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General International 50-260 table saw

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Review by OttawaP posted 03-15-2008 01:45 AM 15288 views 2 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch
General International 50-260 table saw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I had posted this tool review of my cabinet saw purchase a few years ago on a couple woodworking forums, I hope it helps. The picture above is actually the right tilt 50-250 model, the left tilt is the 50-260.

Here’s my review on my new GI 50-260 3 h.p left tilt cabinet saw. I’ll try not to get to wordy and keep it short as possible. I ordered it from Mark’s Machinery and had it the next day!! It was more of a good timing thing I think it’s usually 2-3 days. Very well packaged and shipped, it arrived with no damage or missing pieces. The usual oil coating seemed harder than ever to get off, maybe I just couldn’t wait to get the thing running. All rumours about GI manuals are true, they suck. It’s a good thing that a table saw comes with very few parts.I’m probably pretty picky when it comes to assembly so it took me the better part of a day to do it. The GI mobile stand rated at 500 lbs is ok but not great. The last time I saw so many parts was when I installed a garage door. The saw at just over 400 lbs seems about max to me for this stand. I have my rails supported so this helped alot it’s now rock solid. I would look for something more heavy duty for this saw or just sit it on the floor and forget it.The side extension wings are tough to install alone. Get some pipe clamps and then get some more. The right side was bang on level but I found the left ever so slightly dropped down along the far left side. I checked to see if there was still some gunk I forgot to clean preventing a clean mating surface but no. I guess that the two mating surfaces do not meet at 90 deg. (i’m talking less than 1/32” lower). I placed a folded post-it note under each bolt and it brought it up perfect flush. A minor annoyance. The tables themselves are level, clean as as close to a perfect grind as I would hope to get. I have a good straight edge and looked hard to find any real warp or dip with my feeler gauge. I was impressed. Weeks before, In another store, I was able to compare the General top with the GI top on the contractor saw. In all honesty I thought the quality of the grind looked the same even though the General is supposed to have a more “mirror” like finish, I didn’t see it.Squaring up the slots to the blade took way longer than I thought it would, Maybe I’m just picky but I put in alot of rubber mallet time. A tap here a tap there, here a tap there a tap everywhere a tap tap.
The arbour was factory set to a perfect 90 deg and a perfect 45 deg – WOW. I mean perfect dead on, no adjustment req’d, the buck stops here, see ya later bye, done deal.
The General fence is awesome. It weighs more than the benchtop saw I use on site. An odd thing, This fence is only made for the General version of the saw so the holes don’t line up. It’s much then like any after market fence, you have to drill holes. No big deal, but I thought it strange. They give you a masonite depth gauge to use and it’s fine but you need two to make it easy. I used my 4” adjustable LV square (the most handy tool you will ever own BUY ONE) and set it to the obscure measurement of 27/32” or something like that so I had one on each end of the table. Due to my garage area I was hoping to buy a 30” rail set but it’s only available as 52”. I cut mine down (sniff , sniff) to a 40” max. cut, not a bad compromise.I made a extension table out of 3/4” MDF and 3/4” baltic birch frame with laminate top.The fence is so strong and accurate it’s hard to imagine until you play with it.
The table saw insert is ok nothing special. I found a couple of burrs on top at the screw holes and filed them flat. I found the insert had a slight warp in it and I had to put it in my vise to tap it back straight. I will be making 3 inserts anyway (zero clearance, dado, and a tilting zero clearaance) so the factory will end up in a drawer as a template.
The General miter gauge is pretty good, very solid cast and very tight in the slots. Nothing special but very well made and rock solid.
It was time to rock and roll. I had been using a old junk blade to align things in case it got hit with a wrench or something. I released the stop button and hit on, Nothing happened. Did it again – nothing. Panic set in. I then realized even though my brother in law put in a new pony panel in the shop for me, the main breaker in the basement was still off. With the breaker on I hit the button again. The motor sprung on strong. ( I also had previously tightened the belts). With the crap blade I cut a 2×4 in half. Holy S#%T what a nice cut I could not beleive the blade I had kicked around and abused could produce it. I proceeded to cut some cherry, oak, maple, and oak ply – I was smiling like a kid in Toys R Us.I now put in a new Forrest WW2 and cut the same pieces. All I can say is they are as close to perfect that I think I have ever seen. No visible scoring, no burning no splintering. Under EXTREME examination and looking very hard with a light at an angle some VERY faint scratches can be seen . The cuts are ready for a light sand and are good to go.I cut some 2 1/4” oak and cherry with tons of power and perfect cuts. The quality of the cut is better than the dressed sides of the bought stock.This saw won’t bog under anything from what I can see. I cut some 4×4” soaking wet p.t. to full depth 3” cut. The difference between a contractor saw and this thing is huge. The saw does not even seem to know there is any wood being pushed thru it. I pushed the wood fast and it was like sliding it accross a table ( ok that’s an exageration ), but you get the picture.
That’s it, If I forgot something let me know. I’m very happy with the saw. I don’t see the point in spending more for the General version.That version gives you a heavier gauge cabinet, an included extension table, Made is USA motor and made in Canada everything else, non plastic gaurd ( i prefer to see thru it ), insignificantly slighly heavier arbour. The same fence, miter gauge and warranty.
I’ll rate the saw a 9/10, just because there is always room for improvement.
Hope this helps
Paul

-- Paul




View OttawaP's profile

OttawaP

89 posts in 2417 days



12 comments so far

View GaryK's profile

GaryK

10262 posts in 2679 days


#1 posted 03-15-2008 01:54 AM

Great review! Thanks

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View teenagewoodworker's profile

teenagewoodworker

2727 posts in 2459 days


#2 posted 03-15-2008 02:07 AM

great review. when I’m in the market for a new table saw I’ll have to check this one out. thanks for the review.

