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Forum topic by nadnodbe posted 05-26-2010 04:46 PM 1312 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View nadnodbe's profile


6 posts in 2892 days

05-26-2010 04:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw traditional victorian


First of all I’d like to say thanks for the wonderful welcome I received on joining the site. That’s something you guys should be proud of.

Now I’m just getting started with woodworking but I’m realising that almost a “must” is a table saw. But I’m confused about where to start, what I need, what to buy…

I see that some people seem to be getting hold of used but usable table saws or contractors saws for £130+. This would be ideal as comparable new ones seem to be £700+!

What would you folks recommend for someone looking to build some furniture? Bonus points for specific models or even specific tips!


8 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117063 posts in 3544 days

#1 posted 05-26-2010 04:56 PM

This subject comes up all the time. everyone will share with you post but you can also do a search and read the many other post about table saws. I always tell my students that if they can make it work in their budget to buy a Saw Stop the safety is worth the extra cost and if they are beyond your budget check out Grizzly or buy a good used saw perhaps a powermatic . You also have to have enough power because most saw run on 220 volts.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View NathanAllen's profile


376 posts in 3111 days

#2 posted 05-26-2010 05:32 PM

The biggest issue is based on your location the experience us Statesiders have in used/new table saw selection will be very limited.

The saws in the 700 pound range are what we call European Saws. They are designed to be significantly safer and to accomodate the fact that sheet goods are the standard. The sliding design is only really popular here in production shops. Most hobbyists here have a Contractor or Hybrid, which doesn’t have a viable comparrison on the other side of the Pond.

As general rules,

1. Stay away from benchtop saws if you can. Even with the higher safety standards over there you’ll still get unsatisfactory cuts

2. The brands over there are known here, but not for table saws. Metabo and Scheppach seem to be the standard. Both are well constructed and the tools that are available in the States by these brands are well received

3. Buy the best saw you can afford. Most woodworkers buy the cheapest then end up replacing in stages. Is it cheaper to buy a saw for 700 pounds or to buy one for 150 that you sell for 100, buy another for 400 that you sell for 300 and then buy one for 700?

View stevenmadden's profile


174 posts in 3056 days

#3 posted 05-26-2010 06:01 PM

I’m with a1Jim, buy a SawStop if you are able. I cannot speak for the contractor or professional version, but the industrial is worth the money. Also, NathanAllen makes a good point, I was one of those woodworkers that started with a lesser, under powered table saw. The only difference is that I “bit the bullet” on my second purchase and got one of the better table saws on the market. I say buy the best you can afford and only cry once, if possible.

Good luck!


View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2965 days

#4 posted 05-26-2010 06:37 PM

I am perfectly fine not even having a table saw.

Sheet goods are a lot easier to work with using a track and circular saw or better yet, one of the sexy new track saws (Festool and Dewalt).

I prefer to rip on a bandsaw. Kickback is a non-issue and I can cut a lot thicker and thinner stock. I can also stick in a thin blade and do curves. I prefer to crosscut on a miter saw. If it is too wide for a miter saw, we are back to the track guided circular saw.

Joinery is as easy or easier on a router table. Dadoes and rebates are easier with a router and straight edge or a bearing guided bit. A handsaw and chisel for the little stuff. The only thing I miss is having the adjustable width dado blades instead of having to invest in odd sized router bits. The only thing I can think of that you can do on a table saw that you can’t with something else is to do big coves by feeding through at an angle over the blade which is too spooky for my taste.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 2977 days

#5 posted 05-26-2010 08:15 PM

Hi and welcome to LJ!

Before we start throwing out saws and monetary values, let’s just do a run-down of the TYPES of tablesaws you could invest in.

Benchtop: These are the small saws that are typically used on jobsites. They aren’t very powerful, tend to be really really loud with universal motors, offer small tables, less-than-robust build, etc. They are usually what most new woodworkers start looking at because they are readily available at the big box stores. While many woodworkers get by with jobsite/benchtop saws, many also end up replacing them rather quickly. They can do a decent job if tuned perfectly, but they can also present some significant safety hazards. Best saw in this class would have to be the Bosch 4100, which runs about $650 USD. Saws in this class can be had as cheap as $200 USD. My personal opinion is to stay away from this class of saw for furniture-making. That being said, they are fantastic for portability.

