Tradesman Table saw, junk, or worth $60?

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Forum topic by newbiewoodworker posted 11-21-2010 03:21 AM 51381 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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668 posts in 3026 days

11-21-2010 03:21 AM

I asked this in another thread, but after a day, I figure maybe I should make its own thread for this.

Is the Trademan TS any good? Or Complete junk?

I want to get a table saw, yet I dont need one badly enough that I will settle for complete utter junk. But at the same time: We all want a Unisaw, or a PM66: But most of us cannot justify it..

Black Friday sale for Lowes has it going for as little as $60… should I pounce, or let it slide by, in wait for a nice saw…?|0||p_product_quantity_sold|1&pl=1&currentURL=%2Fpl_Table%2BSaws%2B_4294857520_4294937087_%3FNs%3Dp_product_prd_lis_ord_nbr%7C0%7C%7Cp_product_quantity_sold%7C1


-- "Ah, So your not really a newbie, but a I betterbie."

13 replies so far

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


722 posts in 3472 days

#1 posted 11-21-2010 04:50 AM


You’re going to get what you pay for. It’s plastic-bodied. Not going to take a lot of abuse, but if you take care of it and are careful, you won’t have a problem.

The motor isn’t going to give you tremendous drive power. No cutting 4x hardwood material. But if you’re just cutting plywood, 1x stock, or 2x SPF material and feed it carefully, you’ll do fine.

Don’t slam the fence or the miter gauge around and they’ll most likely stay true.

The saw is not intended for professional or heavy use. It’s more the homeowner’s saw that only makes the occasional cut. It may or may not work for the hobbyist.

Something to consider may be to buy used from places like Craigslist. I bought a Delta portable saw with stand for my son (lives in a small apartment) for $50! It had hardly been used. You just have to be patient.

Hope this helps. Good luck!

-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 3336 days

#2 posted 11-21-2010 05:40 AM


Going to try to give you a few pointers. I have a skill table saw from lowes i have had mine a year or so.
1. runout (blade wobble) lower end saws have a lot a play or side to side movement.

2. set up Making sure the blade is true to the miter slot and making sure the table is flat and 90 angle to the blade and if the table tilt does work properly.

3. sloppy or non standard miter slots. My table saw has both sloppy miter gauge and it is non standard too.

4. the rip fence. is never straight at both ends. i always measure the front and back of my fence before i start cutting.

I am not going to sway you either way on what table saw to buy. The advice i can give is buy what you can afford. The 4 points i gave are things that i think are most important in a TS. Weigh the pros and cons together.

Jim k

View cabs4less's profile


235 posts in 2961 days

#3 posted 11-21-2010 05:57 AM

when i started i had two routs only one i knew of i bought a cheap table saw it was a pos but to me it was gold cause i didnt know better i used for two years before i saved enough money to buy the one i got now if i had it to do over i woud invest in a quality circular saw ( not festool but like dewalt or makita) and use the money i made off it to buy a contractor saw first

-- As Best I Can

View RJS's profile


89 posts in 3045 days

#4 posted 11-21-2010 07:06 AM

Let it go. I had one, it works OK, but is not what I needed in a table saw. I just traded mine for same other tools at a pawn shop. You would be better off watching Craigs List for a much better deal.

-- RJ

View knotscott's profile


8146 posts in 3574 days

#5 posted 11-21-2010 03:48 PM

A saw like that is more dangerous than a full size saw that’s more stable, accurate, and runs smoother. It’s likely to frustrate you and may even tarnish your fondness of wwing. On the plus side, there’s not much financial downside if you were actually able to score one. I personally wouldn’t do it if you’re not in a dire situation.

I’d much rather go for a good used full size contractor saw with a belt drive induction motor. Good examples sell pretty regularly in the $150-$300 range here. You’ll get much better performance, better reliability, quieter smoother operation, and it’s easily upgraded (fence, wings, motor, belts, miter gauge, etc.).

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

View CharlieM1958's profile


16280 posts in 4417 days

#6 posted 11-21-2010 04:36 PM

I’m going to go against the grain here and tell you to go for it. I started off with a similar saw that I got on sale cheap. I didn’t really know if I was going to use it very much, but it turned out to be the tool that got me hooked on woodworking.

I do agree with Scott that spending $200-$300 on a decent used saw would probably serve you better in the long run. But if you really can’t swing that financially now or in the near future, the little saw you are looking at is much better than no table saw at all, IMO.

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

View Lochlainn1066's profile


138 posts in 2976 days

#7 posted 11-22-2010 05:56 AM

Cast iron is the way to go. Plastic and stamped metal just don’t stand up.

I spend $200-300 on my first benchtop TS and hated it. Too small, too light, too flimsy.

I got a Walker Turner from the 50’s at an auction for $100. Having put about $300 (total) into it, I have a saw that rivals a new $1000-2000 cabinet saw.

There are downsides, including finding one, finding parts (the worst part is getting an old machine and not being able to fix it), and the time to actually fix it up. But the quality can’t be beat.

If you don’t have a TS, a $60 throw away will get you by while you keep your eyes out for a “real” used machine.

