Outfitting my woodshop step 1: Table saw purchase

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Forum topic by psient posted 01-25-2012 05:39 PM 4393 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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82 posts in 2312 days

01-25-2012 05:39 PM

Hello All:

I would like to briefly introduce myself.

I am an enthusiast and a retired Journeyman carpenter. I am now going to start building cabinetry and furniture for my own enjoyment and for sale. I have the requisite knowledge to do so but NOT years of experience as my professional life was in Housing Construction and Contracting not cabinetry/furniture. I have a metal machine shop with tooling and the following machines: A Bridgeport varispeed milling machine, A good quality 13X60 Chinese metal lathe, a good quality horizontal bandsaw, Mig-Tig-Plasma-OXYACETYLENE equipment. Eventually I will buy a CNC VMC . . most likely 20X40.

I’m starting to create my woodworking shop. I have narrowed my choices to within-budget only. First I will buy a table saw. I have a 3 phase rotary converter so my table saw will be 3 phase. I will buy a table saw with a 12”-14” capacity and 7 or so hp.

The 2 choices are the A) Grizzly G0606X1 12” with an outfeed and a side extension table or the B) Powermatic PM3000 7-1/2 HP 14-in Three Phase Left Tilt Table Saw with 50-in Accu-Fence.

I am convinced that the Grizzly will be well within my desired accuracy and finish parameters. However the Powermatic is the better saw in a 15 year life cycle for sure.

Here’s some central considerations I have:

The Powermatic will never leave me stranded or wanting over 15 years. The first cut will be the same as the last cut the saw makes. I can afford the PM3000 Table saw & a Grizzly Spiralhead planer in the budget I have.

The Grizzly will never let me down in the first 5-7 years but after that it will be problematic due to wear and mileage. This is not from personal experience or reviews I have found. Rather it is from my gleaning what I can from commentators on the general state of ISO2001 factories in China. Grizzly makes its saws in Taiwan and that’s a whole different world than China . . . granted . . . but Powermatic has a proven record over my reference timespan while grizzly does not . . . at least at the level established historically by Powermatic.

Buying Grizzly allows me to also buy the same Grizzly planer referenced above AND a G0640X 17” Metal/Wood Band saw w/Inverter Motor. The reason for the Metal/Wood category is I also have a machine shop. Although I have a horizontal bandsaw I am increasingly in need of a Vertical bandsaw as well.

Interestingly, the total amount spent is within 50 USD of each other.

After spending some time viewing posts and responses to Grizzly and Powermatic here, I’ve decided that commentators will give me their honest and open opinion.

Thanks for providing me with an opportunity to discuss woodworking. I hope to become a regular on these forums.

Best to all,

14 replies so far

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 2950 days

#1 posted 01-25-2012 06:08 PM

Sounds like you already know which one you want. :-) I’m curious why you need a 7+HP saw instead of a 5HP saw. Most get by with a 3HP just fine who are doing this as hobby—if you opt for the 5HP, might you be able to get a PM3000 and then perhaps afford a bandsaw as well? I’m just curious—I have no real input to give you between the two saws you listed since I don’t own either of them.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View childress's profile


841 posts in 3541 days

#2 posted 01-25-2012 06:23 PM

If your seriously willing to spend over 4K on a table saw, why not get this?

you can get a smaller unit for less, but for cabinetry, this saw is the way to go. a 12” blade will fit and I’m pretty sure you can get this in 3 phase as well. Oh, and probably longer than a 15 year life cycle also…

-- Childress Woodworks

View yank's profile


57 posts in 4131 days

#3 posted 01-25-2012 06:38 PM

I am curious as to why you need to have a 3 phase saw. I find that 220 single phase more then meets all the criteria I need for what I do. I have no problem cutting 8/4 timbers, ripping or crosscutting. Using the proper sharpened blade for the job should in no way hamper your abilities.

That being said, Powermatic, Grizzly, Jet, or any others in the 3 to 5 hp lineup would be a good choice.

-- My Father was my mentor for my woodworking hobby and knowledge. Luv ya Dad.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16274 posts in 4217 days

#4 posted 01-25-2012 06:53 PM

From what you say, it sounds like you’d always be second-guessing yourself if you went with the Grizzly. Get the PM, and a couple of paying jobs will earn you enough money to buy a new bandsaw.

