Table Saws....I Just Don't Get It!!!

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by poopiekat posted 03-20-2013 05:01 PM 4453 views 0 times favorited 51 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3759 days

03-20-2013 05:01 PM

Topic tags/keywords: used tools table saws consumerism

With all this stressing out over which type of table saw to buy, which brand, which deal….I just don’t understand what the fuss is all about.
I’ve owned perhaps five table saws over the 40-ish years of being a hobby woodworker. Yeah, they do tend to come and go. All came to me from yard sales or classified ads. One, a Delta when the internal motor was punted when the motor burned, (after 5 well-used years) it would have cost more to replace than the retail price of the saw itself when it was new. A Ryobi BT3000 was the only saw I gave up on prematurely, due to flexing and otherwise poor cuts. In between these were a few well-built cast-iron machines purchased second hand. My current saw, labeled as a “King Canada” is a Delta clone which I purchased used at a yard sale, 10 years ago. With a new blade, ZCI, and home-made fence made of 80/20, it has performed reliably and consistently well, and I still have less than $200 into it.

The trick is to rely less on a saw that performs magically perfect cuts; do your final edging and dimensioning with handplanes or maybe sanders. Unless you’re running a high volume shop, the pleasurable minutes you add to a project’s construction time by hand-surfacing the cut edges more than eliminates the need for elaborate, pricey table saws with just the right features, just the right options. This is just my opinion.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

51 replies so far

View lumberjoe's profile


2899 posts in 2273 days

#1 posted 03-20-2013 05:09 PM

Half the appeal of woodworking to me is using awesome machines. I do agree with you though, and I find I am taking hand tools to wood more often than not lately with much improved results.


View ShaneA's profile


6956 posts in 2623 days

#2 posted 03-20-2013 05:11 PM

I don’t know PK. For a lot of people the TS is a cornerstone tool. So many options, variations and price points to choose. I understand the trepidation. But, this “which one?” subject has been covered well here, and it should not be too difficult to find the info.

Should be an interesting topic.

View MrRon's profile


4794 posts in 3268 days

#3 posted 03-20-2013 05:13 PM

I agree with you, but I’m sure the saw manufacturer’s don’t like to hear that.

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3759 days

#4 posted 03-20-2013 05:17 PM

I guess to me it’s like buying a new pair of workboots. I have a new $250 pair of Caterpillars, but I prefer to wear my worn-out pairs, with cracked leather tops and run-over heels. They just feel better. I feel good wearing them.

Mostly the point here is that there are alternatives to brand-new saws; there are other options y’know.

There’s one other point I wish to make: Back in the days when I had no spare cash, those shiny new machines in the glossy pages of the catalogs would make me salivate for hours….now that things are more comfortable in my old age I just don’t get excited anymore by fancy-shmancy products.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#5 posted 03-20-2013 05:26 PM

Jeez, PK…I owned a RyobiBT3000 for 12 years. Mine was moved three times, and I don’t remember any flexing. It was, however, a cheap piece of…well, you know. I always hated that hardly any accessory for a real table saw would fit the doggone thing. But I paid $300 for it in 2000, and sold it in 2012 for $100. I think I got my monies worth out of it. I remember every time I moved, I always had this huge bag of nuts, bolts, funny fasteners and other odd items that I had to take off to knock it down for the movers. I always personally carried that bag since I knew if I lost any of that stuff the whole saw was junk.

Just for the record, my first “table saw”, (and I use that term in this case VERY LOOSELY), in 1971 was a Black and Decker metal bodied circular rip saw from the 60’s, mounted upside down in my workbench, blade all the way extended, with a foot switch. For a fence I clamped down a 2X4 on the benchtop. An outright miracle I still have ten fingers.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View poopiekat's profile


4356 posts in 3759 days

#6 posted 03-20-2013 05:34 PM

Thanks, Tennessee! Yeah, well we’re on the same page, really. I’ve used circular saws under the table too, but what I urge to consider is not rickety dangerous crap, but to seek out a well cared for older table saw with cast iron top, standard slots, and a good fence as an alternative to high-priced new stuff of unproven value.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#7 posted 03-20-2013 05:40 PM

