First table saw memories...

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Forum topic by Clarkie posted 03-12-2016 12:13 PM 924 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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380 posts in 1260 days

03-12-2016 12:13 PM

Good morning fellow jocks, was having flashbacks of woodworking. Thought maybe this was a topic worth starting, so here goes. When I began wood working I started off doing all my work by hand. Planes, scrapers, brace and bits were all my friends. After things were rolling I had a friend who would allow me to use his table saw when I needed to. The only drawback was I usually worked in my shop till 2 or 3am, and couldn’t see going to his place and turning on his saw, neighbors would complain. Then one day while daydreaming in the local Sears store I overheard a conversation between the counter clerk and a customer. The words I heard were, “well, Bill if you hear of anyone looking for a table saw just send them my way. I introduced myself right away, and asked what type saw and how much. The guy said it was in good shape and that he was getting a bigger one. I asked how much he wanted and he said 65.00, that was well within my budget, so we headed to his shop. The saw was a 1960 Craftsman, with extension wings of cast iron and had an outfeed roller made of maple from the factory, and was on a stand also factory made. I told him I would take it, and my life with power tools had begun. As soon as I pulled in my driveway with the saw on the back of the truck, my neighbor came over and said he’d give me a hundred dollars for it, I laughed no chance of that happening. After three weeks of blissful use, I received a call from a friend who said his father was selling his 10” Craftsman tablesaw for 100.00 with all the blades. I went to the neighbor who offered me a hundred for mine, which I forgot to state was an 8” saw, and asked if he was still interested, he was, done deal. The “trading up” began and we were on to bigger and better things. This is my story for my first saw, and I’m sticking to it. Have fun, make some dust.

17 replies so far

View Tennessee's profile


2410 posts in 1933 days

#1 posted 03-12-2016 12:34 PM

My first “table saw”, and I use that loosely, was actually a Black and Decker rip saw mounted upside down in a bench. This would have been 1971. I had a temporary foot switch that turned it on and off, but at least I had to keep my foot on the pedal or it would shut off.
I actually graduated years later to a RAS, since my wife at the time lived in Lancaster, PA, where in about 1980 I bought an “employee purchase”, where the employees of the factory could buy one RAS a year. That would have been a B&D at that point.
Lived with that beast until 1999, when I finally bought what could actually be called something of a table saw, a Ryobi BT3000. Despite the lousy reviews, the aluminum construction, and the universal motor, it hung tough with me until about three years ago when I finally got a Rigid 4512, and sold both the Ryobi and the RAS.

-- Paul, Tennessee,

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2794 days

#2 posted 03-12-2016 01:06 PM

My first TS was a compact Delta 36-600 (aka 34-670, TS300, and others) bought new at a local homecenter on sale for $255. I had heard that cast iron and belt drive were essentials to look for….the 36-600 is cast iron, and technically uses a drive belt, but it was more like a vacuum cleaner cog belt than a real TS belt, and little did I know the difference between a universal and induction motor…plus it had a smaller than standard table. It worked fine, but within a year or so I realized it’s limitations and put it up for sale, and got $190 for it.

Saw #2 was pretty nice General International 50-185M1 contractor saw with the equivalent of a Biesemeyer home duty fence. I drove to Canada when the exchange rate was favorable, and the borders were open. $525 USD for a $750 saw. I added a router table, a custom mobile base, and switched it from 110v to 220v. A friend gave me a Forrest WWII TK blade for it. Life was good, and it was a great saw. In time things like the dust collection, outboard motor, and table mounted trunnions got a little old. After getting a super deal on a hybrid saw, I sold the GI for the same $525 I paid.

Saw #3 was Craftsman 22124 hybrid saw (made by Steel City/Orien) with a commercial Beise fence, cabinet mounted trunnions, full enclosure, 44” of solid cast iron surface, 425# of mass, and a serpentine belt drive. A combination of deals and coupons got the saw down to $589 + tax w/free delivery in April 2005. I caught a lot of flack on these forums for “upgrading” to a Crapsman saw, but ignoring the lowly nameplate and the comments, it really was a nice upgrade. Made a router table for this one as well, switched it to 220v, and equipped it with some great blades, and made a lot of stuff with that saw….I also tested a lot of blades on that saw. A super deal on a Shop Fox W1677 convinced me to put it up for sale…I accepted an offer of $600 for it with the router table and a basic Craftsman plastic router.

