Workcenter project needs sacrificial table saw. Question for the experienced...

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Forum topic by David Grimes posted 03-05-2011 09:32 PM 2040 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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David Grimes

2078 posts in 2060 days

03-05-2011 09:32 PM

Hello to all. This is my first post, though I have thoroughly enjoyed browsing through numerous posts for quite some time.

I am in the planning and gather-of-materials stage of a work-center project for my home shop. It will need and incorporate a table saw frame (no legs), motor, top… and that is about all. I will toss the original blade, wings/extensions, the fence, and legs (if any). Miter fence and slot unimportant.

I will make use of 8020 aluminum extrusions and linear bearings to make the rails and fence, etc.

The most important criteria for my project includes: good motor, stable frame, quiet is better, dust collection port (any size), and 120 volt.

Finally, my questions: Is the Jet table top 10” a good choice due to the belt drive (and since the extensions and OE fence will not be used) ?

... or should I go with the same basic model that includes the dust port (even though it has both extensions and legs that I do not need) ?

or is there another saw out there that I don’t know about that has a great frame, motor and controls ion this price range ?

Thanks in advance for any knowledgeable advice.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

12 replies so far

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2170 posts in 2270 days

#1 posted 03-06-2011 03:42 PM

So what you need is the top and trunnions and arbor, right? I assume it will need to tilt.

You’ll need to give serious consideration to how the saw tilts.

My approach might take a little time but far fewer bucks. There are good, old saws out there—often appearing on Craigslist—that can be had for $100 or much less (often without motor).

Getting the motor and switch is easy.

These older saws—Craftsman, mostly—have good, sheet steel bodies, wonderful bulky cast iron tops (cast iron is your best friend; it absorbs vibration) and are simple to clean up, re-bearing, and return to 100% operation condition if need be.

What I have in mind is the era of almost art deco design, often with brushed aluminum panels in the front.

A query at OWWM might locate one in your area.

Keep us in the loop—sounds interesting.



-- " his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3033 days

#2 posted 03-06-2011 04:46 PM

I don’t know of any saws in that $200-$300 price range that I would start your project with. The particular saws you reference suffer from a few problems: the belt and motor are custom, available only from Jet and expensive; the arbor only has length enough for limited dado width (1/2”??); motor and blade mount (you can’t really call it a trunnion) design – feh!

I agree with Lee. Any of the old Emerson tables saws have a simple design. You can remove 4 bolts and lift the entire table, trunnion and motor assembly off of whatever base came with the saw (all right, it’s a little harder than that due to the tilt mechanism). If you don’t like the idea of starting with an old Craftsman, look for a used Ridgid table saw (3650 series) before they switched to granite tops; the design is near to identical. The design is time-tested as evidenced by more than 50 years of use, you can bolt any standard motor to it, belts are standard (even link-belts if you care for that sort of thing) and, as Lee said, cast-iron is your friend.

This is an ambitious project. I would make sure that the core is rock-solid before investing a lot of time and money.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Bertha's profile


12989 posts in 2113 days

#3 posted 03-06-2011 05:27 PM

Some of the older JET contractor saws might fit the bill, as well. They can certainly be had for that price range but they’re enourmously heavy & awkward (with the “motor hanging out of the back” and all). In newer saws, the Bosch portable seems to enjoy a good reputation & could be harvested. The price is obviously a bit higher, though. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View StumpyNubs's profile


6830 posts in 2220 days

#4 posted 03-06-2011 05:38 PM

I’m with Lee too. My first table saw was a heavy duty 1970’s Delta/Rockwell contractors saw with a cast iron top. I paid $200 for it. Go to a store and look at a brand new heavy duty Delta contractors saw with a cast iron top. Costs about $600 PLUS $200 for the fence. Guess what- it’s the exact same saw as the 1970’s version.

The moral of the story is you can get a saw that is every bit as good as the new ones for a fraction of the price if you look around and are willing to drive a bit to pick it up. And then you’ll have an accurate, relaible saw with full capacity for dado sets, etc.

BTW- I also tossed the stand and fence and made my own workstation. It’s a GREAT way to go!

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2060 days

#5 posted 03-06-2011 10:25 PM

Thanks for each of your replies.

I may end up scavenging from old saws, but just not yet. Since I am going to maintain the control panel and frame and top I prefer the aesthetics of new.

Since I posed the questions, I moved away from the little Jets (though I may end up back there). The table model has no dust port. The same Jet saw with stand DOES have the dust port, but is nearly $400… and $400 is about the price of a DeWalt table model (my partner has one and we all love the rack and pinion fence).

