Buying New Tablesaw - Little Help?

  • Advertise with us

« back to Power Tools, Hardware and Accessories forum

Forum topic by JimBuchanan posted 06-01-2009 11:46 PM 4381 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View JimBuchanan's profile


27 posts in 3312 days

06-01-2009 11:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw tablesaw advice powermatic 64a

I am going to buy a new tablesaw. I am currently working with a Sears Craftsman benchtop model with a stand that lacks accuracy, power and stablility. I’m also thinking of buying a jointer and planer. Depending on which tablesaw I get, I may not get a jointer or planer yet, or I may buy the Jet 10” combo machine.

I’m a little hesitant to buy the combo machine.

As for the tablesaws, I am looking at the Ridgid R4511 (granite top worries me because of chipping and possible cracking – but love that it has a riving knfe), Grizzly G0661 (riving knife is good, I don’t have any Grizzly products – some love them and some hate them), Craftsman Professional 22124, and the Powermatic 64A. If I get the Powermatic, I’m going to go ahead and get the 52” Accu-Fence as it’s only another $100 as part of the package ($999 vs. $1099). The drawback to the Powermatic and Craftsman are the lack of riving knife, but from what I’ve heard and seen, the Powermatic makes up for it with the fence and reliability in spades.

If I go with a separate planer – it will be the DeWalt 735. I found a great deal that I don’t think I could pass up if I’m going that direction.

I’m not decided on a jointer – if I get one. I’d like one, and the current Ridgid received very good marks from FWW.

I am leaning heavily towards the Powermatic and saving my money for a good jointer and separate planer. Space will become an issue with the Powermatic.

What do think?

-- Jim

22 replies so far

View PurpLev's profile


8534 posts in 3611 days

#1 posted 06-02-2009 12:28 AM

the powermatic is a proven quality machine – I personally not a big fan of the black non-see-through blade guard though. the accufence will be superb. I’m also not a big fan of the motor hanging in the back, and the lack of riving knife – although you could probably mount an aftermarket riving knife.

I personally own the Ridgid R4511 and am 100% happy with the purchase – for the price it cant be beaten. it has plenty of power, ok fence – I’ve seen better, but also worse. riving knife. GREAT mobile base built in. very good dust control, easy to use controls, and preset stops. all in all – I’d highly recommend it – and I got it for 50% of what you would get the powermatic for.

of the ones you mentioned – those are the 2 winners in my mind.. it boils down to your personal choice. both will give you good performance.

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View flarda's profile


8 posts in 3248 days

#2 posted 06-02-2009 01:35 AM

I just went through the same process. I had a craftsman direct drive TS. I went with the Ridgid 4511. I could not find anything close for the price. I also got a 15% discount as Lowes was having a sale at the time and HD matched their sale. I am very happy with the 4511. Once you get it assembled and the blade aligned properly it works great.There is a lot of information on the ridgid web site forum.

-- Flarda - "If you are not confused, you are probably not paying attention".

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3785 days

#3 posted 06-02-2009 01:37 AM

For most woodworkers a table saw is the heart of their shop. It is the tool that is used more than any other. I agree with Rob’s advice here and would like to add that, with regards to buying tools, I have found it is better to “cry once when you buy a tool rather than the 1000 times you have to use it”. The Powermatic saw is a real workhorse and should last you for many years. You will definately get your money’s worth from this saw.

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

View davidroberts's profile


1027 posts in 3448 days

#4 posted 06-02-2009 01:43 AM

you probably won’t go wrong with the models you mentioned. i can vouch for the grizzly 1023 3ph cabinet saw. great saw for the money. one note for granite tops is that you can’t use magnetic featherboards and other magnetic accessories. while not a deal killer for some, nowadays, i can’t live without them. if i had the cash, i’d trade up to a cast iron router table top just to use the mag stuff.

-- Better woodworking through old hand tools.

View a1Jim's profile


117060 posts in 3540 days

#5 posted 06-02-2009 01:48 AM

Hey Jim
This is a subject frequently broached. I’ve seen the Ridgid model before the granite model came out an it’s fence was great smooth and effortless and locked well. But I’m not a fan of granite because I can’t use my magnetic feather boards. I know Don had one of the Ridgids for sale. As far as grizzly they usually get about 98 percent in favor of Grizzly and the usual suspects that don’t like anything against when the subject has come up on LJs. I’m in the Go Grizzly group because I’ve had nothing but positive results with may Grizzly tools

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Pete_Jud's profile


424 posts in 3716 days

#6 posted 06-02-2009 02:25 AM

The table saw is the heart of my shop, I upgraded from the Bosch 4000 to a 3 ph Jet. I found it on Craigslist for 500 bucks, with the 52 inch Biesemeyer fench and the extended rails and table. It passes the “nickel” test. Loading the 600 lb saw into the pickup truck was another story. I have seen many Unisaws, Jet, and Powermatic on craigslist.

-- Life is to short to own an ugly boat.

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 3753 days

#7 posted 06-02-2009 02:25 AM

As far as your jointer/planer options go, I wouldn’t get the Jet combo machine. I checked it out up close a couple weeks ago and it looks like a real POS. I am really happy with my Craftsman Pro Hybrid Table saw. And it’s affordable. I posted a review a while back.

-- Tony, Ohio

View JimBuchanan's profile


27 posts in 3312 days

#8 posted 06-02-2009 03:00 AM

While I would like to get a Unisaw – it’s not an option. It’s $3k for the new one and $2k for the old one (new, and while Craigslist can be great… I tend to be nice to my machines – too many I’ve gone to look at have been neglected) – plus the cost of adding 220v to the garage – or the ire of my lovely bride when I ran the extension cord to the laundry room ;>).

bentlyj, could you expand on your objection to the Ridgid?

