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Used table saw math?

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Forum topic by Hugh1 posted 03-05-2015 01:30 AM 1231 views 0 times favorited 21 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Hugh1

4 posts in 1366 days


03-05-2015 01:30 AM

OK, I need some advice regarding buying a table saw. I am ready to upgrade from a direct drive saw and am looking for three things in a new saw: 1) a belt driven motor, 2) at least 2 HP, and 3) a good, reliable fence. I currently have only 110V service in my garage but a friend offered to help me upgrade to 220V for about $50.

After scouring this site for advice and comparing with craigslist, it seems that a Emerson model Craftsman saw can be had for about $130 to $200, meeting #1 and #2, but the reputation is that the fence fails #3. Another option is to buy a craftsman saw with lower HP for less than $100 and replace the motor, but this may have a $200 price tag.

While less common, I did see Ridgid 4500 series saw for about $235, if I remember correctly. I think it is a bit shy on HP, at 1.5, and some reviews have suggested that the fence is a weak link.

I have seen Delta Unisaws for $325 to $500 that would need some significant work to restore and/or convert to single phase 220V power. By my figures the price tag of running a 3 phase saw in my garage is at least $250 with a VFD, and one saw I was watching in Walland, TN cannot be tested because the owner does not have 3 phase power either. Another in the $600 price range (Lewisburg, TN) has a broken fence. Several others between $800 and $1000 seem to be in better condition and run on single phase 220. It also looks like a belt set for these saws runs about $50.

I have also seen some Powermatics for about $800 to $1000.

Any decent fence upgrade seems to cost from $200 for 30 inch rails to around $300 for 50 inch rails.

So, in your opinions (any is welcome), what really makes sense to invest in a used saw and its upgrades? Does it make sense to spend $200 on a craftsman and then put $200 into a fence on it? Does it make better sense to do this for a Ridgid? How about a Unisaw, how much should one be willing to put in the total package for an older model with a great reputation? How do these options stack up against a new Rigid or Grizzly?

I am not in a big hurry as I can borrow a friend’s saw for a project or two, but I am struggling with figuring out what really is my best option. Thanks.

Hugh


21 replies so far

View TheFridge's profile

TheFridge

5765 posts in 950 days


#1 posted 03-05-2015 01:39 AM

A sawstop Tsa-pfa fence can be had for $150. IF you’d even consider a babies saw I’d say save your money and wait for the saw the saw that you want. Why buy something inferior if it will be replaced in the future. Plus a used cabinet saw holds its value pretty well when taken care of.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#2 posted 03-05-2015 01:59 AM

Don’t expect to find anything on CL in just a few days.. patience pays. Otherwise, OWWM rule #7 usually bites you.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

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knotscott

7214 posts in 2840 days


#3 posted 03-05-2015 02:12 AM

Be aware that those old Craftsman saws that say “3hp” on the front of the saw, only say “1.5hp” on the motor plate….so that may not meet criteria #2. They can be decent saws with a fence upgrade…some of the later model actually have an upgraded fence. Once the price of a used contractor saw gets much over $300, some of the newer saws with riving knives and warranty start to have some appeal. At $400 I’d be looking for a really good fence and solid cast wings at a minimum. Note that the vast majority of saws intended to run on 120v, will be less than 2hp.

In many cases the Craftsman and Ridgid saws have been nearly identical over the years, coming from suppliers like Emerson, TTI/Ryobi, Steel City/Orion, and now Dayton….it’s better to compare the actual saws, not the brand name. With any brand, be as specific with models and era as possible….they’re not all created equal just because they sport the same name tag.

Interestingly, the new Ridgid R4512 and Cman 21833 are nearly identical, and both have a similar trunnion system as the current Grizzly G0715P, but the G0715P has a better fence, solid wings, full enclosure, and stronger motor. The 21833 has a slightly larger motor than the R4512. All three had a history of alignment issues early on, but these issues have supposedly been resolved. The new G0771 is a bit different than the G0715P…it has cabinet mounted trunnions and an aluminum fence. The G0732 is not a full size saw. The G1023RL is the best bang for the buck in a new industrial 3hp cabinet saw IMO.

This one might be worth $250 if in good shape…can’t hurt to look, and offer less if you like it.

This one could be worth an offer…maybe $275…$300 max if it’s really nice. It’s got cabinet mounted trunnions.

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

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Shadowrider

183 posts in 673 days


#4 posted 03-05-2015 05:26 AM

I got a pretty nice Unisaw for $700 off of Craigslist. Bear in mind this was the base saw only. Seller was asking $1200 for the whole package but I’m pretty sure I could have gotten it all for just under $1000. He was very negotiable. I told him I only needed the base saw because I was going to put an Incra TS-LS fence on it along with a leftside router table extension. He said he’d be open to selling the fence, blade guard, and table extension separately, so I offered him $700 and he took it. In hind sight I may have gotten it for $650, but we were both happy. Like MrUnix said patience will take you far in these things. In the end I’ll have the Unisaw with all Incra goodies for the same money I was going to have in the just new G1023RLX I was fixing to order. I would have still had to add all the Incra.

