Need table saw advice

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Forum topic by MedicKen posted 03-13-2009 03:13 AM 2779 views 0 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1615 posts in 3487 days

03-13-2009 03:13 AM

I am thinking seriously about upgrading my table saw. I have a Craftsman hybrid and it has done fairly well since I purchased it a few years ago. I have noticed that it is slightly underpowered especially in thicker stock. But I expected it being it is only 1.5hp. I knew that when I bought it I wouldn’t have it forever, a good starter saw but now my skills have improved as well as my comfort with the bigger saws I want to move up a notch or 3.

I do not have nor want to go to the expense of 3 phase power, so that limits my choices somewhat. I would like 3-5hp but will have to keep the amp draw down. I have 240V currently but only wired for 20 amps. I know I should have gone to 30amp when I rewired but I didn’t, shame on me for not thinking far enough ahead for future table saw changes.

So with 3-5hp and less than 20 amp draw that limits a little more. There is one saw that I keep going back to, Powermatic PM2000. I like the idea of the built in mobile base, the riving knife and the dust collection around the blade. I have looked at Delta, yeah I know there’s a new Uni on the market, but I don’t feel like being a guinea pig for the first year of a new tool. We all know the bugs haven’t been worked out yet and I don’t wanna be a beta tester. Sawstop would be another option, but a very pricey choice at that.

My questions are: Does anyone here have the PM2000? How is it holding up? Any problems with customer service? Any input would be greatly appreciated.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

23 replies so far

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3847 days

#1 posted 03-13-2009 03:32 AM

Here is a review that was posted 25 days ago. It may help to contact Tom to see if he can address some of your questions.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#2 posted 03-13-2009 03:36 AM

I would honestly take a look at your wiring first. Since you’ll have to run thicker wire for the bigger saw, rewire with good 12 gauge and see if that helps your saw.

I’ve sawn 2 1/2 inch walnut with out bogging my contractor saw down. While thick stock might take a little longer, spending thousands to save seconds might not make the most sense.

EDIT: 99% of the OMG 220 rocks on my 1/5HP motor comes down to the rewiring. Bad wiring == high voltage drop, meaning inefficient motor.

View ChicoWoodnut's profile


904 posts in 3841 days

#3 posted 03-13-2009 03:41 AM


I thought running 220 to the saw decreased the amps in each leg so the wire from the breaker to the plug could be smaller.

Uh oh, now I went and did it.

-- Scott - Chico California

View Primitiques's profile


24 posts in 3441 days

#4 posted 03-13-2009 03:43 AM

steel city table saws are awesome…..guy from powermatic started this company….same saw…..40% cheaper..mine has been perfect for 2 years now…..NO problems!!!!!!

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 3487 days

#5 posted 03-13-2009 03:50 AM

Its another zip code saw. I want to get away from Craftsman, if you look at the saw its almost identical to what I have now.

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#6 posted 03-13-2009 04:14 AM

Chico, it does, you can. People tend to rewire anyways.

Anyways, rewiring is a hell of a lot cheaper than getting a new saw because shoddy wiring is giving you poor performance.

Every time I see a “my saw bogs down on thick cuts I need to double the HP” post I wonder what junky saws people are putting out now days. But it tends to be the wiring.

I keep doing things with my saw that people say are impossible with it. Ripping maple and cherry without burning, thick stock. 8” dado sets cutting 1 inch into 4×4’s etc.

Edit: I own no Thin kerf blades, so no, that’s not it.

People still can’t get over the urge to plunk a bunch of cash down for a new shiny tool.

View LesB's profile


1748 posts in 3468 days

#7 posted 03-13-2009 05:52 AM

He with the best toys wins (-;
I would vote for a new shiny saw but choosing between Saw Stop, Powermatic, and the new Delta would be tough to decide. I won’t get into the Eurpoean makers because their price is out of site. If saving you fingers is a priority go with the Saw Stop at Wood Crafters. Actually the jury has not come in with a solid opinion on the new Delta but it has some nice features. What ever you decide I suggest a left tilting mode.

-- Les B, Oregon

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3789 days

#8 posted 03-13-2009 06:21 AM

I’m with Marc on this one. And on Primi’s comment, I think it was some guys from Delta that started Steel City, not Powermatic. The Steel City saws you have to educate yourself about what your buying from them, the Cabinet saws they sell are mostly Hybrids, if you want a industry standard Cabinet saw from them you have to buy one of their Deluxe Cabinet saws. Kind of decieveing if you ask me.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#9 posted 03-13-2009 02:25 PM

Some info I’ve received from MedicKen really points to the fact that his saw is just a piece of junk. He’s done his footwork.

I wish him the best of luck picking something new.

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 3699 days

#10 posted 03-13-2009 02:43 PM

I should add that 5HP on a 10 inch blade is a waste of potential. You can’t feed the wood fast enough with a sharp blade to have the motor itself be the limitation.

If you go with a 12 or 14” blade that’s different as you get a higher SFPM thus more cutting action over the same period of time, this gives you higher feed rates and thus more need for torque..

All that being said I have to say there seems to be a difference between my 1.5 HP and the 1.5HP on kens saw. So if you find an older Unisaw with an old 1.5HP motor (that was an option on them) I think you’ll see a difference.

View Charles Mullins's profile

Charles Mullins

94 posts in 3737 days

#11 posted 03-13-2009 03:07 PM

Here I sit typing with five fingers on the right hand and three on the left. Yeah, I come up a little short on the left.

All the saws you mention are good saws, I can’t speak for the Steel City saw , but I have used most of the others.

I ask you, how much is a finger worth, or two fingers worth? The Sawstop I have used a lot and it is a very good saw, IMHO. It’s easy on the fingers too.

Charlie Mullins

-- God makes the wood beautiful--I simply rearrange it to make it more useful, hopefully.

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 3789 days

#12 posted 03-13-2009 03:18 PM

Yeah, another SawStop scare tactic sales pitch.

View knotscott's profile (online now)


8057 posts in 3401 days

#13 posted 03-15-2009 02:33 AM

I’m running a Shop Fox W1677 3hp saw on a 220v 20 amp circuit with no issues.

For clarification, Steel City has executives formerly from both Delta and Powermatic onboard. I would not hesitate to go with any of their saws, including the lighter duty 3hp models. They no longer feature the trunnion system with connecting rods like their earlier hybrids and Craftsman “zipcode” saws. Even the “lighter” duty saws are plenty robust for hobby and light industrial work, and now feature cabinet mounted trunnions with a one piece cast blade shroud as an arbor carriage. The newer models also have riving knives instead of splitters.

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

View 8iowa's profile


1580 posts in 3786 days

#14 posted 03-15-2009 03:27 AM

Electrically, one should not put a motor on a circuit whose full load amperage exceeds 75% of the circuit breaker’s rating. This will put you closer to the 2HP range, not 3hp. On initial start-up, electric motors draw around four to five times the full load current. Thin kerf blades go a long ways toward improving the performance of lower HP saws.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View dusty2's profile


323 posts in 3454 days

#15 posted 03-15-2009 03:46 PM

If you are just yearning for a new saw in the shop, go for it. You’ve gotten a lot of good advice here and there are a number of good saws that you can buy for as much money as you are willing to spend.

But if you are a simple hobby woodworker with a table saw that bogs down some I would say that there are other ways to deal. Especially if this saw has been fully functional for your needs in the past.

Good sharp blades, thin kerf maybe, good power to the shop and maybe a new motor or a set of new bearings in the motor.

Hope you’ll keep us posted on what you decide to do!

-- Making Sawdust Safely

showing 1 through 15 of 23 replies

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