Table saw opinons

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Forum topic by Madtapper posted 03-04-2011 08:57 AM 1984 views 0 times favorited 15 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10 posts in 2812 days

03-04-2011 08:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hello all:

Let me start by saying that I love this forum, and I greatly appreciate all of the knowledge and opinions that are provided through this site. My name is Jerry, and I am a hobby wood worker in the Pacific Northwest that practices out of his two car garage. I am giving some very strong consideration to making the transition from my PM2000 cabinet saw to one of the SawStop saws. I know that there are A LOT of various opinions out there about the latter saws, and I am truly not looking to start another debate about Mr. Gass, lawyers, or our political system. What I am seeking, is information on two points:

1. Opinions on reliability, durability, and functionality of these saws by those who have worked with them.
2. Advice on whether to get the 3Hp Professional vs. the 3Hp Industrial. I know that the Profession is suppose to be a “lateral move” from the PM2000, but the Industrial seems to be quite a bit more solid in structure. Unfortunately, the solid structure comes with an additional $1000 to the price tag (not to mention it is not included in the promotional free dust collection system)

The decision to sell my PM2000 has been absolutely heart-wrenching…it reminds me of the time I had to sell my first car. The impetus behind my decision to get a SawStop is purely safety. My “real” job is absolutely vital to our family’s well-being, and anything that I can do to help avoid a major accident is, in my opinion, well worth it. I have only the utmost respect for ALL of my tools (even down to the block plane), and I do not intend on losing that respect. I just want to make sure that I am taking every precaution possible to avoid injury. I would appreciate any insight you might have.

Many thanks…

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

15 replies so far

View BobG's profile


172 posts in 3133 days

#1 posted 03-04-2011 02:33 PM

You are too far from me or I’d buy that PM2000 in a heartbeat! It would match my jointer and shaper.

As for Saw-Stop technology, it works! Is it practical, if you tripped it once and still had your finger yes, you would swear by it!! Can it be tripped accidentally, pros and cons.

It is expensive, but what does it cost to have a finger back on.

The big question, is it practical? If you trip it you are out the cost of a bandaid .05 cents, a new saw blade $24.00—$100.00 dollars, and what ever the saw-stop cartridge costs you. (it would sure be nice if you got a spare when you buy the saw)

I know this really doesn’t help but it is something to think about.

-- BobG, Lowell, Arkansas--------My goal in life is to be the kind of person my dog thinks I am! Make more saw dust!!

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3994 days

#2 posted 03-04-2011 02:48 PM

Jerry, the PCS was designed as a competitive line for the PM2000 and Unisaw. I debated quite a while on whether to go with the industrial Sawstop or PM2000. When the PCS line was introduced it completely resolved the issue for me. I upgraded from a Craftsman contractor saw and have not regretted the decision at all. For a hobbiest my opinion is that the PCS is as much saw as you really need.

But the bottom line is, in my opinion, you have a quality saw now and you will see little change in the performance of the Sawstop, Industrial or PCS, compared to the cuts you are getting with your PM2000. The only real change will be in the braking system that comes with the Sawstop.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Madtapper's profile


10 posts in 2812 days

#3 posted 03-05-2011 02:03 AM

Thank you for the early responses! Bob, it was a terribly difficult decision to let the PM2000 go. I am very fortunate that I was able to sell it to a family friend who has been trying to get into woodworking a bit more. The machine was in excellent condition, but I was willing to let it go at a lower price in the hopes that he, too, will enjoy woodworking as much as we all do.

Scott, thank you for your insight into the PCS. It sounds as if it has been working well for you. I hope to get down to Woodcraft this weekend and really put my hands on both machines. I like the extra weight and table top size of the Industrial, but I tend to balk at the extra $1,000. I am hoping to make this the “last table saw I buy,” but that is the same thing I said when I purchased the PM2000. So many decisions….

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

View Kevin's profile


466 posts in 3377 days

#4 posted 03-05-2011 03:28 AM

Boils down to will it save a finger in the future. Just depends really, let’s hope we never find out. As far as the Industrial vs professional, do you sell your projects? How about using it day in and day out? How can you justify the extra $1000 dollars for the industrial. Just think of how you would or not justify it and you should be clear on it by then.

