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Used table saw check list

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Forum topic by dschlic1 posted 03-18-2013 01:55 PM 913 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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dschlic1

172 posts in 636 days


03-18-2013 01:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

In the next month or so I will probably be purchasing a used table saw. I would like to generate a check list of things to look for when actually inspecting a prospective saw. At this point I would like the list to be brand generic. I have thought of the following points:

1. Check for blade runout. Maybe arbor related.
2. Check blade alignment. Both vertically and in line with the miter slots
3. Check size of miter slots. Should be 3/4” wide by 3/8” deep.
4. Rotate the motor and/or arbor to check bearings
5. Check for play in arbor.
6. Run saw and check for excessive vibration or noise.
7. Check operation of fence. Clamps straight, moves easily, no play.
8. Check for accessories: miter gauge, blade guard, riving knife etc.
9. Check table flatness.

Can anyone add more items?


12 replies so far

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

462 posts in 631 days


#1 posted 03-18-2013 01:59 PM

I would avoid right tilt saws. Left tilt saws have a number of advantages, including safety and accuracy.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

View toolie's profile

toolie

1764 posts in 1295 days


#2 posted 03-18-2013 07:00 PM

while i agree that left tilt saws, with large rip capacities, aren’t subject to some of the potential kickback scenarios that right tilts can be subject to, the ‘72 unisaw i refurbished and sold was every bit as accurate, with it’s OEM jetlock fence, as the two emerson built 10” contractor saws i opted to keep in it’s place.

also, check out this new saw alignment article:

http://www.newwoodworker.com/basic/tsalign.html

many of th ealignment items should be checked as part of a used TS review.

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

View Cosmicsniper's profile

Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1825 days


#3 posted 03-18-2013 07:05 PM

I love my right tilt Unisaw. The fact that I can put a router extension table on the left wing (opposite the motor cover) is a nice plus, IMHO.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

View nwbusa's profile

nwbusa

1017 posts in 952 days


#4 posted 03-18-2013 07:08 PM

8. Check for accessories: miter gauge, blade guard, riving knife etc.

Not all saws come with a factory riving knife, but I personally would not own a TS that didn’t have a riving knife (unless it was a second saw that was set up only for dados). The stock miter gauge may or may not be worth using—oftentimes that is one of the first upgrades folks make to their saws. I’d want the blade guard only for when I went to re-sell the saw.

-- John, BC, Canada

View brtech's profile

brtech

677 posts in 1589 days


#5 posted 03-18-2013 07:45 PM

Type of trunnions – contractor vs cabinet or hybrid.

Blade alignment or fence alignment can be off a little, and you can fix it. If you are rejecting saws because the blade or fence isn’t exactly square to the miter slot, you are being too picky. Could use it as an excuse to knock the price down if the seller doesn’t know that.

Don’t forget that a saw that hasn’t been used a lot, especially recently, can have a bad belt. Belts are cheap.

Mass is good. As much cast iron as possible. Cast iron wings are better than stamped steel, for example. But there are plenty of nice older saws that have stamped steel wings.

Many stock miter gauges are junk. If it’s missing, deduct a bit, but not a big deal. Guards on the other hand can get fairly expensive to replace, depending on model. I believe in guards, unlike nwbusa. You can take them off when they get in the way, but in lots of cuts, most guards are not in the way.

Understand what you can upgrade pretty cheaply. For example, you can put a Delta T2 fence on most contractor saws pretty easily. For the 113 Craftsman series, this is a common upgrade. About $150. That often makes a BIG difference.

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

724 posts in 1509 days


#6 posted 03-18-2013 08:03 PM

Avoid direct drive or motorized saws and those flexible shaft jobs.

Look for saws with upgrades and “extras”. Blades, featherboards, outfeed tables, router table extensions and the upgrades mentioned above add up fast if you buy them new.

Here are some views on left and/or right tilt saws. I have left tilt saws but IMO if your fence can be moved/set-up to the left of the blade they are equally safe and accurate. Left handed folks might like a right tilt better. -Jack

View dschlic1's profile

dschlic1

172 posts in 636 days


#7 posted 03-18-2013 08:24 PM

I agree that taking a dial indicator to check alignment is out of the questions. I am thinking of a rough check of alignment. If the saw is way out of alignment, then I would need to walk away. It appears that many of the later model table saws are not belt driven. I do however prefer to have a belt driven model.

Another item for me to add is that the table have square front and back. Many newer saws come with an angled front on the table for the fence. This prevents mounting an upgrade fence.

However I thank everyone for your comments

View toolie's profile

toolie

1764 posts in 1295 days


#8 posted 03-19-2013 01:18 AM

Many newer saws come with an angled front on the table for the fence. This prevents mounting an upgrade fence.

i don’t think i’ve ever seen a TS with a front table edge that isn’t both straight and perpendicular to the miter slots. can you point to an example of a saw with “an angled front on the table for the fence”?

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

View IrreverentJack's profile

IrreverentJack

724 posts in 1509 days


#9 posted 03-19-2013 03:40 AM

Toolie, The Ridgid 4516 is one.

View runswithscissors's profile

runswithscissors

967 posts in 691 days


#10 posted 03-19-2013 05:10 AM

A mobile base is a nice add on. You can make your own, but a factory built one will run you $90 or more.

View unbob's profile

unbob

419 posts in 570 days


#11 posted 03-19-2013 06:05 AM

I bought a used contractors saw several years ago. It looked good, but it somehow had a badly warped table, not very noticeable just looking at it.
The right front corner was nearly 1/8” low. Also sunk in around the blade insert.
I just had a bad time with that saw trying to do anything on it, or getting it aligned.
From that experience. I take a straight edge with me when I am looking at used saws and other machines.
For reference, Powermatic spec was no more then .010” out on the the table for flatness, for the model 66.

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dschlic1

172 posts in 636 days


#12 posted 03-19-2013 11:38 PM

Another example is:
Rockwell shop series

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