Saw #4 was a Shop Fox W1677 3hp left tilt cabinet saw (basically an ivory colored Griz G1023SL). A combination of a sale price from Utter Guys, and the former Bing “Cash Back” program brought the price in at $903 delivered to my door in August 2008. I had to sell some handplanes to cover the $300 price difference, but I’ve never looked back. It’s a great saw that should be all I ever need. Added a router table and a mobile base, Incra and Osborne miter gauges, added a Jet Xacta II fence with router fence attachment, slid the fence 10” to the right, added the BORK riving knife and blade guard, added a Wixey digital readout, bought some new full kerf blades, and have had it for going on 8 years now….no trouble, no complaints.

I’ve also had a new Delta 36-680, many used Craftsman contractor saws, used Griz G1022, and a couple of used BT3000 that I’ve either resold, refurbished and sold, or sold off for parts to help fund the tools that I wanted.

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

View JoeinGa's profile


7361 posts in 1425 days

#3 posted 03-12-2016 01:18 PM

My first “table saw” was a ShopSmith. I was working for Snap-on Tools Corp and they had moved me to the Atlanta area (1988). After having done NO woodworking for probably 5 years I got the bug and wanted to work with wood once again.

I was still considered to be “In training” and waiting to get my own warehouse so we knew that we were only being placed temporarily there in Atlanta, so I didn’t want to start buying big floor mounted tools till I was sure I’d have my own managers job and we could buy a house. We had taken a day trip one Saturday just to look at the sights in the neighboring areas. Were driving along and I happened to see a ShopSmith Store. Pulled in “just to look around” and spent almost 3 hours there. When all was said and done, we had loaded a new floor-model into the back of the Cherokee and headed to the house.

Well, 13 months and 3 moves later we finally ended up in St Louis where I officially became a Warehouse Manager. About 2 months there and I was talking to one of my employees and somehow the talk turned to woodworking. He was saying how he was lusting after a ShopSmith and I mentioned I had one that I had only used 2 or 3 times because I simply didn’t have time to do any woodworking. So I sold it to him for HALF of what I paid for it. He was thrilled and I was glad to see it go, because every time I walked into the garage I’d see it sitting in the corner, brand new and UNused. My wife wasn’t happy with how cheap I had sold it, but when I became a manager my salary had tripled so back then we weren’t too worried about money.

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

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1172 posts in 430 days

#4 posted 03-12-2016 03:11 PM

My first was a shopsmith as well. I absolutely loved that thing to death, literally. I worked it to death. My next was a small lunchbox style saw, I forget the maker, but I think I bought it at the check out line of the dollar store ;)
I used that for a while and even did some remodeling with it, never upgraded the blade so it burned everything it touched and just about took my finger one night. That was it’s last cut. I bought a woodtek with digital readout brand new and used it for a while until we decided to move. It was a pretty saw, brightly colored and spotless. It had power and was a decent saw, but it didn’t feel like me somehow. When I got to West Virginia I found a deal on a Unisaw and a HF dust collector and took it home. If I ever have to replace it, I will find another old UNI. They are that good. I brought it back to Oregon with me and it is the heart of the shop. I recently found an old Delta dj-20 jointer to add to my table saw and they go very nicely together. Thanks for the thread.

and my inserts are pretty hot too!

-- Brian Noel

View ShaneA's profile


6417 posts in 2017 days

#5 posted 03-12-2016 03:24 PM

My first saw was a Black and Decker job site saw. The fence was a hot mess. Never locked square, and in the beginning, I am not even sure I realized what that really meant in terms of safety and quality of cut.

Seems like it can be a bad combination of not too experienced table saw users trying to learn the craft with inferior products. I wonder how many accidents, poor experiences, and sub par results come from fighting that first table saw?

View Kelly's profile


1045 posts in 2363 days

#6 posted 03-12-2016 04:02 PM

I don’t remember the brand of my first saw. It was a ten inch beast with minimal table. That table tilted and the blade remained stationary, other than raising and lowering. Needless to say, angle cuts were “interesting.”

The next was a Delta contractors saw. Thanks to the first saw, I really appreciated it.

I bought that second saw from a beekeeper. I had gone to a garage sale and saw it covered, in a corner. When I asked about it, the guy’s wife sent me down to his shop to ask him about it. I went in and he was working at his bench. As I walked, very slowly, to him, he kept saying “ouch.” There were bees everywhere, but I wanted that saw bad.

