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Advice on Contractor Saw Purchase

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Forum topic by Svort posted 08-27-2016 04:06 PM 493 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Svort

3 posts in 106 days


08-27-2016 04:06 PM

Topic tags/keywords: saw

Hi Lumberjocks, I’m looking to get into some basic woodworking projects—nothing too fancy (yet). I’d like to get a quality saw that will serve me well for the next few years, until my skills might warrant an upgrade. I’m wondering what your thoughts are on these three saws: Hitachi, Rockwell, and Delta.

Which is best, if any? Any thoughts/pieces of advice are much appreciated.


9 replies so far

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Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#1 posted 08-27-2016 04:19 PM

Personally, I would favor the Rockwell or the Delta, the latter since it’s cheaper. But neither are cheap enough (IMHO). I would value them closer to $200, and plan on replacing the fence. Little tidbit: I think that Delta is a 34-444, I had one for years (with a Unifence) and it is a great saw. They actually have a motor rated for 2 HP, though it ws derated on 120V to meet UL standards. It’s easy to identify these motor, on the motor plate they show 1.5 HP@ 120V, and 2 HP @ 240V.

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

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knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#2 posted 08-27-2016 04:54 PM

The Hitachi and Rockwell are overprice IMO. The Delta is a little high, but is more fair….it’s also pretty similar to the Rockwell, so that would be my pick of these three, though I’m not a big fan of the jetlock fence….it’ll work though.

This Cman is another option….pretty similar to the Ridgid contractor saws, and has the updated fence. http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwi/tls/5750963295.html

This Jet could be a good deal…worth a look – http://fortwayne.craigslist.org/tls/5742613205.html

Depending on what fence is on it, this Jet could be worth a look too – http://chicago.craigslist.org/chc/tls/5752358660.html

Another Jet at a fair price – http://fortwayne.craigslist.org/tls/5719923928.html

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

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Svort

3 posts in 106 days


#3 posted 08-27-2016 08:19 PM

Wonderful, thanks for the advice. I talked the Rockwell down to $350, but from what I’m hearing that’s still high. Also, it sounds like having a good fence is a pretty big deal, is that right?

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MrUnix

4245 posts in 1666 days


#4 posted 08-27-2016 08:53 PM

All of those linked to in the OP are overpriced… you should not have to pay more than $200, at most, for any of them unless they are throwing in some really nice accessories and other goodies. Have patience… a nice one will be along shortly for less cash.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: Rockwell = Delta —- Same company, same machines, just different badges stuck on the front (and they all used the same serial number tags on the back).

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

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Fred Hargis

3950 posts in 1961 days


#5 posted 08-27-2016 09:06 PM

A good fence is really needed to get the best out of any saw. he fence on the Rockwell and Delta are serviceable, but not optimal. (no opinion on the Hitachi since I’ve never seen one) When the Delta was offered the Unifence was an extra cost option.

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

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Svort

3 posts in 106 days


#6 posted 08-28-2016 02:00 AM

knotscott, thanks for the leads on those other saws. Is there a more or less go-to/reliable ‘standard’ fence for these older saws (or contractor saws in general?) that I should be aware of?

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7224 posts in 2843 days


#7 posted 08-28-2016 02:59 AM



knotscott, thanks for the leads on those other saws. Is there a more or less go-to/reliable standard fence for these older saws (or contractor saws in general?) that I should be aware of?

- Svort

Many of the older fences were pretty poor. The stock steel fences on the old Emerson made Craftsman saws especially. I agree with Fred that the jetlock fences are serviceable, but not ideal. That doesn’t mean that older saws with those fences don’t have potential as serviceable saws….they’re just harder to deal with, but can usually be upgraded at some point. The newer Craftsman Xacta-rip/Aligna-rip fences are similar to the older Ridgid aluminum fences, and are a step up from the older jetlock and Emerson fences IMO. The stock “Jet fence” on the Jet contractor saws is reasonably functional…not to be confused with the older jetllock fences on the older Delta and Rockwell saws.

The original Biesemeyer and Unifences were two of the better fences IMO…..the “Biese” has since been copied by many in the industry, and is considered one of the more robust and user friendly fences. It’s now available as commercial models in the Jet Xacta II, PM Accufence, Shop Fox Classic, Saw Stop T-Glide, and General T-fence, among others. There are also some smaller lighter duty versions of the Biese design that are pretty good….Jet Proshop and Delta T2/T3 are a couple that come to mind. I happen to think the Delta T3 is one of the best bangs for the buck going at ~ $183 from Home Depot. The Vega is also very good IMO. The Incra fence is arguably the most precise and repeatable of the commonly available consumer fences.

HTH

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

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unbob

719 posts in 1371 days


#8 posted 08-28-2016 06:04 AM

I have the same saw as the Rockwell pictured. I have had the saw for almost 30yrs! I think they are one of the best buys out there. Locally here the prices are going up on them with clean ones around $300.
I have done some nice projects over the years with the saw, it does have the not great, but good enough jetlock fence. I did buy a cabinet saw with a Biesmeyer fence, but the old saw is still handy for box joints and other dado work.
I would like to upgrade the fence at some point in the next 30yrs!

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Rick M

7934 posts in 1847 days


#9 posted 08-28-2016 10:09 PM

This guy wants too much but he probably doesn’t want to move it either. Will require some elbow grease. Show up with cash and offer him $200 for all. Don’t go over $250 due to rust and being apart. If he wants more let him assemble and de-rust it.
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/5748951797.html

Be a man among men…
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/5754604517.html

Mystery saw (Craftsman?). Lowball him a bit ($50) and see if he bites.
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/5749226883.html

Grab this beaut on your way home, clean, de-rust, and flip it for a quick hundred and add that to your saw budget.
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/5745665671.html
Actually you guys have a glut of scroll saws, might not be a quick flip.

Ditto, clean, restore, flip. Use it for awhile. These are beautiful when restored.
http://chicago.craigslist.org/nwc/tls/5752411950.html

-- http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

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