However, I agree with the other in wondering why you need that much saw, unless you plan on running a high-volume production shop. I’d buy a PM2000 and use the savings for the bandsaw.

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

View psient's profile


82 posts in 2312 days

#5 posted 01-25-2012 07:17 PM

Thank you for the input.

I have decided that working with reclaimed, beam dimension hardwood will not be uncommon for my shop. Hammer (Felder) is not my desire.

3 phase provides the advantage of lower amps and no concerns with buying industrial across both metal and wood working. A CNC VMC will eventually be added to my existing metal shop.

12” blade is the minimum due to depth of cut with 14” an advantage but not necessary. Cost of table saw is 2500 vs. 5000 grizzly to PM. That’s a significant difference with only 2 relative pluses for the PM; depth of cut at an additional 1/2 inch and perceived industrial build. If I was in business the PM would be the only choice as different people with different levels of skill would be using the saw. As this is not the case—it’s a luxury item for me.

I hope that this will clarify what I am asking. Is anyone aware of a distinct advantage/disadvantage to either saw? It doesn’t seem so. The only reservation I have is in the impression that you guys haven’t dealt with both brands, and so cannot offer me your comments both ways in the specific sense.

To be sure, I will not be psychologically impaired with either saw though. I guess it’s reasonable to suggest a person might remain unsure. However, I don’t look back on these kinds of decisions once they are made. So as a given, I will be satisfied with whatever I purchase.

If anyone has some direct personal experience with both brands I’d like to hear what you have to say. I haven’t found any so far having googled this topic.

thanks again for everyone’s input and responses!!!



View RandyM68's profile


693 posts in 2317 days

#6 posted 01-25-2012 08:56 PM

I don’t have any experience with either of these saws, much less both. I’m stuck with a Crapsman. But I am a mill man/cnc programmer with lots of experience. I don’t see the dollar advantage for the bigger saw.Getting a 1/2” more depth of cut isn’t going to make a big difference unless you are re-sawing a bunch of 9” timbers and have to saw that last inch out of the middle by hand. And unless you are going to really work the saw,i.e. sawmill, production cabinet shop, you’ll probably never wear either saw out. I’d go with the Grizzly Table saw and bandsaw, and buy a bigger mill. A lot of guys here are building router planes, circle jigs, router dado jigs, router edge plane jigs, over-sized drill press tables with T-slots, and CNC gantry routers. A mill is all of that and more. You can buy special woodworking cutters, but any drill, endmill, or router bit will work great. Stand your boards on edge and you can use saw/dado blades, too. Just turn the coolant off, you won’t need it, and you can vacuum up the shavings. I’d recommend the biggest Haas you can afford. They are American. cost-competitive, easy to program, and have good service.

-- I can explain it to you, but I can't understand it for you. I'm sorry,thanks.

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2410 days

#7 posted 01-26-2012 12:35 AM

I have no experience with those saws, but I’ll offer these thoughts.

1. You say you want to build furniture and cabinets, but you seem to be making choices based on factors that are driven by things other than “what’s good for making furniture and cabinets?” For example, you want three phase power not because it’s the best choice for a one-man furniture/cabinet shop, but because it’s good for your metalworking tools. You may want to decide on the primary purpose of the shop and then design your shop around factors that are best suited for that purpose.

2. Most one-man cabinet/furniture shops use single-phase power. There are good reasons for that. You can make 3-phase work, but you will have to make compromises and limit your tool options down the road.

3. You mention cutting large hardwood beams as a reason for getting a powerful tablesaw. If you’re going to spend lots of time resawing hardwood beams, the tablesaw is the wrong tool for the job. Buy a tablesaw for your rips and crosscuts, and save up for a good bandsaw to do the resawing. Laguna and MiniMax make excellent 16” bandsaws that would work well for your resawing. (Although I believe they only come in single-phase versions; see point 2 above.) Perhaps the horizontal bandsaw you have now would work for resawing, but I don’t know enough about it.

4. If you are going to make many cabinets, you will be cutting lots of plywood. I would strongly recommend looking at a sliding tablesaw with a scoring blade. While you can cut plywood on a normal cabinet saw, the sliding tablesaw is the right tool for the job if you are making many cabinets. Hammer, Minimax, and Laguna all make good sliding tablesaws that are in the same price range as that Powermatic you are looking at.