As we talked, I looked over and saw three or four people behind a window, looking in from another room. I asked who they were. He said they were beekeepers and wouldn’t come in, because of all the bees.

In the end, he traded the saw in exchange for me mounting about four posters on plywood and pouring resin over them (I used to buy my resin in five gallon buckets for that purpose).

My sawdust addiction grew and I made the leap to a right tilt Unisaw, then a left tilt, which I still have. For the job site, I kept a Bosch with a gravity rise base.

View sawdust703's profile


270 posts in 839 days

#7 posted 03-12-2016 04:47 PM

Interesting thread. My first TS was a 10” bench top pos we picked up used. The fence was a joke. The blade did tilt, but it’d cut into the well made aluminum top if ya had to tilt it much. I used it til I burnt it up. Then we found the 8” Craftsman w/a cast iron top we now have. I called the fella about it, & he said it was his Grandfathers’ saw. Its’ sitting on a homemade stand, w/a dust bin built underneath, & casters on the base. He said he hadn’t used the saw in a long time, but it worked ok. We drove up & looked at it. My first thought when I seen this saw was, you have got to be joking! They had more angle iron & plywood scabbed together around the table of it, a short legged feller like me couldn’t even reach the blade! The cast iron top had been used for a bar! There were beer can rings all over it! Rusty, & just a disaster! The drive belt was shot from sitting around. So, we plugged it in, I backed away from it, & the owner flipped the power switch. I couldn’t believe how quiet the little gal was. Its just a 2 hp belt driven saw, but it runs quiet, & cuts just as straight as a new one. I bought it. It took 6 of us to load it in the pick up. Brought it home. That was ten years ago. The wife & I spent the afternoon getting all the scrap iron off it, as my shop was in the basement at that time. My wife called some friends with strong backs, & down the stairs we went with it. I still own the saw, & use it daily. Its a great saw!

-- Sawdust703

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2662 days

#8 posted 03-12-2016 05:10 PM

My first table saw was an 8” AMF tilting table that cost around $30 or so. That was back in 1954 or 1955. It was powered by a 1/4 HP motor, probably from an old refrigerator. I built a plywood table making it into a “cabinet” style saw, but without any tilt feature. That gave way eventually to a Craftsman RAS, then a Shopsmith and finally to a Jet cabinet saw which is now 30 years old and still going strong, along with a Dewalt RAS. I bought my Jet saw in California and when I moved to Ms, it came with me, along with other major pieces of machinery, including a Delta 30’s drill press, an 11” toolroom lathe, a metal cutting bandsaw and a milling machine. At 81, I have all the machines I will ever need.

View Clarkie's profile


380 posts in 1260 days

#9 posted 03-12-2016 05:57 PM

Does my old heart good to hear the stories you guys have brought up. I also had saws that the table top tilted, and saws that took forever to clean up to make them look proper. Amazing how we got along with the tools we did, that is till we learned what to look for or how to improve on what we had. Part of the wood worker’s life is necessity and being inventive. The biggest table saw I ever had was a 16” Yates American, table tilt, came with 5 sharpened blades in walnut boxes made for each saw blade to be stored in. I paid a whopping $

5.00 for it and sold it twice and traded it back twice. God bless, have fun, make some dust.

View MrUnix's profile


4028 posts in 1617 days

#10 posted 03-12-2016 08:27 PM

I try to forget about my first table saw :)


PS: But it sure does make me appreciate what I have now!

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View tacky68's profile


15 posts in 845 days

#11 posted 03-13-2016 04:13 AM

My first table saw was, and and still is a 1974(?) Craftsman 12” direct drive contractor saw that my father saw
advertised in our local paper in 1997(no CL then). I am not sure why he was looking at an ad for a table saw,
or why he thought he wanted one, as he was a carpenter/woodworker only out of necessity, and not out of interest.
He mentioned it to me, and asked me if I wanted to go, I said yes. We drove to a guy’s shop who was retiring and selling. MY dad talked to the guy, and gave him $300., we put the saw in the back of truck, and came home.

We knew nothing about TS, but that did not stop us. We replaced the crappy original fence with the XR2424,
and added two stamped steel wings, and away we went. Using it for carpentry applications, not woodworking,
we learned. My dad ran the saw, I was on the outfeed end.

