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36" or 52" Fence in Single Stall Garage

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Forum topic by DBordello posted 04-10-2015 04:39 PM 1376 views 0 times favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


04-10-2015 04:39 PM

After viewing a few too many missing fingers online, I broke down and decided to buy a SawStop. I plan to pick it up tomorrow, and couldn’t be more excited. I decided to cry once, and get the 3 HP PCS.

However, I have been really struggling with the 36” vs 52” fence option.

I have a 3 car garage, about 25’x25’. It has a single stall door, of which I am banned (wife). However, the other double stall houses my shop, and my car. In general, I park towards the middle, and my “shop” is a single stall, however fairly deep. When I am doing work, I typically back out my car.

The cost isn’t really a factor between the 36” and 52” fence. I am more concerned about cutting capacity, vs. shop space.

Storing the saw against the wall won’t be an issue for either side. However, I am wondering if I will eventually want to set it up, with an outfeed table, parallel to the garage door.

I am a relatively new woodworker, and have mostly been building shop furniture. That has consisted of dealing with 4’x8’ sheets. I have a circular saw that I use to cut them down, and in general, I hate this process. It consts of measuring, then working on the floor. I have a Dewalt contractor saw with a 20” rip capacity. And I’ll be damned if all my cuts are just over 20”. That has been frustrating as well, and that is why I want to avoid that situation again.

I realize this really comes down to personal preference, and space availability. However, I want to hear your thoughts.

Really, what do you think I would regret less?


25 replies so far

View BurlyBob's profile

BurlyBob

3675 posts in 1729 days


#1 posted 04-10-2015 04:52 PM

I’ve got a similar issue and use a Delta with a 52” table. I set mine perpendicular to the door. I have SWMBO move her car out when I start working. You should consider mobile bases on your stuff. I’ve found them to be of great convenience when working on bigger projects. As far as cutting on the floor. That totally sucks. You need to build 3-4 saw horses and use a straight guide. I ruined a saw blade once doing it that way. A $25 dollar mistake/learning moment that I’ve never repeated.

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Richard H

489 posts in 1144 days


#2 posted 04-10-2015 04:57 PM

I have a 36” table saw and also work out of 1 stall of a 2 car garage. I will say that cutting 30” off a 3/4” 4/x8 piece of plywood is not fun on a table saw in that small of a space. Usually I try to break down plywood into no larger than about 4X5’ preferably smaller before putting it on the tablesaw because any larger is just to hard to work with in my shop. Keep in mind that cutting those larger sheets not only requires a larger tablesaw but also a lot more room around the saw to maneuver. If I had the space to have lots of room on all 4 sides of the saw I would buy the 52” version for sure just to have the flexibility but my advise would be to be careful about trying to shove very large tools into a small workspace because you will end up with no where to work. Having free space to maneuver around your work is just as important if not more so than having the flexibility of large tools. Having the ability to have both is better but that might require you giving up your parking spot which I’m sure given time your going to start to consider not to mention how you could bargain for your wife to do the same :-).

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knotscott

7211 posts in 2839 days


#3 posted 04-10-2015 05:15 PM

You can get the 36” rails and slide them to the right pretty easily. How much you gain depends on how far you slide them, but the bolt hole spacing is ~ 10” on many saws, which allows you to add 10” capacity easily without drilling holes if you skip one bolt hole. http://lumberjocks.com/knotscott/blog/34563

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

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DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


#4 posted 04-10-2015 05:17 PM



You can get the 36” rails and slide them to the right pretty easily. How much you gain depends on how far you slide them, but the bolt hole spacing is ~ 10” on many saws, which allows you to add 10” capacity easily without drilling holes if you skip one bolt hole. http://lumberjocks.com/knotscott/blog/34563

- knotscott

This is great to know. That might be a good compromise. Does anybody have any experience doing this on the 36” SawStop rails?

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BroncoBrian

435 posts in 1421 days


#5 posted 04-10-2015 05:21 PM

Congrats on the saw! You will be so glad you bought it.

I have the same with the 36” in a 3-car garage. Everything is mobile and I have used the height to make room for everything. I wish I had the 52” for sure. It really is not that much bigger and will help you a lot. I will likely purchase the TS55 from Festool to make up the difference for me. It will have plenty of other uses but is a much more expensive route than getting the bigger saw from the beginning.

I am able to get a planer, PCS, 8” Jointer, router table, Dust Collector and miter cart in the garage with both vehicles and it is not at all cramped. I also have extensive cabinets. My PCS goes dead center in the garage, everything else is along the walls. General garage storage is above. Use the height and get stuff off the floor when you can.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

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DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


#6 posted 04-10-2015 05:24 PM



Congrats on the saw! You will be so glad you bought it.

I have the same with the 36” in a 3-car garage. Everything is mobile and I have used the height to make room for everything. I wish I had the 52” for sure. It really is not that much bigger and will help you a lot. I will likely purchase the TS55 from Festool to make up the difference for me. It will have plenty of other uses but is a much more expensive route than getting the bigger saw from the beginning.

I am able to get a planer, PCS, 8” Jointer, router table, Dust Collector and miter cart in the garage with both vehicles and it is not at all cramped. I also have extensive cabinets. My PCS goes dead center in the garage, everything else is along the walls. General garage storage is above. Use the height and get stuff off the floor when you can.

- BroncoBrian

Brian,

Thank you for the reply. I am glad to hear that you are making a similar setup work. I don’t feel cramped at the moment, and I have everything on mobile bases.

