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Forum topic by Bill posted 01-08-2007 05:05 PM 21623 views 0 times favorited 47 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bill

2579 posts in 2828 days


01-08-2007 05:05 PM

I know this is one topic that everyone has an opinion about.

I am in the market for a table saw for my shop. I am just starting my research, so any help is appreciated.

With the usual constraints of space and budget, what are your recommendations?

- Cabinet saw or contractor saw
- What brands are most reliable
- What are best features to look for (e.g. – fence, left tilt, etc.)
- What extras improve the saw (table extensions)

Thank you all for your assistance.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com


47 replies so far

View Joel Tille's profile

Joel Tille

213 posts in 2911 days


#1 posted 01-08-2007 05:50 PM

Bill – Welcome to Lumberjocks.

I have a General (made in canada) contrator saw, left tilt, 2 HP motor. My previous was a used 8” Craftsman bench saw. This is like night and day for me, I have had this saw for about three years now. I do woodworking as a hobby, so cost was an issue for me that kept me out of the cabinet saw line. One thing I did after market was purchased machined pulleys and the Power Twist Link Belt. This virtually eliminated the vibration I had in the saw. I have also changed the belts on my lathe and drill press to the Power Twist Link Belt. I like the left tilt, no binding under blade and between fence. I know some will say move to the other side gives you the same on the right tilt, but sometimes I don’t have the space for the fence.

It would seem to me that a cabinet saw would be easier at collecting the dust. I have recently purchased some Grizzley tools and have been very pleased with these tools and the support I have needed ( new bandsaw blade that broke).

-- Joel Tille

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2841 days


#2 posted 01-08-2007 06:22 PM

I’ve been using a RIDGID contractor saw with stock fence for about two years now. They had some arbor issues with their older models, but I looked into it and do not have those issues on my model. I think I got mine for the low $500’s; not sure where they price at right now.

It took just a Saturday morning to set it all up, and RIDGID made sure I had every part I needed. The tops were dead flat and the blade was set up properly off the line, as well. All I did was remove the grease and add some paste wax to the top.

I purchased a Power Twist Link belt, but the pulleys are designed to work with a special belt that RIDGID makes, so I’ll have to get the right pulleys to complete that change… But I’m not sure how quickly I’ll get around to that, as I have very little vibration as it is.

I’ve been very pleased with it, though, and it will probably be some time before I change it out with anything else. In fact, the only change I’ll probably make with it is to switch it out from 120 so as to draw fewer amps; I’ll have to wait for a new shop for that, though, as I’m not going to waste the time and money wiring the current shop up with plans to move within the next year.

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2841 days


#3 posted 01-08-2007 06:23 PM

By the way… something I AM interested in doing with my RIDGID tablesaw is mounting a router table into the right wing extension. Does anyone have any plans or know of any plans for making that kind of addition to a contractor saw?

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2904 days


#4 posted 01-09-2007 01:25 AM

I’m using a Hitachi 3HP 10” table saw that cost me $499.00 at lowes. The next 3 HP table saw I found was $1,100.00

View Ethan Sincox's profile

Ethan Sincox

765 posts in 2841 days


#5 posted 01-09-2007 07:22 AM

Yeah, but do you love it? Do you hate it? From your experience, what are the pros and cons of the Hitachi? Bill should base his purchase on more than just price…

-- Ethan, http://thekiltedwoodworker.com

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2981 days


#6 posted 01-09-2007 07:37 AM

I guess I would ask what you plan to do. I’ve seen some beautiful $10,000.00 sliding table saws worth every penny. Yet many days I us one of those crappy $89.00 and it does the job just fine. In my shop I have a very nice Delta 10 inch cabinet makers saw, with a 60 inch Biesemeyer fence that has held up great for years. My saw has a homemade laminated outfeed tables very similar to those in Marks blog.

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2828 days


#7 posted 01-09-2007 04:54 PM

Based on my work so far, the main uses for a table saw have been ripping boards to width, and cutting plywood panels to length and width. For narrower boards, I use a chop saw for length. However, I do sometimes need the table saw for the wider boards as well.

Because of the size of wood I usually cut, I am very interested in saws with large table surfaces, either as built or add-ons. Also, since my shop is just starting up, I need a reliable piece of equipment at a reasonable price.

