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Dewalt DWE7491RS table saw for new workshop?

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Forum topic by InThatNumber posted 01-14-2014 01:59 PM 9892 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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InThatNumber

6 posts in 1064 days


01-14-2014 01:59 PM

Hi guys, first time posting over here. Hoping someone can tell me if I’ve got a dilemma or not.

First off, I’m very much a novice weekend woodworker. I really got into it a little over a year ago and have been making do with what I’ve had, which is not much. I don’t have a shop or garage – instead, I pull my tools out onto the carport when I’m working on a project and put (most of) them away when it gets dark. As for tools, I’ve mostly been working with my dad’s borrowed table saw, which is a one of those Ryobi’s with the fold away stand. I started off with some built-ins for an entertainment center, then built a few pieces of furniture (two console tables), refinished a few pieces, then was hired by a friend who’d seen my tables to build a desk for a reception area. A few photos:

Console Table (Unfinished):

Console Table (Finished):

Reception Desk:

Now I’ll get to the point:

I’m planning on building a garage/workshop in the next few months and starting to build up my tool collection. I’ve had my eye on a Rigid R4512 or the similar Craftsman model as the table saw to build the shop around. Unexpectedly, for Christmas, my dad gave me a Dewalt DWE7491RS saw as a gift (apparently he figured out by how frequently I borrowed his little Ryobi that I needed a table saw). No question the Dewalt is near the top of the line in terms of jobsite saws and the reviews I can find all say it’s very sturdy, but I’m very torn now because I’m not sure it’ll really do the job in a woodworking shop – with my skill level right not it’d be find, but I’m concerned that I’d outgrow it in another year or two and need something heavier, more accurate, etc.

Has anybody built a weekend woodworking shop around this or a similar saw, or just have opinions on this saw being used for that purpose? If my concerns are overblown I’d like to keep it because it was an overly generous gift and my dad was pleased that he found something perfect for my current set up (i.e., needing something powerful and sturdy that I can drag back into the shed every night), but if I’m going to regret it in six months when I start trying to fill a shop in around it then I’d go ahead and see about exchanging it now. My budget won’t allow me to go out and by a Jet or Delta so those aren’t options (I know there are inexpensive ones on CL from time to time, but let’s just assume I don’t want to explain to my dad that I’m returning this saw for cash to spend on a used saw).

Thanks in advance for any thoughts!


8 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#1 posted 01-14-2014 02:09 PM

like you mentioned – it might be a great jobsite saw, but that’s what it’s aimed at – jobsite. for a homeshop for woodworking in mind while this saw will work, I would personally advise against a universal motor if at all possible (all jobsite saws) – it’s too loud, with a shorter life expectancy, the saws are lighter in weight and do not compare with the rigidity and stability of belt driven saws. jobsite saws are also smaller in footprint, so the table itself (work space) is smaller, especially the space before the blade which makes it more difficult to cross cut wider boards (something useful for woodworking, but not something you’d expect to do on the job site).

to sum it up – if possible (you have the space and $$$ to swap) I would go for a hybrid/cabinet saw

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7216 posts in 2842 days


#2 posted 01-14-2014 02:42 PM

Ditto what Purplev said so well….

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

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1536 days


#3 posted 01-14-2014 03:25 PM

FIrst of all nice work!

Second, knotscott is THE tablesaw GURU so you should probably ignore this post.

I find your situation similar to mine in a few ways, but thats another story. About a year into my apprenticing, I decided it was time to get my own table saw. I did my homework and research, and got the best saw that I could afford, that was available to me in my area. I ended up with a Ridgid R4510. In those early days, that saw was epic to me. I used it on nearly every project, and it never gave me much trouble. It has a 26” rip capacity so cutting down sheets wasn’t a problem. I upgraded the saw as I could, and over the course of a year I had an incra miter gauge, a forest WWII blade and a zero clearance insert. I also picked up a microjig gripper. This saw is pretty much as good as it will ever be.

While I have outgrown the saw, and am looking at a cabinet saw, I was talking to the gf last night about how Id still keep the ridgid. While I do want the improved accuracy and other benefits of a cabinet saw, having something you can throw in a car, take anywhere and do decent cuts with is invaluable. I can fold it flat and tuck it away anywhere. No cabinet saw can do that. I will never get rid of the thing. I also have a small bench mounted TS right in my bench setup, so yeah I guess that means someday Ill have 3 table saws. Is that obsessive?

Sorry for the long rant, but I guess my point is this….your dad gave you a great gift. He loves you and wanted to go the extra mile and get you a sweet tool. Your Dewalt is better then my ridgid will ever be, and Ill never get rid of it. Im not saying this will be your last saw, but I do suspect itll always see its time in the shop, and your dad will be happy too. When you outgrow it you could always leave it as a dedicated dado machine or somehting else. My vote is family first, keep the saw.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View InThatNumber's profile

InThatNumber

6 posts in 1064 days


#4 posted 01-14-2014 04:14 PM

Thanks for the thoughts guys. PurpLev pretty much spelled out a lot of my concerns.

Change in circumstances in the last few days though (it took 4 days for my first post to make it onto the board). My dad came over to help me set up the Dewalt, and before I could even hint that maybe there was a saw out there that fit my needs better he was telling me about how he researched table says and this is the top of the line, how sturdy people say it is, how great the motor is, etc. Once I saw how much thought he put into the gift there was no way I was telling him it’s not a great fit for a woodworking shop (he’s more of a rough carpentry, fences and decks kind of guy). He did mention that if I ever outgrow it and need a real cabinet saw I’d probably still use if all the time for on-site work (he knows that about 50% of that reception desk above had to be done overnight on-site because the studio couldn’t shut down to allow a working day), which is a good point. So, my plan for now is to do as much as I can with the Dewalt, build a shop, fill out the rest of my tool collection, and then eventually upgrade when the time is right. Basically, I’m following The Box Whisperer’s path.

