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First Table Saw Purchase, Price vs Safety

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Forum topic by kocgolf posted 765 days ago 2600 views 0 times favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kocgolf

50 posts in 765 days


765 days ago

First, I realize that “table saw advice” is everywhere online, and yes, I have searched this and countless other forums and read up what I could. I have thoughts and good ideas on what saws I should be considering. I have watched craigslist and some auction sites for almost a year, but haven’t really found the right deal in the right location.

I’m looking at replacing a benchtop and getting into some more serious furniture work. I have so far done only kids furniture. Bed. Table and chairs. Kitchen for my toddler. My wife is the breadwinner (I am a stay at home dad) and thus she gets some say in this. I’ve been telling her for a year I am going to get something in the 300-400 range on CL or 400-500 range, possibly the Ridgid r4512 new, but recently I’ve been really thinking of upping to 800-900 for something like the Grizzly G0715P.

The main thing about the older used ones is safety. I see things like the r4512 with built in guard and riving knife (whatever their quality/convenience may be) and it’s attractive. I also wonder if the true hybrids, like the G0715P, have even better guards or riving knives. This could be a selling point to my wife. I just don’t want to over-purchase on a hobby that my wife may or may not believe I can turn into a career. Also, I need a lot of other tools upgraded and the budget for that!

Thoughts?


40 replies so far

View Doss's profile

Doss

779 posts in 851 days


#1 posted 765 days ago

This is a tough business to build a career on I can tell you that. It’s also why I only do this as a hobby with the benefit of extra income from sidework.

I’m not too concerned about having the latest, greatest safety devices on things like tablesaws. I know they help, but common sense and proper safety precautions go a lot further in my opinion. Couple that with a knowledge of how to properly operate your tools and knowing what processes/actions can possibly cause a malfunction or dangerous situation I think is the most important part of owning a tool.

There are a few schools of thought on buying tools, but most either fall into the 1)Buy what you can afford or 2)Buy the best schools of thought.

I’d just say buy what you can afford (something like the Rigid is fine) and upgrade as you need or find out what you don’t like about it, sell it, and then buy something that fits you better when you can afford to and it’s making you money.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

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knotscott

5355 posts in 1963 days


#2 posted 765 days ago

I wouldn’t say that the guards or riving knives are any better on the G0715P than on the R4512 (or Cman 21833), but the fence on the G0715P is undoubtedly nicer IMO. The full enclosure offers better dust collection and better stability, but the actual guts under the hood are very similar between those 3 saws. The G0715P also offers solid cast iron wings, which are nicer and heavier. The question is whether the upgraded fence, wings, and full enclosure are worth the extra $400 to you….and only you can really answer that.

In general, riving knives are a more elegant solution to a splitter, but both essentially perform the same task when they’re in place. The biggest advantage of a riving knife is that it’s more likely to be in place because it’s not in the way as often. Another advantage of a riving knife is the closer proximity to the blade.

Once aligned and fitted with a good blade, all are capable of good cuts, but be aware that all three of the above models have had similar alignment problems (likely due to the similarity of the designs). Some, but not all, suffer from the alignment going out when the blade is raised and lowered.

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

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kocgolf

50 posts in 765 days


#3 posted 765 days ago

I should point out that my use of the word “career” is very loose. As a stay at home dad, anything that isn’t changing diapers or cooking mac and cheese is a “career.”

I have read the forums enough without posting that I have heard knotscott is sort of a resident guru on the table saw, so I definitely appreciate the input. I am aware all those saws come with risks and may not be perfectly aligned. If you feel there is a better option in my price range, I’d love to hear it, but it seems that there is only so much you can get for 500 or so bucks. Even 800 won’t really get me perfection, and I accept that. All things considered, the Ridgid and it’s price range seems maybe the best for me and my hobby. Does the Grizzly not have cabinet trunnions at least? Maybe I have researched too many saws and am getting them confused…I feel like I am already burning out on table saws and I don’t even have a decent one yet.

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knotscott

5355 posts in 1963 days


#4 posted 765 days ago

The G0715P has table mounted trunnions like those on the R4512. The saws from Steel City have cabinet mounted trunnions that are easier to align. I can’t say with any certainty that those saws are better choices, just that they do have cabinet mounted trunnions, and they are also capable of good performance once setup properly and fitted with a good blade. The granite Craftsman 22116 is made by Steel City/Orion and has the big yoke style cabinet mounted trunnions, riving knife, full enclosure, and a good steel Biese clone fence….it goes on sale near $800 on occasion (Father’s Day as good a season for deals as any) ....it’s pretty much the same saw as the Steel City 35930, and has the same guts as the former R4512 (also made by Steel City/Orion).

The Porter Cable PCB270TS also has “cabinet mounted” trunnions by definition, but they’re not the big yoke style trunnions that span the cabinet…they’re more like table mounted trunnions that have the benefit of mounting to the middle of the cabinet strut…still easier to align, but no beefier than common table mounted trunnions. The PCB270TS also has what I view as a fairly weak fence, plus it has a plastic elevation gear….neither drawback is totally unexpected in this price range, just pointing what I’d view as weaknesses (as you said, they all have them at these price points).

A good used saw is often the best way to get the most for your money, but it’s an unreliable market. The best deals always seem to show up at the least opportune times. Posting your general location in your profile might help someone here to guide you to a deal.

