LumberJocks

table saw

  • Advertise with us
Review by BJF posted 01-28-2013 05:43 PM 6273 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
table saw No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I have been a woodworker for about 3 years, but have only recently gotten serious. Last March I purchased the Porter Cable, from Lowes, $599. I agonized for year over what table saw to buy. Price wasn’t the biggest issue, it was mostly concern over spending a great deal of money and being disappointed in the result. However, from some classes I took and research I did, it became clear that the equipment doesn’t make the woodworker, so to speak. I also realized that size was an issue in getting the saw into my basement. The only way in to my basement is a very narrow and step set of stairs. My DC rowhouse is about 100 years old and even with the door and the trim and frame taken off, I was limited in what I could buy. So, I ultimately chose the Porter Cable.

Man, do I love it! It has done everything I have asked of it, and I truly do not envision needing a more powerful saw. In time, if my projects get larger, that may be the case. However, I will never get a 4 by 8 sheet of plywood down those stairs, much less in my Honda Civic. I also can’t imagine cutting 3 inch thick white oak. I have cut some 1.5 inch oak and the saw handled it with no problem. The blade that came with it is great for rip cuts in hard and softwoods, awful for cross cuts or any plywood. However, I use my miter saw for cross cuts for now (until I rehab my father in law’s old radial arm saw he gave me) and the only plywood I use so far is for shop projects, so some tearout is fine by me. At present, I’m trying to decide if a combination blade would give me clean rips and cross cuts, plywood and hard and soft woods. Any advice folks have on that, please let me know!

The negatives. The steel wings were a pain to install and get flat with the table, and I worry about sagging eventually throwing off the accuracy of a cut. The fence is pretty cheap, but not too hard to adjust, once you figure it out. I do lots of test cuts to dial in a perfect cut. The rip fence scale is inaccurate when ripping to the left of the blade, but I have not done so since the day I got the saw. Again, I set fence, check it for parallel and make a test cut and then dial in the final cut.

I really like the mobile base, wheels that drop down when you need to move the saw, but flip up when you set it in place. The riving knife and blade guard are easy to install, though I never take them off. Overall, a great purchase, I truly could not be happier.

-- BJF




View BJF's profile

BJF

12 posts in 986 days



20 comments so far

View camps764's profile

camps764

794 posts in 1011 days


#1 posted 01-28-2013 07:23 PM

...’the equipment doesn’t make the woodworker…” Truer words have never been spoken.

Great review, glad you are happy with the saw and the base!

-- Steve. Visit my website http://www.campbellwoodworking.com

View MT_Stringer's profile

MT_Stringer

1879 posts in 1882 days


#2 posted 01-28-2013 07:27 PM

Congrats on the saw. I have seen them at Lowe’s on display.

I have a few thoughts for ya.
1) For sheet goods, plan your cuts ahead of time and ask the lumber co to cut it to smaller pieces. I did just that recently and asked the guy to cross cut a 4×8 piece of plywood at the three foot mark. Made it a lot easier for me to handle. They also have a radial arm saw set up to cut boards.

2) Check out your local hardwood dealer. Every time I go to the one I deal with, I check out their discounted lumber. Those are usually 50% off regular price. The boards vary in length and width and they are usuallly less than 48 inches in length. This is what I used to make some cutting boards for Christmas gifts. They also have “shop” plywood that is 50% off. It may have a few dents or dings, or maybe a bubble or two from delamination, but half off oak or maple plywood sits well with me ($33 vs $67).

3) Make a cross cut sled for your new table saw. And maybe a miter cutting sled for it also when you get to feeling frisky. :-) You will find the sled so handy, the miter saw will prolly just gather dust.

So, with these in mind, just think of the possible projects you can do, even with a small vehicle and those cramped stairs in the way.

Warning! Don’t build it so big you can’t get it up the stairs. :-)
Good luck.

-- Handcrafted by Mike Henderson - Channelview, Texas

View Tennessee's profile

Tennessee

1447 posts in 1166 days


#3 posted 01-28-2013 07:49 PM

So you have the “boat in the basement” problem. Lol…I have a similar problem in my garage shop, save if I move a few hundred pounds of machinery I could build something large. I would also need sunny weather to roll the machines out onto the driveway. Good luck with the saw. I went with the Rigid, which failed and I had to fix it myself. I do have the PC band saw they sell at Lowes, and save for upgrading the cool blocks on top to bearing guides, its been a great saw.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

View mlindegarde's profile

mlindegarde

49 posts in 1722 days


#4 posted 01-28-2013 08:07 PM

I have the same table saw you do. I’ve been using the Freud P410T (40 tooth thin kerf) blade for a while now. I’ve found it to work beautifully for just about all of my cutting needs. If you pair it with a zero clearance insert you’ll be able to get a clean cut out of just about anything. I found that the the 40 tooth blade will struggle a bit with some of the thicker and harder woods, so I also bought a dedicated ripping blade.

I should also mention that I found the P410T to be too thin to use with the riving knife.

