Finding the right cabinet saw

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Blog entry by Shelbdog posted 12-26-2012 07:10 PM 5552 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I’m searching for a cabinet saw to replace my old 2hp craftsman. I want peoples opinions on finding the best saw for my money. I have been looking at different brands, asking sales people questions, reading reviews for the last few months and I would like peoples straight up opinions regarding the saws I mention below. I’m hoping a few people on this site can offer good opinions regarding the actual saws I mention or at least have enough experience using a cabinet saw to suggest a specific saw based on features, quality, actual usage, and price.

The reason I’m looking for a new saw. I need better quality cuts so I can build furniture with great accuracy and minimize fit-up issues. Currently my Craftsmen saw has a slight dip in the middle of the cast iron table (I assume from the weight of the motor and trunnion mounted to the bottom of the table). This causes the blade to not be 90 deg to the table, I’m always fighting this. The fence does not stay tight enough when clamped down, so I get slight movement at the end of my cuts (this is a screw take-up style fence, not a T-square type). Dust collection does not exist (this is because its a contractor type saw). The stamp extensions are never flush with the top of the cast table. It would be nice to have a extension table because I do a lot with plywood and with me building new cabinets for the garage, built-in bookshelfs for the office, and bulit-in nook for the mud room I think I could really benefit from an extension table and longer fence.

Powermatic – PM2000, 3HP 1PH Table Saw, with 50” Accu-Fence System – 1792000K
Steel City – 35975GR 10” Granite Cabinet Saw 3 HP, 50” Industrial Fence System
Grizzly – G0691 10” 3HP 220V Cabinet Table Saw with Long Rails & Riving Knife
Delta – Delta Unisaw X5 with 50” Biesemeyer Fence – guy has this for sale on “CL” – 6 years old $1200
Laguna – MTS0200-0180 Platinum Series

I’m open to suggestions on other brands.

I’m willing to spend up to 3K but I would prefer to stay under 2K.

I look forward to seeing peoples opinions and responding to them. Please ask me any questions if you wish. Thank you

-- Shelby Strempke - IOWA...GO HAWKS

10 comments so far

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3128 days

#1 posted 12-26-2012 09:38 PM

I’d get the Delta and put an Incra TSLS fence on it. Sell the Bies.

-- jay,

View socrbent's profile


602 posts in 2239 days

#2 posted 12-26-2012 09:38 PM

My first thought is that no matter what you get from this list or other cabinet saw, you are going to be one happy wood worker. I don’t have a lot of experience with different cabinet saws, having only got my first one, a Rigid contractor a couple of years ago. But I was fortunate to move up to a 3 hp Saw Stop Pro Cabinet Saw with a 36” Pro T-Glide fence this past fall. I really like this unit and highly encourage you to consider it. Found the table to be flat, the blade aligned with miter slots and the fence with the miter slots out of the box. It is much quieter than than the Rigid Contractor and very smooth running. I get end grain cuts smooth as silk with the Forest Woodworker II blade. It came with dust collection above and below the table.
Setup was not difficult with the clear directions and color coded parts packages. The blade retraction system requires a different brake for a dado blade. But changing brakes is simple. The safety provided by the brake system makes this machine worth the extra cost to to me.

-- socrbent Ohio

View Lenny's profile


1593 posts in 3497 days

#3 posted 12-26-2012 10:19 PM

Hi Shelby. First, isn’t it wonderful to be in this position…choosing a table saw? Next, please seriously consider the following: I’ve been a woodworker for 33 years. Up until three years ago I did not have the space for a TS so a radial arm saw was my workhorse. In 2009 I bought a PM2000. It is a magnificent well engineered saw. I loved it and it did anything and everything I asked of it. When I bought it, I figured it was my first and last table saw. There ends my endorsement of the PM. Four months ago I suffered a serious injury while using the PM. In a flash I cut into four fingers, two quite seriously. If interested in how it happened, my blog is found “here”: I am lucky that I did not lose any fingers. Last Saturday I sold the PM for a decent price via Craigslist and soon after my second surgery at the end of this month, I will be buying a 3hp Sawstop. I implore you to please consider getting the Sawstop. Their 3 hp Professional model is on par with the PM 3hp in terms of quality and price. While I hope you choose the Sawstop, best wishes to you in whatever choice you make. Be safe.

-- On the eighth day God was back in His woodworking shop! Lenny, East Providence, RI

View Bigrock's profile


292 posts in 2932 days

#4 posted 12-27-2012 12:37 AM

If I had to buy a new table saw today it wood be a Saw Stop – 3HP. 50”saw. It would be my choice because of the safety features. I love my Delta, but age and grandchildren in the shop would be my reasons.

A brake and saw blade are very cheap compared to the loss of fingers. Nine stitches on the end of a finger was $1500.00.

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3547 days

#5 posted 12-27-2012 12:56 AM

I agree with the Saw Stop idea. You might do a search hear on ljs there are a great number of post asking about what saw to buy,you might find them useful.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View DocSavage45's profile


8520 posts in 2812 days

#6 posted 12-27-2012 04:32 PM

Been here and done that. LOL! Saftey, budget, and tasks. Time and tool smarts are also factors? I eventually found a cabinet saw on Craigs List. Discontinued Grizzly. Newer model has a riving knife. Another saftey factor. There are some aftermarket adapted riving knives. The saw came from a cabinet builder who has been doing it for 20 years and going strong. He has a few Grizzly tools. Grizzly has parts for my saw, and tech support has been good. He bought the newer model, 3 hp with riving knife.

My old belt driven cast iron craftsman is still going strong, and I don’t have space for two saws. I am putting it on Craigs List along with many others. We’ll see?

I have to think saftey at all times. Charles Neil builds fine furniture. He injured himself while hurrying to finish a client project. He has and advocates for Saw Stop.

Good hunting.

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Shelbdog's profile


23 posts in 1952 days

#7 posted 12-27-2012 06:37 PM

Thanks for the comments so far. I will look in to the Saw Stop and see what they have to offer. Does anyone have comments on the Steel City saw? I have seen this saw at my local Woodsmith store and considered it based on it having a reasonable price and having the same features as other saws. The quality of the saw is what I wonder about. I purchased a Steel City dust collector a few months back and the visual quality was lacking, but seems to function perfect. There was weld proxy in the sheet metal, paint coverage was lacking in the proxy areas, and the decals don’t stick well. I’m sort of sold on the granite tops, but I wonder what others have to say about them.

-- Shelby Strempke - IOWA...GO HAWKS

View Grandpa's profile


3259 posts in 2645 days

#8 posted 12-27-2012 10:36 PM

talk to knotscot. He is the table saw guru

View DocSavage45's profile


8520 posts in 2812 days

#9 posted 12-28-2012 12:08 AM

you can always check critiques on

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View Shelbdog's profile


23 posts in 1952 days

#10 posted 12-31-2012 03:27 AM

I’m still looking for comments on the Steel City brand of table saws? I’m heading to my local Woodsmith store to look over the quality of the saw, so it would be nice to find someone that has a Steel City saw and has completed a few projects with it.

-- Shelby Strempke - IOWA...GO HAWKS

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