Contractor: True contractor saws are a little beefier than the benchtops. They can come equipped with beefier (cast iron) extension wings, induction motors (ranging from 1-2HP), solid stands, etc. One of the downsides to contractor saws is that the motor hangs out the back – therefore the footprint of the saw is a little larger than it may appear. Also, the open design of the saw can be a pain for dust collection. That being said, contractor saws (especially better models) can offer the needed stability to do precise and accurate woodworking. They also are portable (though you wouldn’t want to move them often!), but less so with the options that make them more stable for furniture-making.

Hybrid: A hybrid saw is an enclosed version of the contractor saw. Its motor is inside the saw cabinet, but power ratings and other features (and price) tend to be on par with contractor saws.

Cabinet: Cabinet saws are named such for two reasons. 1) Everything is enclosed in the saw cabinet and 2) The trunnions are mounted to the cabinet and not the table. These are the saws that are the most stable, most precise, most powerful, and most expensive. They typically require 220V power, although there are a few models that can run on 120V. Cabinet saws are intimidating for the first time tablesaw buyer and they seem like way way too much saw to start out with. But if you’re committed to furniture-making and are able to afford one, going straight to a cabinet saw is a good choice IMHO. But plenty of excellent woodworkers make wonderful things with contractor saws and even benchtops. At the end of the day, jumping to a new cab saw right of the bat while you need to invest in other shop tools is probably cost-prohibitive. Note that you can reduce your cost significantly by buying used.


Aside from the TYPE of tablesaw, look for the following features:

Riving knife – most new saws have this safety features. It is a thin piece of metal that keeps the kerf open after it passes the blade. Most new saws have a riving knife. A splitter is the same thing, except that a riving knife travels up and down with the blade, maintaining the distance between itself and the blade as the blade height is adjusted. A riving knife or splitter is very, very important in preventing KICKBACK, one of the two most common and serious types of injury caused by tablesaws. If you get an older saw, there are aftermarket options for adding a splitter, and even a riving knife in some instances.

Cast iron table / wings – Cast iron is darn heavy, but will give your saw more stability. It is preferable to have cast table/wings over whatever else is out there, e.g. stamped steel, etc.

Robust blade guard – The key here is the ease of taking off and putting on the blade guard. Some operations require you to remove the guard. But, unfortunately, many folks leave it off because it can be such a pain to get it back on. A tool-less blade guard is more likely to be put back on.

Skin detection – A really nice safety feature, but also very expensive. If you have the funds, consider a Sawstop. If not, forget about it and move on, and make your saw as safe as possible via other methods.

Well now that I’ve typed a novel….hope some of it was helpful and I apologize if any was obvious. Good luck – ask lots of questions! It may seem like we’re trying to get you to spend more money, but in the end the good advice you’ll receive here will save you money and make you a happy woodworker!

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View nadnodbe's profile


6 posts in 2892 days

#6 posted 05-26-2010 08:50 PM

That was SO helpful and cleared up a lot of the questions I had. Any opinions on the EZ Guide track? It looks great but the price seems to have gone up A LOT or is this just my being confused by the manufacturer’s website? Would love to hear some thoughts on this option but just say the word if I ought to open a new thread for this question.


View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 2965 days

#7 posted 05-26-2010 10:11 PM

Just from a quick look, the EZ Guide track looks ok but you are almost up to the price range of the nicer Festool and DeWalt. A little more and you have the price of the saw as well.

I picked up a not so nice guide edge with a T-slot for like $16 at the home improvement store. You can also make one with a piece of ply and a good straight piece of lumber. Attach the lumber to the plywood (about the full width of the saw away from the edge. Then run the saw along and trim the ply to width.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3343 days

#8 posted 05-26-2010 10:29 PM

Wish I was more familiar with the Euro TS market. Live4ever’s comments spell out the key differences between types of saws nicely. Full size saws tend to have some structural performance advantages over the portables, but if you need to move a saw from job site to job site, portables can be quite a blessing. Good alignment and good blade selection are the key to the end performance with any of them.

Good luck and welcome to LJs!

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

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