-- Jim

View ralmand's profile


162 posts in 3265 days

#9 posted 06-02-2009 03:47 AM

I saw the Ridgid Granite top at the recent Houston Wood Show. Although I was impressed with the saw overall, especially the cabinet, I was not sure about the granite top. I just took up this ‘hobby’ about a 1.5 year ago. I bought the Ridgid TS3650 and have to say that I am VERY pleased with it. It has been great, done everything I have asked it do, and more. My son in law has a Grizzly and he is pleased with it. Although he has said he wishes his top was as large as mine and all cast like mine. I checked out most other Table saws in the 500-600 range and found the Ridgid TS3650 to get the best reviews. And, it has a LIFETIME warranty.

-- Randy, Allen Texas

View 2007rusty's profile


35 posts in 3790 days

#10 posted 06-02-2009 01:36 PM

Jim, I was debating the same scenario 3 years. I had a craftsman joiner and table saw, the truth is everything i owned was craftsman. Being a General Contractor I used these tools for both work and my hobby. I was constantly struggling with accuracy and set up. I dreamed of quality tools and what i could do. As I was researching Delta, Jet Powermatic, etc. I came across an article by Norm Abram when a person in my position asked about different saws and was on a budget. Norm simply said, to him a used Unisaw is better than any new saw. I began the search. within 30 days I found a Delta unisaw 220 v. 5hp with every possible accessory for $1,100.00 and a Jet Joiner for $375.00. All are in absolutely mint condition. The original price foe the tools and accessories where $ 3300.00. Now you may get luckier than me, regardless I would save my pennies, work a part time job or whatever it takes to get the quality tools. They do make a difference. Good luck on your quest

-- I know all about hard work. It's that R & R I need to learn

View Cato's profile


701 posts in 3275 days

#11 posted 06-02-2009 01:38 PM

Jim, I had the same choice a few months back. I looked hard at the 64A, Ridgid, and Delta. In the end I based my choice on the amount of time I get to spend in my shop and also my current skill level.

I went with the R4511 as it was half what the 64A was, has a lifetime warranty, and it’s a nice upgrade for me coming from an old craftsman TS. It may be awhile before or if I outgrow the R4511. Also I should mention the granite is not a concern for me because I use it almost always for ripping and my RAS for crosscutting. If I did not have the RAS and was using the miter a lot I would have gone with a cast top.

The hybrid cabinet or cabinet design and mobile base are great if space is a consideration. A cab design will move right up to the wall and out of the way so much better than a contractor saw.

There are pro’s and con’s to every machine you are looking at, as well as opinions, but the LJ’s are right in that the TS is the heart of most of our shops, so get one with all the features you want or think you need so you will love it every time you turn it on.

Its a big confidence booster when you have the right tool for the work you are doing.

View JimBuchanan's profile


27 posts in 3312 days

#12 posted 06-02-2009 01:53 PM

Many thanks to all of you. I’ll let you know what I decide to do, and I’ll write a review of what I get. While it hasn’t cleared up my decision, it has narrowed it down a little.

-- Jim

View knotscott's profile


7980 posts in 3338 days

#13 posted 06-02-2009 03:03 PM

The Powermatic is the only contractor saw you mentioned with a traditional outboard motor and all the disadvantages of that design. It also utilizes connecting rods between the trunnion brackets that ultimately connect to that heavy motor cantilevered off the back, which can really pose some alignment issues. Even thought the PM is a more prestigious brand than the others, this is really just a 60 year old design that’s made in Taiwan, and is very similar to the Grizzly G0444Z/G0576, Delta 36-980, and General International 50-185….good saws within this classification, but in your price all represent among the poorer values in your price range IMHO.

The Griz G0661 is listed as a contractor saw, but it has an internally housed motor and a one-piece cast arbor carriage between the trunnion brackets, plus it has a riving knife. The 22124 is a hybrid format (internal motor) with cabinet mounted trunnions, and a Biesemeyer fence, and is on sale for $800 with their Buy Miore Get More 20% promotion….very well proven saw. Both have several design advantages over the PM.

The Grizzly 1023SL 3hp industrial cabinet saw is on sale for $1075 shipped, and is simply a difference class of saw, but does require 220v operation….very worthy of consideration and is more saw than the others.

There is an aftermarket riving knife called a “BORK” available for the Grizzly 1023SL and the 22124….

Here’s a look at the trunnion system of a Delta 36-980, which is very similar to the PM64s’:

Here’s a look at the trunnion system of the 22124:

And here’s a look at the trunnions of the G1023SL (check Grizzly’s website for a look at the G0661 innerds):

Buy more saw, don’t buy the brand name…

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

View pitchnsplinters's profile


262 posts in 3400 days

#14 posted 06-03-2009 05:20 AM

I watched a guy buy a Hitachi benchtop tablesaw tonight at Lowes, what a pity.

Search Craigslist. For $500 or so you can find a very nice Contractors Saw. For $1000 you can get yourself that $3000 Unisaw if you are patient.

Just did a quick search on the Dallas/Fort Worth Criagslist and found these:
General Tablesaw for $1000
Delta 36-979 contractor table saw for $550
Laguna Platinum 10” for $1525
Rigid TS3650 Table Saw for $400

Quite a selection of used saws, all posted in the last two days. Good luck.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3489 days

#15 posted 06-03-2009 05:40 AM

I like the new general 650 TS. A very nice saw. I have the old one and love it but the new one has the raving knife…

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

showing 1 through 15 of 22 replies

Have your say...

You must be signed in to reply.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics