Does anyone use a jobsite saw as their primary TS?

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Forum topic by RibsBrisket4me posted 12-15-2014 07:02 PM 4755 views 0 times favorited 41 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1526 posts in 1926 days

12-15-2014 07:02 PM

Topic tags/keywords: job site saw dewalt bosch ridgid table saw portable

I would really like to hear from the woodworkers out there who use a jobsite saw as their primary table saw.

Do you feel limited?

What workarounds, compromises do you encounter?

What miter gauge set up do you use?

I know most of us here covet the cabinet saw, but I have to think there are many woodworkers out there making great stuff with their Bosch, Dewalt, Ridgid, Makita, etc job sites saws.

I’d love to get your input on this.

41 replies so far

View paxorion's profile


1100 posts in 1466 days

#1 posted 12-15-2014 07:28 PM

In this past year, I alternate mainly between makerspace shoptime on a Delta Unisaw, and my Dewalt DWE7491. To a lesser degree, I also use a SawStop contractor saw with the T-Glide fence in my guild shop. There is a noticeable difference, but if you curb your expectations, you can get a good amount of woodworking done on a jobsite saw.

Here are my highlights:
  1. Infeed space is the first major difference. Jobsite saws generally provide ~5-7 inches of infeed space, whereas a contractor/hybrid/cabinet saw will provide 12-14” of infeed space. Less infeed space meeds less fence registration space and material support before a cut. Depending on the size of material you work with, material support to the left of the blade will also be a factor.
  2. The fence is the second major difference. I don’t think any jobsite saw will match the heft of a Biesemeyer style fence. My experience is with both the Delta made Biesemeyer and the SawStop T-Glide. Even though my Dewalt fence has many compelling user-friendly aspects of it, it is a thin aluminum vs. steel square tubing with solid faces. Deflection hasn’t been a problem yet, but I suspect it has a lower tolerance for flexing/deflection.
  3. You’re more likely to bog down the motor of a jobsite saw than a 1.75HP+ motor. I have yet to really bog down the Unisaw cabinet saw, rarely bog the SawStop contractor saw, and definitely bogged down my Dewalt many a time. This one can be overcome by feed rate, blade selection, and possibly taking multiple cuts for deeper cuts.
  4. Surprisingly, vibration is not as much an issue on my Dewalt. It’s amazingly stable with just the rubber feet. However, don’t expect it to pass the nickel test.

I’ve split my work between those options and find that I can accomplish smaller projects on the jobsite saw. From a safety standpoint, I haven’t built enough jigs to feel confident about safely working larger workpieces with my jobsite saw (i.e. crosscut 12”+ in length, or rip material that is wider than 24” and 48” long)

-- paxorion

View JayT's profile


4680 posts in 1632 days

#2 posted 12-15-2014 07:49 PM

Not any more. I used a Delta jobsite saw for a couple years as my only table saw.

Did I feel limited? Somewhat. Since I use a lot of hand tools, a table saw was primarily to rip to width. Looking back versus where I am now using a Craftsman contractor saw, I realize there were more limitations than I had realized. More importantly, current saw is much quieter and safer—due to being more stable, larger table and better fence. Two of those issues could have been solved by building a workstation, but I found the current saw for a bargain price first. The quality of cut was also pretty poor on the jobsite saw, so required more cleanup before proceeding with a project.

Workarounds? Because of how I was using it, not very many.

I was using the stock miter gauge, especially since the slots were not standard width.

Now, all of that was on an older jobsite saw. If you had one of the newer saws, especially the larger jobsite saws like the DWE7491 (or the older DW744), Bosch 4100 or similar, then they have a bit larger tables and standard width miter slots. That would help a little bit. You are still going to deal with the louder and less efficient universal motor and lower mass. Regardless, you can still produce quality projects by working through the limitations.

My biggest problem with getting one of those is that for the price of a good quality jobsite saw, you are at nearly the same cost as a contractor saw from Delta, Steel City, Ridgid or Craftsman that are just much better saws for woodworking and don’t take up much more room.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2796 days

#3 posted 12-15-2014 09:50 PM

....My biggest problem with getting one of those is that for the price of a good quality jobsite saw, you are at nearly the same cost as a contractor saw from Delta, Steel City, Ridgid or Craftsman that are just much better saws for woodworking and don t take up much more room.

