New Table Saw or New Fence

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Forum topic by SirFatty posted 06-12-2012 09:37 PM 3649 views 0 times favorited 29 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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542 posts in 2234 days

06-12-2012 09:37 PM

First, I’m a hobby woodworker, I work for my own satisfaction and don’t currently build to sell. Nor do I ever intend to (A wise person once told me not to make your hobby your job).

I have a older Craftsman table saw that I purchased new about 20 years ago. I used it as it was purchased for about 10 years then upgraded the fence to the Craftsman Align-I-Rip aluminum model. It’s worked ok, but since the original fence the the Align-I-Rip model both clamp in the font and back, they were problematic with regards to accuracy and repeatability.

So then I started thinking I need a new saw. One that will get the dust under control, better accuracy and have a superior fence. I’ve been looking for years, Grizzly is probably the direction I would go right now. But then I thought do I really need a new saw, or just a really good fence?

How many of you guys have upgraded your fence? Or have you just replace the entire machine?

-- Visit my blog at

29 replies so far

View a1Jim's profile


117114 posts in 3599 days

#1 posted 06-12-2012 09:48 PM

I would think about what you will have it you just install a new fence. A saw that old is probably only worth $100-$200 if you up grade your fence it will cost $250 – $350 then you have a saw worth $ 150 -$250 that is still a 20 year old craftsman. If you can afford a better saw with a better fence that would be my choice. you can consider a used saw with a better fence and more power or a Ridgid, or a Grizzly depending on your budget.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View SirFatty's profile


542 posts in 2234 days

#2 posted 06-12-2012 09:54 PM

That’s kind of what I was thinking, but wanted to reach out to the LJ community and see if anyone has just done the fence upgrade and were satisfied.

Save some money and be happy? Sounds like a good combination if it would work.

-- Visit my blog at

View Dusty56's profile


11819 posts in 3710 days

#3 posted 06-12-2012 10:07 PM

Unload the old saw on Craigslist and treat yourself to something you really want : )
Adding a new fence to an old Craftsman saw is kind of like putting a Cadillac emblem on a Pinto….if you sell it afterward , it will still only bring you the Pinto price.

-- I'm absolutely positive that I couldn't be more uncertain!

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Ed Kallbrier

81 posts in 2370 days

#4 posted 06-12-2012 10:10 PM

I just upgraded to the new machine the 1 I had was about 50 or 60 years old but the 1 I got it’s a second hand you couldn’t beat the price though.

-- Ed Carlinville IL

View Loren's profile


10476 posts in 3670 days

#5 posted 06-12-2012 10:37 PM

Well, if you rely on the table saw a lot in the kind of
work you do, upgrading to a cabinet saw is really nice.
Aside from the bump in horsepower, these saws run
smoother and generally quieter than lighter saws
and often come with pretty good fences, even used ones.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#6 posted 06-13-2012 12:12 AM

New is always nice if you can swing it, but have you ever considered a better “used” saw? Do you have 220v?

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

View SirFatty's profile


542 posts in 2234 days

#7 posted 06-13-2012 01:50 AM

Overwelming support for a new saw! Knotscott, no I don’t. That’s a factor in the decision process though. I’ve looked on kijiji and CL and never see the deals other people seem to find.

A new saw seems like the smart thing to do, just wanted some feedback in case I was missing something.

-- Visit my blog at

View oluf's profile


260 posts in 3061 days

#8 posted 06-13-2012 03:33 AM

I say buy a new fence for your saw. If you buy any new saw ( that won’t cut any wood that your saw will not) you will lose the price of a good fence when you write your check. Every one on here says dnly pay fifty percent of new price for used. I think you woulden’t lose that much, but I dont see what you gain eather.

-- Nils, So. Central MI. Wood is honest.Take the effort to understand what it has to tell you before you try to change it.

View Bernie's profile


422 posts in 2859 days

#9 posted 06-13-2012 03:38 AM

To go along with everybody else – yes a new saw is your best bet. When trying to decide what you can afford, don’t think too much about the initial price but think of it as a long time investment. I bought my Jet cabinet saw about 12 years ago and figured I would be enjoying the hobby for about 30 years (80 yrs old- now 61). I chose a $1500 saw, that would cost me $50/yr or $1/week.

Now to go against the tide – when I bought my saw, my wife told me to buy whatever saw I wanted since I had devoted my working years to raising our family. There was no limit on the price tag (she’s still a keeper after 36 years). I thought about it a bit and decided not to exceed a 1 1/2 hp machine. As a matter of fact, the Jet I bought can easily be converted to a 220V – 3hp – machine by a simple wiring modification I will never do. Why?

I have seen and heard of too many “kick-back” horror stories and all of these stories have involved 3hp + machines. I decided to buy a machine I could control. When I’m ripping a board that warbles, I can hear and feel the blade struggling, so I back off on the feeding speed. I have always managed to complete all cuts, even through thick hardwoods. The motor has a rest button on it and in 10+ years of use, I had to push the reset button 2 times.

