What's the deal with granite tops?

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Forum topic by Gatsby1923 posted 01-28-2010 07:43 PM 2031 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Gatsby1923's profile


39 posts in 2176 days

01-28-2010 07:43 PM

I am half looking for a new table saw. While I am leaning towards a Sawstop contractor saw I am seeing more and more saws, jointers, and planers with granite tops. I really don’t see any advantage to it. I’d be very worried that if i dropped something on it I would crack it, while Cast Iron would dent and ding long before a crack. But I am opening minded and what to know what you guys like or dislike about the Granite tops.

Dave M

-- I don't know where I'm going but I'm on my way!

23 replies so far

View Moron's profile


4929 posts in 2932 days

#1 posted 01-28-2010 07:49 PM

I think its all marketing BS….........but it sure is pretty.

When a piece of stone twists, warps (and they do) do you fix it?

When a cast iron top bends, twists…...........a machine shop can fix it.

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

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 2913 days

#2 posted 01-28-2010 07:50 PM

The benefit is that granite doesn’t warp or rust like cast iron. Personally, I’m quite happy with cast iron except I can’t convince my friends not to set their coffee cups and pop cans on my table saw.

-- -- --

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2230 days

#3 posted 01-28-2010 07:52 PM

The basic idea behind a granite top is sound. I mean, we’ve had granite countertops for years. I seriously doubt you could drop anything hard enough to crack it. Chip it, yes. Crack it, unlikely.

The appeal of a stable, rust free surface is self-evident.

The long-term durability of a granite top is what’s really in question. Granite can and will develop cracks even when used in a benign environment like a kitchen, I have three (cracks, not kitchens). But they haven’t opened or displaced. And I’ve seen several threads from people whose Rigid granite tops have cracked and I’ve seen several in stores with the ends of the miter slot busted off.

If I were going to get some granite in my shop, I would be interested in a granite jointer fence or bandsaw table. For my tablesaw, I think I’ll stick with cast iron a while.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View CharlieM1958's profile


16097 posts in 3257 days

#4 posted 01-28-2010 07:52 PM

The way I see it, the one major advantage is no rust worries, and the one major disadvantage is possible breakage. Personally, I’d rather take my chances with rust.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View jpw1995's profile


376 posts in 3336 days

#5 posted 01-28-2010 07:57 PM

I’ve seen a couple of posts about cracks in a granite tablesaw top. I think they were both Rigid. I’ll stick with cast iron.

-- JP, Shelbyville, KY

View woodworm's profile


14144 posts in 2629 days

#6 posted 01-28-2010 07:58 PM

Both I believe, have pros & cons. I like to know more what they are.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

View MarkwithaK's profile


370 posts in 2216 days

#7 posted 01-28-2010 08:03 PM

I admit that I was very leary of the granite top on the Ridgid table saw when I first started giving it serious consideration. I weighed the pro’s and con’s of granite VS. cast iron. I knew that where I live the cast iron would rust rather quickly. I also knew that I had no intentions of beating on it no matter which saw I decided upon. I ended up w/ the 4511 and have no problems saying that the price was the main deciding factor but since using it I have come to really like granite top.

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16097 posts in 3257 days

#8 posted 01-28-2010 08:33 PM

Since we have a number of Ridgid R4511 owners here, and everyone seems to agree it’s a great saw for the price, it would be interesting to pose this question to those folks:

If you had it to do over, and could have your R4511 with either granite or cast iron top at the same price, which would you choose?

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View PaulfromVictor's profile


220 posts in 2384 days

#9 posted 01-28-2010 08:44 PM

Granite is a great, and has some real potential for tool use. For pros, it is rock hard (it is a rock…), is machined absolutely flat, is almost unscratchable. On the downside it is breakable . if you hit it with a hammer or something hard it will break, it can also snap if not supported properly from underneath. Heavy vibration could also be bad if it is secured tighly to something.

I have cast iron for my tools now, but would definitely consider granite when I upgrade my jointer. Length of waranty on the stone would have a big impact on my choice.

My shop doubles as a poker room, and like Peter I have trouble with drinks. I have to throw plastic tarps over my tools to keep people from putting their bottles on the cast iron. People don’t realize that the cast iron rusts even if you just say water near them.

View Mark's profile


1801 posts in 2312 days

#10 posted 01-28-2010 09:07 PM

On the topic has anyone here heard about granite countertops leading off radiadtion? its a rumour going around just wanted to know if it was true. People are thinking twice know wondering whether or not to get granite tops because of the poisonings that have happened.

-- M.K.

View Cory's profile


750 posts in 2458 days

#11 posted 01-28-2010 09:13 PM

Charlie: Great question. If I had to choose? I’d go cast iron simply because it’s got a 50+ year proven track record as a tool surface. But, I’ll say that my granite topped 4511 has been awesome and I haven’t had the first problem with it.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View pete57's profile


134 posts in 2449 days

#12 posted 01-28-2010 09:13 PM

I am all for new technology, but granite is not for me. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a fine looking machine, but mine are always in use and I have stuck with what I know for so long that I will probably leave here leaving behing cast iron for the next person. I will agree with roman, it is a maketing BS.

-- Humble Wood Servant

View TheWoodNerd's profile


288 posts in 2230 days

#13 posted 01-28-2010 09:14 PM

For featherboards, they need to adapt those super-suction cups like they use to carry granite to start with.

-- The Wood Nerd --

View Cory's profile


750 posts in 2458 days

#14 posted 01-28-2010 09:18 PM

Great idea, wood nerd. I just did a quick search and found a distributor that sells them for $15.

-- The secret to getting ahead is getting started.

View patron's profile


13409 posts in 2379 days

#15 posted 01-28-2010 09:21 PM

being able to use magnetic accessories is a great feature of cast iron
and to drill and bolt on extensions and jigs .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

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