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Forum topic by Bill Rickvalsky posted 10-24-2011 04:22 PM 7213 views 1 time favorited 20 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bill Rickvalsky

23 posts in 1873 days


10-24-2011 04:22 PM

I know table saws are a beat to death topic here but I am hoping that having fairly specific needs will get me a good recommendation or two.

My budget is $1000 or less, preferably a good bit less. It will be used in a garage workshop where I will do mostly hobby woodworking with some cabinet making and furniture projects. I would like it to be mobile to deal with limited space. I am looking for something that will not require any significant aftermarket upgrades. In particular I would like the fence it comes with to be useful for what I am doing.

The garage currently does not have 220v but I may have it added at some point so the saw should be able to handle either.

Since I would rather spend my time making sawdust than maintaining and adjusting things I want routine adjustments and maintenance to be reasonably easy and not often required. Also since I am hoping to advance my woodworking skills I’d like something as capable of precise work as possible considering my budget.

I have been reading about models from Rigid, Grizzly, Steel City, Craftsman, Jet and others that seem to be good candidates but am not familiar with anything from Powermatic, Porter Cable or anyone else which might be considered. It looks like I am going to be looking at contractor saws or hybrids.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

-- Bill--Genuine, verified, certified, card carrying amateur at just about everything.


20 replies so far

View Ed Pirnik's profile

Ed Pirnik

83 posts in 2294 days


#1 posted 10-24-2011 04:36 PM

Hi Woodenitbenice: I happen to have a Grizzly hybrid cabinet saw – GO715P which I purchased for just under $800 which works quite well. It’s rated for 220V service. It’s got a nice, true riving knife, a decent fence and I’m very happy with it. On the more portable tablesaw front – I’ve heard good things about the new”er” Bosch 4100DG-09. One of the folks here at the office (on the Fine Homebuilding side) has one and has been quite happy with it as well. It’s solidly built (I’ve played around with it) and it’s got a decent reip fence without much slop. That said – it comes in at about $700. So for less than $100 more, you might go the route of the Grizzly. Although you will lose the portability/mobility factor. Those are the two I have had the most recent experience with. I hope that helps.
Best,
Ed

-- Ed Pirnik, Fine Woodworking Web Producer

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knotscott

7211 posts in 2839 days


#2 posted 10-24-2011 05:02 PM

I’d skip the portables unless you plan to cart the saw from jobsite to jobsite.

Most of the new contractor saws and hybrid saws have table mounted trunnions that are harder to align than cabinet mounted trunnions…not impossible, just more difficult to reach. There are only a handful of new hybrid/contractor saws that have cabinet mounted trunnions in your price range…they are the Steel City 35990SS Steel City 35990C Steel City 35990G, nearly identical Rikon 10-201, Steel City 35925, the Craftsman 22116, General International 50-200R, and the Porter Cable PCB270TS. The PCB270TS has a plastic elevation gear, that would be better if made of metal…for that reason I would eliminate that saw. Saws with table mounted trunnions include the Ridgid R4512, Craftsman 21833, Grizzly G0661, Grizzly G0715P, and the Jet Proshop 708480 /708482.

Any of these saws are capable of good performance once setup properly and fitted with a good blade. IMHO, the fence and the wing material are at least as important as the trunnion mounting, if not more so, but it’s subjective. Be sure to research each saw on it’s own merits, as opposed to relying on brand name…the market place is pretty convoluted these days, and things change more rapidly than most can keep up with.

If you were to add 220v, you could include 3hp industrial type cabinet saws in your search, though they’d need to be used to stay within budget. A new Grizzly G1023RL runs close to $1300 shipped.

Powermatic is a very well regarded name that enjoys somewhat of a Cadillac type status, but they don’t offer a hybrid, and their PM64a contractor saw is a standard older style Taiwanese contractor saw that hasn’t been updated in over a decade…it still has table mounted trunnions, connecting rods, an outboard motor and standard splitter vs inboard motor and a riving knife. It’s a good example of that type of saw, but doesn’t merit the premium that it currently sells for IMO. PM is affiliated with Jet, who does offer a hybrid, though it also hasn’t yet been updated with a riving knife.

Porter Cable is currently owned by Stanley Tool, who also owns DeWalt and B&D, among others. Up until recently Stanley also owned Delta, but spun that company off to an Asian company. Porter Cable is well regarded portable power tools, but is fairly new to stationary type tools….many of them are rebadged or slightly updated versions of former Delta tools, but the PCB270TS is an exception that has no ties to Delta that I’m aware of.

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

View Bill Rickvalsky's profile

Bill Rickvalsky

23 posts in 1873 days


#3 posted 10-24-2011 05:12 PM

I agree that the fence is the most important feature to consider. I fully expect to have to get a decent blade for whatever I get. Which of the saws that meet my needs has the best fence that comes with it.

-- Bill--Genuine, verified, certified, card carrying amateur at just about everything.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7211 posts in 2839 days


#4 posted 10-24-2011 05:27 PM

“Best” is always a matter of opinion, but of the above saws mentioned, the Grizzly saws, the Cman 22116, PM64a, and Jet Proshop saws have good Biese clone type steel t-square fences. The R4512, Cman 21833, and PCB270TS have cheaper aluminum dual locking fences, and the Steel City and Rikon entries have a lighter weight steel split rail fence that’s got some similarities to a Biese clone, but aren’t as nicely done as the other Biese clones IMHO. The GI hybrid has a couple of fence options AFAIK, from cheaper to excellent. All are functional fences, but no doubt some are better than others IMO.