-- Nate,

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3170 days

#8 posted 11-22-2010 07:03 AM

It’ll cut wood if it’s not too hard or thick; a good blade will help here. The fence will have to be checked for every cut. It will not be able to use a dado blade, the arbor is too short. It will be very noisy compared to a real table saw. It will be too dangerous to use to cut large sheet goods in my opinion; you need a good circular saw to cut sheets down to managable size first. Actually this is a good idea even with a full size saw. All of these are limitations you may be willing to deal with. Many folks do..

There are two main limitation with this kind of saw for me. Number one is the non standard size miter slot. Because it is smaller than a standard slot, no third party accessories fit it. Number two is because it has these little ears that stick out into the slot space near the top edge. There are 4 of these protrusions to keep the supplied useless miter gage from falling out of the slot, but they insure that you can’t make any accesories like miter sleds, box joint jigs, tennon cutting jigs, etc. that use the miter slot. These were deal breakers for me.

I was able to pick up a decent Craftsman cast iron contractors saw last spring for just over $400 on sale. If I had not caught this deal I was leaning toward the $299 Porter Cable bench top/portable saw that had a standard miter slot a decent fence, and could use a dado blade. Or, of course a lucky find on CL might always be found as an alternate.

Finally, I will say that if I couldn’t swing any of the above choices, my next alternative would have been to go for the cheapest of the hobby type saws and just put up with its limitations until I could get a big saw. So, the $60 saw at Lowes might meet that requirement. For $60 you’re not out all that much even if it won’t do everything you want. I’d still put a decent blade on it though. I put one of those gold colored Ridgid 50 tooth combination blade on my saw and it’s been great. They cost about $29 and worth every penny.

View GarageJunkie's profile


14 posts in 3064 days

#9 posted 11-22-2010 08:07 AM

I’ve been wood working for about a year now. My first saw was a cheap Craftsman I got on sale at Sears for about $140 bucks. That was before I had any clue what to look for in a table saw. I’m probably just restating what others have already said but knowing what I know now, i wouldn’t waste my money on a low end saw. Of course I want to make furniture and other things that require straight edges, square corners, etc.

Non standard miter slot, crappy inaccurate fence, SUPER NOISY, small top and not cast-iron, and an unsteady base. I would only buy another saw like this if I had to do some on-site construction work like building a deck or something.

My advice would be to TROLL craigslist like a crackhead. Depending on your area you can probably find a good used saw for 1/2 price. In my case I found a Jet JWTS-10 for under $300. (over $700 new)

-- "The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3041 days

#10 posted 11-22-2010 12:15 PM

From what I can see, it is the exact same saw as the crappy Ryobi I had long time ago. I was in the same position as you. I desperately needed a table saw but could in no way afford a lot of dough. So I bought the less than a franklin Ryobi. It did what I paid for.
You flipped the switch on. You waited to see where the saw landed before even lying your wood onto the top because the saw literally jumped off the floor when you cut it on. You cut the piece of wood in question. The blade spun with enough speed and torque to rip through pretty much anything you threw at it within reason, just not too accurately. Then you spent a little time squaring and truing up said piece of wood using other means, whether it be a sander, hand held saw, or whatever.
What I’m saying to you is that as far as these saws go, you get what you pay for. If you just need a cheap saw to chop down larger stick into smaller stock, then yes, the price you listed is a steal.
If you need accuracy, any at all really, then even this cheap pricetag is a ripoff.


View jeepturner's profile


939 posts in 2991 days

#11 posted 11-22-2010 02:52 PM

I would use the skill saw, and watch for a used saw on craigslist.

-- Mel,

View dpwalker's profile


273 posts in 3030 days

#12 posted 11-22-2010 09:23 PM

I agree with the above posts. I have a cheap (under $200) Craftsman. Starts hard(sort of jumps), loud, I have to keep a close eye on the fence & blade & check adjustments often. I’m waiting for it to die so I can upgrade.

I did “fix” the miter slot problem by using my drill with a grinder attachment & grinding flat the little pieces that hold the miter in the slot. Now I can build jigs & sleds with hardwood runners. If you can hold out for better – do so. If you absolutely need a saw now heed the warnings posted above & go into it knowing what you’re in for. Good luck.

-- You have not really lived until you do something for someone who can never repay you.

View William's profile


9950 posts in 3041 days

#13 posted 11-26-2010 04:19 AM

dpwalker. You stated that you were waiting for yours to die so you could upgrade. From my experience of these saws, you better go ahead and start planning your upgrade because if not, you’ll be waiting a while. Of the several of these cheaper saws I’ve had, they are hell to adjust, they won’t stay adjusted, are inaccurate, but they do not die. For all their other problems, they run on like the energizer bunny. They are a lot noisier, but they run on none the less.
I even had one that was in such bad shape it was throwing sparks from the motor everytime it jumped from the floor to start. I stuck it outside. I cut firewood on it. I threw every piece of thick hardwood at it I could. I mean I was so sick of that thing that I was trying my best to kill it. I shoved big round tree limbs into it till the blade stopped. The motor smoked and the breaker flipped. I retripped the breaker, flipped it back on and it was still cutting. I cut a cynder block with it. For all it’s flaws, the motor on this thing would just not die.
I finally gave up. That piece of crap saw is long gone now. The motor however, still runs a shop fan in my shop.


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