To buy or not to buy a new table saw?

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Forum topic by Eric posted 12-13-2009 02:38 PM 2111 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Eric's profile


51 posts in 2503 days

12-13-2009 02:38 PM

Just retired from the Air National Guard, after 26.5 years.
Wife has given me the OK to purchase new Delta Unisaw. I like it and it is made in the USA!
Do I need this saw? Can I get by with my Festool MTF and TS 55? Yes, I am a hypocrite when it comes to Festool. Is this too much saw for my needs?
My new shop space is roughly 16’x20’. Old space was 24’x60’ barn style garage with a full loft above it. Oh I miss that space.
I have done so much research, read the blogs that I am in information overload and am moved to inactivity.
Dust mitigation is a high priority, thus why I like Festool products and am considering new Unisaw.
Information overload has set in with, cheaper cabinet saws made in China, that get good reviews by the users. Ran across sliding table saw on Grizzly web site, but can cut sheet goods with Festool.
OK looking for input and thoughts.
Oh yeah, Lowes can order Delta Unisaw with 36” table for $3096, plus they will honor 10% military discount. Plus, Delta has rebate.

-- Eric "That's all very well and human, but when will you stop having to apologize and start doing your very best you can? When will you begin?"

29 replies so far

View bunkie's profile


412 posts in 2564 days

#1 posted 12-13-2009 03:06 PM

Hi Eric,

There are things that a table saw can do that just can’t be done easily with anything else. As for space, I have an extremely small shop yet I have no problem with my Grizzley 1023SL because I have a mobile base for it. I considered the Unisaw, but it just wasn’t in the budget for me. What would I do in your position? It’s hard to say. The only regret I have regarding my 1023 is that it doesn’t have one of the new-style riving knife-based blade guards.

I do know exactly what you mean by information overload. There are so many choices out there. Had I had the budget and bought the Unisaw, I’m sure I would not have regretted it. I saw it at the last woodworking show and I was extremely impressed. I’ve never regretted buying high-quality stuff and more than once I’ve found that what I settled for was a disappointment.

Then again, for what I paid for the Grizzley ($795 plus tax), it was an absolute screaming bargain. Now if I could just fit a riving knife and improved blade guard to it I’f be ecstatic…

I work with a lot of sheet goods. With a couple of fold-up sawhorses, a sacrificial sheet of plywood, my home-made straightedge jig and Skilsaw with cardbide-tipped blade, I have no problem rough-cutting a 4×8 sheet down to manageable size.

-- Altruism is, ultimately, self-serving

View khop's profile


134 posts in 3093 days

#2 posted 12-13-2009 03:17 PM

Hi Eric, Welcome to the LJ site. If you intend to do alot of projects, and you will be needing precision, Go with the Unisaw. I’m sure you won’t regret it. Good Luck and GOD BLESS

-- How am I doing? Better than I deserve. Dave Ramsey

View woodworm's profile


14164 posts in 3007 days

#3 posted 12-13-2009 03:42 PM

For repetative cutting as an instance (cross cut or rip cut), Circular Saw with guide rail will not beat Table Saw.
If the space is not an issue (Circular saw too does need space), go for TS. Just my opinion.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 2595 days

#4 posted 12-13-2009 05:11 PM

I to thought I could just get by with a circ saw but as my interest in woodworking grew I realized that a TS could open up more possibilities and a level of accuracy I could not get with a circ saw. I ended up with the Ridgid 4511 but had I had the funds I wouldn’t have hesitated one second to pick-up the new Unisaw.

-- If at first you don't succeed then maybe skydiving isn't for you.

View Ger21's profile


1045 posts in 2548 days

#5 posted 12-13-2009 05:19 PM

While the new Unisaw is nice, it’s hard for me to justify the price. I bought my Unisaw almost 15 years ago, for about $1500. Had they been $3000+, I’d have a different saw. If you spend a little time looking, you can probably get a really good used Unisaw for about 1/3 the price of the new one. And spend that extra $2K on other tools.

-- Gerry,

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3310 days

#6 posted 12-13-2009 05:21 PM

At times I have considered selling every single power tool, stationary tools and trade everything in for a portable Festool shop. I love the way everything stacks with hold downs, carts, dollies. Their dust extraction systems are bar none…...the best. Their precision is perfect and I think I can do almost everything I presently do….........with Festool. Even their electric sanders are incredible powerful, better then my air sanders.

I have become a Festool fan.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View cstrang's profile


1829 posts in 2585 days

#7 posted 12-13-2009 05:42 PM

When I purchase a new tool I like to figure out how long it’s going to take for that tool to pay for itself, how many projects I am going to have to produce to make the purchase worthwhile. If you take a look at my shop you will see it is covered with grey Delta tools. I like Delta but I will caution you about their customer service, I haven’t had a good experience with them yet, no matter how far up the chain of command I go. The new Unisaw looks like a great tool, I am tempted to get one myself (I don’t think my wallet would allow me to do that though lol) If you need a way to justify the purchase, just think of it as a retirement gift to yourself! If you do get it I hope to see a review, and welcome to Lj’s.

