Which Table Saw To Buy??

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Forum topic by John posted 11-18-2014 05:54 PM 4331 views 0 times favorited 75 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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100 posts in 3940 days

11-18-2014 05:54 PM

I have a 25 year old Craftsman table saw and it needs to go. So, what do I buy? I would like to build some cabinets, bookcase or two, and the like.

I don’t want one of the simple ‘mobile’ table saws because I’d like to have a good-size top.
I can’t afford a cabinet saw because I don’t intend to make a living with it (although I wish I was!).

So, I guess I need a contractor saw? I’m thinking in the range of $500 to $800. What would you guys recommend?

Oh, I also can’t afford a Saw Stop – which would be pretty sweet!

Is it worth buying a used saw if I can “afford” a new one? That is, a used ‘cabinet saw’ so that I get higher quality saw for about the same expense.

Advice anyone?

-- Thanks!

75 replies so far

View hoosier0311's profile


706 posts in 2049 days

#1 posted 11-18-2014 06:03 PM

Depending on what model Craftsman you have maybe worth refurbing, some of the old older ones are fine saws?

-- atta boy Clarence!

View oldcans's profile


22 posts in 3038 days

#2 posted 11-18-2014 06:35 PM

If you have some patience I am sure you can find a good cabinet saw in your price range. I found a Jet with a 50” cut capacity and a router lift for $450 a couple of years ago and have passed up similar saws about a dozen times since then because I definitely do not need or have space for multiples. Watch for estate sales, yard sales with tools, and going out of business sales involving contractors or almost everything in the building trades. Good luck hunting.

-- Dan, quartersawn oak = oak with stretch marks

View Tedstor's profile


1643 posts in 2657 days

#3 posted 11-18-2014 06:38 PM

I also have a 25 year old Craftsman that ‘needed’ to go…..until I tuned it up and installed a $200 fence (Delta T2).
Now I wouldn’t even consider replacing it until I can afford a cabinet saw (which won’t be anytime soon).

You could buy a Ridgid 4512 or the new Delta contractor saw, which are both in your price range. But neither would be appreciable upgrades over a Craftsman 113 series with a new fence.

But to your original question. I think used saws almost always represent the best value. Many of the high end table saws I see on Craigslist have barely been used, and are sold for WAY less than new. For $400-500 you can get a cabinet saw that originally sold for $1500+......and still has 30-40 years of service ahead of it.

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

5910 posts in 3218 days

#4 posted 11-18-2014 07:30 PM

Tedstor is on the right track with the refurb of the old Craftsman…...I have a 1985 Crapsman, and about 4-5 years ago did the same thing…..Go to my blog and read “A new look for an old workhorse”....You can take one of these old saws, put a little $$$ in them, and have a good saw again…...Think about a cabinet, also….

-- " At my age, happy hour is a crap and a nap".....

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6859 posts in 4003 days

#5 posted 11-18-2014 07:36 PM

Personally, I would buy a good used cabinet saw.

The difference in precision is remarkable, and you’ll never regret having a great quality machine.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View ex-member's profile


186 posts in 1798 days

#6 posted 11-18-2014 07:56 PM

Buy a 1942 Festonic-Powermatic SAWSTOPPER tenoniser from craigslist (Bobfromdeviousorigins is the best)...point it to the wood and it does the rest.

View neonzeon's profile


1 post in 1309 days

#7 posted 11-18-2014 07:57 PM


When I came to the decision to get a ‘good’ saw I did a lot of research. I wanted to save buy refurbishing a classic but I could not find a worthy piece near me. Try Craigslist if you have the time & patience, you might find a jewel.

I saved for a year and bought a Steel City Cabinet saw. 2HP, 110 or 220, pro fence, large cast top, all for 1000.00, drop-shipped to my driveway. I could Not be happier. I’ve had it for two years now and still love it.

1. Research – get it right, ask
2. Save – don’t rush, you want something that will last

Good luck.

View knotscott's profile


8056 posts in 3399 days

#8 posted 11-18-2014 10:37 PM

If you have 220v available, I’d certainly peruse the used market in your area for a nice 3hp cabinet saw. If not, the usual candidates in your price range are the Ridgid R4512, nearly identical Cman 21833, Delta 36-725/36-5000, and Steel City 35990.