Myself, right now the cash isn’t available for the saw stop. If I thought the industrial would serve me well and pay for itself, (not totally about money in return, but other ways) then I would purchase it if the extra $1000 wouldn’t put me or the family in a financial bind.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View cabmaker's profile


1740 posts in 2981 days

#5 posted 03-05-2011 04:57 AM

Jerry, sorry to see you get rid of that pm. I personally am a delta man but it is my opinion that pound for pound the powermatic (66 or 2000) is the finest made saw in history, that is in that middleweight class of coarse. I ve seen the sawstops (all versions) and to me its ok, yeah its good quality and all. You stated that you could not upset your livelihood with an injury on your present saw. I cant either because that is how I make my living. You know how on occasion you read or here where someone lost a finger or had a kickback or what ever else happened to them. They were just trying to make that one tiny cut or just wanted to make that onetime crosscut that they were not sure of there dexterity or whatever or did not use a pushstick or on and on. Those are the things you do not do! I suspect you have a little fear of the saw and that is normal I guess. I dont really know what to tell you but that is one fine machine your giving up.

View blockhead's profile


1475 posts in 3480 days

#6 posted 03-05-2011 01:39 PM

It sounds like you have already sold it so keeping the PM is not an option. Looking at your workshop (sweet tools BTW) you don’t need a new bandsaw and you are doing just fine with the mitersaw.
You only mention that you are a hobbyist, so I suspect that the Professional would be more than enough. Not knowing exactly what you make or how often you use it, it’s hard to say. I’m guessing that you don’t have a whole lot of time to spend in the shop. Going on that assumption too, I would say the Professional would do. Regardless, there are plenty of reviews out there where people use the PCS everyday and use it hard and really love it.
Having said that, it sounds as if you just want the Industrial. You are the one that’s buying and using it. If you want it and have the funds, go for it. It might be overkill, but so are luxury cars. Not everyone buys just what they need, but some buy what they want too. Whichever you decide on, congrats and have fun!

-- Brad, Oregon- The things that come to those who wait, may be the things left by those who got there first.

View misbeshavings's profile


18 posts in 2816 days

#7 posted 03-05-2011 09:56 PM

I gotta agree with Skarp’s comments. There are LOTS of ways to lose fingers in a shop. A table saw is only one of them, and not the most dangerous item in the shop. I don’t own a radial arm saw because they scare the bejeesus out of me. If you work smart, and always think things through, a table saw is a reasonably safe piece of equipment.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2847 days

#8 posted 03-12-2011 06:05 AM

Bandsaws are supposed to lead the shop’s stationary power tools in accidents. More accidents on them than the other tools….but….they are usually not too serious in nature. People want to just get that little piece of wood snipped out and oops. I have a dear friend that is a professional contractor and uses his saw daily. I mentioned a Saw Stop and we talked about the cost. He said it wasn’t worth it. My question back is how much is you thumb worth? Get the best you can possibly afford without putting you and your family in financial straits. You will be happier later.

View knothead's profile


163 posts in 4120 days

#9 posted 03-12-2011 07:01 AM

I have saved for nearly a year to upgrade to a bigger saw – I went with the Saw Stop PCS 3hp model. I live and work alone in my shop and have been needing to upgrade anyway so the additional safety aspect was what convinced me. The price point is in the same neighborhood as a new Delta or Powermatic, I think the saw stop was like $500.00 more for the additional safety technology. I have to say the fit and finish out of the box was FANTASTIC. All the settings were dead on accurate from the factory! The only adjustment I needed to make was the “T” bar fence for parallel after installation.

I know there are Saw Stop haters out there but I make my living as an Aircraft Mechanic for an airline so dexterity and 100% use of my hands and fingers is absolutely crucial. If I trip the cartridge I lose a $100.00 saw blade and a $70.00 brake cartridge but STILL have all of my fingers and 100% use of them, I consider that a small price to pay when you consider the cost of medical bills, physical therapy, lost wages, reduced use of your hand(s) for the REST of your life. I hope I Never need the safety features of this machine but I am still glad they are there!

Folks can and do make the “Always think and you will be safe” or “Never had an accident in xx years” claims all they want and a fraction of a second later….........