-- A hammer dangling from a wall will bang and sound like work when the wind blows the right way.

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2792 days

#8 posted 12-13-2009 06:31 PM

You’ve waited a long time and have your wife’s approval. Don’t “get by”... get you want this time!

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

View gerrym526's profile


266 posts in 3225 days

#9 posted 12-13-2009 06:38 PM

When you buy a tablesaw, it’s going to be with you for a long time (like a good wife!). I have a Unisaw, but also would put Jet and Powermatic models on an equal footing from a quality perspective.
In my humble opinion, the most important question to answer in buying a tablesaw is-”how long will parts be available?” The three manufacturers all have good reputations on that score.
Have fun looking at tablesaws-you are a lucky man!

-- Gerry

View davidroberts's profile


1025 posts in 2903 days

#10 posted 12-13-2009 07:26 PM

Man I don’t think many here will try to talk you out of a new Unisaw – you go big daddy. And thanks for serving our country all those years. But the thing for me is the price. $3100 is a bit pricy unless you are getting a Saw Stop, then it is understandable. And Saw Stop is a better built saw than the Unisaw, not by much, but the differences are there. Fine Woodworking website is advertising the Saw Stop commercial cabinet saw for $2,899 (plus tax and shipping). Of course Festool is quality, but no Fes tool will do what a TS will, consistently. Until Festool builds a table saw and bandsaw, their power tools are accessories. Apples and oranges. I own a Grizzly 1023 and I’ve said many time, I’m quite happy with it’s performance. But if given the opportunity or the budget, and compared to the Unisaw, I’d jump on a Powermatic 2000 or Saw Stop in a hot damn. Thanks for letting me add to the confusion!

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View BlankMan's profile


1488 posts in 2770 days

#11 posted 12-13-2009 09:52 PM

Welcome Eric. Go with the UniSaw, I doubt you will ever regret it.

When I started getting serious about wood working I bought a Ryobi BT2000, not knowing I got caught up in the hype and bought all the attachments and had a $1000 into. That would have almost bought a UniSaw at the time. The BT2000 could not make repeatable cuts nor would the fence lock parallel to the blade all the time. In not even a year I was fed up with it.

So I started looking at Jet and General cabinet saws in the $800 range, at the time both good saws. Then at the Woodworkers Show looking at both of these saws a light came on. What if I bought one of these, what if they too weren’t up to my expectations? I’d then have spent $1800 and be looking for a third saw. I bit the bullet and even though it was over my budget at the time and had to scrap I bought a UniSaw. Never to this day regretted it.

As for Delta Customer Service, best in its class. When you call them and need a part under warranty, my experience has been, no questions asked. You don’t have to prove it, you don’t have to send the bad part in (except motors), they get the part on its way to you immediately. I’ve never had anything break that needed a part, usually it was shipping damage.

I bought their drum sander when it first came out, had to wait 2-3 months to get it it wasn’t shipping yet. When I got it and started using it the table feed motor would oscillate, kind of in a circle, I figured that wasn’t right so I called. They sent a new motor, new mounting brackets, new shaft that moves the conveyor, all in steps trying to correct the problem. When that did not work they sent the whole cast iron table assembly, drive motor, belt, everything. That fixed it. That was the only time they wanted something back. They wanted the whole assembly back to see what the problem was and I was dealing with an engineer at the time. They picked up freight charges on everything both ways.

And as far as parts availability it’s been said you can still get parts for UniSaws made in the 30’s. In the past year I’ve restored a 12” RAS and a variable speed drill press from the 70’s and when I needed parts for them, they had them. Who else does that? Not a lot if any that I know of.

Go with the UniSaw before she changes her mind. ;)

-- -Curt, Milwaukee, WI

View ND2ELK's profile


13495 posts in 3191 days

#12 posted 12-14-2009 01:13 AM

The main piece of equipment in a woodworking shop is the table saw. Buy the best saw you can afford. The unisaw is one of the better saws on the market today. I payed $2669 for my Powermatic 2000, 3hp with a 52” rip. That included free extras, freight and lift gate service to my door. I did a tool review on this saw if you care to look.

God Bless

-- Mc Bridge Cabinets, Iowa

View MRBILL's profile


16 posts in 3354 days

#13 posted 12-14-2009 01:29 AM

If you want to do quality WWing don’t short change yourself on you main tool. That being your table saw. Buy the best you can afford and you will never regret it.

-- Mr. Bill in Mount Juliet, TN

View matt garcia's profile

matt garcia

1877 posts in 3089 days

#14 posted 12-14-2009 01:46 AM

Get the saw!!!!

-- Matt Garcia Wannabe Period Furniture Maker, Houston TX

View Derek Lyons's profile

Derek Lyons

584 posts in 2985 days

#15 posted 12-14-2009 03:26 AM

If you’re ever going to work with more than sheet goods… A TS55, cool and neat though it may be, isn’t a replacement for a tablesaw.

-- Derek, Bremerton WA --

showing 1 through 15 of 29 replies

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