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

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7175 posts in 2235 days


#5 posted 765 days ago

If you don’t rip long solid wood boards on the table saw
a riving knife is basically not needed. The safe and
sane way to do it is with a band saw. When the
table saw is used for cutting joints, squaring boards
and panels and cutting sheet goods the binding the
riving knife is designed to prevent is seldom a problem.

Is a riving knife nice to have? Absolutely. It gives you
the confidence that you can more or less safely cut
any board you like.

Is a band saw nice to have and does it save you money
by wasting less wood? Yes.

What I am saying is that the table saw is not the ideal
tool for every linear wood cut and indeed safety problems
and accidents often arise from not understanding this.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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kocgolf

50 posts in 765 days


#6 posted 765 days ago

Thank you all for the excellent advice. It would be great if a used saw could fall into my lap, but I’ve been looking for so long, and it just isn’t happening. I’m hoping to see some great sale this week for Father’s Day! I won’t rule out an 800-900 saw quite yet, but likely I will go with something like the r4512 for now.

I would love to start out with a super solid table saw I might never need to replace, but I better be sure I’m all-in on this hobby first. Also, it sounds like instead of waiting a few years, I’d be better served acquiring some additional and upgraded tools sooner rather than later. I also would like to get that band saw, as well as a drill press and new router.

View Tomj's profile

Tomj

204 posts in 969 days


#7 posted 765 days ago

I’m in the same boat you are as far as price range in looking for a table saw and I have been trying to decide for well over 3 months. To me it seems that the Craftsman 22116 seems to be the one that doesn’t worry me when it comes to having any alignment problems (but you never know) and only at the right price. Just this week I have seen this saw jump from $844 ($923 with tax and store pick up) to$999 ($1090 with tax I believe) back down to $899 ($970 with tax/ store pick up). The only problem for me would be getting it upstairs to my shop. The steel city hybrid saws seem okay too though I’m not sure I can see myself spending $900 give or take on a saw that has less power (13 amps steel city Hybrids) plus less fence when I could spend the same on the craftsman 22116 which has more power, a better fence and cabinet mounted trunnions. Good luck with whatever you choose.

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1796 posts in 1778 days


#8 posted 765 days ago

I have the ridgid 3650, they do not make them any more, but as a craigs list item you might be able to pick one up for 2 0r 3 hundred bucks. It is a very exact saw, easy to tune up cuts that are very good. You are pushing it’s limits with 6/4 hard wood stock, but it does the the job. For anything better you need more horsepower. If you can find one it will be a good starter. If you want to make money, at the very leaste you need a contractors saw, a cabinet saw would be better. Also it helps if you build something beautful and useful that your wife would like, after all she needs to see the practical side of what you’d like to accomplish :)

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

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knotscott

5355 posts in 1963 days


#9 posted 765 days ago

Typo correction to post #4: ”...it (22116) is pretty much the same saw as the Steel City 35930, and has the same guts as the former R4511 (also made by Steel City/Orion)....”

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

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Tomj

204 posts in 969 days


#10 posted 765 days ago

I just checked out the price on the r4512 Ridgid table saw and it seems until June 20th you could get it for about $500 that’s with tax
(if you pick it up yourself). I got to say that does sound like a pretty good deal. As I’m sure you can tell, I’m still torn over which way to go. For that price I can pick up a Dewalt 734 planer too for under $1000, or a Grizzly Go555lx for about $1100. Again good luck with whatever your purchase may be.

View toolie's profile

toolie

1714 posts in 1215 days


#11 posted 765 days ago

tomj…..and if you can find a HD that honors the “20% off any single item” harbor freight coupon, that price drops to $400. when a HD refused that coupon for me, i called 800-homedepot and the CS rep instructed the store staff to honor the coupon for the purchase of a clearance priced 4511 (that was out the door for ~$240 2 years ago). doesn’t hurt to ask and refuse to accept no as an answer.

-- there's a solution to every problem.......you just have to be willing to find it.

View kocgolf's profile

kocgolf

50 posts in 765 days


#12 posted 764 days ago

I think that I am going to have to take the chance on the Ridgid and hope it aligns, it seems like a good value for a newbie. I know that a lot of brands have the same manufacturer, is that the case with the r4512 and any of the CM saws? I have a sears card and points, but I had heard poor things about recent CM tools.

Also, we have a HD and a Harbor Freight, but I can’t track down a 20% coupon. I would definitely try that out.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

5355 posts in 1963 days


#13 posted 764 days ago

AFAIK, the R4512 and Craftsman 21833 are nearly identical…both made by Dayton (also true of the Menard’s and Dayton saws). Some allegations against CM tools are true, some are inaccurate generalizations that dismiss their better tools. The evaluations really need to be on a tool by tool basis to be useful.


Guts of the 21833:

Guts of the Griz G0715P:

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

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1016 posts in 873 days


#14 posted 764 days ago

I just want to point out that with a good blade and proper setup, the R4512 does not struggle with 6/4 hardwood. I have ripped plenty of 8/4 maple with mine, and it performs just fine. Can you feed it as fast as a 3hp saw? No, but it doesn’t bog down either with a moderate feed rate. Just my two cents!

-- John, BC, Canada

View Tomj's profile

Tomj

204 posts in 969 days


#15 posted 764 days ago

I have 10% off lowes coupon, does anybody think Home Depot would honor/price match that?

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