Table Saw tough decision

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Forum topic by Matt posted 03-28-2011 03:58 AM 7745 views 1 time favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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40 posts in 2618 days

03-28-2011 03:58 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

I have been pouring over reviews of saws for the past couple of weeks. Have narrowed it down to this one:
Powermatic 1791228K Model 64 Artisan 10-Inch Left Tilt 1-1/2-Horsepower Contractor Saw with 50-Inch Accu-Fence, 2 Cast Iron Extension Wings, Table Board and Legs, 115/230-Volt 1-Phase
It is on Amazon for just shy of $1000.
I am a hobbyist, not a professional. My workshop is in my basement and small (14×16ft).
I am new to woodworking and would like to get a saw that will be able to do more than my cheap loud contractor saw that couldn’t cut through water.
What do you guys think?

19 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3889 days

#1 posted 03-28-2011 04:03 AM

buy used. TS’s ike Rockwell, Older Deltas, General…........never die. You get a saw that will out live you, for a fraction of what you get when buying “new”.

my 2 cents

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4214 days

#2 posted 03-28-2011 04:42 AM

I’m sure that Powermatic is a fine saw, and will do everything you need it to do. That being said, I’ve always thought the PM’s seem a little overpriced.

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

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3573 days

#3 posted 03-28-2011 04:48 AM

I like my powermatic but I would suggest looking at

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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Jim Finn

2656 posts in 2918 days

#4 posted 03-28-2011 04:51 AM

I also have a small shop so I bought a Ridgid contractor saw that has a great roll around base. I need that in my small shop.

-- Website is No PHD just a DD214 and a GED

View knotscott's profile (online now)


8009 posts in 3372 days

#5 posted 03-28-2011 03:49 PM

PM typically enjoys a “Cadillac” type status, and while the PM64a is a very well regarded contractor saw within it’s classification, it’s heavily overpriced at $1000 in today’s market IMHO. The PM64a is made in Taiwan and is very similar to several other well regarded contractor saws such as the GI 50-185, Grizzly G0576, former Bridgewood, and former Jet to name a few. It’s not comparable to their venerable PM66 or even their more modern PM2000, and doesn’t merit the heavy premium.

These type saws feature technology that’s based on a 60 year old design that has a few well known drawbacks….the location of the outboard motor poses a number of issues that more modern designs avoid. The motor takes an extra foot of space out the back of the saw, and this particular design features connecting rods used as an arbor carriage between the trunnion brackets….while not always an issue, they can get twisted when the motor is tilted, which can really skew the alignment. It also makes dust collection considerably more difficult, adds a “lifting hazard” when the motor is tilted, and requires a longer belt than motors that are housed inside the enclosure which equates to more vibration and less efficient power transfer. The table mounted trunnions on this design are also difficult to reach for alignment. To add even further argument against this purchase, it uses a traditional splitter vs a modern riving knife, which I believe is clearly a more elegant solution to a splitter.

This doesn’t make the PM64a a bad saw as much as it does a poor value vs the rest of the today’s market. $1000 isn’t that far from landing a brand new Grizzly or Shop Fox 3hp cabinet saw @ $1219 shipped (requires 220v). You could also buy a very nice used 3hp cabinet saw in that price range if you have 220v…possibly a nice PM66, Delta Unisaw, or General 350….all of which put you into an entirely different classification of power, build quality, and longevity. The Grizzly G0661 and G0715P are also more prudent choices in this price range IMO that can run on 110v. I’d also look into the Steel City 35925 and the Craftsman 22116 (made by Steel City/Orion), which both feature easy to reach cabinet mounted trunnions vs table mounted trunnions of the PM64a. The Jet Proshop series (708780, 708782K, etc) is an old enough design that it also doesn’t offer a riving knife, but does have several advantages over the PM64a design. There are a couple of new General International offerings that would likely be a better buy than the PM64a.


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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4929 posts in 3956 days

#6 posted 03-28-2011 04:03 PM

I know…...The debate continues, but the G0444Z contractor saw I bought (used VERY lightly) has been a real winner for me. With it came a HF dust collector, nearly new Freud combo blade, extra DC hoses, and numerous other pieces parts. Paid a whopping $500.00 for the bunch, Saw was set up as well as if I had done it.
All that said, I would look around the used market a bit before you settled on the PM.


View dmorrison's profile


151 posts in 3258 days

#7 posted 03-28-2011 07:56 PM

I have a powermatic 63a table saw I bought in 1989. Very good quality and I really do like the saw. BUT Powermatic has dropped support for the saw like a hot potato. So finding parts will be difficult. I have not really needed any parts.

I would consider Grizzy, Delta or Jet. In that order. And consider a Hybrid saw If you want to spend $1000.

You may consider a used saw. This will depend on how comfortable you are with assessing used machinery. In 89 I was not that confident, so I bought new. I wanted a Delta Contractor saw with solid cast wings and a Unifence. They did not offer it. So I bought the Powermatic.

For safety I would not buy a saw without a riving knife and left tilt blade. And the Sawstop function is quite appealing.

Also consider the size of your table saw. With a 16X14 shop a 52” saw is going to take up a lot of space that you will need for other tools. I have a 12X22 single garage. That is why I am looking at a 36 inch fence only.