I kind of envy the guys in larger neighborhoods who can actually look on Craigslist and find things like good used tablesaws. Down here in SE Tennessee, if you do find one, it usually is a low-end Craftsman, or has been out in the rain in somebodys back yard for a few years. I don’t look everyday, but when I was looking at the Rigid, I looked at Craigslist for about three weeks to no avail.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3571 posts in 2276 days

#8 posted 03-20-2013 05:43 PM

I am still using my first table saw acquisition—a Craftsman 113 model. I got it for free after its rescue from sitting out in an open field for more than a few years. I was very surprised that the motor still ran smoothly after sitting out in the weather for such a long time. I cleaned and tuned it up, put a Delta T2 fence on it, and use it regularly over the past 9 months or so. I did get some advice from my fellow LJs after I got it, and the advice was very helpful.

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View Tennessee's profile


2873 posts in 2539 days

#9 posted 03-20-2013 05:51 PM

There are some real pro tool refinishers on this site, Don. I’m sure they helped a lot. Some of the restored tools on here are beautiful.

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 2268 days

#10 posted 03-20-2013 05:54 PM

It’s like with cars, man. We like to talk about what’s under the hood and debate Ford vs Chevy, or Delta vs Powermatic…

Since this a forum full of woodworkers, it just makes sense to bounce ideas and thoughts and recommendations on saws. Who doesnt like talking about powertools?


-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View Craftsman on the lake's profile

Craftsman on the lake

2794 posts in 3462 days

#11 posted 03-20-2013 06:08 PM

I’m of the same view. I own a rockwell/Delta contractors saw from the 80’s. It rips great. I use a jointer and a planer which every shop (hand tool purists excluded) needs to do good work. I have a very nice Bosch 12” sliding miter saw which I find extremely handy. The table saw is set up to give me a square edge to rip wood and that’s pretty much it. I’d love a sawstop for safety reasons but no new saws till this one bites the dust and repairing it is always less expensive.

-- The smell of wood, coffee in the cup, the wife let's me do my thing, the lake is peaceful.

View needshave's profile


175 posts in 1984 days

#12 posted 03-20-2013 06:23 PM

I’m also of the same view. I love old iron. I love that way it looks, the way it was designed to last forever and has, in a throw away society. The way parts were designed to wear and be easily replaced.

I have two table saws. My fathers 49 unisaw that is just a beast, spot on accurate, and my new Unisaw that my wife purchased new for me as a anniversary present in 87. They are both great saws, but since the wife is not on here…...the 49 is a better saw.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

4948 posts in 3985 days

#13 posted 03-20-2013 06:32 PM

I’m not EVEN gonna say that I have a Grizz 0444Z (contractor’s) that I bought 2nd hand, was set up dead on when I bought it, is all I’ll ever need, and I don’t get caught up in tool drooling most of the time.
Now if I see a neat old plane…................
I’m with ya PK.


View teejk's profile


1215 posts in 2709 days

#14 posted 03-20-2013 07:33 PM

My thought is the quality of any TS is in the fence. The rest is just a motor and a blade. I love my Unifence since I can tweak it to take into account any flaws on the saw itself (after 10+ years I haven’t had to do that yet but I still have the book if I ever have to…it has remained true and square and solid).

View HoosierDude's profile


48 posts in 3040 days

#15 posted 03-20-2013 07:49 PM

Please don’t take this the wrong way. I don’t intend to sound snobby..

I had the same saw for almost 30 years until recently. It was a Delta 34-670 direct drive 10” model. It was all I could afford when I purchased it and never really found a reason to upgrade it. Last year I decided to treat my self and purchased a Grizzly G0691.

It is still amazing to me the dramatic improvement in accuracy and cut quality. I never dreamed how much of a difference a good cabinet saw was over my contractor model. The other huge benefit it has given me is the ability to cut down full size sheets of ply on the table saw which I couldn’t do before.

Everyone’s experiences are different but I’ve been amazed by the difference from my old saw to the new one.

-- Paul Lyons

showing 1 through 15 of 51 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics