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Forum topic by New2woodwork posted 02-21-2012 03:13 AM 3860 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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4 posts in 2286 days

02-21-2012 03:13 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw

Hi there!

I need a table saw and after reading the many forums on the topic, it became clear that I needed to ask the question as it specifically pertains to me. I am brand new to woodworking and want to learn how to make furniture. Even if I am able to one day sell what I make, it will remain a hobby. I want to buy what I need and nothing more. I am ready to invest in a quality machine and am willing to spend around $1000 give or take. I’ve seen some recommendations that made this decision difficult:

Contractor saw: suggestions to get a lower end saw and buy a high end fence (about $1000 total)
Hybrid saw: Jet and Grizzly setups about $1000 and folks seem happy
Low end cabinet saw: also about $1000 but heavy and maybe overkill for me.

There are many arguments for and against each class. It would seem this will be the single most important investment in my workshop. What I’d appreciate from anyone willing to reply is an opinion about which class of table saw +/- accessories would be most appropriate for someone who plans on making furniture building a serious hobby. I’d rather do this right the first time. Thanks for the help!


-- Mike, Florida

10 replies so far

View ShaneA's profile


6929 posts in 2596 days

#1 posted 02-21-2012 03:28 AM

Often asked question here. Do you have access to 220 power? The most bang for buck will be used cabinet saw. For $1000 you would have more than enough for a saw and quality blade. Probably no riving knife is downside. You could look into a new grizzly cabinet saw, but that wil run a little more than the $1000. Chances are a good contractor saw will meet your needs, most run on 110, and if you get a new one, it will have latest safety gadgets, and be under budget, even with blade. Blade will be very important. I probably wouldnt worry about the fence yet, you can upgrade later, if you feel the need. Good luck.

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#2 posted 02-21-2012 10:20 AM

They’re all capable of making the cuts, but the cabinet saw will have the easiest time, will likely be the most reliable, will be the nicest to use, and should hold value best. It’ll also arguably be more accurate and should hold settings better. If the opportunity comes along to buy “overkill” within budget and you’ve got the electrical needs covered, I wouldn’t intentionally settle for less because you’re new to this. The difference in weight will pose an obstacle when you move locations…after that the weight is an asset. With a mobile base it’ll roll around the shop nicely. Buy the best saw you can afford. You said it best: ”It would seem this will be the single most important investment in my workshop.”

Here’s a look at the guts of a Grizzly G1023RL, an older G1023SL, and an older Steel City 3hp cabinet saw:

Here’s a look under a typical hybrid with table mounted trunnions:

Here’s a look under a traditional contractor saw with an outboard motor:

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

View steven_j's profile


5 posts in 2283 days

#3 posted 02-23-2012 06:03 AM

I’m sort in the same boat you are, looking for a decent saw, I’m getting back into woodworking after retiring from the military I’m tied of flying in war zones. I would think a good delta 10 would be ok, I myself am looking for a Delta Ten Contractor. I did find a 1950’s Cabinet saw on CL that is in excellent condition and weighs about 175 LBS for C-note. It’s a 10 1/4 cabinet saw made by SPRUNGER. hard to believe you can still find saws like these. Check CL you might find some good deals. One thing I have been noticing is ,there are many cabinet shops that are going out of business. I’ve been to 3 auctions this week so far. check you local paper for auctions. If your going to spend a $1000 just go the distance and get a cabinet saw, you will be very happy with it. nothing else will compare to a nice cabinet saw. You can spend less on used at a cabinet or industrial shop auction, the woodtek cabinet went for $550 with all the extensions and I just missed it ,I arrived there late. but picked up some other needed power tools two porter cable routers, 2 router tables, some grinders. nice steel Dove tail machine. hitachi miter slide saw and some other stuff. I think spent about 140 bucks. then got the cabinet saw on CL for $100 bucks.

View a1Jim's profile


117091 posts in 3575 days

#4 posted 02-23-2012 06:11 AM

knotscott is our table saw expert so I would take his advise.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2284 days

#5 posted 02-23-2012 12:29 PM

I was recently in the same boat. You said you’re just starting out. While a cabinet saw would be wonderful, and I’d have gotten one if I could, I couldn’t find one on the used market locally and I couldn’t afford a new one due to budget constraints. You’ll see a lot of, ”...for just a couple hundred dollars more you could get….”, and it’s sound advice, but if you don’t HAVE just a couple hundred dollars more, then you’re out of that market.

I originally settled on the Ridgid R4512. Bought one, brought it home, hauled it back to my shop (no easy task without drive-up access), got it all set up and tuned…. kinda… only to find there’s an apparent problem with the trunnion system affecting lots of them, but not all of them, whereby the entire main trunnion swings left and right about 12 to 15 thousandths every time you raise or lower the blade. THEN I found out there’s no service center anywhere near me to fix it so it went back. Too bad. It’s a nice saw.

A week later and I now have the Steel City 35990 granite top. This is the saw that hides the seam between the tables and wings in the miter slot. Despite the problems I found others were running into (hard time aligning the tops and adjusting the miter slots), I forged ahead. The local distributor had the CS model with stamped steel wings and the G model with the granite top but wasn’t expecting the cast iron ones until late March. The CS model is on sale for $599 and the granite and cast iron models are $649, The CS model has the miter slots milled into the cast iron main table so there’s no fiddling with the miter slots. I feel this model would be MUCH easier to set up than the cast iron or granite with split miter slots. But…. for $50 … I went for the weight after the distributor agreed to exchange the granite for the CS if there were problems. There really weren’t any.