One possible scenario would include buying a saw under budget with less fence, then sell the stock fence (~ $40-$75) and replace it with something like a Delta T2 fence for ~ $150.

I updated my original reply with some links so you can view those saws easily.

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

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

115202 posts in 3040 days


#5 posted 10-24-2011 06:04 PM

I’d take a look at the Ridgid contractor saw their around $550. a good number of my students have them and really like them ,they have a built in mobile base plus they seem to have a decent fence.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View zwwizard's profile

zwwizard

206 posts in 3172 days


#6 posted 10-24-2011 06:44 PM

I have a old Craftsman contractors saw with a cast iron top. It was used when I got it about 30 years ago. I made my own fence for it, its not fancy, but, it works for me. I think it cost me about $25.00 for the metal to make it. I have used it for everything. From cabinet making to making about 50 or more boxes a year on it, to milling wood for musical instrument making. I have used other types of saws but I don’t see where they would make my work any easier. The only thing I would like to have is some kind of motor control for adjusting the tilt angle of the blade.

-- Richard http://www.PictureTrail.com/gallery/view?username=thewizz

View Bill Rickvalsky's profile

Bill Rickvalsky

23 posts in 1873 days


#7 posted 10-24-2011 07:32 PM

Richard, there is a part of me that wants to stick with what I have and do just what you did and just improve on what I have. My current table saw is and old (I mean really old, like 60 years or so) Craftsman that still runs fine and so far has done everything I have needed it to do. But the fence definitely sucks and I could not rely on it for precision and repeatability. I am tempted to add a Delta T2 fence to it and just stick with it. For the life of me I don’t know how that old motor is still running. And the tensioning mechanism for the belt is broken and I just use a wooden wedge to tension the belt. That Ridgid R4512 is tempting but I’ve read mixed reviews on the fence. I guess I could replace the fence with the Delta and still be under my budget.

-- Bill--Genuine, verified, certified, card carrying amateur at just about everything.

View Chipy's profile

Chipy

374 posts in 2057 days


#8 posted 10-24-2011 08:06 PM

I had the Rigid TS 2412 and it met my needs for many years.It has a decent fence and I think a 1 1/2 horse motor.I have seen them on craigslist for 200 beans.If you can save a little more and get lucky to pick up a used Delta unisaw that would be the way to go.I have Grizzly’s GO691 it was about 1300 bucks with shipping and I love this saw!!!!!!!

View Jeremy Greiner's profile

Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2235 days


#9 posted 10-24-2011 08:48 PM

Riving Knife, I can’t say this enough whatever you do make sure your saw supports a riving knife. Not a stationary splitter.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer: http://www.1024studios.com/cuttingboard.html

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7211 posts in 2839 days


#10 posted 10-24-2011 10:24 PM

Jeremy – I agree that a riving knife is a “better mousetrap” by design than a standard splitter, but I sure wouldn’t pass up a nice deal on a great saw over the matter. Saws like a Ryobi or Tradesman bench top can have riving knives, yet are still considerably less substantial than saws like a PM66 or older Unisaw that don’t sport riving knives. Don’t pass up a deal on a Ferrari because it doesn’t have air bags!

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

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Jeremy Greiner

568 posts in 2235 days


#11 posted 10-24-2011 11:26 PM

That is until someone hits your ferrari and you get some serious whiplash and wish you had airbags ;)

But I agree with your general idea, I was more speaking if buying a new saw I would not accept a new saw with out a riving knife.

-- Easy to use end grain cutting board designer: http://www.1024studios.com/cuttingboard.html

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4854 posts in 2276 days


#12 posted 10-24-2011 11:36 PM

Jet 1.5 hp contractors saw with an Xacta II fence. It is a t-square style fence, and the setup works very well.
I don’t know of any saw in the sub $1000 price range that has a riving knife, but any saw can have a splitter. If you don’t bevel the blade much, it really won’t matter. If you make a lot of long panel miters then you will want to have one.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Bill Rickvalsky's profile

Bill Rickvalsky

23 posts in 1873 days


#13 posted 10-24-2011 11:36 PM

I’ve seen some discussion, but don’t remember where, about a “true riving knife” as opposed to one which is not. What are the characteristics of one vs the other? And which of the saws I might consider does not have a true riving knife?

-- Bill--Genuine, verified, certified, card carrying amateur at just about everything.

View pintodeluxe's profile

pintodeluxe

4854 posts in 2276 days


#14 posted 10-24-2011 11:40 PM

A riving knife raises and lowers, as well as tilts with the blade.
A splitter stays put, and does not angle. If you build a splitter into a zero clearance insert, and make it less than 1/2” tall it works for most everything.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7211 posts in 2839 days


#15 posted 10-25-2011 12:09 AM

”I don’t know of any saw in the sub $1000 price range that has a riving knife…”

I can think of several…the Ridgid R4512, Craftsman 21833, Craftsman 22116, Porter Cable PCB270TS, Grizzly G0661, Grizzly G0715P, Steel City 35990, and Rikon 10-201 all have true riving knives, and are full size stationary saws <$1000. The GI 50-200R is close to $1000, and also has a riving knife. There are also several portable jobsite saws with riving knives.

Some splitters tilt, but none raise and lower with the blade like a riving knife.

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

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