Table Saw decision

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Forum topic by dpop24 posted 05-16-2011 06:07 PM 3271 views 0 times favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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115 posts in 2743 days

05-16-2011 06:07 PM

I’ll be buying a new table saw in the next couple months as the centerpiece of my new shop. My budget is somewhat limited as we’ll be putting a ton of money into a house purchase and remodel. After weeks of research, I have my choices narrowed down to the following three models:

-Steel City 35925
-Craftsman 22116
-Grizzly G0715P

The leading candidate right now is the Steel City because it’s the best bang for the buck and comes with a 5 year warranty, riving knife, and the largest left rip capacity of the three.
The Craftsman’s price is too high but could be the winner if I can get it on sale.
The Grizzly looks like a great machine but the table mounted trunnions have it at the bottom of this list.

I put together this list of the features and pricing to help make my decision. I didn’t consider a granite top a benefit or detriment in my decision – I’d be happy with granite or cast iron equally.

Lastly, to muddy up the waters…. I had decided on brand new and one of those 3 listed, but some guy has posted a Powermatic 66 on Craigslist locally for $1100. That puts me into a MUCH nicer saw for around the same price as those others new after you include tax and shipping. I’m guessing everyone will say to go get that Powermatic, but if you could also comment on preference of the 3 new ones based on any knowledge or experience you have with those saws. The main reason is that my shop won’t be ready for several months and I don’t really have a place to store that Powermatic and don’t really want to move it twice considering it’s over 500 pounds and needs to get in and out of my 4×4 pickup with 6” lift kit!


-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

20 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3822 days

#1 posted 05-16-2011 06:18 PM

Table saws are pretty much table saws. That isn’t to say they don’t
differ. I wouldn’t buy any of those saws new, personally. They
are like cars – they lose 1/4 of their value as soon as they leave
the showroom.

What kind of work do you plan on doing? Do you plan on doing it
for money?

View CharlieM1958's profile


16278 posts in 4392 days

#2 posted 05-16-2011 06:28 PM

I don’t have personal experience with any of the saws you mentioned, but I’m not sold on granite tops. With Grizzly’s higher HP, cast iron top, and reputation for customer service, it would be my first choice of those three. I know the downside of table mounted trunions, but this has never caused me any problem with my contractor saw.

Having said all that, the PM66 is supposed to be one of the best saws around. Being able to get your hands on one for that price is hard to pass up.

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

View zindel's profile


257 posts in 2824 days

#3 posted 05-16-2011 06:36 PM

I say go with the PM if its in good shape…otherwise stick with the grizzly i agree with Charlie and the granite tops they just are not quite as nice as the cast iron. I would stay away from the craftsmen for sure as their products just don’t seem quite as nice from my experience.

-- If you can't fix it with a hammer, You've got an electrical problem.

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3654 days

#4 posted 05-16-2011 06:41 PM

Although I havent had experience with any of the three you have listed, I have always heard good things about Grizzly. My other thought is to watch Craig’s list and Ebay if you have some time. There are a lot of great used Delta and Powermatics on there as you have noticed. I bought my Powermatic 66 some years ago used (its a 1988 model) and its been flawless. I think a good Delta Unisaw or the Powermatic would be a great choice.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3549 days

#5 posted 05-16-2011 06:43 PM

The CMan 22116 and the Steel City 35925 are pretty much the same saw except that the fence on the SC isn’t much to write home about. Have you checked into the SC 35930 that offers the fence upgrade? I’ve seen the 22116 drop into the low $700’s….I would not pay $1100+ for it. Can’t you pick up the saw at the store to avoid s/h?

If that PM66 is in good shape and you have 220v, that’s an easy winner in my book. Once you take the fence and wings off, it should be manageable, but you can always take the top and/or the motor off to shave even more weight.

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

View Bertha's profile


13550 posts in 2867 days

#6 posted 05-16-2011 07:22 PM

PM66, hands down. You’ll need the 5 year warranty on the saws you mention. A PM66 might outlive you. Have you ruled out a vintage Unisaw? I don’t mean to be a drag but I’ve bought new equipment and vintage equipment this year. I’m not planning on any new equipment after this experience.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3332 days

#7 posted 05-16-2011 07:40 PM

There’s no way I’d buy a hybrid type saw at those prices when I could have a 3HP cabinet saw instead. My 1992 Unisaw (3HP) cost me $500 on Craiglist. Because of the low price, I was able to customize it with my choice of fences (Incra TSLS), get a cast iron router table extension, and my choice of miter gauge (Incra 1000HD)...not to mention an after market splitter and blade guard (Sharkguard).

I’d keep my eye on Craigslist and then disassemble it upon purchase for easier portability. Once the cast iron table top is removed, you could transport the parts with a dolly.

Used saws like the Unisaw and PM66 really aren’t that big of a risk…it’s actually a simple device. If you purchase one via CL just be sure you push a board through it before putting your money down. That will tell you a lot of what you need to know. Plus, if you do purchase it and need to store it, you could actually make best use of the time to have the motor checked out and maintenanced (if you have such a place locally) and/or evaluate the arbor/bearings for possible replacement. None of it is rocket science and will help that saw to be passed down to your grandchildren some day.

-- jay,

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3332 days

#8 posted 05-16-2011 07:45 PM

BTW, take a look at some of the recent postings here at LJ from some of the guys who have restored their Craigslist-purchased Unisaws. One guy, whom I can’t remember, bought a WWII-era Unisaw and now, after a quick restoration, it looks like a work of art (deco). Unisaws, in particular, didn’t really change in 70+ years.

