Reply by Galt

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Posted on Best table saw under $650

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11 posts in 2410 days

#1 posted 01-11-2012 12:56 AM

Through a curious series of events, I had to shoehorn myself into a shop that was only 5% the size of what I previously had. An unfortunate/fortunate effect of which was that I moved to a large Festool compatible workbench, along with their plunge saws, cutting guides and other tools. That was several years ago, and the more acclimated I become with their systems, the more sense it all starts to make. It is definitely not a replacement for the space and speed of a strong table saw with a nice big in-feed and out-feed, but it also gives me comparable results in less than a quarter of the space. Short of a Saw Stop, there’s also nothing as safe. Rather than trying to move the material past the blade you’re simply moving the blade past the material in a very controlled and contained fashion, and you get near total dust extraction. This last item is a real spoiler, and something I tend to take for granted, until I m reminded when visiting someone else’s shop. When clean up is juxtaposed to set up time, the two options become even more of a wash.

The space saving nature of that difference is quite huge, as well as being a lot more fat old fart friendly than humpin’ tons of melamine or MDF all day. I just slide my flat stacked sheet goods off of the back of the truck and onto my height adjusting, roll-around material cart. That rolls in and gets parked at one end of my cut table and all I’m lifting is ends and edges to slide from one to the other, not full sheets. It doesn’t take too many sheets to appreciate the difference. There is also much to be said for the difference versus trying to manipulate full sheets through a table saw blade accurately, when you haven’t really got all of the space that you need to operate safely. It’s not an especially inexpensive alternative, but with their plunge saws, guide rails, routers and HEPA dust extractors, I can build cabinets and casework anywhere.

I can stack and load enough tools to basically put a whole shop on the road in a couple three handtruck trips from shop to trailer. I’m retired now, so there’s not much call for that, but the capabilities are a wonderful trick to have in your pocket when ya need it. I used to keep a vertical panel saw, a left and a right tilt cabinet saw, plus a Bosch portable for install travel. The Festool set up is more space efficient than even the Bosch, by the time you allow for in-feed and out-feed, along with the stacking and storing of material going into and coming off of the saws. In terms of portability there’s no comparison at all. It’s not even remotely close.

All that said, they sure as heck ain’t cheap, but I’ve not regretted a penny of what I’ve spent (and I’d tell ya what that was, but my wife might stumble across this someday, and then it would all end up in my estate sale auction). There’s just something comfortable about being able to walk up to the table saw and commence any number of ingenious cuts in short order, even if it is in close proximity to the ever present danger of shortening digits. :)

-- “It is no coincidence that the century of total war coincided with the century of central banking.” - Dr. Ron Paul

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