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Forum topic by electricalD posted 1278 days ago 2461 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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electricalD

115 posts in 1740 days


1278 days ago

Hello Everyone, I am brand new to the woodworking field. And I mean brand new. My woodworking shop is not even started yet and won’t be until all the snow is gone. For now my focus is on reading, research and the like. But this part for me is very interesting and educational as I read and watch the talent that I see in you all, and it impresses me to no end. I am doing some research in table saws. Firstly, I’d like to say that I plan to buy hopefully one saw (and I am sure you guys will contest that comment). I have read about General table saws and I see General, General Canada and General International. What, if any, are the differences in these three. Any of you out there that can lay down some good information for me on this or recommend a web site that can clarify this.

Thanks,
Dan

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton


9 replies so far

View MarcusM's profile

MarcusM

36 posts in 1611 days


#1 posted 1278 days ago

Hello Dan; General is actually the name of the company, they manufacture the General Canada tools; General International is sold by General but is manufactured overseas (China or Taiwan mostly). The General Canada stuff is of significantly better quality than the International line but also much more expensive. As far as quality goes, I’d say General International tools are on the higher end of the off-shore equipment, but I’m not sure enough better to substantiate the price difference between them and many of the other off-shore offerings.

Regards, Mark

-- Tilbilly Mark

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5422 posts in 2007 days


#2 posted 1278 days ago

I agree with Mark….very well said. To add a little info, General is (or at least was) family owned and operated as opposed to a huge corporate conglomerate, and I’ve even read that they still use their own foundaries in Quebec for the cast iron (I’m not certain though). The General 350 and 650 are often considered among the elite of the North American style industrial cabinet saws, and many of their tools were a mainstay in industrial and educational settings for decades. I’ve read that General manufactured the original Biesemeyer fence for Bill Biesemeyer at some point many years ago, long before Delta bought that name, which explains why the General T-fence is such a close copy of the Biese fence. You can usually identify the General machinery made in Canada by the big red maple leaf, and the General International tools by their globe matrix symbol. You’ll also see some tools under the General International “Star” moniker, which I think are more stripped down budget models, and they have a General “Access” line that caters to disabled woodworkers. They also own the Excaliber line of wwing accessories.

I owned a General International contractor saw from 2003 to 2005 that had an excellent General T-fence, a very rugged General cast iron miter gauge, had a very nice fit and finish, and was an excellent example of that type of saw. I even found their CS to be excellent. They’ve recently improved their dealer presence, service, and parts availability by opening a distribution center in the US. It’s also rumored that Scott Box (former founder of Steel City before that name was sold) has joined their staff.

While I’m not much of a proponent for brand name loyalty for the sake of brand name loyalty, General and GI are among the more respected names within their market niche. Nonetheless, IMHO it’s always a good idea to research each of the more critical tools independently. Good luck!

http://www.general.ca/index_en.html

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

View sawdustphill's profile

sawdustphill

53 posts in 1321 days


#3 posted 1277 days ago

I will will agree with the others, General International is made in Tiawan or China.
General is usually made in
canada or north america they usually have a red maple on them. and are of better quality

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electricalD

115 posts in 1740 days


#4 posted 1277 days ago

Thank you gentlemen. I have seen the difference in the logos on the saw bodies. From what I have read, and I have no experience with any of the general TS line, there are many positive things put forward about these saws from experienced woodworkers. I live in Canada and for me I am somewhat limited in which type of saw to buy because of my location. I would have to pay a hefty freight bill for a Powermatic unit that is not sold locally, for example. Regardless, I do want a decent saw and the General line seems to be in my sights at the moment. Thank you guys for taking the time to respond.

Dan

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5422 posts in 2007 days


#5 posted 1277 days ago

If I lived in Canada, I would take great pride in owning either General or General International tools, but especially the ones manufactured in Canada. My former GI 50-185M1 contractor saw was very similar to the Powermatic PM64a.

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

View electricalD's profile

electricalD

115 posts in 1740 days


#6 posted 1277 days ago

Thanks knotscott, that is good to know. I think that will be the brand that I will purchase. And come to think of it, I will probably go for the band saw and jointer of the same name, but more to research on that. But how did the fence on your General’s contractors saw compare to the Biesemeyer? I am again like you, I do not take to brand names for their sake. I certainly do appreciate sound logical reasoning in reading reviews and I have to differentiate when I read a review when someone is totally miffed with a piece of equipment as opposed to someone who has a very objective perspective on it.
Thanks,
Dan

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5422 posts in 2007 days


#7 posted 1277 days ago

Dan – I actually went from a GI fence that’s nearly identical to the Biese Homeshop fence to the Biesemeyer Commercial fence when I changed saws. They’re nearly identical except that the Homeshop version is slightly smaller….the fence on a General cabinet saw would be the same size as the Biese Commercial.

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

View AWood's profile

AWood

43 posts in 2377 days


#8 posted 1276 days ago

Good day electricalD- I bought the General 350 cabinet saw. Its what I describe as ” the Bensford 10, 000, 3hp, totally “testostrone driven” , ultimate table saw”. Paid $2000 with the Excalibour fence on EBay. I too am in Canada and have looked at the General and General International line nurmerous times. I bought the General International Radial Drill Press ($450) and its quality is excellent for a woodshop; also bought the General International 1250 cufm air filter ($400) ...far better qualilty than Delta’s. Being located near the US-Canadian border I have looked at Grizzly and the typical off shore “stuff” of Craftex, King which is here in Canada, and even still the Canadian label of General International is still better quality than any other import. If you are in Ontario there are a number of locations for General/ General International brand. I am in the market for a quality dust collection system…...I am going with the Oneida Dust Collection in the US…Canadian dollar is at a premium…...Just a little gloat for being on the border and a “veteran cross border shopper”.

-- AllWood

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electricalD

115 posts in 1740 days


#9 posted 1276 days ago

Thanks knotscott, excellent information on the fences and duly noted. I do plan to get a cabinet saw. I appreciate your comments.
Hello Allwood, I live in Newfoundland. So you can appreciate my comment about where I lived. I have seen the lines like, Craftsman, Rigid, Delta, Dewalt, King and so on, but I have yet to lay my eyes on a General. You do have an added advantage as you are close to the US border far better than I. There are some nice table saws here and good equipment, don’t get me wrong, but because of the population base then the major centres around for this kind of thing are in direct proportion. Can I ask you if the saw you purchased from ebay was a private deal, was the saw second hand, or did you get it new from someone that has access to many of them. I have been reading quite a bit from the General line and so far I am impressed and mostly from experienced hands like yourself. But if you can provide them I would be interested in some of the centres close by you that I can contact, especially the ones with web sites. Thanks for responding. By the way, I work in Africa and I have seen some nice wood over here.
Regards,
Dan

-- If there were no God, there would be no atheists, G. K. Chesterton

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