Clarity of Table Saw Types

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Forum topic by knotscott posted 01-13-2016 03:02 PM 1203 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8008 posts in 3370 days

01-13-2016 03:02 PM

This may seem trivial to some, but for the sake of clarity, especially for newbies, I think it’s worth mentioning so that we’re all on the same page. I routinely see the term “contractor saw” used erroneously when actually referring to a “portable jobsite saw”, and the trend seems to be growing as more and more folks see it used that way. Since the manufacturers still refer to their stationary saws with splayed legs as contractor saws, and their portable jobsite saws as jobsite or worksite saws, I’ll suggest that we follow suit.

This is a classic contractor saw as I know them:

This is a modern contractor saw with an inboard motor:

This is a portable jobsite saw on a foldup legstand. There are many variations:

Contractor saws were designed well over 60 years ago as a field alternative to a big cabinet saw. They were mainly used by carpenters until the portable jobsite saws hit the scene en mass maybe 30 years ago or so. They tend to sport the same size top as a cabinet saw (usually made of cast iron), have standard miter slots, and sported outboard belt drive induction motors up until recently. Modern contractor saws have mostly moved the motor inside the cabinet more like a hybrid style saw…all except for the Saw Stop contractor saw AFAIK.

Portable jobsite saws are the saws that most contractor use these days, which is likely why so many people refer to them as contractor saws. They tend to have plastic housings, universal direct drive motors, and composite or aluminum tops.

For those interested, here’s more detail about saw types:

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

23 replies so far

View 716's profile


502 posts in 911 days

#1 posted 01-13-2016 04:52 PM

Could you also clarify how should we call promoting of your own forgotten thread ?

-- It's nice!

View JayT's profile


5623 posts in 2206 days

#2 posted 01-13-2016 05:19 PM

716, that was completely rude and uncalled for.

Scott is one of the very few people on LJ that is always willing to help on the perpetual “What table saw should I buy” threads. While others make snarky comments, he responds with patience and good advice. That “forgotten thread” has been used many, many times by people trying to understand their table saw options. Just because it doesn’t have any recent replies does not mean it hasn’t been used as a resource on a regular basis.

I have seen your replies on many other threads and they are predominantly negative, demeaning or just plain rude. Maybe instead of criticizing knotscott, you should try taking a page from his book and be helpful instead of bitter.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View ShaneA's profile


6928 posts in 2593 days

#3 posted 01-13-2016 05:31 PM

^agreed, Scott has the patience of a Saint for answering all of those questions…over and over again.

View joey502's profile


535 posts in 1512 days

#4 posted 01-13-2016 05:57 PM

^agreed, Scott has the patience of a Saint for answering all of those questions…over and over again.

- ShaneA

I third that. Thanks for the info Scott, there was a time when i knew less than today and your post helped inform me.

View BurlyBob's profile


5491 posts in 2260 days

#5 posted 01-13-2016 05:59 PM

Count me as #4.

View RobS888's profile


2411 posts in 1840 days

#6 posted 01-13-2016 06:36 PM

I’m number 5 for knotscott.

knotscott has helped many people with his posts. Periodically someone wants to poke really helpful people in the eye. I’ve seen people attack knotscott, Charles Neil, & A1Jim for no reason I can see. Jealousy perhaps?

-- I always suspected many gun nuts were afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View clin's profile (online now)


840 posts in 991 days

#7 posted 01-13-2016 06:50 PM

I think knotscott’s old thread was one of the table saw things I found during a google search last summer while I was beginning to look into table saws. It might very well be how I stumbled on to LJ in the first place. It’s great info and it makes perfect sense to bring it up to the surface once in awhile.

It really should be a go-to link passed on to anyone who starts a “What table saw should I get” thread.

And concerning this thread topic, it’s always a good thing to clear up common misunderstandings. Else, people won’t be on the same page when having discussions.

-- Clin

View hotbyte's profile


991 posts in 2970 days

#8 posted 01-13-2016 07:21 PM

Another +6, 7 or whatever. Seems like a very timely and appropriate reminder.

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2965 days

#9 posted 01-13-2016 08:05 PM

Thanks knotscott. Most of us value and appreciate your insight.

However, I own one of those Craftsman saw looking devices you referenced and suggest you make one tiny adjustment: “This is a modern contractor saw with an inboard motor, and built-in misalignment:”

View isotope's profile


172 posts in 1619 days

#10 posted 01-13-2016 08:26 PM

+8 for knotscott. He consistently provides input/advice on the constant stream of questions about table saws. I suspect this forum post is to help him answer those questions. He has my support and respect.

View ohtimberwolf's profile


799 posts in 2347 days

#11 posted 01-13-2016 08:48 PM

Add me for + also. larry

-- Just a barn cat, now gone to cat heaven.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1560 days

#12 posted 01-13-2016 09:24 PM

+ what ever we are on now. 716 you were out of line.

When I was shopping around for my “modern contractor” saw, Knotscott was very helpful in leading me in the correct decision for my shop.

Thanks again Knotscott.


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18267 posts in 3670 days

#13 posted 01-14-2016 12:36 AM

+ 10. Knotscott is the first place I would look for advice on a saw or blades.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View SirIrb's profile


1239 posts in 1225 days

#14 posted 01-14-2016 01:31 AM

I dislike tools so + 14 or whatever on the knotster.

I get frustrated seeing all the “what TS” posts when all they need to know is one search away. So someone who will re-chew their cud, over and over again is nearing sainthood (from me—in a protestant way). Keep up the clarification Knotster, and let all the tools stay in the shed.

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

View conifur's profile


955 posts in 1146 days

#15 posted 01-14-2016 04:17 AM

Okay enough accolades for knotster, I am not knocking him but by his thread title, what about other types of table saws, cabinet, ect?

-- Knowledge and experience equals Wisdom, Michael Frankowski

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