View BJF's profile

BJF

12 posts in 986 days


#5 posted 01-28-2013 08:21 PM

Hey guys, thanks for the tips. My next project is probably a cross cut sled, and hopefully that and an upgraded blade will work out. And mlindegarde, I actually have that exact thin kerf blade on my wishlist, so I may go ahead and pull the trigger on that one. Paired with a crosscut sled and a zero clearance insert and I should be in good shape. Any recommendation on a rip blade?

-- BJF

View mlindegarde's profile

mlindegarde

49 posts in 1722 days


#6 posted 01-28-2013 09:22 PM

For the rip blade I went with the Freud LU87R010. Although both the P410T and the LU87R010 are thin kerf blades the LU87R010’s keft is a hair wider (.94 vs .91). That difference doesn’t seem like much, but I was able to use the riving knife with the LU87R010.

I’m by no means an expert on saw blades. I know that Forest makes some great blades and you may want to look into those. I’ve been pretty happy with the Freud (industrial, not Home Depot’s Diablo line), so I’ve had no reason to look any further.

View BJF's profile

BJF

12 posts in 986 days


#7 posted 01-28-2013 10:16 PM

Thanks mlindegarde. I just checked out your page, and we also have the same bandsaw. I just got it for Christmas and it came in very handy for my first project. I’ve only had a bandsaw for a month, and I can’t even imagine woodworking without one.

-- BJF

View pintodeluxe's profile (online now)

pintodeluxe

3356 posts in 1464 days


#8 posted 01-28-2013 10:24 PM

I had the Hitachi version of this saw. I had to sell it though, because it wouldn’t accept a 13/16” dado set which is one of my requirements. I loved the height of the saw, you don’t have to bend as far over compared to most contractors saws.
Dust collection was pretty good.
Make yourself some zero clearance inserts, and you got yourself a keeper.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5451 posts in 2027 days


#9 posted 01-29-2013 01:18 AM

Tips for picking saw blades

I think you’re selling your saw short by leaving the stock blade in…..your should easily notice an improvement from a blade upgrade.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Craftsman70's profile

Craftsman70

241 posts in 776 days


#10 posted 01-29-2013 03:56 AM

BJF, I’ve been looking at Ridgid vs PorterCable for a while too. What swayed you to the PC vs the Ridgid?

View BJF's profile

BJF

12 posts in 986 days


#11 posted 01-29-2013 02:00 PM

Hey Craftsman… I looked at both. I did so much research on table saws that it was probably overkill. I never confirmed this, but it looks like the PC, Rigid, and Craftsman are all actually made by the same manufacturer, for Lowes, Home Depot, and Sears. None of the Home Depots near me had a Rigid in the store. I like to actually touch something before I buy it! The guys at Lowes helped me take apart the extension wings of the PC floor model, so I could see how it was put together, with the front and back rails. I wanted to make sure that the wings were fully supported and adjustable, so I could get them level with the cast iron table. Again, probably overkill on my part. About two months after I got the saw, Wood magazine reviewed all three and it’s clear that they do have some subtle differences, nothing major in my mind. Maybe you could dig up that review. If not, let me know and I can pull that copy from my library and share the relevant details.

-- BJF

View Craftsman70's profile

Craftsman70

241 posts in 776 days


#12 posted 01-29-2013 03:18 PM

BJF, I’d always heard that a the Craftsman and Ridgid were the same saw, but now that you point it out this does look identical except for the color and the fence. Thanks for the info on the Wood magazine article… I’ll look it up.

View lenny's profile

lenny

1 post in 594 days


#13 posted 01-29-2013 10:48 PM

hi, guys i am new to this site and just reading some post as for the pc table saw i bought mine 3 years ago and have nothing but really nice clean and straight cuts with out a single problem of any kind and i havbe made about 1000 cuts on it so far

-- lenny from deltona,fl.

View Jeff1968's profile

Jeff1968

4 posts in 593 days


#14 posted 01-31-2013 06:58 PM

I’m new here and got the pcb270ts for Christmas and have yet to use it or even take it out of the box. I’m doing a new wiring project on my 12×20’ shed. I might go ahead and set it up for 240v or does it really matter? I don’t want to spend $2000 for a cabinet saw but I’m worried about the pcb 270ts not being a saw that can grow with me as I get into more advanced wood working projects. This is my first table saw so I’m sure it is good enough for now. Maybe this is a dumb question but I’ve read I can’t use moulding heads on this table saw. Can I still do cove cuts on the porter cable ts using standard 10” blades? Thanks in advance for any advice you can give me.

Jeff

View BJF's profile

BJF

12 posts in 986 days


#15 posted 02-01-2013 12:20 AM

Hey Jeff, I would put in a 240, if only because you are doing the electrical now already. I can’t say if it would improve the power of the PCB270ts, since I have not wired it for 240. My wife is pushing me to move to the burbs (where one benefit for me would be a bigger shop) and so I don’t see a need to do any electrical work on my basement now. That is one factor that made me choose the PC saw. I also figured that $600 wasn’t much for a starter table saw and I can increase the size, features, and power as my skills and projects increase. I haven’t tried a moulding head or coves yet, that’s a bit beyond my ambitions at this point.

-- BJF

showing 1 through 15 of 20 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

HomeRefurbers.com

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics

GardenTenders.com :: gardening showcase