Not long after that, I developed an interest in WWing, and started using it, without any real education, learning
as I went. Then my interest waned, and it sat for a few years. In ‘09 I started serious renovation on our 80+
year old house that continues today. I have regained that interest, only now it is a passion that takes up all my
free time without regret. I am awaiting my Forrest WWII blades to arrive as I type this

I stumbled upon this site a year and a half ago, researching sandpaper. It is my go-to site, and I can not thank
ALL of you ENOUGH for the education, insight, and enjoyment that I continue to receive when I am here. P.S. MY father is now 84, and I am 47, working together on all projects, only now I run the saw!

View runswithscissors's profile


2127 posts in 1444 days

#12 posted 03-13-2016 04:39 AM

My dad bought one of the Sears 8” table saws around the late 40s or so. 8” blade, and probably 1/2 hp Dunlop motor. It was severely underpowered, fence sucked, and it took great persistence and strength to tilt the blade. It burned wood routinely, and my dad got his blades sharpened (these were pre carbide days) about every 2 or 3 weeks. I never missed it an iota. I see the same saw come up on CL from time to time. I feel sorry for anyone who buys them.

I learned on that saw, as far as I can recall without any instruction except watching my dad. I think I started working with it as soon as I could see over the table. I have gone through several saws since, and am currently using a Unisaw with a custom rack and pinion fence, similar in principal to the Dewalt job site saw. Works very well. I love the power and precision of the Uni.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

View realcowtown_eric's profile


551 posts in 1355 days

#13 posted 03-13-2016 05:37 AM

My first table saw?

When I was 6 and my brother was 7, grandpa showed us how to use his handmade lathe (lignum vitae bearing blocks, ya home made) Spoiler alert, this would constitute child endangerment these days! All lathe tools made from old files too!

We had lots of fun turning firewood into totally useless items….Then one day we ran out of reasonably square turning stock, so what else was there to do but trim some blocks on the table saw(Driver brand, 8”” which I did despite warnings not to touch it…I had watched him use it many times. He wasn’t home….whatsa kid to do?

Come to age 14 , grandpa had passed away and my uncle decided it should be mine.

Now grandpa had made his own “shaper cutters” bu reforging old files and grinding them to profiles. Them of what you now what “hospital base (board) is, well he had ground a two wing cutter to cut a ?3”” hospital base. I used it once to see what it did and it worked perfectly but it was serious “whacking” as each blade came up and did it’s business.I used it for a few years, but eventually It went to my younger brother who no longer has it.

But but but, I kept the two winged cutters mentioned previsously as well as the 8” dado baldes and chippers (yep, old files again) which he had cut out of the reminants of a horse drawn shovel and hand filed himself.

I’m truly sorry I didn’t really know him long enuf to delve into his craftsmanship or skills other than this superficial way, but such is life.

And that, fellow wood-butchers. is my first memory of the table saw…...age 7, prohibited to use it.

Both my grandfather and my uncle (I used to work for him as a sub-legal age (14) worker) let me do things that would freak out parents nowadays. (sharp tools, power tools , large animals, heavy equipment, ....and I loved every minute of it)

Can you imagine at age 14, with a 5 gal water tank on you back and a shovel fighting a (rather small ) forest fire on the top of a mountain 30km from anywhere (for the first time) while uncle took the tanker truck back for more water?

God bless em one and all. Any danger was not noticed by me, I just loved the experiences and value them to this day. The first memories of the table saw

Eric in Calgary

-- Real_cowtown_eric

View unbob's profile


692 posts in 1322 days

#14 posted 03-13-2016 08:04 PM

My fist saw was a Rockwell 10” contractors saw, I bought used 30yrs ago to make shipping crates. I more recently bought a heavy 12” cabinet saw. I kept the contractors saw, though not the precision machine that the cabinet saw is, the contractors saw is still usable and nice to have around.

View MrRon's profile


3891 posts in 2662 days

#15 posted 03-14-2016 04:00 PM

My first table saw?

, this would constitute child endangerment these days!

Eric in Calgary

- realcowtown_eric

I grew up pretty much the same way in the 40’s and 50’s. Kids today are pampered too much; they don’t develop the art of improvising or creating; that is why we have these woodworking and other forums; to show us the things we learned through experience years ago. When I was a kid, everything was not available like it is today. If you needed/wanted it, you found a way to make it. My son (40) has learned my ways and his son (15) is also following in our footsteps. Believe it or not, he doesn’t spend all day on his smart phone. Why do they call it a “smart” phone? Because it makes us stupid.

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