Advice on selecting a Table Saw

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Forum topic by RPhillips posted 05-17-2013 08:32 AM 2646 views 1 time favorited 69 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1177 posts in 1831 days

05-17-2013 08:32 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question table saw steel city 35990c rigid r4512

Hey guys, I’m researching table saws and thought I would join here and see if I could get some solid advice on what type of saw would best suit me.

I currently don’t own a table saw and my last one was a cheap Ryobi that bought about 10 years ago to rip OSB and other construction needs when I was renovating my first house. When I moved from VA to Indy, the saw was one of the items that didn’t make the move with us.

I have been around woodworking pretty much my whole life and I’m pretty good with power tools and building all kinds of different projects. What I’m looking for is a fairly good quality TS that will suit my needs for several years. If I decide to dive deeper into woodworking I’ll buy a nice cabinet table saw some time later. I’ll be using this saw for projects like building garage cabinets, outdoor funiture, and and a what ever projects the wife dreams up…lol

I have a budget of about $800-1000, but would really like to keep it on the lower side. I was thinking about the Rigid R4512 model from HD, but after reading a lot reviews, I think I’ll spend a little extra to get a higher quality saw. Honestly, aside from Delta, I’m just not that familiar with any of the Brands of the higher end TS’s. One other thing is that I would like to have it portable/on wheels since I don’t have a dedicated shop, but have to share the garage space with other things.

What’s the opinion of this TS? this is at a really comfortable price point >

Thanks and I look forward to hearing your feedback!

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

69 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#1 posted 05-17-2013 09:52 AM

Grizzly often offers a lot of bang for the buck if you’re willing to be your own middleman…the savings come from lack of dealer markup (thus, lack of dealer support, but they’re customer service is excellent if needed). Jet, Powermatic, Steel City, Rikon, and the Craftsman 22116 (made by Steel City) are all possible candidates on sale. A good used saw is always a viable option if the right deal comes along. Do you have 220v?

Understanding Table Saw Classifications

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

View RPhillips's profile


1177 posts in 1831 days

#2 posted 05-17-2013 10:59 AM

I found a Steel City 35955 on amazon sold through Steel City for $1099 w/ free shipping putting that at just slightly over my budget but its a 50”, which probably over kill for my needs. But it’s priced below the 30”, which brings me to this; Can the 50” be “shortened” by removing a section the table and fence rail?

I currently don’t not have 220v, but as a former Journeyman Electrician, I could wire it if needed.

I’ve read a few reviews on the Grizzly and it seems that the motor is a weak link on these. I really don’t want drop nearly a grand on a saw not have the piece of mind that it will last for years to come. Thanks for the link on table saw classification, I’ll give that a look over tonight.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View cebfish's profile


155 posts in 2683 days

#3 posted 05-17-2013 11:42 AM

I have a 1.5hp steel city for 800.00 I love. Just don’t get the granite top go with metal top. I bought mine from tool king

View toolie's profile


2121 posts in 2624 days

#4 posted 05-17-2013 11:54 AM

IMHO, i’d try a 4512. if you get one that doesn’t experience the changing blade alignment with changing blade elevation issue, it’s a great value @ $500. if a HD can be located that will honor harbor freight’s “20 (now 25)% off any single item” coupon, it may be had for as little as $375. a 1.5 hp dual voltage motored 10” CI TS with integrated mobile base, riving knife, 30” of rip capacity, 90 day satisfaction guaranty, 3 year new tool guaranty and eligibility, with owner registration , for the ridgid LSA (free repair, parts and labor, for life) provides a great value.

if the one or two that you get are lemons, return them and look at grizzly and/or steel city. BTW, steel city has a sale till 6/30/13:

and their products are available through HD online, which, with a little coaxing, is reported to be honoring the sale prices. included is free “ship to store” shipping.

i’d try the greater value purchase first and, if necessary, spend more if you feel it’s necessary. seems to be the logical process.