$400 is also the price of the Bosch 4100 table model. It is a highly rated saw with excellent safety features and a better than class fence that might get to stay along for the ride. I swear I came within one click of ordering the 4100, but two things spooked me.

First, a rater said that he bought the dust bag and it did a lousy job / not worth having. I want to know on whatever I end up getting if the shopvac to the port is decent dust collection.

Second, I came across this:

Now that is right up my alley. But the bad thing is I can’t find out what it costs… nor when it will be available besides 2011.

This project may be like most others where the combination of applied logic and the subsequent price creep will force me to buy a big old Ridgid hybrid or something of that nature. Maybe not. I may just insist that I really like the idea of the workcenter where table saw, router, dust collection and compressor/air all reside quietly and harmoniously on the same island.

BTW, my project was/is inspired by the thread and especially posters HUTCH and TEENANGEL. Good stuff, guys. I’ve wanted a workstation for years but never knew about the 8020 extrusions and linear bearings.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View EEngineer's profile


1054 posts in 3033 days

#6 posted 03-07-2011 01:14 AM

David -

Now that’s the first innovative new design for a portable saw I’ve seen! If the workmanship matches the engineering concept (not likely given what I’ve seen in other Bosch products), it might make a good candidate.

Naw, got a look at the owner’s manual; direct-drive universal motor – low torque high speed screamer – big minus. On the plus side it looks like it has real trunnions and easy adjustment to true the blade up to the miter slots.

Whatever you choose, please post the progress and let us know how it works out.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2060 days

#7 posted 03-12-2011 12:45 AM

Update: I won’t go into the whys, but I have a Ridgid R4512 coming (should be here Monday). So, I will use its fence (though I will modify the right backside for router and dust collection). I will remove the legs and lift so it will be incorporated into the work station as originally planned.

Had the Jet table top model included a dust port, I would have gone that direction due to the belt drive motor, but this will be fine. I will install a Pals alignment kit as well.

BTW… Tool air has been resolved. I will only be using 16 and 18 gauge brad nailers, a staple nailer and a pin nailer, so that will be supplied with the little DeWalt D55141 I just received the other day. I will wall mount it and rig a dryer (it has wet issues). I have a hose reel to mount next to it.

I have moved on to dust collection now and have about got that scoped out as well (thanks in part to some searches on this forum… but that will be another topic.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Viktor's profile


456 posts in 2838 days

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

Bosch saw in your link costs $379.99 (follow Buy Online link untill you see the price).

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2060 days

#9 posted 03-12-2011 01:42 AM

That link was not there the other day. It is so new they have just added it. See above that I went another direction already for my personal project, but this has been noted as a possible future replacement for our Dewalt DW-744 that we use in our business.

Thanks for the info.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View knotscott's profile


7145 posts in 2795 days

#10 posted 03-12-2011 02:08 AM

IMHO you’re far better off with the R4512 that you’ve got coming. The Jet has a tiny lightweight table and univesal motor. The R4512 has a full size standard cast iron table and an induction motor.

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

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2060 days

#11 posted 03-19-2011 08:50 AM

I picked up the R4512 Friday afternoon. Got it home about 7:00 pm and got all 280 pounds of it off the truck myself (gravity IS my friend). De-boxed and began assembly (again all alone). Took 4 hours.

So far, impressed with the beefiness of everything. Very very quite compared to the Dewalt and Craftsman we have at our business. I like the fence just fine and probably will not replace it anytime soon. Everything squared up right out of the box. I see why some may prefer a single front and back fence rail, but this split one is nocely done and is straight and secure (and adjustable). I like the dust inverted hood and port beneath that covers everything sandwiched between the base of the unit and the leg frame.

If I could change one thing, it would be that the wings were cast iron instead of steel, but they are thick powder-coated and had the adjustability to get it level with the cast top from all directions.

I have no regrets at all as of now… and don’t expect to.

-- If you're going to stir the pot, think BIG spoon or SMALL boat paddle. David Grimes, Georgia

View Greg's profile


312 posts in 2293 days

#12 posted 03-19-2011 09:40 AM

I have the Bosch 4000 and LOVE it! The thing eats wood for breakfast. No real complaints other than SOMETIMES I wish it had a magnetic table, though not when I need her to be portable. I love this lady!

Good luck with this project!

-- You don't have a custom made heirloom fly fishing Net?

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