. I searched on Craigslist, and over 20 pawn shops in the Atlanta area. I often saw older Craftsman saws and Rigid saws, along with the smaller bench top saws.
I found a Jet JWTS 10 table saw at a pawn shop close to my home, however, it was pawned a week prior and state law mandates that items have to be held for 30 days. Furthermore, the price had not been determined by the pawn shop. In the meantime, my search continued. A week later I returned to see the Jet saw sitting there. The pawn shop had a 30 day 30% down lay away policy, and of course no refunds or exchanges. The only question then was the price. Fingers crossed, “Its $350 sir”, I immediately saw it was a good deal. I tried to negotiate down because the miter gauge had a very lose fit and didn’t snug the track, plus the cast iron surface was rusted. My leverage was pretty much gone because they knew I wanted the saw and weren’t budging. I did like the fact that otherwise the saw looked good. I put the saw in lay-away for 100 bucks and paid it off two weeks later. The two weeks also allowed me to conduct a thorough review of the saw, as well as the others I found.
The major advantage of buying at the pawn shop was the lay away option. Another positive is that a pawn shop will thoroughly inspect an item before shelling out any cash for it, so I already had a second set of eyes. These were major considerations that competed with the idea of buying a saw from craigslist. Still, I had them plug it up and turn it on in the shop. It was quieter than a blender and the startup and shut off was smooth. Plus, I liked that the motor sat inside the saw. I had to get a friend to help and rent a truck to pick it up. **note Home Depot truck rentals are $20 for 75 mins plus $10 each extra hour, while U-Haul trucks are $20 for the day plus milage.
The Cleaning the Rust off the Cast Iron Surface
With the saw now in the basement, it was time for clean up. I picked up a few chemicals and they worked like a charm. First I used the Krud Kutter rust remover (found at HD) and scrubbed it with an industrial Scotch Brite pad. It took just about 10 minutes. I was very liberal with it and cleaned up the mess with a shop towel. Next I sprayed WD40 on the surface and inside the blade area. I wiped it all down once again, and brushed on the inside. Lastly, I used the wax paste on the surface to bring it to a nice surface. I did not use CLR
I knew before buying that I wanted a nice miter gauge, even if the original one was in good condition. I have the INCRA 100SE miter gauge on my wish list. I’m ok with the fence for now. I do want to add anti-kickback devices to the fence so I’ll see how that can work, if not then I’ll have to figure something out. The steel wings are sturdy, however, I want a cast iron surface. I will replace the left side with a Bench Dog Pro Max router table extension which will add another 7” to the surface. Later on I’ll probably replace the other steel wing with a cast iron wing. I have found a few for $100. The saw has the original blade on it and it seems sharp. I will likely buy a new Freud or Forrester combination blade, not sure which one yet. At least I have a blade for cutting plywood, now i just need one that will leave a sand grade finish and a thin kerf.
Thanks for reading!
-- Jerome, Marietta, GA