-- jay,

View brianlee's profile


18 posts in 2774 days

#9 posted 05-16-2011 11:51 PM

Get the Powermatic. Don’t worry about the weight, you can break it down. (You’ll probably want to do this anyway so you can give it a good going over and it also helps you to get familiar with the saws design for future adjustments.) Just make sure you have the owners manual or take a lot of photos as you disassemble it. ;)
I own the craftsman 22116 and I like it. I didn’t pay the price you have posted—you never want to pay the retail price on any craftsman item. Sears has sales all the time. I paid $800 for mine.

View Grandpa's profile


3261 posts in 2849 days

#10 posted 05-17-2011 12:36 AM

Get the PM66 and hire someone to move it for you. You won’t regret it 5 years from now when the other warranties are used up.

View Minorhero's profile


373 posts in 2779 days

#11 posted 05-17-2011 03:36 AM

First off, buy a used saw, if that option is on the table then know that it is the best option. I’ll talk more about that later.

As for the 3 saws you listed. If you decide on them it seems to me your decision will come down to whether you want a granite saw or a steel one, how important a riving knife is to you, and the fence. The other factors you list are not as important or as differential. Any saw can have a mobile base for 60 dollars, and motor power 1 – 3/4 and 2hp is not a big difference.

The big thing between granite saws and cast iron saws is that obviously you can not use magnetic attachments with a granite saw. That would be an important issue for me since I use a magnetic feather-board with literally every cut. On the plus side, you would never have to worry about rust.

I would assume (but do not know) that the top has standard holes drilled for fence support on the granite saws. Meaning I have no idea why the fence would not be upgradable. (perhaps you are referring to whether the company sells an upgrade option as opposed to third party?) Certainly the grizzly saw can have a third party upgrade added at a later date.

The really big issue for me that knocks the craftsman out of the running is the lack of a riving knife. A riving knife is just too darn an important safety feature to skip over in a new saw.

Now that all of that is said, I’ll address the used saw. Firstly, depending on the age of the powermatic it may not have a riving knife. It may not even be possible to add an aftermarket riving knife. That being said the powermatic is an order of magnitude above the other saws in quality. If you decide to buy it moving it is absolutely no big deal. I moved my 1950 unisaw by myself and here is how I would move a powermatic.

1) Remove the fence if present
2) Remove the cast iron wings
3) Remove the table top
4) remove the motor (do not skip this step -motor mounts crack under strain when being bumped around in moving vans all the time)
5) put a moving blanket or old comforter in the back of your pickup so that it is half in the pickup and the other half dangling down on the ground.
6) Put the now much lighter saw body next to the pickup so that the back side of the saw cabinet (which does not have anything on it) is facing the bed.
7) Tilt the saw body into the pickup and push back (if done correctly the blanket will slide on the bed of the pickup lubricating if you will the movement of the saw cabinet into the pickup.

At 1100 dollars the powermatic is pricey for a used saw by my local standards (I live in Maryland). Around here a used powermatic in perfectly good working order (ie nothing needed to be fixed, no rust, and good bearings) sells for 700 to 1000 typically. At 1100 there should be absolutely nothing wrong with that saw. It should either be less then 10 years old or the owner should be able to tell you when in the last 10 years they replaced the bearings on the arbor and in the motor.

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 2743 days

#12 posted 05-19-2011 03:23 AM

Well, it turns out that getting 3 phase power into my new shop is going to make this particular saw cost prohibitive. It would appear that my options are to replace the motor with a single phase motor, or purchase a rotary phase converter – both options look like they’ll be upwards of $500.

I am certainly not opposed to getting a used saw and am keeping my eyes on Craigslist every day. I’d be open to any good table or hybrid saw in my price range but not much has come up for sale lately. I’d love to find a good condition Ridgid R4511 for sale locally – too bad they don’t sell those new anymore!

As for the ability to upgrade the fence on the Grizzly G0715P and the SC 35925, that info came directly from the manufacturers. Each of them said that you “should be able to upgrade” fences by drilling some holes into the railings on the saw. I’m not opposed to that, so I consider those to now be “upgradeable”.

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View dmoney's profile


191 posts in 3253 days

#13 posted 05-19-2011 04:57 AM

i would buy the grizzly.

-- Derek, Iowa

View dpop24's profile


115 posts in 2743 days

#14 posted 05-20-2011 09:41 PM

I haven’t ruled out searching for used saws and am hot on the trail of a Ridgid R4511 which would be best case scenario if I can find one in good shape for a good price.

I found one about an hour away that the guy is asking $400 for “with about $200 worth of extras”. He admitted that he got it on the closeout at HD 2 years ago so I know that his asking price is more than he paid, which is sort of bothering me. I’m gonna try and offer him $300 and see what he says. If he balks, I’ll tell him to keep the “extras”, I just want the saw. Honestly, in thinking about it, it shouldn’t be about what he paid for the saw, it should be about what the saw is worth to the buyer. I’m almost thinking it’s worth it to me for $400 if it’s in good condition because it gets me into a great saw for less than half what I would have to spend new. Since it’s the exact same saw as the SC 35925 and the Craftsman 22116, I feel like I would be in good shape with this saw.

Do you guys think I’m crazy for even considering paying the guy $100 over what he paid to use the saw for 2 years? I know it sounds nuts to me too, but I’m trying to look at the big picture.

-- If it ain't broke, take it apart and find out why

View a1Jim's profile


117273 posts in 3751 days

#15 posted 05-20-2011 11:05 PM














-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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