Here’s a thread on it and a couple pics.

http://lumberjocks.com/topics/77185

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Garbanzolasvegas

356 posts in 691 days


#5 posted 03-05-2015 05:32 AM



OK, I need some advice regarding buying a table saw. I am ready to upgrade from a direct drive saw and am looking for three things in a new saw: 1) a belt driven motor, 2) at least 2 HP, and 3) a good, reliable fence. I currently have only 110V service in my garage but a friend offered to help me upgrade to 220V for about $50.

After scouring this site for advice and comparing with craigslist, it seems that a Emerson model Craftsman saw can be had for about $130 to $200, meeting #1 and #2, but the reputation is that the fence fails #3. Another option is to buy a craftsman saw with lower HP for less than $100 and replace the motor, but this may have a $200 price tag.

While less common, I did see Ridgid 4500 series saw for about $235, if I remember correctly. I think it is a bit shy on HP, at 1.5, and some reviews have suggested that the fence is a weak link.

I have seen Delta Unisaws for $325 to $500 that would need some significant work to restore and/or convert to single phase 220V power. By my figures the price tag of running a 3 phase saw in my garage is at least $250 with a VFD, and one saw I was watching in Walland, TN cannot be tested because the owner does not have 3 phase power either. Another in the $600 price range (Lewisburg, TN) has a broken fence. Several others between $800 and $1000 seem to be in better condition and run on single phase 220. It also looks like a belt set for these saws runs about $50.

I have also seen some Powermatics for about $800 to $1000.

Any decent fence upgrade seems to cost from $200 for 30 inch rails to around $300 for 50 inch rails.

So, in your opinions (any is welcome), what really makes sense to invest in a used saw and its upgrades? Does it make sense to spend $200 on a craftsman and then put $200 into a fence on it? Does it make better sense to do this for a Ridgid? How about a Unisaw, how much should one be willing to put in the total package for an older model with a great reputation? How do these options stack up against a new Rigid or Grizzly?

I am not in a big hurry as I can borrow a friend s saw for a project or two, but I am struggling with figuring out what really is my best option. Thanks.

Hugh

- Hugh1


iFit has RIDGID on it RUN LIKE HELL…. Even of they offer to PAY you to take it! RUN AWAY LIKE HELL!

-- If you don't Play, you can't win

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

4226 posts in 1663 days


#6 posted 03-05-2015 08:09 AM

I have to mention that, in all honesty, your ‘math’ is based on flawed assumptions. “I have seen [...]” prices don’t mean squat. About the only real number you gave is the $50 for wiring up 220V at your location, and even that is subject to debate (I wired a 50A 220V outlet in my garage for under $20). If you watch CL, E-bay, machinery auctions and other sources for used equipment long enough, you will see numbers all over the board; from people paying you to haul stuff away, all the way up to astronomical (see the “Craigslist posters have gone nuts” thread). What you find today will not be what you find tomorrow, next week or next month. If you want a good deal, you have to wait for it to find you and be ready to pounce when it does (and then a better one will come along sometime after that!!). And until that happens, anything else is just random numbers.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - To be old and wise, you must first be young and stupid

View EEngineer's profile

EEngineer

1061 posts in 3078 days


#7 posted 03-05-2015 10:29 AM

It is always a matter of time vs money – if you spend more time you can spend less money, if you spend more money you can spend less time.

But I have to question a few of your assumptions…

I have been running an old Craftsman contractor saw (Emerson 113 series) for about 7 years now. My story sounds a lot like what you want yours to be – find it here , see the saw here .

At first, the saw seemed a little gutless to me. But as time went on I did two things that improved it considerably – I rewired the saw and I rewired my shop.

The saw originally had the small rocker switch that Sears provided with the saw mounted to the bottom of the table. The switch plugged into the wall and the saw motor plugged into it. Maybe, I say maybe, it was 18 AWG wiring. When I rewired it, I purchased a decent machinery switch from Grizzly and wired 12 AWG cord to the saw motor and new switch. That alone made a world of difference.

My shop was in a detached garage and the house was built in the 1920’s. Back then, all the garage had to support was a couple of naked bulbs in the ceiling. The garage had one outlet that I used for years with an extension cord hooked up to one tool at a time. A few years ago, I rewired my shop. I pulled new feed out to the shop and installed a sub-panel. When I pulled the old feed I checked with a micrometer and found that the old feeder wasn’t even 14 AWG! All my new wiring in the shop (lots of outlets on every wall in the shop) is good, solid 12 AWG.

