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Forum topic by kjsmcintosh posted 12-01-2012 05:29 PM 1072 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 2024 days

12-01-2012 05:29 PM

New person here. I’ve been researching woodworking tools and, along the way, came across Lumberjocks. Nice site.
I’ve come to the conclusion I need some advice/wisdom on buying a power saw(s). Over the years I’ve built a few projects and while I have a variety of hand tools, the only power tools I have are a cordless drill, sander and circular saw. The time has come to upgrade and indulge a long-time passion.

Projects I have in mind right now are:

Built-in, floor-to-ceiling bookcase in one room.
Bed sheet chest
Platform bed
and (hopefully, if my skills improve enough), dresser drawers and a bathroom cabinet.

I was thinking a miter saw, router and (maybe) a table saw could handle the cuts. Price is always the object, but experience has taught me not to be cheap. What I want are quality tools that make precise cuts and will stand up to years of use. Problem is, after some research, I still don’t really know what I need. I just bought a Dewalt 12-inch CMS but I’m wondering if I should take it back and get a Makita 10-inch SCMS. Big difference in price. But if I keep the Dewalt, put the savings in a table saw, would I still be able to get the same cuts/result? Heck, with a SCMS, router and a circular saw, would I even need a table saw to handle the projects I listed? If not, would a $500 Bosch or Porter-Cable TS get the job done, or is is really worth it to plunk down the extra cash for a Grizzly?

13 replies so far

View waho6o9's profile


8204 posts in 2598 days

#1 posted 12-01-2012 05:45 PM

Welcome to LJ’s kjsmcintosh!

Some folks suggest you buy as you need during the project you’re

If you’re not sure of what you need, maybe that’s a good starting point.
Purchasing cheap is expensive so you have that working in your favor.

It is worth the extra cash for the Grizzly.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3180 days

#2 posted 12-01-2012 05:47 PM

Well, I think that CMS are overrated, but others see value there. For me, I just need a chop saw to bring longer boards to usuable size for the table saw. I certainly wouldn’t invest in a slider over what you have.

The table saw is the important tool. A good one will even miter and crosscut better than a CMS. That’s what I think you should do next. And the router should be right on its heels.

-- jay,

View derosa's profile


1577 posts in 2857 days

#3 posted 12-01-2012 05:53 PM

The 500.00sih porter cable will get the job done reasonably well if you take the time to dial in the fence and make a good, precise sled. I’ve built all my projects with a hitachi saw that is the equivalent of the porter cable and it is the last thing on my list to upgrade with the exception of wanting a sawstop when the kids turn 4 and can come in the shop. The saws at that price with a decent narrow kerf blade will slice through anything just a little slower then the bigger saws and can be more then precise enough.

-- --Rev. Russ in NY-- A posse ad esse

View Loren's profile (online now)


10476 posts in 3669 days

#4 posted 12-01-2012 06:01 PM

You’re looking at cabinet work, so you need some way
to break down panels accurately. You can do it with
a circular saw for rough cuts and then use a table
saw to square parts, or you can skip the table saw
and use a track saw setup.

A table saw setup that can break up full 4×8 sheets
takes up a lot of space.

Sliding compound saws are really a solution to a pro
problem of cutting wide mouldings. For most other
tasks they are overkill, though if you’re making
bookshelves the 12” capacity is perfect for bucking
shelves and sides to length. There are lots of
other ways to solve that problem though.

Drawback of miter saws is they are very messy.

View kjsmcintosh's profile


3 posts in 2024 days

#5 posted 12-01-2012 08:08 PM

Contrary to what I’ve been thinking, table saw seems to be more versatile, capable and immediately useful for the the type of work I’m interested in—but that’s exactly why I asked the question. Thanks for the replies. I’ve spent most of my time looking at various miter saws, but now it time to see what choices are out there on TS’s.

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3180 days

#6 posted 12-01-2012 08:47 PM

Yep. You can crosscut wood up to a foot with certain miter saws. That’s about it. A good tablesaw opens up a world of possibilities.