It’s nothing different than everyone else I guess.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2904 days


#8 posted 01-09-2007 05:26 PM

Well I guess the one thing that i dont like about the Hitachi is the table. 24” on each side of the blade. And if we all lived in a 24” world, then, it would be perfect. But, alas … And at this time I don’t have enough room to make a table, so I’m stuck at the moment. But if you compare it to anything else in it’s price range, it’s a better saw all around. And it is on wheels so I can just move everything around it and then lock the wheels and I got a little more room, but not a bigger table.
And to make matters more exciting, I’m entering a daily drawing for a Powermatic 4-piece shop.

View Tim's profile

Tim

11 posts in 2851 days


#9 posted 01-09-2007 05:55 PM

Mark DeCou wrote a nice review on the Bosch portable saw on this site. Maybe you’ve already read it. I have the Bosch that is one generation older than the one he reviews. It’s essentially the same, but mine has a bare aluminum finish on the top and the latest ones have some sort of coating. Some retailers still offer the old un-coated table.

Overall, it’s a very solid saw. The fence is great, locks straight and solid every time, but I wish it were longer. The table is not huge but does extend to the right for cutting sheet goods up to 24” wide. There is a left-side support extension available as well as an outfeed support. In fact, I was suprised by the number of accessories you can get for it: dado insert, blank insert for making a zero-clearance insert, dust collection bag, etc. The only accessory I have for it is the outfeed extension.

Speaking of dust collection, the built-in port does a pretty nice job connected to my 1.5hp Delta DC.

With a good blade, this is a pretty nice saw. I think it’s perfect for a hobbyist (like myself) if it’s in your budget. I got mine for $400 on sale at a home store here, but it didn’t come with the fancy wheeled cart that they come with now. I can’t comment on how it might stand up to frequent use, but I’ve only heard good things from others in that regard.

Hope this helps.

-Tim

View scottss's profile

scottss

1 post in 2825 days


#10 posted 01-09-2007 10:40 PM

What ever saw you get do all the research you can. Check the saw out in person. Make sure it will fit in your shop. Don’t go by price. I think the thing to look for is a solid accurate fence. I had a vega fence on my jet contractor saw and loved the fence but with the router ext and table ext it took up most of my shop. I have had a bench saw, a contractor saw and now I use a shopsmith 510. I have a very small space and the shopsmith allows me to build a project without having to move everything around. I also have a shopsmith jointer and shopsmith bandsaw and I am very happy with them. If you can buy used thats the way to go if $ is an issue. I sold my contractor saw, 12” jet bandsaw and drill press and bought a used shopsmith and still had money left to put towards my delta planer.

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2904 days


#11 posted 01-10-2007 07:35 PM

Hey Bill,
After considering all the things mentioned, I’ve given this some thought.
Anyone who doesn’t take price into consideration, I believe, is foolish. I bought my Hitachi because it was the most powerful table saw in it’s price range, it was a known name, and it was available in my area. If you want a good table saw for $500.00 this is it. But I know something that ALL THESE OTHER LUMBERJOCKS DON’T !!! Go north about 15 miles take Nineth St and the little street that connects Nineth and Seventh Sts there is a place called RAYCO. They sell the higher end powermatic (I want one) for about $2,000.00 3 HP and 5 HP saws. They also have a large selection of everything, small power tools, large power tools, lathes, band saws, chop saws, drum sanders, New and Used. In back of the shop they always have a selection of used equipment.
The main questions are, I guess, these:
1) How much do you want to spend?
I also know where to get hardwood at a very reasonable price while you’re in the same city

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2904 days


#12 posted 01-12-2007 03:01 AM

Also, you can access the info for each tool from their online websites and most of them are on my website on the left side.

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

1996 posts in 3072 days


#13 posted 01-12-2007 08:22 AM

Bill: Grizzly saws are hard to beat. I have a 10” left tilt cabinet saw, I think is 5 hp, and I think I bought it for less than $800, with extra for shipping, and extra for the long extension arms. It came with a ShopFox fence that I love. I have been meaning to do a Tool Review on it, as I have had it 4-5 years now, and it works great. Thanks for giving me a little kick about getting the review written up, others might have the same question.

good to have you here,
Mark

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan - www.decoustudio.com

View gizzard's profile

gizzard

45 posts in 2819 days


#14 posted 01-12-2007 10:03 AM

I have the Ridgid 3650 and so far I like it very much. Assembly was easy, but took about six hours. When set up you have 36” on the right side of the table. Everything is cast iron and comes with its own easy-lift that works great. So far, I wouldn’t be willing to trade it in for anything I found in that price range.

good luck!

-- Dennis, Tennessee

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2904 days


#15 posted 01-12-2007 03:33 PM

Gizzard,
How much was it?

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