Sliding Table Saw Benefits?

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Forum topic by WorkTheWood posted 01-23-2012 06:02 AM 14954 views 0 times favorited 18 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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35 posts in 2369 days

01-23-2012 06:02 AM

I am pretty much a complete newbie and was looking through my just arrived Grizzly catalog. Help me understand more about the benefit of a sliding table saw like this one:

A few questions:

1. Is the concept that it is basically a giant “cross-cut” sled that will let you “rip” long pieces?
2. Is a sliding table saw a lot safer than a “regular” table saw?
3. What about a sliding table saw compared with the “safety” of a Saw Stop?


-- -- Lou Stagner

18 replies so far

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#1 posted 01-23-2012 06:33 AM

Not really any safer, just quicker to operate

saw stop has a patent

the guy doing the demo is dead slow but suffice to say that its basic principles are there


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

View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2661 days

#2 posted 01-23-2012 06:45 AM

As long as you’re looking at table saws have a look at an Altendorf 2. A really serious saw costing some really serious money. But it makes me drool reading about all the cool features it’s capable of.
Sawstop touts their safety but I believe the Altendorf 2 is safer.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#3 posted 01-23-2012 07:11 AM

Sliders are panel processing machines designed for making
finish cuts in man-made boards. The american saw pattern
used in the unisaw and other similar machines is an 80-year
old design that predates the wide availability and usage of
man-made boards. Basically, a slider is designed for plywood
and melamine and handles panel processing with more speed,
precision and ease. They can also make all the cuts a
unisaw can and the design of a slider encourages working
methods that are, imo, safer.

View ELCfinefurniture's profile


112 posts in 2289 days

#4 posted 01-23-2012 07:28 AM

I worked at a commercial cabinet shop for a very short time and we had a slider there just like the one you have pictured and IMHO it is only good for handling sheet goods at a production rate. Ripping on these saws can feel awkward and by no meens would I ever put a slider in place of a cabinet saw in my shop.

-- {Current North Bennet street school student}

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#5 posted 01-23-2012 07:36 AM

no need for a jointer for perfect edge joints. Perfect dados, grooves, and more

I’m going to disagree, not that they dont bust out panels fast but they are a joy to rip lumber on.

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

View Loren's profile


10278 posts in 3617 days

#6 posted 01-23-2012 07:59 AM

Cabinet shops sometimes use large sliders for sheet goods –
the carriage to the left kind of gets in the operator’s way
when cutting, say, tenons. A full-size slider can make any
cut needed of a table saw, but they take up lots of room
and a large carriage can get in the way if all you want to
make is the smaller cuts used in modest furniture pieces
and cabinetry. I use a smaller slider with a 4’ stroke and it
is great for the scale of work I do.

View Tyrone D's profile

Tyrone D

314 posts in 2302 days

#7 posted 01-23-2012 11:47 AM

Panel saws are very nice to use. Sheet goods are very easy to cut. I’ve used three different panel saws at the college and they were all very nice. I did all my crosscuts on hardwood with them and it gave perfect, accurate cuts.
They are safer but they are also one of the unsafest tools. If you work in a millwork shop, you’ll be repeating the same task over and over again on the panel saw. Raise, cut, Raise, cut, raise, cut. It’s a menial task and you’ll eventually lose your concentration and forget that hand in line of blade leads to hand in blade.
It is also a lot faster than using a standard saw.

In my home shop, I’d never get one. They have a large footprint and when real estate is at a premium, footprints need to be minimal.
If you are interested in a panel saw only for the occasional time you need to break out panels, you may want to consider a sliding attachment for your tablesaw. Grizzly makes one that I’m considering purchasing in the somewhat near future.

-- --Tyrone - BC, Canada "Nothing is ever perfect, we just run out of time."

View Phil_B's profile


3 posts in 2548 days

#8 posted 01-23-2012 03:22 PM

1. A sliding table saw like the one you referenced is quite a bit safer than the typical unisaur style saw. When using these your stance is different, you tend to be beside the blade and a little further from it. The stock is usually more stable as it passes through the blade as well.

