Reply by knotscott

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Posted on General table saws

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8056 posts in 3400 days

#1 posted 02-26-2011 02:28 PM

I agree with Mark….very well said. To add a little info, General is (or at least was) family owned and operated as opposed to a huge corporate conglomerate, and I’ve even read that they still use their own foundaries in Quebec for the cast iron (I’m not certain though). The General 350 and 650 are often considered among the elite of the North American style industrial cabinet saws, and many of their tools were a mainstay in industrial and educational settings for decades. I’ve read that General manufactured the original Biesemeyer fence for Bill Biesemeyer at some point many years ago, long before Delta bought that name, which explains why the General T-fence is such a close copy of the Biese fence. You can usually identify the General machinery made in Canada by the big red maple leaf, and the General International tools by their globe matrix symbol. You’ll also see some tools under the General International “Star” moniker, which I think are more stripped down budget models, and they have a General “Access” line that caters to disabled woodworkers. They also own the Excaliber line of wwing accessories.

I owned a General International contractor saw from 2003 to 2005 that had an excellent General T-fence, a very rugged General cast iron miter gauge, had a very nice fit and finish, and was an excellent example of that type of saw. I even found their CS to be excellent. They’ve recently improved their dealer presence, service, and parts availability by opening a distribution center in the US. It’s also rumored that Scott Box (former founder of Steel City before that name was sold) has joined their staff.

While I’m not much of a proponent for brand name loyalty for the sake of brand name loyalty, General and GI are among the more respected names within their market niche. Nonetheless, IMHO it’s always a good idea to research each of the more critical tools independently. Good luck!

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