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Table/Hybrid/Cabinet saw recommendation for a hobbyist

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Forum topic by Jeff_in_KCMO posted 944 days ago 3450 views 0 times favorited 33 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Jeff_in_KCMO

140 posts in 944 days


944 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: table hybrid cabinet saw recommendation hobbyist tablesaw hybrid saw cabinet saw

By the end of January (2012) we will have finally moved out of our starter home and my teeny-tiny bench, into our “family” house… with a dedicated entire room (with easy access) for my wood shop (sweet). I have never had the room for a table/hybrid/cabinet saw, but now I will, and better yet, my wife has given me the go-ahead to find the one for me… on a reasonable budget (crap).

Now I’ve been reading forums for over a year to figure out the saw for me, but, honestly, you people have me completely frustrated. Some of you say a table-saw is fine, while others say I will be frustrated and wish I had a cabinet saw. Then there are the hybrids, which some of you are fine with, while others are not. Not to mention the multitude of you who apparently have ready access to dozens of used saws that are just seemingly lying around to be snatched up for a steal at the local corner estate sale.

So I’m asking… nay, begging. Help me find my saw.

Here are a few of my needs, and please take them into consideration should you decide to respond:

Budget = less than $1200 (max)
Use = hopefully often
Type of projects = furniture (in general) using all types of wood
My skill level = hobbyist now, but I do like to put out good quality stuff and I plan on this being a developing and expanding love

Thank you for all your kind and encouraging words… in advance.


33 replies so far

View BLarge's profile

BLarge

115 posts in 1066 days


#1 posted 944 days ago

Grizzly makes a Cabinet saw 2hp, in the $1,200 range- but tax and shipping on top. They also make a Hybrid style cabinet saw, and from the reviews I have read they perform nicely, and have some thoughtful design elements that often suprise.

I am going to buy the 3 or 5 HP grizzly shortly… the reviews of the Unisaw and Powermatic versus the Grizzly for the money have not convinced me they are worth it- while I am sure in overall picture they are oustanding products…

View Loren's profile

Loren

7270 posts in 2252 days


#2 posted 944 days ago

For solid wood furniture making the table saw is over-rated.

Modern full sized table saws are essentially specialized for
cabinet making with manufactured boards like plywood and
melamine.

I’d say an 18” bandsaw is a better investment if you want
to make furniture. With a band saw, jointer and planer
and hand tools you can do everything fundamental to
furniture except machine shaping.

If I were starting over with a limited budget I’d buy used, for
one, and I would get a 6” jointer, a planer, an 18” band saw
and a small, tilt-table saw like the old 9” Delta for cutting
joints and tenon shoulders and a miter saw.

In any case, if you’ve got $1200 to spend you are getting pretty
close to a used Mini-max or other Italian 60” slider.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1778 days


#3 posted 944 days ago

Don’t overthink this.

Get a used Unisaw.

Buy once. Cry once.

DAMHIKT ;-)

-- -- Neil

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NBeener

4806 posts in 1778 days


#4 posted 944 days ago

Ahhhhh.

Loren: I have a lot of respect for your experience and wisdom, so … a sincere question:

Over-rated is like saying Festool is over-priced. It may BE, but … it seems to be a verrrrrry good product.

Would you disagree that—for almost ANY stationary woodworking application—a cabinet saw is rarely/never a lesser/worse option ??

Not that something else wouldn’t suffice, but … money aside (which is where USED comes in), is it really often the wrong choice, if there’s room for one ?

-- -- Neil

View Jeff_in_KCMO's profile

Jeff_in_KCMO

140 posts in 944 days


#5 posted 944 days ago

I’m new to tilt-tables. Could you elaborate a little?

Regarding a bandsaw, have any recommendations? I would love to be able to afford an 18” bandsaw. What about blade recommendations?

Neil, HDYKT? (how do you know this)

Much appreciated. Keep it coming folks.

View Don W's profile (online now)

Don W

14666 posts in 1171 days


#6 posted 944 days ago

I just upgraded to a used Grizzley 1023L. I bought it used for $200. Its a very nice saw and I love it. I upgraded from and old craftsman contractor saw. Before that I had several portable job site table saws.

I made each saw do anything I wanted it to do. Had I not got such a good deal, I’d still be using the craftsman. I doubt there are many people who work full time doing something other than woodworking who do more than I do, so I like to have good tools. To me a good tool is something that will always do what I need it to do.

I have no idea what your financial situation is, so this really comes down to money. If you can really afford $1200 for a TS, then you will love it. If however that $1200 would be better served in your kids college fund, its not going to stop you from having a great time woodworking.

Think about what you typically do with a table saw. If 90% of the time all you need is a square fence and a sharp blade, is it worth $1200.

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

233 posts in 1174 days


#7 posted 944 days ago

$1200 will buy a lot. I would suggest buying used to maximize your budget. You haven’t mentioned any other tools that you already have – but if you want to make furniture, you’re going to want more than just a table saw. Planer, jointer, router table, etc. I wouldn’t “blow the wad” on just one tool. If you shop used & shop smart, you will probably be able to pick up several things that will be useful for that budget.

View Loren's profile

Loren

7270 posts in 2252 days


#8 posted 944 days ago

I didn’t come to that opinion entirely on my own. James Krenov,
Gary Rogowski, and Michael Fortin would all agree and have
said so in print.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

233 posts in 1174 days


#9 posted 944 days ago

Loren – not trying to argue your point, but how would you do things like dados with your setup?

View NBeener's profile

NBeener

4806 posts in 1778 days


#10 posted 944 days ago

Jeff: after I first uttered the word “woodworking,” I bought a $90 Ryobi 10” saw. Crap. Pure crap.

Then, I bought and upgraded a Bosch 4100 jobsite saw. A VERY good saw, for what it does, but …..

1) Small table, meaning … limited capacity—particularly on the infeed side, making it harder to feed bigger boards, or even to use my crosscut sled without support.

2) Not powerful. Not WEAK, mind you, but … you NEED a good blade, the right tooth-count blade, and to think a lot about feed rates. With 3hp and 5hp cabinet saws … that’s much less of an issue..

3) The Bosch has a very good fence, but … when I check out cabinet saws with TRULY good fences, they are beefy, they are stable, they do NOT deflect, and they are accurate.

4) My Bosch weighs about—Idunno—90 pounds-ish ? It’s hard to get really good accuracy with a saw that likes to dance with you, a bit. A cabinet saw weighs … maybe 300 to maybe 700 pounds, plus ? You say “Sit !” They sit.

5) Dust collection. Mine has a 2-1/2” port and a LOT of open spaces (that could be closed, but ….). Dust collection is mediocre, but … for a jobsite saw … not the priority. The ability to put an overhead DC guard and 4” pipe into the cabinet, and have much better dust collection … is worth something to me.

To Loren, again. I’d really defer to others. Truly, I would. I have NOT lived with a cabinet saw (yet !), but DO understand that it isn’t the tools; it’s the skill of the user. I never look at my Bosch as “making me less of a woodworker,” because … frankly … it isn’t. I just think … I have to think and plan more, to get the most out of it than I would with a cabinet saw.

The smaller saws run on 110V. The cabinets … largely (all ?) run on 220V, which … at this point … I just haven’t put together.

Finally, a good hybrid/contractor/jobsite saw, with a good stand, NEW, is probably nearly the same price as a good condition, used cabinet saw.

My $0.02 … on a topic that’s probably MUCH better covered, elsewhere, and by MUCH more experienced people ;-)

-- -- Neil

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NBeener

4806 posts in 1778 days


#11 posted 944 days ago

Jeff-

After all that typing—of course—I found this article.

Yeah. What they said ;-)

-- -- Neil

View Jeff_in_KCMO's profile

Jeff_in_KCMO

140 posts in 944 days


#12 posted 944 days ago

Thanks again guys. Well, so far I’ve been using straightedges and clamps with a circular saw for all of my long cuts. It works, but the setup can be a killer. As for dados, I’m fairly adept again at using straightedges and clamps with my router, but again the setup can be a killer. I have a decent setup for everything except standing saws (table and band). I have a jointer, but I actually like using my planes for a lot of my jointing and smoothing “finishing” work.

So, really, I’m just looking for advice on brands and models, as well as shop setup. Loren, this is why I would be interested to hear more about the tilting saw as well as advice on 18” band saws, a subtopic unto itself I am sure.

As for a tablesaw, I grew up using my dad’s Craftsman contractor saw, and it always frustrated me. Underpowered, and the fence was junk. Then I took some furniture classes at the local art institute and they had a good cabinet saw, so now I’m spoiled. I don’t necessarily need the absolute best, but I don’t want a piece of crap either. I’m basically looking for something that will make consistent, reliable and accurate cuts. I’m an engineer by trade, therefor anal, so quality is an important factor.

Knowing what you know now, any more recs on table / band / tilting table saws? Brand and model would be a big help… probably more than telling me that I will be happy with whatever I get for $1200, or that I can find a good used saw. That I know.

Last but not least, $1200 is my budget as defined by the limits of my “toy fund,” but by no means my goal.

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Jeff_in_KCMO

140 posts in 944 days


#13 posted 944 days ago

Thanks Neil, I had read that one, but it doesn’t say much about the saws themselves. I’m hoping you all can give me some guidance based on personal experience. For example, I was originally convinced that I wanted one of Grizzly’s hybrids, but then I found a bunch of people who wrote in about problems with alignment that eventually led them to return the saw. I don’t want that frustration. I’m not that patient.

View jerkylips's profile

jerkylips

233 posts in 1174 days


#14 posted 944 days ago

Jeff – I’ll give you some of my experience. I bought a used Ridgid 3660 for a $300. So far, the capabilities of the saw far exceed the capabilities of the user. The biggest “gripe” is dust control – like most contractor saws, it’s lacking. To be fair, I’m also using a shopvac vs. dedicated dust collection. The fence on this saw is really good considering the price. I was able to adjust everything to square & it hasn’t required re-adjustment yet. If you find a specific model that you’re interested in, you’ll be able to see pretty quickly if alignment issues are common. My understanding of the Grizzly’s is that certain models may be more prone to that, but not ALL Grizzy saws have the issue.

I’ll go back to what I said before about buying used. If you get a used saw for a good price & find out a year or two from now that it’s not cutting it, you should be able to get most of your money back out of it. Probably not true if you buy new. Just like cars, the original buyer suffers most of the depreciation. Other things that I have in the queue for my saw are an outfeed table and some sleds/jigs. It’s not super-expensive to make the stuff, but you’re going to want them so keep money in the budget for that as well.

If I had your budget, I’d look for a used Grizzly, Delta, General, PM & use the rest of the budget on other stuff. I’d spend the $1200 now, before the wife changes her mind.. ;)

edit – you can take a look at Jet, too, although around here I don’t see those very often..

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

724 posts in 1447 days


#15 posted 944 days ago

Jeff, A ‘tilt-table’ table saw is a basic saw that does not have a tilting arbor. The blade adjusts for height but the table tilts to make angled cuts. Usually from the 50’s and older. They’re simple, very accurate (if they aren’t worn out) and can be bought cheap. This one might go for more. (from VintageMachinery.org)

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