2. On the machine you referenced note that it also has a scoring blade, this is pretty typical for a saw of the type.

3. The entire sliding table can also be considered as a giant jig base. You can place clamps and other bases onto this in addition to other odd cutting jobs. I once put an entire assembled cabinet on mine to make an odd cut.

4. I would not put one of these machines in the same safety class as a saw stop because it is still possible to touch the blade and get a serious injury.

5. Depending on the make & model these saws may have several features that are not found on other machines. Mine has a blade brake which stops the free wheeling blade when you shut it down. Even the smallest crosscut system on a saw like this is incredible compared to the miter gauge you get on other saws.

6. There are a few downsides to format sliders (that is what these machines are called). The sliding table needs to be aligned carefully and they usually have mo miter gauge slot, some will not accept dado blades or the option for is ridiculously expensive. The alignment thing should be a one-time deal, they hold their settings very well. The others are work0style changes.


View 404 - Not Found's profile

404 - Not Found

2544 posts in 2938 days

#9 posted 01-23-2012 08:40 PM

If you were going to specialise in making kitchens/wardrobes in man-made boards, a panel saw would be the one to get. The scoring blade underneath means perfect edges top and bottom every time. For repetitive cross cutting its a doddle, set up the stops and you won’t believe how quickly and accurately you can cut all the parts for carcases.
No danger of getting cut when you’re handling a sheet, the sliding arm is what you’re pushing, fingers nowhere the blade.

Only downside in my opinion, is the large footprint and the amount of clear space you need in front and behind.

Works just as well as anything on natural timber. You will find the sliding arm is lockable and the table will lift off the arm.

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3098 days

#10 posted 01-24-2012 07:22 AM


They are right tilting – inconvenient on an American style saw, but on a euro slider you can’t put the fence on the left of the blade! The blade is aimed at the fence when tilted creating a tunnel. The Felder “solution” is a tilt away angled fence that only supports the work at its base and is retracted in front of the blade for heavier stock to prevent binding. Imagine trying to rip an angle in a 3×3” bed post through this blade fence tunnel or the Felder unsupporting retracted fence. Please look into this shortcoming yourself and then ask yourself about safety.

No Dado or an very expensive option as noted by others.

Awkward when ripping solid lumber, most people find it so.

Large footprint, but we all know this.

High Price, we know this too.

No Sawstop option, certainly not a plus.

The advantages:

For me the croscutting capacity is #1 – it is very attractive.

Jointing? – they can establish a straight edge. I don’t believe in gluing up rips off a saw so I would still be jointing the stock

Ideally, If there was room, I would have both styles saws in my shop.

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3862 days

#11 posted 01-24-2012 10:55 AM


right tilting makes the most sense, …….why would even want the fence on the left side of the blade ? Makes no sense,…………thats what the slider is for ? Ever hear of a jig? Your points lead me to believe you have little experience using one. ……………the big ass fence comes off, flips, does a gazillion tricks that turns everything into “ease”…….perfection, quick, accurate, fast, precise, speedy………..

I do believe that Altendorf comes with a dado option whether you like it or not, kinda ;like trying to order a new truck from ford with no windows, the option is often more cost effective when time is big money and competition abounds. Push the limits and it can become a shaper of sorts, no real need for a re-saw bandsaw or a cross cut saw and for that matter, a chop saw, miter saw and a lot of router applications.

Who are “most people” ?…………in reference to people finding them awkward to rip lumber. Thats 100% BS. Same for glue line rips…………100% BS. They eliminate the need for a jointer in doing “edge” glue, cutting a hairline picture perfect joint up over 10’ long within 5 thou of an inch. …….u r dreaming hard core if you think a jointer does a better job. U grab 2 boards 2” thick 12” wide and 10’ long and I grab 2 boards 2” thick and 12” wide and 10’ long,…………….the starting pistol goes “BANG” and we race to see who’s done first and who has the better joint……………I will embarrass you badly : ))

They certainly do take up space ?? …………yes and no. When all the gizmos go on, they can chew up 400 square feet, but people forget that the tool knocks down, and can get down to a footprint not much bigger then a standard cabinet saw with an out-feed table and all the slidng parts either come off, or can be locked down or both…………slick tool.

The saddest part about these types of saws are some of the morons colleges hire, schools hire, make believe professors who make, “make believe fellowships” and hand out “make believe Master Joiner diplomas” who haven’t a &^%$#@$ clue as to how the machine can be and should be used. The saw is like magic in the right hands, the “heart” of a small professional shop………….not to say you need one to do a professional job cuz you dont. Just sayn they are a faster way of getting product out the back door

It’s like “Mac”……… never go back.

3K for a new slider, IMHO, is a waste of money. I would sooner buy the Sawstop. At least it will last and retain some value. Shop around, you might find a used slider for a good deal.

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

View mcase's profile


446 posts in 3098 days

#12 posted 01-25-2012 09:45 AM

Right tilting makes the most sense? Why? Only a Moron would want the blade to tilt toward the fence. The point I was making Moron is that conventional saws are almost all left tilt nowadays so the blade tilts conveniently away from the fence. And even if a conventional saw is right tilt you can simply transfer the fence to the left side of the blade so it tilts away from the fence. On a slider getting the fence on the opposite side of the tilt is not even an option. That’s the point Moron. Get it! Think real hard and it may come to you. A lot of people do indeed mention that they find it awkward ripping on them. Well I guess you don’t. I’m happy for you. Also, a lot a people who care about the longevity of their glue joints also prefer a jointer because it slices the wood fibers like a plane as opposed to tearing them as a saw blade does. So yes Moron there is an advantage to using a jointer to joint. You see it creates an edge with a superior gluing surface. This is why a lot of woodworkers won’t use glue line rips. You may want to learn about some this when you take time off from ranting.

View WorkTheWood's profile


35 posts in 2369 days

#13 posted 01-25-2012 03:54 PM

Thanks for all the replies everyone. I wasn’t considering buying one, just wanted to figure out what they were really good for. Some great info and good discussions in this thread. Thanks!

-- -- Lou Stagner

View buffalosean's profile


174 posts in 3356 days

#14 posted 01-25-2012 04:25 PM

what is wrong with using your table saw cut for glue ups. The Woodworker II and a few other high end blades put a glass smooth surface on an edge. I’ve glued up off the saw and strength tested joints. Not one failed at the glue joint.

Sam Maloof, said himself, that he made 20’ long conference tables using the jointer to reference one edge. then when to the table saw to rip it down and never when back to the jointer. I do my work in the same matter. After I dimension a piece of stock. I can not tell which edge came off the jointer and which edge came off the saw. Granted, I never put it under a microscope. However, some people joint with a carbide tipped router bit, and I cut it with a carbide saw blade…... same thing, right?

maybe I’m wrong. yet, I’m not likely to believe that an edge off a sharp jointer blade is superior to an edge off a saw blade. Its been awhile since I’ve read Bruce Hoadley’s books on wood technology. I’m not sure if he touched on the subject.

I will agree that the jointer is a the better way to get that first reference edge and that sliding table saws present a problem for ripping long pieces on a bevel, because you do need to put the fence on the left side of the blade (for safety).

-- There are many ways to skin a cat...... but, the butter knife is not recommended

View Jorge G.'s profile

Jorge G.

1537 posts in 2444 days

#15 posted 01-25-2012 05:00 PM

mcase, sorry but if you look at the Felder and other sliding machines you would see that ripping is the exact same operation as a conventional saw, you just need to lock the slider. I agree with you that a right tilt is an inconvenience, if you do a lot of ripped angled cuts then this is not the machine for you. For many of us who can count the number of ripped angled cuts we make with our fingers this is not an issue. In exchange for the right tilt issue, you get more precise end grain angled cuts, which are done more frequently (at least in my case). Ever tried to make a 45º or 22.5º cut with your miter on a table saw? It is an exercise in frustration, not with these machines if they have been squared correctly.

The Felder 500 k doe snot take more space than a conventional saw, I believe this is what Loren uses.

Are they more expensive? not really if you compare it to the top of the line SawStop.

In the end, like everything in WW you have to know what your needs are to choose the right machine.

-- To surrender a dream leaves life as it is — and not as it could be.

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