5. If you go with a normal cabinet saw. the Delta Unisaw is far and away the most common cabinet saw. It’s a great machine that will do everything you need for your one-man shop (other than have a sliding table) and has plenty of power. Sawstop is becoming a lot more common as well.

6. Powermatic used to make very good tools, but I haven’t bought one in a while. I have seen reports that their tool quality and customer service have deteriorated in the past few years, but I haven’t had any personal experience with that. Grizzly makes decent tools, but some are better than others. Their customer service is pretty good.

-- Kelby

View psient's profile


82 posts in 2312 days

#8 posted 01-26-2012 02:44 PM

I appreciate all the feedback on 3 phase. I think the consensus is why bother and 1ph is best. OK that’s understandable so I’ll include 1phase in my determination. I also find that the decision between 10 inch and the above saw blade diameters is problematic . . . that is to say I don’t need above a 10 inch. OK I’ll consider this as well when I make my decision.

I don’t find much of a voice concerning used equipment. I have bought used machine shop equipment with a lot of success. I imagine that a used powermatic would be a possible. What is the consensus on used powermatic table saws? What do you have to consider? How do you establish a market price per model?

Thnks again for all your help.


View Scot's profile


344 posts in 3395 days

#9 posted 01-26-2012 10:08 PM

Look at shop fox also. I bought the shop fox 19” band saw strictly for resawing (the only band saw I could find that could handle an 1 1/4” blade for $1100.00).

-- If the old masters had power tools, they would have used them. So get off your damn High Horse.

View cabmaker's profile


1730 posts in 2808 days

#10 posted 01-27-2012 12:20 AM

Jon, hard to tell exactly what or why your after particular tools but the ones you mention are ok. As far as 3phase goes, if you already have three phase go for it. And you are wise to seek a 12-14. Lots of capability with large surface area and physical weight. Its hard to go back to a smaller machine after using one, although I will say that its my opinion that a ten inch blade is the perfect geometry for all around table saw use. One thing I would recomend would be to expand your bandsaw options to include at least a 20 inch or larger machine of vintage usa. To see what all the hype was about I did buy a grizz. 19 inch about 6 yrs ago. It was just ok. I have since sold it and put my delta 20 inch back in service,(I will never do that again) It was all hype. However I do have a couple of grizz 3hp shapers that do ok. And I also have a grizz spiral head 8 inch jointer as well, which replaced a thirty five year old 6 inch delta (wish I had kept it). I have used a grizz 20 inch planer that a friend owns and its just ok. Dont think I would buy one myself and the friend that owns it would tell you himself that he would not do that again. Enjoy the journey JB

View brtech's profile


1029 posts in 2921 days

#11 posted 01-27-2012 01:00 AM

Used as in 10-20 years old seems to be a very good idea. Used Powermatic in the 2-5 year range, maybe not so good. Probably, I’d even say definitely a good value, but the older machines seem to be built better than the more recent ones.

View psient's profile


82 posts in 2312 days

#12 posted 01-27-2012 01:12 AM

So shine grizzly. Do buy current powermatic or no? What about Jet machines? I assume they are the same as Grizzly.

I’m looking at an older 10” powermatic 5hp 1ph w biesimeyer 50” (can’t say how old haven’t connected with the seller just playing phone tag so far). 1650USD. It’s about 3 hours away. What should I look for in terms of problems? I can probably make some test cuts . . . I should think anyway it’s a private party.


View psient's profile


82 posts in 2312 days

#13 posted 01-27-2012 05:59 PM

I now have ordered the Powermatic 3000 (new). It should be here in 7 to ten business days. Thanks for all the feedback. Aside from blades and accessories, I will now start looking for a bandsaw.


View psient's profile


82 posts in 2312 days

#14 posted 02-01-2012 07:27 PM

I took delivery of my rotary phase converter and will start installation soon. I also have been notified that my table saw has been shipped. I found a Laguna Band Saw with the motor burned out for 700 bucks. I think I’ll go to the seller’s and check it out. There must’ve been a reason for the damage and I want to hear the explanation.

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