My “lame” saw has served me well and I have no desire to upgrade its’ hp. The fence that came with the saw is still very accurate. If I set my rip cut a 3 3/16 rip cut, that’s what I get no matter what length. So think about what you want and what you need. Think about some more! In the 11 years I have owned my saw, I have never regretted my choice. After thinking about your needs, and if you decide to get a 3hp saw, go for it. Think about it, buy it, and be happy with your choice!

-- Bernie: It never gets hot or cold in New Hampshire, just seasonal!

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 2469 days

#10 posted 06-13-2012 04:08 AM

I have actually made this mistake. I had an older craftsman saw and upgraded the fence. I bought the old delta t fence for around 200 bucks I think. I had about 200 bucks in the saw as well. It worked fine for a while until I started getting more into the craft. When i sold it to make room for my new cabinet saw i only got about $150.00 out of it.

I guess the biggest thing to ask yourself is if this is the only saw you will ever need. If you are even thinking about upgrading in the future then you may as well do it now. Just my 2 cents.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View DonnyD's profile


49 posts in 2196 days

#11 posted 06-13-2012 05:12 AM

how much do u want to spend? i use a grizzly 10 in 3hp table saw every day in my line of work good saw for the price have had to replace normal stuff ,berings, belts, things like that but at home in my own hobby shop i have an old craftsman 10 in ts for over a year now its mabye 10- 15 years old the guy i bought it from upgraded the fence w a accusquare 48 in tsqure style fence and i love it more than the shop fox fence that came on the grizzly it stays square and it is one of those tools u just know it will be right every time u use it. it locks differnt than biysmer/shop fox style and u set to parell differnt, and it has springs that hold it square when u move it this is very handy. it also has t track biult in for atatching jigs or what ever my craftsman may not have the power of the other saw but its ok im very happy w it even if that saw dies on me i wont get rid of that fence ive seen the same fence made by ezsquare sold by peachtree or rockler . if it wher me i whould by that fence and save alot of money for other tools heres one

View thedude50's profile


3603 posts in 2500 days

#12 posted 06-13-2012 05:39 AM

The real question is what do you make does your current saw meet your needs other than the accuracy of the fence. if yes save the cash buy a fence a beasimire type fence will be a solid performer for you but if you find your saw weak and that it is untrue to the miter slots and you cant get it to adjust then86 the saw and get a nicer saw new or used if your looking at grizzly look at jet too mine has never had a flaw in 12 years of use and i am talking heavy use. also search Craig’s list this summer used unisaws and nice cabinet saws show up all the time plus it is easy to add 220 to the shop if your service in not too small

-- Please check out my new stores and

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2433 days

#13 posted 06-13-2012 05:53 AM

Deja vu!

I started with an old Craftsman tablesaw, then bought a new Ridgid. In hindsight, I hung onto that Ridgid for far too long before I installed 220V wiring in the shop and to move to 220V tools. There is a huge difference between a 110V contractor saw and a 220V cabinet saw.

My recommendation would be to keep saving until you can upgrade your wiring to 220V and then start watching Craigslist for an old Unisaw. You should be able to get a very nice old Unisaw with a great fence and perhaps even an extension table in the range of $750 or under if you are patient.

If you can’t wait, I enjoyed my Ridgid contractor’s saw. It served me well for many years until I got my act together and moved to 220V. One caveat is that my experience was with the Ridgid that was new roughly 15 years ago; I can’t speak to their current model lines.

-- Kelby

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#14 posted 06-13-2012 11:25 AM

The new entry level ~$600 stationary saws all have fences that work (R4512, Cman 21833, PCB270TS, Steel City 35990SS), but IMHO the saws with fences that are a significant upgrade from the fence you’ve got don’t start until you get to the around the ~$850+ range (Cman 22116, Grizzly G0715P, G0661, G0713, Steel City 35950G, Jet Proshop, etc.).

At some point, the price reaches the range of a 3hp Grizzly G1023RL (currently $1294 shipped), but that one requires 220v.

You could also put an aftermarket fence like the Delta T2 for a ~ $153 shipped from on a new $600 saw ($500 or less with the right sale and coupons), and sell the original fence for $50-$75 to offset costs, and still be out < $600 total depending on the deal you get.

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

View SirFatty's profile


542 posts in 2234 days

#15 posted 06-13-2012 12:03 PM

A lot of really great info and opinions. And the different opinions echo my thoughts over the years… on the one hand, like Bernie said, I’ve never hit the limit of what I can cut. From that perspective my Craftsman is fine. DonnyD, I would want to stay around a grand, the Grizzly G0715P is something I have given serious consideration. I’m ok with 110v (I think, that could be a whole other discussion).

-- Visit my blog at

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