The R4512 and 21833 have some baggage to check into – many of them have been plagued with an alignment issue… on those impacted (it’s not all) the alignment shifts when the blade is raised or lowered. There’s no cure if you get a bad one. For those not plagued, most owners are happy. Basic aluminum fence, steel wings, table mounted trunnions.

The Delta seems to have the best fence of the bunch IMO, and generally has a decent reputation. It hasn’t been out as long as the R4512/21833 or the Steel City, but it’s got a good following in this price range. Steel fence, steel wings, table mounted trunnions.

The Steel City 35990 is the only one to offer cabinet mounted trunnions, which make alignment easier. I don’t hear too much about it. It’s available with steel or cast wings, or solid granite. AFAIK SC offers a 5 year warranty.

The Grizzly G0715P pushes your budget a little, but is something to consider. It’s got very similar guts under the hood as the R4512 and 21833, and also suffered some of the alignment issues. It’s got a stronger motor, better fence, full enclosure, and solid cast wings….the motor may do better on a 220v circuit due to the amp draw.

You might find a sale on a Craftsman 22116 by Steel City/Orion to bring it close to budget. It’s essentially the same saw as the former SC 35930….granite top, cabinet mounted trunnions, nice Biese clone fence, full enclosure.

The ABCs of Table Saws

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

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 2995 days

#9 posted 11-19-2014 09:18 AM

If you go over to that little rectangular box to the right of the page and type in “which table saw to buy” then click the magnifying glass for a search of Lumber Jocks, in .31 seconds you will be presented with a list of 52,000 times this question has been asked.

Just sayin

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1317 posts in 1959 days

#10 posted 11-19-2014 01:50 PM

Cabinet saws are a step up and in my opinion, very much worth it. If you are patient, you’ll see some good deals on CL on some good saws. I was quite impatient and I bought a unisaw in near mint condition with a 3 hp router to boot for $1050. Not a great deal, but not a bad deal either and I have never regretted it. Surely with some patience, you could find a good cabinet saw for under $800.

Tablesaws are so abundant that buying them used in my opinion is the best way to go about it. Good used planers and especially jointers aren’t so easy to find, so buying them new is a little more reasonable to me. But for a tablesaw, used is the way to go.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View timbertailor's profile


1594 posts in 1448 days

#11 posted 11-19-2014 03:26 PM

I suggest going out and putting your hands on the newer models before deciding.

Upgrading the fence and dust collection is about all the older models really need to make them better than their newer, comparable designs. I am just itching to install an Incra TS Fence system.

Seems they are more worried about the shipping weight now a days, then the strength of the overall table.

-- Brad, Texas,

View gawthrrw's profile


207 posts in 2471 days

#12 posted 11-19-2014 09:48 PM

I too had a craftsman and upgraded it with a Delta T2 fence, as well as link belt and machined pulleys. It made all the difference in the world! I even started making my own Zero clearence inserts. I loved that saw and made a lot of furniture with it. I now have a Sawstop, but the only reason I upgraded was because the craftsman got broken in a move.

-- Rob, Dallas TX

View Woodknack's profile


11774 posts in 2404 days

#13 posted 11-19-2014 09:59 PM

Short answer:

If you’re not willing to spend that much then buy the $600 Delta.

-- Rick M,

View John 's profile


100 posts in 3940 days

#14 posted 11-20-2014 05:52 PM

Depending on what model Craftsman you have maybe worth refurbing, some of the old older ones are fine saws?

- hoosier0311

Well, I wish it were the case that I had a “good” old one, but it’s really not worth putting anything into. Thanks for the suggestion though!

-- Thanks!

View John 's profile


100 posts in 3940 days

#15 posted 11-20-2014 05:55 PM

If you have some patience I am sure you can find a good cabinet saw in your price range. I found a Jet with a 50” cut capacity and a router lift for $450 a couple of years ago and have passed up similar saws about a dozen times since…...

- oldcans

Well, this is a REEEAAAL eye-opener! I guess I didn’t consider used because of a concern that I could drop $500 on something that turns out to be broken. Seriously need to reconsider that. If I find one that appears to be an incredible deal, like what you found above, how can I know if it is in good shape? Should I shy away from purchasing one from a shop where the tools are heavily used, or is that the best place to get one since they probably took good care of it?

-- Thanks!

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