So, that said (and not to hijack my own thread), but if anybody has thoughts on how to get the most out of this saw for the next couple of years I’d be all ears!

Thanks again guys… looking forward to learning from everyone around here—-

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1536 days


#5 posted 01-14-2014 09:13 PM

Hey, glad to hear someone is following my path so to speak! That being said you may well have twice the talent I do, but I am certainly happy to help in any way I can.

First of all, I cannot give enough props to Knotscott and Purplev. These guys know their stuff, I read a lot on here and I can tell you they simply dont give bad advice. 99 times out of 100 you will go their route!

Not to rehash what I already posted, but to upgrade that saw, Id get or make a zero clearance insert and get a good blade. I use a 24 tooth WWII blade, its great. Knotscott has forgotten more about blades then most mortals could ever learn. Then Id look at the miter guage. My ridgid stock one is more suited to my belt sander. I got a nice incra one, although you can make your own as well.

Then you want to look at sleds. A good crosscut sled is obvious. Also, with a saw like this, when you tilt your blade to 45, it can deflect a little and ruin your mitered cuts. Boxguy (another GURU) has posted a blog on his 45 sled that lets you keep your blade at 90. This guy is a genius.

If you want to be more specific abotu the type of work you plan to do, Id love to help in any way I can. Keep us posted, and keep posting!

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View InThatNumber's profile

InThatNumber

6 posts in 1064 days


#6 posted 01-14-2014 10:42 PM

(You want a long rant? I’ll show you ranting!)

For now, my woodworking goals mostly consist of building pieces to fill in a few holes in my own house and a few projects friends have asked me to take on for them. My builds right now are as much about trying out new techniques as anything, and for the most part I’ve just been copying other people’s designs (the console table is a reproduction of a Restoration Hardware piece I liked that was built using a doweling jig, and I’ve done a serving piece based on Pottery Barn’s workbench console table that was mostly to experiment with a Kreg jig). The desk was a project that a friend of mine asked me for that went in the reception area of a yoga studio he was hired to redesign – by far my most complicated build so far with at least 200 pocket holes in it. No telling what projects he’ll throw me in the future, but that’s my one paying gig so I’ll take what I can get and do my best with it.

Coming up, I plan on experimenting with dovetails (I got a dovetail jig for xmas and I’ve had a router for a year I’ve never used, but I also want to try a few different methods I’ve read about) and some other older joinery methods (like mortise and tenon) so that I can build pieces where the joinery is featured, rather than hidden. I suspect all of this will be used on larger pieces – tables, dressers/chests, etc. I may do the occasional smaller piece as well though I’ve seen some cool cutting boards and lamp bases that I’d like to make as gifts.

I noticed during assembly that the miter gauge is pretty weak, so that’ll have to get replaced soon, and I’ll take a look at the other items you recommend above.

As far as a sled, I’m concerned that the small work surface will make a sled difficult (though to be honest I’ve never used one before).

After spending half the day looking at shop setups with jobsite saws I’m thinking maybe a Ron Paulk style workbench would let me overcome some of the limitations of the Dewalt. I could remove the stand to keep in case I need to do another on-site build, but the bench would add a larger surface to work with and some more heft (the Dewalt is pretty light). It would also solve my lack-of-workbench problem for a while.

View The Box Whisperer's profile

The Box Whisperer

678 posts in 1536 days


#7 posted 01-15-2014 01:21 AM

Wow, youve been thinking! Sounds like you have a good plan and have put together some good experience. It also sounds like we have some similar experience and tools. My kreg jig is a workhorse for me.

Your ability to be able to look at something and build it later out of memory will make you money, at least it has for me. The hard part is explaining to potential clients WHY I cant do it cheaper then they can buy it at pottery barn or wherever (ok maybe I can do cheaper then pottery barn, but you get my drift). If you keep your yoga guy happy he will likely recommend you to other clients.

As far as the joinery goes, Im always looking for new ways to do things. My dads xmas gift was a set of boxes using rabbeted, pinned corner posts. Ill have to get those posted. There is an absolute ton on here, and the community is super helpful.

Using a sled, I think your table would be at least as big if not bigger then mine, and I have built mine custom sized to fit. Your plan to fit the saw in a Pualk style bench is great. Being able to drop it in an out of the portable rig gives you the best of both worlds. Buy or make some nice hardware to make the change over fast and easy. Then you can put on a nice full sized fence of your choice. The T-style is the most popular although myself I prefer incra fence setups. The only reason I have not done a Paulk style setup myself is I know that someday Ill get a sawstop, and so Im just waiting that out.

You should post your shop on here so I can see what you have. I should get off my ass and post mine too. I had it up but Ive moved. Maybe Ill get on that tomorrow.

-- "despite you best efforts and your confidence that your smarter and faster than a saw blade at 10k rpm…. your not …." - Charles Neil

View PurpLev's profile

PurpLev

8523 posts in 3115 days


#8 posted 01-15-2014 05:48 PM

sentimental values beats common sense day in and day out – you did the right thing ;)

and as you mentioned, you can always get another saw down the line and use this one as a portable solution.

bottom line – this is still a great saw, and will do what you need it to do. these are essentially only tools. it’s the hand of the person using them that is the real art maker. :)

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

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