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Table saws that have blades on bottom vs top

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Forum topic by perlgoodies posted 12-11-2015 06:37 PM 912 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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perlgoodies

3 posts in 365 days


12-11-2015 06:37 PM

Hi everyone,

I’m new here. I’ll be honest, I have almost no experience working with tools in general (short of screw drivers, wrenches, hand saws, etc) but I’m looking to get a table saw for Christmas.

My first question is, what is the main differences between saws that come up from the bottom vs the top?

The types I’m looking at:

(saw blade on top) http://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/power-tools-accessories/power-saws-accessories/tool-shop-reg-10-compound-miter-saw/p-1444448115467-c-9082.htm?tid=7657735566972147631

(saw blade on bottom) http://www.menards.com/main/tools-hardware/power-tools-accessories/power-saws-accessories/rockwell-reg-shopseries-trade-10-table-saw-with-stand/p-1444451081219.htm

Is there a major technical difference? Is it just preference? Which one am I less likely to loose a limb with? I’m pretty fond of my limbs.

I’m not trying to become a master of woodcraft but I’d like to be able to do common things around the house: cut 2×4s, cut deck boards, angle cuts for wall trims, etc. My main goal is to take free wooden pallets that are all over CraigsList and make things like small tables out of them.

Any helpful tips would be much appreciated.


21 replies so far

View SirIrb's profile

SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#1 posted 12-11-2015 07:03 PM

The first link is not a table saw, it is a miter / chop saw.

The second is a table saw.

Miter saw=Cross cuts (against the grain). Mainly this cuts moldings. I dont like them for robust cross cuts (1×4 and up).
Table saw=rips (with the grain) and crosscuts. Needs a good combo blade to do both well. A good (Notice I said good) table saw will cut solid wood and plywood well.

Dont start with a miter saw. Table saws are cross functional and are the heart beat of the shop. Quote me on that.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

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perlgoodies

3 posts in 365 days


#2 posted 12-11-2015 07:06 PM

Hi SirIrb,

In short you’re saying for everyday at home jobs you’d go with a table saw where the blade is on bottom as opposed to the miter saw?

Thank you!

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#3 posted 12-11-2015 07:13 PM

If you are going to be doing wood work, cabinetry, furniture etc I would get a table saw 10 times out of 10 because a miter saw limits you too much. You can not rip stock on a miter saw (making a 4 inch wide board 3 or 2 inches wide). So you are limited from the beginning to buying your stock in the perfect width. P.S. you will quickly find more situations where you have a need for stock to be X and you can only buy Y and Z. Because a table saw will cross cut and rip youre less limited. If you are going to be doing a lot of cross cutting that is more in line with trim work and deck boards then maybe a miter saw is the way to go for you.

Ask yourself the 5 year question: What do I want to be making in 5 years? What tool will get me there? What does it need to do? I would say a table saw will be more for finer wood work, cabinetry and furniture. A miter saw will be more for a contractor/ trim guy.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View 716's profile

716

502 posts in 384 days


#4 posted 12-11-2015 07:15 PM


Miter saw=Cross cuts (against the grain). Mainly this cuts moldings. I dont like them for robust cross cuts (1×4 and up).
Table saw=rips (with the grain) and crosscuts. Needs a good combo blade to do both well. A good (Notice I said good) table saw will cut solid wood and plywood well.

- SirIrb

Only the top of the woodworking elite have a dedicated saw to cut with the grain and another saw to cut against the grain. Most of simple mortals just have one saw to cut with and against the grain. Although many have a separate saw to cut across the grain

-- It's nice!

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SirIrb

1239 posts in 698 days


#5 posted 12-11-2015 07:20 PM

He got the point.
Sorry you are left out of the “Elite”. I also have one for highly figured woods. Its gold plated.

-- Don't blame me, I voted for no one.

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1625 posts in 2100 days


#6 posted 12-11-2015 07:21 PM

I dunno. I might recommend a ‘true’ newbie start with a miter saw, and complete a few small projects before moving into a tablesaw. Most woodworkers eventually get a table AND miter saw anyway. Might as well start off with the safer/cheaper machine (miter saw) and get some experience working with spinning blades before moving into a table saw.
Sounds like most of the goals (cut 2×4, moldings, etc) will be fulfilled with a miter saw.
Just another school of thought to consider.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#7 posted 12-11-2015 07:32 PM

To be honest, I read your list of what you want to do, and for the ” cut 2×4s, cut deck boards, angle cuts for wall trims” stuff I think that’s right up a miter saws alley. Mine sits in the barn waiting for that kinf of work to appear. But then you threw in the “tables from pallets”, and at least for the “table” part a table saw might be best. After you try to break down your first pallet, you just might abandon that plan.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View alittleoff's profile

alittleoff

296 posts in 744 days


#8 posted 12-11-2015 07:57 PM

First thing you will need working with pallets will be a table saw to rip the boards striaght, I think. I’d go with the elite and get a table saw. But it’s really up to you. Either one will do a pretty good job of cutting things off, so be careful.
Gerald

View conifur's profile

conifur

955 posts in 619 days


#9 posted 12-11-2015 08:11 PM

Maybe getting a book on wood working power tools would be the first thing, that explains what they do, safety factors, down sides, ect. At this point you dont have a clue.