My saw is running the original 1HP motor on 110 VAC. I have ripped 4/4 cherry, 4/4 black walnut, 3/4 oak, and miles of 3/4” MDF and plywood with no problems. I laugh a helluva lot every time I see comments like “babies saw” or read another endless discussion about 220 vs 110. And the search for endless HP? I really don’t understand it. But, then, I am only a hobbyist. Maybe if I was doing woodworking for a living I would see the limitations of this saw but for right now my “babies saw” does me just fine!

Keep looking! Craftsman made and sold that Emerson 113 series for more than 50 years! I don’t think that was because it was a bad design. There are a helluva lot of them out there and one of them has your name on it. Take the 1 HP motor, mind your wiring from end-to-end and you might be pleasantly surprised! If not, one of the beauties of the contractor saws with the motor hanging out the back is that it is soooo easy to upgrade the motor. I see a lot of used motors on CL, too. My fence upgrade came from CL and it cost a lot less than what I see others paying for brand new fences here.

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View Minorhero's profile

Minorhero

372 posts in 2069 days


#8 posted 03-05-2015 11:21 AM

You either need to set a budget or if your budget is a moving number based on how much you have saved up, you need to figure out what features are most important to have.

A grizzly hybrid saw with a 2hp motor, acceptable fence and belt drive for 775$ delivered. This beats any of the ridgid, dewalts, contractor style saws by a wide margin. A full blown grizzly cabinet saw will run you about 1400 delivered. If your price range stretches this far then that is a good option.

Lesser saws can be had for cheaper. And keep in mind, you can reuse fences. So if you drop 200 on a fence, you can reuse that fence again on other saws down the line.

View Bill7255's profile

Bill7255

354 posts in 1749 days


#9 posted 03-05-2015 01:00 PM

I would go with a cabinet saw. I had a Jet 1980’s era and it was a great saw. The main reason I sold that saw as I couldn’t retro a riving knife. I believe ther are retro’s for the Unisaw and PM66’s. The grizzly saws get very good reviews and if your budget can afford it, that is a good way to go. I ended up buying the SawStop for various reasons, but that saw is $3K+. A great saw, just expensive. The thing about a cabinet saw is it will last you much longer than a contractor and most have decent fences. If I could have upgraded the Jet I might still have it.

-- Bill R

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canadianchips

2352 posts in 2461 days


#10 posted 03-05-2015 01:09 PM

EEngineer has hit it on the head.
With a little effort and time those older crafstman saw run a long time. Motors can be changed easily, fences can be improved. “Although I don’t know why ? I have used my original fence since 1977”, I build scratch built kitchen cabinets with it for many years. I did upgrade the table extension and I have built a router table extension on one side as well.
My fence is the aluminum fence, with a sing nut to tighten fence to rails, NOT the CAM LEVER type, the cam lever type wasn’t that great….
IF YOU need a new shiny saw go for it and pay the bucks.
If you want a satisfactory job, taking an extra moment to adjust fence, an craftsman 113 series will be all you need.
The only features that a NEW saw will have is saw stop,
Once again its your choice.
I wouldnt trade my craftsman for anything , I have used all the others, I am satisfied with what I have.

-- "My mission in life - make everyone smile !"

View dhazelton's profile

dhazelton

2325 posts in 1761 days


#11 posted 03-05-2015 01:20 PM

You mention saws from $130 to $1000. What you spend depends on how much you plan on doing with the saw. You haven’t told us that. People’s recommendations are probably based on what they have and how they use it.

View rwe2156's profile

rwe2156

2198 posts in 945 days


#12 posted 03-05-2015 01:29 PM

Does it make sense to spend $200 on a craftsman and then put $200 into a fence on it?
No.

how much should one be willing to put in the total package for an older model with a great reputation?
$1K

*How do these options stack up against a new Rigid or Grizzly?
I would check out the Grizzly best bang for the buck, IMHO.

You’re budge is pretty low to get a quality machine.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View Hugh1's profile

Hugh1

4 posts in 1366 days


#13 posted 03-05-2015 05:10 PM

OK, I guess that I have to clear up some confusion/questions. I am a home hobbyist and regularly work with dimensional lumber (pine 2X’s and 3/4 hardwood) and sheet goods. However, I am also a forester and scavenge and resaw free logs for a variety of projects. My old saw (Delta direct drive) destroyed its internal belt (for the third time) working with 8/4 red oak from a tree in my neighbor’s yard. This is why I am in the market now and favor more HP.

I have been watching c-list for about a month and have inquired about several saws. One of my top picks, a Cman with a 3HP motor, sold the evening before I was scheduled to look at it. Yes, I can likely find better deals if I wait longer, but they still doesn’t get at the heart of my question.