- JayT

These guys have given some excellent insights. If you NEED portability, it’s hard to get around that fact. If not, you can do good work with a portable, but there’s next to no advantage in going with a portable over a decent full size saw….price or performance.

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

View Loren's profile


8159 posts in 3069 days

#4 posted 12-15-2014 10:05 PM

You can do it but they tend to be underpowered
for ripping 8/4 hardwoods.

I think a little old Delta tilt-top 9” saw is a nice one
for joinery and the footprint is real compact. They
are accurate because the arbor is fixed.

Now in terms of ripping a band saw works well
but of course the blades are not as durable as
table saw blades.

Saws with universal direct drive motors are also
more annoying to the ears… high frequency sound.

There’s the Scottish guy who developed some interesting
jigs for exapanding the accuracy and safety of
portable table saws…. called the Jimmie Jig.

View paxorion's profile


1100 posts in 1466 days

#5 posted 12-15-2014 10:13 PM

My feedback is on one of the larger jobsite saws. I used to have a bottom of the line saw and it was utterly useless. It was too light, impossible to adjust, and an utterly useless fence. In short, an accident waiting to happen (for me). The jump up to the highend jobsite saw (Dewalt) represents the extent of I was willing to go. I debated between the Dewalt, Bosch, and Ridgid. In the end, the Dewalt had the most compelling fence to ensure it locks down parallel to the blade.

As Jay and Knotscott pointed out, IF you need portability. At home, I need portability to move my saw in and out of my house to use. In short, I accepted the downsides of a jobsite saw for the portability.

-- paxorion

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2462 days

#6 posted 12-15-2014 10:23 PM

I have the Bosch 4100 or some number. Get a good blade and no problems. Don’t have a mitre gauge but assuming anyone of the good brands would work better then the crap it comws with. Cuts cherry, bloodwood, black walnut no prob. Cut a lot of wood on it with the Diablo thin curf, beatiful cuts. Never felt limited except wide cuts, ply wood, wide table tops, but i usully use a circular saw for that stuff. What can i say the finish carpenter/framer comes out in a pinch.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View OSU55's profile


1039 posts in 1410 days

#7 posted 12-15-2014 10:44 PM

I have the Bosch 4100. I primarily make furniture. I have this saw due to space constraints. If I had enough sq. ft. I would have a hybrid or cabinet saw set up with permanent infeed/outfeed, etc. I don’t, so the Bosch is the work-around. It sits on a shop made cart with lockdowns, and is very stable. The biggest limitation is breaking down full sheets of ply. I have tables I set up for infeed/outfeed, and I do have to be careful with a full sheet – I can move the saw with that much leverage. I weight it down when doing this. The 2nd limitation was the factory blade, but that can be said of about any saw – a Freud Diablo combination blade solved it. With the Diablo blade I realized a lot of the saw noise wasn’t the motor, but the factory blade – it’s much quieter now. I suppose another limitation is dust collection – The Bosch isn’t bad, but I’m sure the enclosed saws are much better – thing is, the dust that’s a problem for me is what’s above the table, and none of them have that solved.

The saw has all the guts I’ve needed – it will cut right through 3” thick red oak. The only time the saw bogs is due to stress relieving the wood grain during rip cuts and pinching down on the blade. I guess if I needed to feed 3” thick wood at a fast rate I would make use of a larger motor, but the saw has had plenty of motor for my uses. I use a router vs dado blades, so I can’t comment on that.

I use the miter gauge that came with it, but I don’t use it a lot. I drilled and tapped the runner and installed nylon screws to take up the slack. I use sleds for cross cuts and 45°. The miter works ok for in between angles when needed.