It is interesting to hear you say you wish you had the 52”er. That is my concern if I get the 36” rails.

I guess the valid question is, does anybody have the 52” rails, and regret not getting the 36” rails?

View bbasiaga's profile

bbasiaga

756 posts in 1458 days


#7 posted 04-10-2015 05:24 PM

I’m long term planning the same purchase. I was debating between the 30 and 36” version though. Same thing – one stall garage. Can’t imagine how I’d maneuver around a 52” saw in there.

-Brian

-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

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DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


#8 posted 04-10-2015 06:46 PM

A little additional information:

The cost to upgrade from the 36” to 52” down the road is $318. Therefore, if I am considering it at all, the time to do it is now ($100).

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Fred Hargis

3938 posts in 1956 days


#9 posted 04-10-2015 06:47 PM

I guess the valid question is, does anybody have the 52” rails, and regret not getting the 36” rails?

- DBordello

I have the 52” rails, and the holes SS installs for the bolts are countersunk and on (the metric equivalent, I guess) 7 1/4” centers. It should be quite easy to move it over at least one hole, maybe 2 (disclaimer: my saw is the ICS but I would think it’s the same on the PCS). I think I mentioned this in another thread: I went from a 36” fence to a 52”, but in the years I had the 36” I can’t remember even needing more capacity more than a handful of times. Similarly, in the years I’ve had the longer fence, I’ve only used that extra capacity a handful of times. 36” will likely do 99% of your work. Or, buy the longer fence and cut it down if need be. Don’t let it stress you, flip a coin or go through whatever process you need…but I’d bet a 36” would serve you well. Congrats on the purchase, you will like it. One other thing, I’ve seen guys who have bought both fences and tried to go the other way, usually by posting their existing fence for swap and/or sale. That’s always an out (though an inconvenient one). BTW, I have the 52” rails only because I have the room…..not because I thought I’d ever need them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

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DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


#10 posted 04-10-2015 07:25 PM

Fred,

Thank you for the insight. You are probably right, I should just flip a coin, and move on. Decision time will come when I am in the store.

View Rob's profile

Rob

704 posts in 2534 days


#11 posted 04-10-2015 07:56 PM

I considered going with the 52” rails in my 1-car garage shop but I’m glad I went with the 36” rails. Standard cabinet height is 34-1/2” so 36” is plenty. If I ever want longer rails, I’ll upgrade to an Incra fence.

In the past year since I bought my saw, not once have I wished I had 52” rails, but I’ve been glad on a couple occasions that my rails weren’t longer. I don’t move my saw very often but the few times I’ve moved it, it barely had enough clearance with the 36” rails and I would have had to move a bunch of other stuff if the rails had been any longer. The extra 16” doesn’t seem like much to give up for the larger capacity, but if I had bought it, it would have limited my placement options for other tools and most of the time it would just be additional flat space for accumulating stuff that I haven’t put away yet.

Also keep in mind that wrangling a full sheet of 3/4” plywood or MDF onto the table saw by yourself isn’t easy. If you ever need to cut something larger than your fence capacity, you can clamp or screw a cleat onto the underside of the plywood and run that along the edge of your table saw wing or table extension, assuming the edge is parallel with the blade.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

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Rob

704 posts in 2534 days


#12 posted 04-10-2015 07:58 PM


I m long term planning the same purchase. I was debating between the 30 and 36” version though. Same thing – one stall garage. Can t imagine how I d maneuver around a 52” saw in there.

-Brian

- bbasiaga

Your decision is a no-brainer; get the 36” fence. It’s inherently a better fence than the 30”,and the 36” capacity is plenty for standard 34-1/2”-height cabinets.

-- Ask an expert or be the expert - http://woodworking.stackexchange.com

View BroncoBrian's profile

BroncoBrian

435 posts in 1421 days


#13 posted 04-10-2015 08:11 PM


Your decision is a no-brainer; get the 36” fence. It s inherently a better fence than the 30”,and the 36” capacity is plenty for standard 34-1/2”-height cabinets.

- Rob

Agreed! The 30 was not an option for the fence alone. Rob is right, I only wish I had the 52” occasionally, for 90%+ the 36” is ideal. But for sheet goods, that is not the case. The SS is not bad with a sheet of ply on your own but not an option on a 36” saw unless you have a good track saw. For that reason I will get a TS55 (most likely). The larger table would have prevented that purchase for $100.

-- Bigfoot tries to take pictures of me

View bc4393's profile

bc4393

21 posts in 606 days


#14 posted 04-10-2015 09:04 PM

I have a 36 inch in my garage shop in the tandem part of the one side. To make the most out of the space I have my lawn mower parked under the rails. I can’t imagine a casual hobbyist needing a giant saw but to each his own I guess. if your making that big of stuff like than a garage shop isn’t going to cut it. What can you imagine making in the future that you would need big sheets of wood for? Most guys start by making little 6 inch boxes. I say get the 36 and enjoy the portability of it within your garage. You’re already way ahead of the hobbyist game with a saw that big. If you need the occasional bigger cut have them hit it with the panel saw where your buying your sheets and get those cuts done before you bring it home. Or have someone help you support the sheet from the other side of the saw for that occasional cut.

View DBordello's profile

DBordello

132 posts in 689 days


#15 posted 04-10-2015 09:59 PM

I am starting to lean back towards the 36”. It sounds like that will handle most of my needs.

I will post an update tomorrow, when the decision is made!

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