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

View perlgoodies's profile

perlgoodies

3 posts in 365 days


#10 posted 12-11-2015 08:24 PM

Thank you everyone for your input.

Since I don’t know what i’ll be doing in a few years and this is likely just going to be a gateway to do bigger and better things, I think I’ll stick with the table saw. Before making this post it looked like the miter saws could do more but with your explanation (being able to make boards thinner), the table saw could become very handy.

Thank you!

View BinghamtonEd's profile

BinghamtonEd

2281 posts in 1837 days


#11 posted 12-11-2015 08:36 PM

+1 to getting a book related to the tool you purchase. It’ll help you work safer, but will most likely give you tips and techniques that you’ll find useful.

If you know you’re going to building/remodeling a deck, or cutting 2×4’s to length, or cutting trim, you really should consider the miter saw. You don’t have to spring for a $400 miter saw. Look on Craigslist. I keep my dad’s 10” Delta miter saw for that sort of stuff (he doesn’t use it anymore). I see them on Craigslist just about every week for around $60-$70. With a good blade (Freud from HD at around $40 work very well), it’s more than capable for what you’ve described.

I’m getting the feeling that you’re not going to be buying a huge, heavy table saw, but probably one of the contractor style ones (which I also have). Cutting deck boards and 2×4s is going to be easier and safer on a miter saw. Plus, doing trim, you can easily carry the thing from room to room.

I’d buy the tool that best suits your immediate need, which sounds like is general carpentry. If you need to rip pallet boards, then the table saw is what you need. But, for about $100 or less, you can grab a used miter saw, and get the best of both worlds.

Looking 5 years down the road is a good idea, but if you know you have a handful of projects lined up that would be best suited to a miter saw, get a miter saw, rather than buying a tool for projects that you haven’t even thought of yet.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View 716's profile

716

502 posts in 384 days


#12 posted 12-11-2015 08:53 PM

OK, here is a serious one.
Before buying any of the power saws make sure you find a friend/neighbor/relative who has one and see how it works in person. 90% of people are stunned by seeing the amount of dust in creates.
The initial shock is strong enough to keep them from woodworking for the rest of their lives.
In 15 minutes of using a chopsaw you can turn your neat garage into a mess that never can be cleaned up properly. Prepare to live with dust everywhere. It penetrates into all unexpected place. I think it even filters through glass inside TV tubes if you have one of those relics. In old days I noticed that when a power tool was turned on I would see snow-like flakes on the TV screen, which can be explained by all the saw dust that got into the TV tube getting agitated there.

-- It's nice!

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7225 posts in 2843 days


#13 posted 12-11-2015 09:01 PM

A decent table saw is more versatile than a miter saw and can be more accurate, but I’d try to avoid a really cheap one like the one you linked to if possible. They’re at the bottom of the food chain, and can be more difficult to use safely and to get decent cuts with. When price is the driving factor in a low budget saw, sometimes the best value is in a good used saw if the right deal happens to pop up. If you were to post your nearest city, I’ll some of these fine folks would be able to help spot a good deal for you.

The ABCs of Table Saws

Saws like the one below pop up in my area pretty routinely in the $100 range…..this is a full size American made cast iron contractor saw with a belt drive induction motor with standard miter slots.

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

View Stewbot's profile

Stewbot

195 posts in 551 days


#14 posted 12-11-2015 09:33 PM

Considering your immediate needs(aside from pallet wood tables), I would suggest the miter saw first. I personally think they are safer and easier to use than a table saw for beginners. When I work with beginners, I sic them on the miter saw first. When working with dimensional lumber and trim (which it sounds like you’ll be mostly using at first) its as easy as keeping the work up against the fence and keeping your hands away from the blade. You will probably end up with both eventually, but you can get your feet wet with a miter saw while tackling the deck and wall trim projects, except when you get to your last deck board and realize you need a table saw to trim it to size :0.

-- Hoopty scoop?

View ThomasChippendale's profile

ThomasChippendale

244 posts in 400 days


#15 posted 12-11-2015 09:49 PM

There exist a saw that will do both, miter and rip, but like a vise grip, it will be a compromise. Its called a radial arm saw, i’ve been using it from day one when I was 7 and used it to rip, cross-cut, ogee ,dado, disk sanding, thickness sanding, and I still have one, locked at 90 degrees for cross cutting only.

-- PJ

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