View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3201 days

#8 posted 03-28-2011 11:29 PM

I would get a cabinet saw or a hybrid from grizzly if buying new and wanted a good value for the features/price ratio. If I had money to blow or made a living I would probably go either Sawstop or Powermatic used or even grizzly higher end. Either way Knotscott hit the nail on the head. If you’re paying that much, get a cabinet saw.

-- Williamsburg, KY

View Matt's profile


40 posts in 2618 days

#9 posted 03-29-2011 01:34 AM

Well, I am by nature a slow decision maker. I have looked over all the comments. Thank you for all the input. I am now leaning toward the Grizzly Hybrid or Contractor. It is my intent to build a cabinet and out-feed table if I go with the contractor version. There is little price difference though. Still some stuff to consider.
A couple of questions:
1. My shop does not yet have its own distribution box. My house is large and my main box is crowded already. I have 200 amp service, but do not know what I could bring down to a shop specific box in my basement. Should this have any bearing on my decision?
2. As far as resale goes if I were to upgrade at a later date, does anyone have experience with this and how much does a big piece of machinery depreciate over time?
Thanks for your input.

View Kevin's profile


462 posts in 3201 days

#10 posted 03-29-2011 03:00 AM

Well you could bring a 50-70a down to your basement. You would have to do the math to make sure the 50-70 wouldn’t trip in the main box, but essentialy you put a 50a breaker in the main and run it down to a sub panel. Here is a link for future reference.

Not as hard as it looks, but if you do not feel comfortable with running wires then hire an electrician by all means.

As far as the resale value, make sure you keep the saw in good shape, keep it tuned up and perform maintenance on it regularly. It will go down due to new technologies that come out just like anything else.


-- Williamsburg, KY

View Gofor's profile


470 posts in 3783 days

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

Before wiring it yourself, you may want to consider if any future damage from a possible electrical problem will be covered by your home-owner’s insurance. Some companies are looking for any excuse not to cover damage.


-- Go

View dmorrison's profile


151 posts in 3258 days

#12 posted 03-29-2011 06:36 AM

A couple of considerations.

Adding a sub panel is very doable. I have a 50 amp sub panel just for my shop. I figured what tools I would have running at the same time and added up the running amps and then figured if my Compressor started because I forgot to turn it off.
My table saw, my dust collector, my Air Conditioner. Then I add the starting load for my compressor. The total load does not exceed 80% of my sub capacity. And the lights are on a separate circuit not in the shop sub panel

Now can your 200amp panel handle additional load. This, an electrician can determine. I have 200amp service. I put a amp meter on it one summer and realized I was at the 80% limit (160 amps). So I had a electrical company bring a 100 amp and a 200 amp panel to add to my service. They determined that I could only add the 100amp panel due to the underground wire size. It cost $500 for them to add the panel. The meter panel was replaced with a dual contact base. One set of wires goes to the 200 amp panel and another set to the 100 amp panel

Determine if running the sub panel wire will be easy or difficult. Difficult means more cost to you. But having a dedicated panel is nice.
Your city/county/state inspector may work with you to make sure you do it right, if you want to do it. They can be very helpful.

Resale of a table saw. This usually has a very large range in price. Condition, the economy, and your patience or lack of patience.
I see my saw go for around $300-400. I see Unisaws go for around $800-2000 depending on shape and age. Some owners are out of touch with how much the saw is worth some price them reasonably. One guy here wanted $1125 for his saw. Surface rust, missing magnetic switch, missing blade guard. But a 3hp single phase 52 inch left tilt saw that was in fair to good condition. He got frustrated after 2 weeks on craigs list and dropped the price to $625. I called a little to late, it was gone.
If a saw is maintained well and has everything it came with. Then I figure it’s worth about 1/2 of list price. Pristine condition and 3/4ths of list price. So your Powermatic at $1000. Will sell in 5-10 years at about $500+/-.

Seriously look at the Grizzly Hybrid. $859 including shipping saves you $141 dollars. And the reviews are pretty good.

View David Grimes's profile

David Grimes

2078 posts in 2636 days

#13 posted 03-29-2011 06:55 AM

You say you are a hobbyist. Maybe you should check out the Ridgid R4512 hybrid with lifetime warranty. There is nothing to not like about it in my opinion. It just got rated by a Lumberjock (bribed though he may have been).

Mine is solid, accurate, quiet, collects dust great, and most of all the fence is really smooth and substantial.
For the grand you are talking about spending, I will have the R4512, new blade, HF 2HP dust collector, and ALL of the Rockler Dust Right system. I just found out that several of the cast iron router extension wings will drop right into this beast IN FRONT of the right side extension that is already there.

Around $549 plus tax. About $2 a pound for crying out loud !

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

View LeviStarkey's profile


16 posts in 2614 days

#14 posted 03-29-2011 02:55 PM

as you have read, Grizzly seems to be what everyone suggests. Step behind the saw before you buy it and make sure that it is comfortable. Grizzly makes solid equipment. They are set up for industrial grade material.

View bubinga's profile


861 posts in 2664 days

#15 posted 03-30-2011 01:27 AM

I own a PM ,mod,66and love it .
I know another person that just went through the decision making process for a table saw.
He did his home work and, went with the Craftsman 10in Hybrid
That said ,knotscott’s whole post is very good advice.
Seriously look at the Grizzly,a lot of bang for the buck.

-- E J ------- Always Keep a Firm Grip on Your Tool

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