I simply cannot afford to be off work for months while recovering from an accident, so this purchase was a no brainer for me. Keep in mind, you do get what you pay for no matter which machine you select. I couldn’t be happier with my choice. And I bet you would be too. Good luck in your decision.


-- So Much Wood - So Little Time! --

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3058 days

#10 posted 03-12-2011 02:56 PM

I saved and saved for the 3HP PCS then when I went to wood craft to pick it up I ended up getting the contractor saw and using the money I saved to buy a Jet 16-32 drum sander. I don’t regret my decision. I think the 3HP PCS is more than enough for everyone but if you could use other tools the contractor saw is great and I don’t regret getting it.

View Domer's profile


252 posts in 3538 days

#11 posted 03-13-2011 01:34 AM

I think the choice of which SawStop to buy depends on what kind of work you will be doing. The industrial has a larger table and is heavier and therefore supposedly more stable. It also has a great mobile base which is imperative for me as I have a small shop and mobility is very important to me.

I think it would be hard to go wrong with either one. I bought the industrial before the professional was out. I don’t know which one I would have bought if both were available. I did pick the industrial over the contractors

Good luck.


View tommyt654's profile


122 posts in 3620 days

#12 posted 03-13-2011 05:08 AM

Buy the one that makes you happy. Eventually a Sawstop will fail and that will put an end to the debates,but in the meantime get whichever one you’ll feel confortable using and go buy it and be done. Just be careful at all times a Tablesaw is a dangerous tool regardless of what a manufacturer claims and all safety precautions should be used when operating one. The greatest safety device is the 1 between your ears,not on the equipment:)

View Madtapper's profile


10 posts in 2812 days

#13 posted 03-13-2011 07:29 AM

Thank you everyone for your continued input. My PM2000 leaves tomorrow, and I am just a little bit sad to see it go. I visited Woodcraft today and took a look at both saws (professional and industrial). I am leaning toward the Industrial. I like the extra table size and weight. As I mentioned, I am a Powermatic man through and through, but i have to up the safety ante in my life. I agree with knothead in saying that the cost and sacrifice are small prices to pay for a little extra safety. In many ways I feel that there are people out there who imply that the purchase of a Sawstop saw is an invitation to be careless and reckless…it is anything but that in my eyes. I will still utilize the blade guard, the riving knife, featherboards, push sticks, and, yes, the fence to do all my projects. I just enjoy the peace of mind knowing that there is just that added amount of safety in the event that something goes wrong. Happy wood working to everyone.

-- -- Jerry, Gig Harbor, Washington

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3246 days

#14 posted 03-13-2011 04:22 PM

Let me share this for consideration. – I have a friend with a SawStop. His tripped once due to a fluctuation in his line voltage. There was no flesh or moisture anywhere near the blade. Of course, that meant buying a new clutch mechanism and a new blade.

I’m not saying that this is a reason to not buy a SawStop, but it is something to consider – especially if you are prone to line voltage fluctuations.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View ChuckM's profile


612 posts in 3838 days

#15 posted 03-13-2011 08:59 PM

Hi Rich,

This is the first time I heard that a line fluctuation could cause the SAWSTOP to activate the brake. The brake is designed to kick in only when the blade is in contact with certain objects (such as a finger or metal). No other documented or reported cases confirm that a line fluctuation would cause the activation of the brake. SAWSTOP would be more than happy to look into what happened to your friend’s saw. They have the ability to determine what caused the trip (flesh, metal, etc.) if the blade/cartridge was sent to them for analysis. My shop’s sawstop was recently triggered because the wood cut contained a small staple that wasn’t visible to the naked eyes initially.

We have had line fluctuations in the industrial district but no one single trigger of the sawstop brake has been experienced because of that since the SAWSTOP was installed and used daily about three or four years ago. As far as I know, my company has more than 12 SAWSTOP in total installed in some 10 different locations across the country and never one site has reported the problem your friend has experienced during the past 4 to 5 years continued and daily shop use – and that’s 50 machine-years of use. During that period, we have had one flesh triggered incident and all others are metal triggered events.

The SAWSTOP manual does not state line fluctuation as one of the possible causes for triggering the brake.

-- The time I enjoy wasting is not time wasted

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