I admit that I was looking principally on the lower end because I am cheap, but my wife and I are also planning a family vacation to Alaska for this summer. I just am not ready to drop $500+ bucks on a saw right now. However, a saw from that price up to $1,000 may not be out of the question if I can save up for 8 months to a year. It is just that a year with no TS seems like a very long time now, and maybe I do need a “babies saw” for a year or more.

While this thread has included one vocal critique of Ridgid ;-), there have also been some positive comments about Grizzly saws, which were already on my radar screen. Their contractor saw and their hybrid are on sale now for less than $700. So, this does seem to be a reasonable point of comparison; it doesn’t make sense for me to put a total of $700 bucks including upgrades into a used table saw that then has similar features to the Grizz.

Yet, what I am struggling with and seeking more feedback on is how much does it make sense to invest in a used saw and its upgrades. I gather that most folks agree that a good deal on a cabinet saw can be had in the $800 to $1,000 range, and some folks have scored even greater deals. But these are still higher than the Grizz at $700 and may be 30 years old. I find myself asking, what else might be wrong with a 20+ year old saw that may cost me money?

As for the lower end saws that I was considering, I am not sure how to age the Emerson Crftmn saws, but according to one reply, some of these saws could be 50 years old, leading me to ponder what else may not last much longer on them. One of the saws that I was considering has had a motor replaced recently, but the ad suggests that it was only for more HP not failure of the original. Belts are small beans, but I gather that folks are also concerned about bearings, pulleys, trunnions, cranks, etc.

While I am not frightened off by the idea of refurbishing or upgrading an older saw, I am really seeking some additional feedback about 1) how much in total to put into a used saw and 2) how long one can expect these saws to last. I just don’t want to waste my greenbacks. If I can get a heckuva good saw for $300 that will last me for years, I am cool with that. But I don’t wanna put $500 in a saw that dies (forever) and leaves me unable to recoup my investment or have to put enough more money into repairing it that I would have been better off buying a new machine.

Yes, I know that there are some major differences involved in the cost benefit analysis too. I figure it is worth putting a new fence on a solid and well-cared for Unisaw that meets all of my criteria, but is it worth putting a $200 to $300 fence on a Craftsman that already cost me $200? This is strictly subjective, but please weigh in with your opinions. I appreciate your counsel so much that I took this time to post and clarify my questions, but ultimately I will still wrestle with making my own decisions. Thanks.

Hugh

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

7214 posts in 2840 days


#14 posted 03-05-2015 05:34 PM

How I’d proceed would depend a lot on the particular saw, the condition of it, and the buying price. Age isn’t as much an issue as usage and maintenance in many situations, and some saws are truly built to take more abuse. A nice older saw with a nice new fence might be worth the time and cost involved, but still won’t have a modern riving knife or a warranty… those are things I’d consider, but wouldn’t rule out anything until all the details of the decision were available.

I’ll reiterate that most “3hp” Craftsman contractor saws are really only 1.5hp. Any of these 1.5hp induction motors that are set up correctly should have notably more torque than a similarly rated universal direct drive motor, but they’re still well short of a true 3hp motor that would require 220v operation.

With that said, this new listing of an approximately 15-18 year old Ridgid TS2424 made in the US by Emerson looks to be in good shape, has a decent fence already, and is worth the asking price of $200 IMO. It’s only 1.5hp like most 120v saws. That’d be a step up from what you had… with a decent blade and good alignment, it might just suit your needs. If not, it’ll buy you some time to find that perfect saw, and it’ll still be worth ~ $200 down the road.
http://nashville.craigslist.org/tls/4917828232.html

Based on what I’ve seen in your area, this Ridgid will probably go fast.

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

View Minorhero's profile

Minorhero

372 posts in 2069 days


#15 posted 03-05-2015 07:23 PM

Age doesn’t really mean anything to a saw, its what abuse it has had done to it. A brand new saw that was thrown into the ocean for 1 month will need a complete restoration, and might never be usable again without re-machining. compared to a 100 year old saw that has been properly looked after its entire life is good to go for another 100 years.

That said, there are things to look for when buying used. If the saw in question is 20+ years old it will very very likely not have a riving knife which is too bad as this is a great safety feature. The saw will almost certainly need new bearings. Unless the current owner can tell you the bearings in the arbor and in the motor were replaced within the last 10 years you should just assume you will need to do it. You also need to be on the look out for bad arbors (which cause blade wobble). Buying and installing a new fence is no big deal and if the price is right on the saw should be seen as a non-issue because that money is easily recoverable by removing the fence when you want to upgrade to a new saw or when you sell your saw.

Replacing bearings is not a big deal, and making sure the components inside a saw like trunions etc are not cracked when buying a saw is no big deal either. However, if you do not want to do this activity then you do not want to buy a used saw, it is as simple as that. This is required maintenance, like getting an oil change for a car. If you are unwilling to do it then you need to buy a saw that wont need it done for 20+ years which means a new saw.

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