I created a separate post here about the method I used to get the tops aligned, flat, and the miter slot adjusted. The first wing took me almost an hour and a half, but most of that was figuring out the mechanics behind how it all works. The second wing took 10 or 15 minutes. So anyone getting that saw can probably read that post and cut down considerably on their frustration factor. There’s a sequence to it that the manual doesn’t even hint on. In fact the manual is pretty terrible. I assembled more off the parts drawings than the instructions.

I ended up with a REALLY nice saw for $649. The top is flat flat flat and the miter slots work very well….better than some cast iron milled-in-the-top ones that I looked at. It’s not a cabinet saw, but it has the cabinet mounted trunnions. It doesn’t have a 3HP, 220v motor and a 3 belt drive, but I REALLY didn’t need something quite that heavy duty anyways. And I didn’t have to add a 220 circuit. I put a new Onsrud blade on it and cut some 3/4 inch birch plywood with a penny standing on edge when I started it, made the cut, and shut it down. The fence is fine. Are there better fences? Sure, but this one works fine, really. It’s not bowed, it doesn’t deflect, it works.

Can you buy a better saw? Absolutely. Can you buy a better NEW saw for the same price? I have serious doubts about that.

If you have the luxury of time (which I did not) then by all means watch craigs list and auctions and estate sales and anything else. There are deals to be had. Of that I have no doubt. There just weren’t any near me in all the time I was looking (only 3 weeks or so…. maybe 4) and I was willing to drive 125 miles or so to go look at a saw. How many times do you want to drive an hour and a half each way only to find out the used saw you’re looking at wasn’t worth the gas it took to go look at it?

View knotscott's profile


8013 posts in 3373 days

#6 posted 02-23-2012 12:38 PM

Still with us Mike?

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

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2303 days

#7 posted 02-23-2012 12:46 PM

My only advice is don’t settle for what you can afford, save up if you have to. Starting out I had the benefit of using a friends tools, all high quality stuff, when I started outfitting for my own tools, I went cheap and I suffered because of it. When you talking table saws, this will be something you will have or a long time, and in my opinion it’s the heart of any shop. I have had my TS for 20+ years and I bought one I really could not afford at the time, it’s paid off , honestly I can believe it’s still cutting just about as accurate as the day I got it. I would like to get a new one and outfit this one with a dado blade permenatly somewhere on the side of my shop. I have been using a wobble dado for years and have been very satisfied, to be able to keep a blade like that in all the time and use the new saw for ripping and crosscutting would be ideal. Sorry got a little off point, even so trust me when I tell you by one of the best TS you can find and it will pay for itself just in accuracy & longevity.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View joey bealis's profile

joey bealis

177 posts in 2504 days

#8 posted 02-23-2012 01:07 PM

I miss my old cabinet saw. If I ever get a big enough shop again I will bring it home. But for now I use a free hybrid and would get rid of it in a second if I could.


View dhazelton's profile


2767 posts in 2294 days

#9 posted 02-23-2012 02:58 PM

I was going to say look to Craigslist, but I just checked the Jacksonville CL for saws and it comes up with nothing of the quality you want. Grizzly Model G0715P is a 2hp hybrid saw with a riving knife for $795. Unless someone can tell us if and why that’s a dog I would look at that model. Step up from there is another $450.

I personally wouldn’t go with a granite top – I’ve see a couple and a granite top jointer in my local Sears discounted with chunks missing. Stone breaks – cast iron not so easily. Again that’s just me.

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2284 days

#10 posted 02-23-2012 04:54 PM

I saw several reports of trunnion and alignment issues with the G0715P when I was looking. I believe the G0715P has table mounted trunnions. Not what I’d be looking for in a cabinet saw. Go the next step up if you go with a Grizzly.

As far as the granite I have to say I was afraid to buy it. It was only when the distributor promised I could return it in exchange for the model with stamped steel wings that I relented and went for it. The granite is an inch and a half thick. This isn’t countertop granite. It’s heavier than the same saw in all cast iron. The distributor said the only real problems they’ve seen with broken granite is broken in shipment. Hasn’t seen one yet broken in service. I’m sure you can break it and I’m reasonably sure it would break before cast iron, but I’ve seen cast iron break/crack. If you abuse it I’m sure you could break it. I wouldn’t pound on a cast iron top and I’d be careful about dropping hammers on it, etc. So I’ll be nice to my granite top as well. The problem with MANY new saws from most of the manufacturers I can afford is that they tend to have runs of castings being machined green. Cast iron has to age a bit before machining. A lot of the irregularities in the cast iron saws, whether trunnions or tops, look like a case of being machined green to me. That goes back to my millright days.

But let’s face it, the granite has drawbacks as well. You’ll never use a magnetic feather board or jig on it. You can’t drill it to add something to the table. For me… my shop is unheated except when I use it…. it promises stability and it won’t rust. I know… paste wax on cast iron. I do that on my other pieces… I made a leap of faith here. :)

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