-- jay,

View Dan Krager's profile

Dan Krager

4031 posts in 2255 days

#7 posted 12-02-2012 05:14 PM

Sounds a lot like my “problem”. The focus is easily misplaced for me. I get hung up in which tool is best and end up wanting the whole dang store, and storing a truckload of jigs. Consider how much unbelievable high end furniture was built without a single power tool! A tool will never compensate for lack of skill. Your best tools are education and practice using what you have. Getting the wants gets in the way and becomes a serious distraction. My shop is full of tools, a very well equipped shop by almost any standard, yet I get derailed by something as small as a mechanical carpenter’s pencil! It’s almost a disease. And I don’t know of anyone who cut off his fingers with a hand saw. I’ve come to appreciate the efficiency of hand tools in the long run.
Enjoy the challenge of designing a project within the current capability. The satisfaction at the end is overwhelming.
Just MHO.

-- Dan Krager, Olney IL One should always prefer the probable impossible to the improbable possible.

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#8 posted 12-02-2012 05:23 PM

”...If not, would a $500 Bosch or Porter-Cable TS get the job done, or is is really worth it to plunk down the extra cash for a Grizzly?”

IMHO, yes…or some full size saw similar to a Grizzly. A good table saw is the center of most wood shops. I’d go for a decent full size stationary saw, whether a hybrid style contractor saw or a full cabinet saw. A portable will cut, but I’d skip the portables unless you need to move it regularly from job site to job site…aside from portability and some modest size benefits, the portables offer no performance advantages over a good stationary saw, and have several disadvantages. Since budget is a concern, I’d skip the miter saw altogether until you need one….a good TS is inherently more accurate than a miter saw, so I do the vast majority of my crosscuts on the TS. A good TS can also rip, cut dados, grooves, miters, rabbets, coves, etc. My CMS collects dust most of the time unless I’m cutting some really long boards like molding that the TS doesn’t support well. Entry level full size stationary saws start in the price ranges as the better portables, so they’re no more expensive. I’d add a router and few other items long before a CMS or SCMS unless you know you’ll have a need for that tool.

Some reading that you may find useful in your TS search:
Table Saw Classifications

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

View RussellAP's profile


3104 posts in 2308 days

#9 posted 12-02-2012 06:09 PM

Check out the Ridgid r4512 at HD, it’s way better than the PC at Lowes. Eventually you’ll get bit by the tool bug and start spending way too much, but there are lots of basic tools you’ll need for that to do list.
Router is important, but not as necessary as other tools to start with. TS is a must. You’re set with the MS, you should get a decent stand and Lowes has one for 100$ that is every bit as good as the DeWalt at 200$.
A couple of your projects scream jointer and planer. These two tools will take you from amateur to pro in your basic wood shaping. Don’t under estimate the importance of good straight and square wood.
You will need clamps….lots of them. Check Harbor freight for the smaller clamps. Best price anywhere.
Several good cordless drills are a must too.

Good luck.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View AandCstyle's profile


3068 posts in 2278 days

#10 posted 12-02-2012 06:36 PM

I would return the CMS and get a good TS as others have mentioned. I assume that you will be using S4S lumber unless you are quite proficient with hand planes. In addition to the TS, plan on getting a few extras like a dado head and build an out feed table to support your stock. This is a must have item once you start ripping boards > 4-5’ in length. Since you will be doing cross cuts with the TS you might want to upgrade the miter gauge to something like an Incra/Osbourne/Kreg or plan to make a cross cut sled. You also might decide to upgrade the stock blade to a good combo blade.

Also, please don’t forget about good dust collection for both under and over the TS. The ultimate resource for dust collection is

Good luck with your projects and ask lots of questions, LJs love to offer opinions. :)

-- Art

View knotscott's profile


8055 posts in 3397 days

#11 posted 12-04-2012 12:41 AM

So what’s the verdict?

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

View kjsmcintosh's profile


3 posts in 2024 days

#12 posted 12-04-2012 11:58 AM

I went hunting on Craigs List to see what’s available in table saws. If nothing comes up fairly soon Ill decide on price point and buy new. I’m leaning toward a Grizzly. Thanks to all for the insight and steering me down a proper path.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2096 days

#13 posted 12-04-2012 12:16 PM

I started out with a Bosch 4000 table saw from Home Depot. It has served me well, and other than upgrading the blade, it’s still doing everything I need and then some.

I’m a proponent of buying as you need for each project.

Good luck, and welcome! This is a fantastic place to learn. Best piece of advice I got so far was ‘buy the best you can.’ but I would add ‘only as you need it’.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

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