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Forum topic by jp90 posted 10-09-2013 07:14 PM 1680 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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23 posts in 1915 days

10-09-2013 07:14 PM

I bought my first table saw a little over a year ago, and I think I’m ready to upgrade. It’s a basic Delta contractor saw with cast iron top and stamped metal wings. It’s a direct drive screamer, with a pretty crummy insert (this metal that flexes. not enough room depth wise to make my own either). The fence isn’t so hot either. ALL THAT SAID, it only cost $100 and I’ve managed to do quite a bit with it.

Well there’s a locally advertised Powermatic 64A (with cast iron extensions and little use). I’ve read positive reviews, as well as a lot of reviews of this saw saying it’s simply overpriced. Assuming I can get it for around $400, would you say it’s a worthwhile upgrade, or will I barely notice the difference between it and my current contractor saw? What about resale value?

One positive for the powermatic over a larger cabinet saw is that it will run on 110V, so if my landlord isn’t into me adding a 220 line, it’s ok. The other argument against buying the cabinet saw of my dreams is that in roughly 2 years I’ll be moving across the country, so there’s a good chance I’ll have to sell some larger tools. PLUS, i’m still pretty new to “finer” woodworking—I’ve been a builder/framer for some time.

I do see a number of decent used cabinet saws for sale in the $500-$800 range, so I wonder if I should just spend a little more.

Thanks for the advice.

10 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#1 posted 10-09-2013 07:29 PM

You’d be taking the step from a small compact saw with a universal motor to a full size saw with a belt drive induction motor, and likely a much nicer fence. The PM64a is a nice saw, and should be worth $400 if it has solid cast wings and a PM Accufence or Vega fence. (It’s pricey at $1000 new, but $400 for used in good condition is a good deal IMO). You’ll notice a lot more room in front of the blade, more stability, more torque, much better precision with the fence, and it’ll be a lot quieter. There are nicer saws, but this one can do just about everything you’d want, and could be the last saw you ever own. The plus side about buying it used at the right price, is that it’ll still be worth about what you paid if you ever want to upgrade to a full cabinet saw.

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

View Tedstor's profile


1678 posts in 2808 days

#2 posted 10-09-2013 07:33 PM

The noise of a direct-drive table saw would drive me crazy.
That said, the belt-driven motor/arbor on the Pmatic would be a HUGE upgrade for ‘me’.
The fence on the Pmatic also appears light years ahaed of the Delta.
I think you’d definitely be happier with the Pmatic. But to be honest, that particular model isn’t overly fancy. Lots of other contractor saws, with similar (or better) features can be found used. Heck, a Craftsman .113 with a good fence can be had for less than $200 and would keep-up with that Pmatic. I’m not saying the 64A is a bad saw. I’m sure its great. I’m just not sure it represents a particularly good value. Especially if you think you can get a (good-condition) cabinet saw for an extra few hundred….then you should probably go that route. It would likely be that last table saw you ever had to buy.

View jp90's profile


23 posts in 1915 days

#3 posted 10-09-2013 07:39 PM

Tedstor, aside from the craftsman, what other contractor saws are out there that you think are a better buy than the PM?

Thanks for the tips, everyone.

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1678 posts in 2808 days

#4 posted 10-09-2013 08:17 PM

I commonly see Delta/Jet/Ridgid/craftsman contractor saws for $200-$250.

And to be clear: I’m not trying to discourage you from buying the Pmatic. $400 is not a bad price. And it appears to be a good saw (see reviews). Knottscott made a great point when he said that you could likely resell it for $400 if you ever outgrew it. But you don’t seem to be in a hurry to upgrade. So if a cabinet saw can be had for $500-800, I think it might be worth holding out for.

View Dan'um Style's profile

Dan'um Style

14178 posts in 4158 days

#5 posted 10-09-2013 11:42 PM

buy the 400$ powermatic … you will be happy with it

-- keeping myself entertained ... Humor and fun lubricate the brain

View jonah's profile


1873 posts in 3474 days

#6 posted 10-09-2013 11:54 PM

Those direct drive Delta saws were (and remain) terrible. Sure, they’re a little better than a bench-top saw, but they are just not good. Any contractor saw will beat them in every way.

I briefly had a similar saw to yours, and was happy to see it go (it broke).

Any induction motor saw is worlds better than what you have. $400 is a fair price for the Powermatic. I’d jump on it and never look back.

View stephan's profile


24 posts in 2447 days

#7 posted 10-10-2013 08:47 PM

I would wait for a deal on a used cabinet saw. I picked up a Delta Unisaw that was made in 1990 [ very clean and runs like a champ ] for $200 but it didnt have a fence system. I spent 400 for a Biesemeyer fence so for $600 I got a really nice saw.

-- Stephan

View jp90's profile


23 posts in 1915 days

#8 posted 10-11-2013 01:51 PM

Well I went ahead and bought the PM. For $420, he threw in an oneida dust deputy and some hoses. I obviously haven’t used it a lot yet, but it is clearly a serious upgrade from the Delta I had. I thought about holding out for a cabinet saw, but honestly I think this will meet my needs. Plus, I can actually move it with a friend when needed!

Time to tune it up.

Thanks for the advice, everyone.

View firefighterontheside's profile


19257 posts in 2032 days

#9 posted 10-11-2013 05:41 PM

If you put it on a mobile base, you’ll be able to move it all you want. I went from a cheap craftsman with a universal motor and all the other bad stuff to a grizzly contractor saw with a great fence and 1.5 horsepower and believe it is all I will ever need. The only upgrade I might ever do would be a hybrid with 110 power, but if so that’s far off. Enjoy that saw.

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

View knotscott's profile


8140 posts in 3551 days

#10 posted 10-11-2013 07:48 PM

Congrats. I went from a Delta 36-600 compact (similar or identical to your old one), to a nice General International 50-185 that was really similar to your PM64a….it’s was night and day….so much more space, much better fence, much quieter, much more stable….just a nice saw that I could have lived with for the rest of my life. As it turns out, a great deal on a Craftsman 22124 hybrid, then a great deal on a Shop Fox W1677 cabinet saw turned out to be my progression, but I would have been just fine with that GI contractor saw if t hose deals hadn’t popped up. Good luck with yours…..align it, put a good blade on it, and post some pics for Pete’s sake!

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

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