Other than the table/infeed/outfeed space (for which I set up tables at deck height when needed), I don’t feel compromised at all. I’m sure there are some things folks do on cabinet saws that might be an issue on the Bosch, but I haven’t come across that situation yet. I suspect it would have to do with managing large pieces. I do commonly crosscut 10 ft long lumber. The fence works perfectly fine for me, but I haven’t used one of the top-a line models, so I don’t know what I’m missing.

We all have to make decisions based on our situation and needs, which involves lots of compromises. The result may not be the best of any single aspect, such as a table saw, but the best system with which we can do what we want or need to do.

View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 2998 days

#8 posted 12-15-2014 11:23 PM

There have been very many post of folks that bought a job site saw that sold it in a year or less to upgrade to a saw with a bigger table,better fence and more power. unless your only going to make very some projects like bird houses or small boxes I would suggest getting a bigger saw. It’s not impossible to use them for bigger projects but it can be very challenging,because they tend to bog down unless you really slow down your feed rate,tip over when sawing longer heavier pieces and the fences tend to flex. a larger contractor style saw can be purchased used for the same amount or less as a job site saw.

-- Custom furniture

View jeffswildwood's profile


1287 posts in 1398 days

#9 posted 12-16-2014 01:01 AM

I have a bare bones skil table saw. All I could afford and space available. I do hope to up grade in the future if I can. Limitations are many. Accuracy, power and table size are the most limitations. I overcome size with a circular saw. Accuracy I fight every time. Measure using a tape measure at the front and back of the blade to the fence. I still use it every project and my projects seem to come out fine. Just a real challenge and time consumer.

-- We all make mistakes, the trick is to fix it in a way thats says "I meant to do that".

View RibsBrisket4me's profile


1526 posts in 1926 days

#10 posted 12-16-2014 01:43 AM

Thanks for all the great input. BTW cost is not an issue. Space and portability is.

I have always seen the limited infeed space as a drawback but figured that could be mitigated with cross cutting with a miter saw. Also the BT3 type saw used the sliding table to get around that as well.

It seems the new motors with soft start and electronic speed control have upped the ante on these saws. Fences are always a worry but reading some magazine reviews it seems these have gotten better as well.

It’s great to hear those who are cutting hard woods with these saws. I know these saws are not perfect but there seems to be quite a few people using them from various website reviews. I was wondering how much the users like us, who have pretty high standards for our tools really like them, or did they feel like the just couldn’t wait to upgrade because the compromises were too great for them.

View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

9325 posts in 3473 days

#11 posted 12-16-2014 02:08 AM

Bosch ~4100 on a fixed base… Love it!

... found a good deal via Craigslist a few years ago.

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

View coachjohnson's profile


21 posts in 1753 days

#12 posted 12-16-2014 02:19 AM

I’ve only ever used a job site saw and have gotten by just fine. Started with a Skil brand 10 inch saw and now using a porter cable 10 inch jobsite saw. I can break down sheet goods with circular saw. Lol I reach shop in high school and have a top of the line saw stop and honestly I like my little contractor saw better

-- Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.

View knotscott's profile


7146 posts in 2796 days

#13 posted 12-16-2014 02:28 AM

There is a new portable Saw Stop that might be worth some thought…. ~ $1300. Handy for protecting hot dogs. ;-)

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

View wseand's profile


2754 posts in 2462 days

#14 posted 12-16-2014 04:15 AM

It reminds me of the Bosch in looks, obviously a few more upgrades. $1300 seems a bit steep, they remind me of Apple, arrogant and overpriced. I bet that sucker is a real brute of a saw dust maker though. Wondr if they will dicker, my Bosch and my Delta 6in portable jointer straight across.

-- Bill - "Freedom flies in your heart like an Eagle" Audie Murphy

View mIps's profile


187 posts in 1475 days

#15 posted 12-16-2014 04:37 AM

While I would consider it slightly more than a job site saw, I have a Ridgid R4512 for my only TS and it works well. I like the riving knife and blade covers, as well as the on-board storage fro all the tools and accessories that come with it. The expandable table is also nice to have when needed.
I dislike that the body of the saw is plastic but, really, for a mostly portable saw I didn’t really expect much else.

-- Be honest, honorable, kind, work hard, and generally be awesome.

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