View AWood's profile

AWood

43 posts in 2437 days


#3 posted 03-15-2008 03:32 AM

I have had the General 3050 for a little over a year and as far as I am concern you wont find anything much better. I take it OttawaP that you are from that city and knowing that the saw is made in Quebec the availability for purchase is easier than in the US. I live in Windsor and do alot of my purchases in the US as I can’t seem to find anything other than Samona and other cheap tools around here. I looked in various locations around Detroit and the General name was not that common.To compliment the set-up and give me a good router table, I just bought the ProMax 250 steel cast router table to go with it. I am dying to set it up and try some raised panels. After having an older 10” table saw, this machine is everything you need for power and precision. I have learned though, the 3 hp is something to respect. I can say from the short time on this blog I learned about “Buddy Boards” and after reviewing them, I invested for the sake of safety, in one set from Woodstock International. After using the saw on a couple of projects you’ll find it was the best investment you made. I wouldn’t trade mine for anything.

-- AllWood

View OttawaP's profile

OttawaP

89 posts in 2417 days


#4 posted 03-15-2008 02:32 PM

AWood – Yes General in readily available everywhere pretty much everywhere around here. Hard to beat the General and GI line for tools, they’ve been building them for 50 years or so. Funny you should mention it, but I just put on board buddies before xmas and I love them. 3 hp saws need a lot of respect because that motor isn’t boggin down for anyone. It’s more likely to throw it back in your face than ever slow down. You’re lucky to live on a border town because the big US players like powermatic, jet and Grizzly are all mostly unavailable.

-- Paul

View toyguy's profile

toyguy

1360 posts in 2528 days


#5 posted 03-15-2008 03:33 PM

Great Review.

I also have a General…....... But mine is an antique.
I’m not sure of the model number just off hand, but it is a saw my Dad had and used for many years. Now my everyday saw. I believe he bought it around 1960. It is only a 8 inch saw, but with a big motor running on 220 volts. Machined top that is still dead straight…..... A test to the longevity of the General products

-- Brian, Ontario Canada,

View coolbreeze's profile

coolbreeze

104 posts in 2426 days


#6 posted 03-16-2008 05:58 AM

Thanks for the review. I have a Ridgid contractor saw, but often wonder what it would be like to have a cabinet saw like yours. One day, my friend. The thought of sending the wood through with no loss of power just makes me want to go get one right now! I like my saw, don’t get me wrong. But you know where I’m at…..you were here and now you’re there. Cool.

-- Jason, AL

View OttawaP's profile

OttawaP

89 posts in 2417 days


#7 posted 03-16-2008 02:52 PM

Coolbreeze – I used a Delta Contractor saw for years until had to sell it since I was moving. I’d probably still be running it today if not for that. When I was shopping again I thought there was no point in fooling around, might as well go for it. A contractor saw with a good fence will do everything a cabinet saw will do albeit with a little less ooomph.

-- Paul

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27251 posts in 2512 days


#8 posted 03-29-2008 02:46 PM

Thanks for the review. Updating my Craftsman saw is my number 1 priority (when my wife will let me, of course). I have looked at the General line but simply do not know anything about it. This review has helped.

Thanks.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile

HarleySoftailDeuce

273 posts in 2110 days


#9 posted 08-19-2010 04:30 AM

I’m thinking of upgrading from my General Intn’l contractors’ saw…(which is just great) ...but I’m concerned with the dust collection; the full cabinet is what I’m looking for…and for the money…Generals’ power tools are absolutely great ! I’d go out on a limb and say they can compete with a Powermatic.
Why spend more than one needs to??
Well…it’s almost September…and I’d like to have my new saw before the snow flies…so I’m off to the internet shopping! If anyone has a great place to purchase a left tilt General Intn’l cabinet saw…please drop me an email !
pandrus46@yahoo.com

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View HarleySoftailDeuce's profile

HarleySoftailDeuce

273 posts in 2110 days


#10 posted 01-16-2011 05:12 AM

I’ve finallly decided to “pull the trigger…and by a cabinetmakers’ table saw! So….I put my 50-175M1 on Rhode Island Craigslist…and whoever buys this saw is going to be very pleased! If it were not for my ” dust fobia”...I’d be happy with this saw ! It has been “very accurate” and all my work has prospered from the quality of General Intn’l table saws.
A good woodworking friend of mine…(who has all HUGE Powermatic tools)...recommended I buy a “Griz” ...but with all due respect….my dance card is all signed ” General International ”....and I could not be any more pleased with the quality and “dead on” accuracy of their table saw! Being a former tool & die maker…I know good tools…and my next purchase will be a General cabinet table saw….
The saga continues…for sure…left tilt…but because General has added new saws…I now will have the luxury of choosing !

-- Paul, Bristol,Rhode Island

View gillyd's profile

gillyd

136 posts in 1337 days


#11 posted 02-11-2012 10:59 PM

I have the right tilt version of this, been using it for a year now and will be writing a review on it. Wanted to put some mileage on it first :)

View gillyd's profile

gillyd

136 posts in 1337 days


#12 posted 04-23-2012 11:42 AM

I was wrong in my last comment, I have this one 50-260M1 which is the left tilt.

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