Granite vs Steel top for table saw

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Forum topic by millzit posted 02-08-2012 02:12 PM 16496 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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111 posts in 2505 days

02-08-2012 02:12 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw

i am shopping for a new ts and ran across an ad for a granite top table saw from steel city. i read the review here on lj and my immediate reaction was, i dont want one, but the review mentioned nothing about the performance of the granite top vs a steel top. anyone here have any experience with the granite tops? what are the advantages and dis-advantages? with my luck, i would break the top before i even get to use it…....<g>

-- cut that out!

17 replies so far

View Loren's profile


10477 posts in 3850 days

#1 posted 02-08-2012 04:44 PM

Advantages would be you can leave it outside and if you
are in humid area it won’t require regular cleaning of
the iron. Iron does tend to warp a bit, even if ground
flat. The highest-quality woodworking machines have
the iron castings aged for months before grinding – part
of Powermatic’s (usa made) reputation is due to this
type of quality control.

It seems to me that granite will tend to be flatter
than iron except in finely made high-end saws. Even
my INCA table saws, known for their precision, did
not have perfectly flat iron tables. They were flatter
than your average unisaw however.

View Brandon's profile


4152 posts in 3154 days

#2 posted 02-08-2012 05:04 PM

I have a granite top on my TS. There are definitely benefits—smooth, flatness, easy to clean etc. I haven’t cracked it yet, but the fear is always there. I have put a couple of little chips on the corners here or there due to carelessness on my part. I doubt I’d buy another granite top saw especially because it’s not available on the higher end models. That said it has been fairly durable so long as I’m not using it for a work surface.

-- "hold fast to that which is good"

View AlbertaJim's profile


47 posts in 2632 days

#3 posted 02-08-2012 05:05 PM

You would not be able to use any magnetic jigs on a granite top.

-- My Boss was a carpenter

View ChuckC's profile


843 posts in 3138 days

#4 posted 02-08-2012 05:29 PM

I don’t see any benefits to granite if you don’t have a rust problem.

View knotscott's profile


8150 posts in 3578 days

#5 posted 02-08-2012 05:43 PM

Granite is flatter and heavier than cast iron, and is less prone to warp. It’s also more brittle than cast iron….not fragile, but definitely more likely to sustain damage from a heavy blow. You also can’t use magnetic attachments on granite. Another plus is that granite tops seem to universally have cabinet mounted trunnions vs table mounted. Most owner comments are favorable….many really love the granite tops. I don’t think I’d be opposed to owning a granite top TS if the right deal came along, but I’d be more comfortable with cast iron because I’m more familiar with it. My wife thinks granite looks nicer, but at least for now, she hasn’t gotten her way in my shop!

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3174 days

#6 posted 02-08-2012 06:35 PM

Can’t use a granite top to clinch nails like you can with cast iron. In fact, I wouldn’t even want a hammer anywhere near a granite top.

Granite would be a better place to sit your coffee, however.

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3277 days

#7 posted 02-08-2012 07:10 PM

I REALLY like my magnet based fingerboards. I use them constantly. That, in itself, would keep me from buying granite.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View DrDirt's profile


4511 posts in 3945 days

#8 posted 02-08-2012 07:55 PM

As others – I really like the magnetic featherboards, and they wouldnt’work;/

Plusses –
Flatter (permanantly flat)
No rust

-- “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” Mark Twain

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5128 posts in 4163 days

#9 posted 02-08-2012 08:30 PM

I have sold miles of granite countertops. Each customer has been made aware of the fact that the stone will chip/crack. That being said, I’ve never had a call-back or break occur, and I have a cast iron top on the TS. I just would not want a granite top on the saw because of chip out potential on the miter slots. “sides that, I like the look of a well cared for TS top in my shop.
I would be REALLY puked out if I dropped something on the granite and it broke.
BUT, I do have a granite surface plate that is dead flat, maint. free, and hasn’t broken yet.
Does all that make me an old F@art?


View CTanner's profile


4 posts in 2532 days

#10 posted 02-08-2012 10:18 PM

I have had a Ridgid brand, granite top TS for a few years and have used it a lot. I love it. I am always careful when using the miter slots, and have had no mishaps with it yet! Good luck choosing a saw!!


View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3515 days

#11 posted 02-08-2012 11:39 PM

I have had the Ridgid granite topped saw for a few years now. I was a little leery of it at first, but find it durable and have not had any issues whatsoever thank goodness.

Knotscotts point is the main reason I bought the saw, and that was to have cabinet mounted trunnions. At the time $450 for a baby cabinet saw was too good to pass up. I had originally thought I would have sold it and moved to a bigger saw by now, but once I mounted the Delta T2 fence to it the saw works perfectly and since most of my work is in 4/4 and 5/4 wood I really have not had the need for more power.

I did take the T bar out of my miter gauge, but that’s really the only thing different I have done from my previous cast iron saw.

Hammers do stay on my workbench. I use the same paste wax on the granite top as I do on my jointer tables and it keeps the surface quite slick.

View knotscott's profile


8150 posts in 3578 days

#12 posted 02-08-2012 11:39 PM

Bill’s post reminded me that I used to have a 2’x4’ granite surface on a rolling cart under the mortiser, DP, and BS for several years. I never made any efforts to be nice to it, and there was not a scratch on it. I originally got rid of it b/c it was so heavy, but in hind site I wish I had kept it.

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

View RKW's profile


328 posts in 3650 days

#13 posted 02-09-2012 12:32 AM

I have a steel city granite ts. I lost a little chip on one of the edges last time i moved it. No biggy. The saw is dead flat and heavy. The only other disadvantage like others were saying, is you cant use magnetic feather boards.

-- RKWoods

View millzit's profile


111 posts in 2505 days

#14 posted 02-09-2012 01:51 PM

first of all, thanks for all the responses! i have changed my mind no less that ten times reading the replies. since i have an old junk TS with an alum top, missing the magnetic featherboards is not an issue. neither is the storing of tools on the TS top, only safety glasses and a push stick are allowed to rest on the TS top in my shop. rust is also not a problem since my shop is enclosed and humidity controlled. i have heard of seasoning a cast iron top, but cant find out where to find that info on various models. in my mind, there are only two disadvantages of granite over steel. 1 is the jealously of my wife of me having a granite top in my shop and her wanting granite tops for our kitchen. of course the only way to resolve that issue is, well, you know<g> 2 the other issue is my stereotyping. i cant imagine dropping over a grand for a saw and not coming into the shop and seeing that bright new shiny TS top….......

decisions-decisions….........coin toss?

-- cut that out!

View lieutenantdan's profile


176 posts in 2508 days

#15 posted 02-09-2012 02:29 PM

FWIW I am leaning toward granite if I get a new saw vs a used saw. Granite is repairable if it is a small surface pit or chip from an impact. They use an epoxy that is stronger than the granite and can match the color really close. The repair is buffed smooth and should not affect the performance of the top. Edge damage can also be repaired in the same manner. Cracks are SOL.

-- "Of all the things I have lost in life, I miss my mind the most."

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