$150 dollar max for a table saw. Yes or No.

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Forum topic by chetrog posted 05-29-2014 01:42 AM 1475 views 0 times favorited 12 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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84 posts in 1493 days

05-29-2014 01:42 AM

I have never even used a table saw in my life. I use my circular saw for everything. Next week I am going to be getting a shed in my yard. I’m not building the shed, I am going to pay somebody to do that. I told them I don’t want any shelves or benches etc. . I will be using circular saw for everything. I don’t have much money because of the shed cost. It would be awesome to rip 2×4’s. I can use the circular saw for ripping them, but it would be easier to do them. I am going to be a lot of cuts, but after the shed is done, I wont be using the tools as much. Do you guys think it would be wise for me to buy a cheap table saw. I don’t want to spend a lot so I’m thinking of getting like a Ryobi or a Craftsman . I build speaker boxes sometimes, and have always wanted to get a table saw, but don’t know if its worth the money. Thanks for your time.

-- I had a stroke a few years back, and sometimes the words dont come out as well as I would like.

12 replies so far

View knotscott's profile


8057 posts in 3405 days

#1 posted 05-29-2014 01:48 AM

You’ll probably get a better deal if you can find a decent used saw.

The ABCs of Table Saws

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

View richardwootton's profile


1699 posts in 1984 days

#2 posted 05-29-2014 02:03 AM

True statement. I got my Ridgid TS 3650 for 200 bucks and it’s a great saw, even though I have chosen to not use it in favor of using hand tools.

-- Richard, Hot Springs, Ar -- Galoot In Training

View IHRedRules's profile


113 posts in 1505 days

#3 posted 05-29-2014 02:05 AM

I second knotscott, get a good used table saw. A cheap $100 new saw will probably have you wishing you’d gotten a better one sooner than later. Then when you go to sell it, you find that it’s worth $25 bucks. You should be able to find a good used table saw for $200-$300 bucks, and down the road if you decide you don’t need it, you should be able to get back most of what you invested in it.

View JADobson's profile


1071 posts in 2140 days

#4 posted 05-29-2014 02:12 AM

I got a used Delta shopmaster for $40. There is nothing special about it but it does work well as long as I’m careful to always make sure the fence is straight and the blade is square. If all you are using it for is ripping 2×4s than that might be enough for you. Now, every time I try to use my saw for something more precise than a lot of measuring gets done to make sure the cut comes out right.

-- No craft is very far from the line beyond which is magic. -- Lord Dunsany — Instagram @grailwoodworks

View Buckethead's profile


3194 posts in 1898 days

#5 posted 05-29-2014 02:20 AM

I’m going against the grain. It sounds to me like you want to rip stock for framing and sheet goods. Use the circular saw, then buy mama dinner out.

Many circular saws have a rip fence/guide. It makes short work of repetitive rips. You can use a straight edge to make quality cuts on sheet goods.

If you’re not taking up woodworking, have very little experience with a table saw, and are already acquainted with a circular saw, plus you already have a circular saw… Plus plus plus…. Money is tight…. Save the dough. Use old faithful.

Work safe. Good luck with your build.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5140 posts in 1750 days

#6 posted 05-29-2014 02:31 AM

I’ve seen several decent used saws in the $150 range that despite having a few years on them would easily outlast a brand new $150 by quite a bit.

View SuperCubber's profile


1028 posts in 2313 days

#7 posted 05-29-2014 03:28 AM

I’m with Buckethead.

-- Joe | Spartanburg, SC | "To give anything less than your best is to sacrafice the gift." - Steve Prefontaine

View KS_Sparky's profile


26 posts in 1652 days

#8 posted 05-29-2014 10:47 AM

I have a cheap Craftsman saw and hate it. The only positive thing I can say is that it is compact when I’m not using it. When I am using it, however, it is too small. The fence and miter guage are junk. Both are too small and take forever to set up accurate cuts. Nothing wants to stay square. Also it is really easy to noticeably bog down the motor.

I don’t have the experience to be giving advice, but I wish I had done something different. Hope that helps.

-- apprentice Electrician, IBEW L.U. 226

View JayT's profile


5679 posts in 2240 days

#9 posted 05-29-2014 11:40 AM

It’s a rare day when a woodworker discourages someone from buying a tool, we are usually the worst kind of enablers.

That said, I would agree to not buy the table saw for several reasons. It almost seems like you are wanting to buy a $150 saw in order to save $50 in materials by ripping 2×4’s. It would take a lot of lumber for the table saw to pay for the cost difference between buying 2×4’s instead of just buying 2×2 furring strips or 2×3 studs. A circular saw with a good edge guide can do a lot of what is needed, especially in rougher, framing application. For sheet goods, a good circular saw and the edge guide are in many ways superior to the table saw, especially for safety.

Now, since we are enablers, if you decide you just have to have a table saw, there is nothing new in that you can get for $150 that is worth it. Better to try and find an older, used, belt-drive Craftsman contractor saw—they pop up in many areas of the country for that price range and are a LOT better tools.

-- In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock. Thomas Jefferson

View redSLED's profile


790 posts in 1922 days

#10 posted 05-29-2014 12:37 PM

My “middle ground” answer to you goes like this. Sounds like you MIGHT be doing some wood working in the future (you mentioned speaker boxes) – so I’d say buy the table saw for $150, use it for what you want, clean it up and prepare to sell it used for $99. right away – or hang it up on your basement wall while you consider that you will in fact use it again for an upcoming project. A table saw is a relative joy to use vs a circular saw for project cuts. Or buy one used for $100 and do the same as above.

-- Perfection is the difference between too much and not enough.

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2399 days

#11 posted 05-29-2014 01:26 PM

It sounds like you’re ripping the 2×4’s for some shelving construction inside the shed? What are your plans, and what is the shed going to be used for? Why are you ripping 2×4s? Not knowing the size of the shed, but assuming a backyard shed is not that big, I would get a couple sheets of 3/4” plywood and and Kreg jig and build some simple cabinet bases for it. All you would need is a edge guide jig for the saw (easy to make) and the Kreg jig, and a couple clamps (I use the blue/grey F-style ones from Harbor Freight).

I’ve built a few speaker boxes in the past for car audio installations. If I was building speaker boxes and had a shed and limited funds :

- Make an edge guide for the circular saw. Takes all of 10 minutes and some scrap plywood. This would let me break down larger sheet goods all day long with great results. Chances are you’re not going to be managing a full 4×8 sheet in the shed, so you’d have to drag the table saw out? And even then, an edge guide would be safer, especially for a one man operation with a budget saw.
- Build the wall cabinets on one side to be a miter saw station like the one here. With long fence and a decent stop, you’d be set up to do repeatable, accurate crosscuts. The stop would allow you to cut, then flip, and cut again wider boards accurately. Your $150 budget for a saw would cover a used miter saw.
- On the opposite wall, have a decent-sized assembly table attached to the wall so it could fold down when not in use. Fold out legs on hinges provide support when the table is in use. A 3’ deep 4’ long table should be adequate.
- Above the assembly table, make a rack for tools,supplies you commonly need while building the boxes, so they’re always within reach.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View chetrog's profile


84 posts in 1493 days

#12 posted 05-30-2014 01:47 AM

I appreciate the information from everyone. I think I am just gonna stick with my circular saw, and use the rip fence. After my shed is done, if i still need one, I think I will save some money on a better table saw. The shed will be a very small shed 10×12. With a rafter of some sort.

-- I had a stroke a few years back, and sometimes the words dont come out as well as I would like.

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