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

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2282 days

#5 posted 05-17-2013 12:02 PM

No granite top? I have the granite 35990 and it’s been wonderful. I have to say that when I was buying I was under a time crunch. The 35990G was available locally and the 35990C was not. I have no regrets, but if the cast iron had been available I would have gotten it.

The only thing I have not been happy with is the split front rail for the fence. Simple solution is to pick up a length of 2” square tube and make a one piece front rail. I have an extra if you’re close :) Your split rail may be fine. I just could never get mine to line up perfectly (we’re talking thousandths)

If you go with the steel city with the split miter slots, be sure to read my posts on attaching/aligning. It’s not hard at all but it IS different from a regular top where you bolt the wings on. I find the split miter slot infinitely easier to align. No shims needed. Everything is adjustable.

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1313 posts in 1930 days

#6 posted 05-17-2013 12:24 PM

I know a bunch of guys swear by Grizzly tools if you are buying new. I would encourage you to look for a used 3 HP, buy that might be a little overkill if you want it to be mobile. I have a early 90’s Delta Unisaw that I bought for about $900 with a fence and extension table.

My advice is to haunt craigslist for a few weeks so that you can get a feel for prices. Then, when a good price comes up, jump on it. I bet you could get a clean and solid 1.5 HP mobile saw on craigslist for $300. Honestly it actually sounds like your budget might actually be a little overkill for what you need. That’s a first on LJ’s…

Good luck!

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Bullet's profile


150 posts in 3325 days

#7 posted 05-17-2013 12:51 PM

I’ve been in the same predicament for the last six months. I wasn’t sure on which way to go – new vs used – same price range as you. Finally a very nice CL 2003 Griz 1023S came up. I jumped all over it, within a couple hours of it posting, knowing how good of a deal it was ($550 – and getting a lot of Jock advice) but without letting me know there was even anyone else looking at it, they sold it. Screw it. I’m not waiting another six months for another decent saw to CL just to be let down – just a bunch of overpriced crap sold by knuckleheads who can’t even spell “Craftsman” in my area. I’m ordering a new G0715P.

-- Anything is possible when you have no idea what you're talking about.

View firefighterontheside's profile


18158 posts in 1852 days

#8 posted 05-17-2013 03:14 PM

I have a grizzly GO575 that I bought about 6 years ago and have used a lot to build furniture. I think I paid about 550 back then. From what you said that would fit your needs exactly. I have it on a shop fox rolling base that I got from grizzly. I used to have to roll it around my garage until I built a separate shop. With your budget I would buy the grizzly and use the extra money to buy some other tool or more accessories.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View R_Stad's profile


408 posts in 1838 days

#9 posted 05-17-2013 05:13 PM

I recently went through research and opinions about table saws. I started looking at used saws in the $300 to $500 range. The more I read, I started looking at better and better saws. One comment that helped me make my decision was ” I believe in upgrading as you go with the exception of a table saw. It can be somewhat traumatic to upgrade as all your jigs, etc., will have to be made again for the new saw.” My wife and I are pretty frugal (cheap), but she listened to the logic, and knew the saw wasn’t going to be something not utilized. I took delivery of the Grizzly 1023RLW about 2 months ago and am very happy I did. It’s quite a machine. Don’t mean to complicate your decision making process, because I remember being pulled in 2 directions myself. As this is my 1st post, I’d like to thank the Lumberjock community for the knowledge and experience they freely share in a kind and generous manner.

—Rod – Oregon

-- Rod - Oregon

View hardmorningwood's profile


20 posts in 1831 days

#10 posted 05-17-2013 05:23 PM

I have a Ridgid 4512 that I am selling today. I have the opportunity to get a Shop Fox w1677 for less than I am selling the Ridgid. I has it for a year and used it very frequently. The only cons are that its fence system is not that great and mine developed a clunking sound in the motor, although I cant pinpoint what it is. They are saying they will repair the motor under warranty, but if I had to buy the replacement motor from them, It was around $900. The whole saw is solid although as I said, the fence and miter slide are junk.

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#11 posted 05-17-2013 07:15 PM

”...I’ve read a few reviews on the Grizzly and it seems that the motor is a weak link on these….”

That’s news to me. They have 3 models in your price range, each with a different motor, and two models a few hundred above your price point that are substantially beefier saws (also each with a different motor).

Add Shop Fox to the list of possible choices.

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

View RPhillips's profile


1177 posts in 1831 days

#12 posted 05-17-2013 11:05 PM


I’m not saying that Grizzly is bad or on my black list, just posting what I had read…for all I can remember it could have been a different model…so I’m not entirely sure. That’s why I’m her to learn what I can so that I can make an educated decision…and by the way thanks for the feedback and the awesome blog write up on table saws.

Can you explain to me what make the Grizzly a great saw? I ask because I honestly don’t know…

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

View a1Jim's profile


117090 posts in 3572 days

#13 posted 05-17-2013 11:20 PM

Welcome to LJs
Since your new I guess you don’t know that #1 Knotscott is pretty much the Table saw expert on Ljs and #2 you must not have done a search on LJs on”what table saw to buy” because there must have been 50 threads on this very subject. Many of them have had many positive things to say about Grizzly table saws.

Hope you find the saw that meets your needs.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View knotscott's profile


8008 posts in 3371 days

#14 posted 05-18-2013 12:09 AM

It’s important to look past the name plates and not generalize based on brand. There’s often little correlation between different models of the same brand name, and they change fairly rapidly. IMO it’s more important to pick the right type of saw for your needs, budget, and circumstances, then investigate the differences between comparable saws of that type….there’s often not a ton of difference when you compare similar types of saws between brands like Steel City, Jet, GI, Grizzly, etc. Grizzly has several different designs that are good. They’re not necessarily better saws than other reputable saws, but they tend to offer more features for the money….ie: better fence, solid cast wings, etc. Many Grizzly saws come from the same factories as other more expensive Asian import saws with different name plates on them. For folks who want strong dealer support and are willing to pay the premium for it, Grizzly may not be a good choice, but for those who are willing to be their own middleman, many of their saws are very solid contenders within their respective classes and price points.

re: motor issues with Grizzly saws, I’ve not read that, so it’s likely that you’ve read about a couple of isolated problems as opposed to wide spread systemic issues. Grizzly sells a lot saws….possibly more than any other brand, so it’s logical to read of some issues. No brand is problem free….if the defect rate is the same across brands, the company selling the most saws will have the most defects. Forums like LJ’s are great places to learn about the systemic issues from people sharing similar experiences.

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

View RPhillips's profile


1177 posts in 1831 days

#15 posted 05-18-2013 01:55 AM

Thanks again KnotScott, that’s exactly the type of info that I was looking for. I had to ask because to the untrained eye (mine) I can’t tell from the pick which saw offers the best fence, adjustment mechanics, miter slots, motor, wings, table, etc.

@ A1jim: Yes, I have seen many posts suggesting that Knotscott was the in house Table Saw guru around these parts. I have read some of the reviews, which is great, but since I have Autism, many of those threads just look like big wall of text that is fairly difficult for me to read through and pick up on the more valuable information. Forums like this are great for “noobs” because they offer an effective way of gaining valuable info from typically unbiased sources. I race RC cars, and have done so for about 20 or so years and I see on a daily basis new guys starting threads there asking the same questions over and over, so I make an effort to assist these “noobs” and try to make their RC experience the best that it can be. I enjoy helping others and passing on the knowledge that I have gained over the years. :)

Don’t take this as flame, I don’t mean any insult, once again, communication is not my strong suit. I do appreciate the link that you provided and will take a look at a few more of those reviews.

-- Rob - Indianapolis IN - Learning... one mistake at a time...

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