Need advice on 1st table saw

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Forum topic by WalterB posted 11-07-2013 05:38 PM 792 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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8 posts in 1103 days

11-07-2013 05:38 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw tablesaw help advice old equipment restoring

Even though I’m old, I’m new to woodworking, and would like a table saw for my garage shop. I have been reading hundreds of posts on this topic here, though I just joined today.

What might make me different than others, is that I really am mechanically challenged. I have written off Steel City saws because I know I could never put one together. An older saw is appealing if it will last, but I have no interest in making a restoration project out of one.

So, knowing that new bearings, etc mean hiring someone else to do it, should I still consider saws like this Unisaw:
It seems like once it was running right, it would probably run forever with my hobby usage, but is it practical to fix it up when I would have to hire someone to do that? I’d love owning and using it, just not the repairing it.

BTW, I could probably replace the on/off switch myself if it was just 2 or 3 wires. I do some electrical around the house, just nothing mechanical.

FYI price: My price limit is what I won’t feel guilty or foolish spending. If I spent $800 and then got tired of woodworking and sold it for $600, I’d be fine with that. If I bought new for $600 and then sold for $300, I’d feel foolish. And if I bought a new cabinet saw for $2,000, I’d feel guilty because I don’t yet know how committed I am to my new hobby.

PS I’ve been reading a number of wood forums, and I keep coming back to Lumberjocks because I like the tone and the variety of members. I’m confident that even though I’m new, the members will be helpful and not condescending.

Thanks in advance,

6 replies so far

View Tedstor's profile


1625 posts in 2055 days

#1 posted 11-07-2013 06:17 PM

That unisaw has a three phase motor, you probably don’t want that. In fact, unless you have a 220v outlet in your garage, you’ll want a saw with 2 hp or less that can run on a standard 120v line.
Check your local crasigslist. link possible contenders to this discussion thread. There are plenty of will members that will gladly evaluate them for you.
A 1980s/1990s Delta contractor saw would probably be your best play. Craftsman saws from that era are good too, inexpensive, and plentiful. But you’d likely have to upgrade the fence.

View tomd's profile


2022 posts in 3193 days

#2 posted 11-07-2013 06:35 PM

I am old too, so my out look is you can’t take it with you and I’ve bought enough old, cheap tools from now on I’m getting new good tools so I can enjoy them. Remember your not spending any of your money just their inheritance. So go get a brand new Stop Saw.

-- Tom D

View tengallonhat's profile


79 posts in 1178 days

#3 posted 11-07-2013 06:48 PM

A used saw is a good way to go, you can get a good saw at a good price. Like Tedstor said a contractor saw you can get off of Craigslist is going to be a good bet to get you started. Like you pointed out on the resale value, if you really like the hobby you can always resell what you buy now and get a different saw.

The one thing I would encourage you to do regardless of what saw you buy is to take the time to become ‘somewhat mechanically inclined” as it pertains to tuning and aligning your saw. This mainly means checking and aligning your fence periodically. You also want to be able to know how to align your blade horizontally and vertically. While these things don’t come up often, they are certainly things you should try to learn. I avoided them for a while and had a few issues that could have been easily avoided had I just taken the time to learn.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3000 days

#4 posted 11-07-2013 07:44 PM

I would suggest you look at a new Ridgid 4512 it falls in the price range of a used saw and will have a warrinty . If you find you don’t like woodworking you ought to be able to sell is for a hundred or two less than you bought it for ,if you make that choice in a year or two.

Here’s a blog by our resident table saw guru that I give all of my students.

-- Custom furniture

View dbray45's profile


3147 posts in 2199 days

#5 posted 11-07-2013 07:55 PM

I don’t normally say this but I will, only because you stated that you are mechanically challenged, and a seasoned citizen, AND new to woodworking -

Spend the money and buy a Stop Saw.

The risks outweigh the costs. I am not joking either, a table saw cuts fingers and arms off faster than you can blink. Having not being familiar with this type of equipment, go the safer way out.

-- David in Damascus, MD

View okwoodshop's profile


448 posts in 2598 days

#6 posted 11-07-2013 08:36 PM

If you know any wood workers in your area that would let you try there saw out, maybe it would give you an idea of what you need. A hobby saw doesn’t need to be a cabinet saw. What kind of projects are going to try??

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