View Full Version : Tablesaw suggestions...
10-27-2001, 04:08 PM
I'm new to this forum and I'm looking for help in buying a table saw. I'm just starting to build my own workshop and I don't want to buy one that is not worth the money. It will be a small size workshop, so I'm not anticipating building very large projects.
10-27-2001, 07:47 PM
I am in exactly the same position and would like to get some recommendations, too. I don't have a lot of money to spend, but I need a table saw that can rip a 4' x 8' sheet down the middle, do accurate miters, and not be a pain to operate and maintain.
10-27-2001, 09:35 PM
Most people start out with a "contractor's saw" rather than a "cabinet saw". If you keep an eye open, you might find a good used contractor's saw being sold because a woodworker moved up to a cabinet saw (I will be selling mine this year for exactly that reason -- a Jet that is 4 years old).
Most woodworkers will suggest you look for one of the following brands: Delta, Powermatic, or Jet. There are a few others that are getting some pretty good reviews. Tablesaws are reviewed almost every year by Find Woodworking, Wood, or American Woodworker magazines. Look for back issues in the library.
Are you sure you cannot get along on a band saw? A band saw takes up less room and is not as dangerous a tool. Many fine woodworkers get along without a table saw. All depends on what you want to make.
10-28-2001, 01:55 AM
Johanna is right and asks a good question. I do have a cabinet saw but I find that I use a circular (4 1/2" PorterCable trim saw) and straight edges and/or TruGrip clamps for handling the larger panels. Initially, I did this and then took the smaller panels to TS for final cutting. Now, I often get very good cuts with the trim saw and do not need to clean up with the TS. I have developed an SOP that helps...you might be interested in it.
Here is the link for article: "Cutting Large Panels with Circular Saw": www.woodshopdemos.com (http://<a href=)/ss-p3-1.htm">http://www.woodshopdemos.com/ss-p3-1.htm</a>
I place panel on piece of 1" foam board on top of horses. Foam board is real cheap and supports the panel.
10-28-2001, 07:18 AM
Couneal and Scout,
A number of years ago, I bought a really old used Craftsman contractor's saw for $125.00 That saw is STILL the heart of my workshop.
A few years back, I upgraded the fence and miter gauge, and that was as good as buying a new saw :)
My point is this: buy a good quality used saw and spend the money you save on an upgraded fence.
If you want to be able to work with wide/long parts, spend the time to create good quality side and outfeed tables.
Lastly, I too often use my circular saw to reduce full sheets before taking them to the saw. No matter how well you are set up, a 4X8 sheet of material is difficult and often dangerous to try and handle alone.
You can build a cutting table and/or a vertical panel saw to reduce your sheet goods safely. Plans for both are fairly easy to come by, ShopNotes had a great vertical saw plan not too long ago.
Hope this helps,
Welcome to the forum! I hope you spend many happy hours here learning and sharing your experiences.
I agree with Johanna. I had a band saw for 4 years before I purchased my table saw. With a good fence and blade there was very little I couldn't do. I also used John's suggestion of using a circular saw for the big stuff. The band saw is one of the safest pieces of equipment that you could find in a shop. I upgraded my band saw to a Laguna 16 last year. I love it. It's safer to resaw and you can't beat it for curved work. That being said, I purchased my table saw about 1 1/2 years ago. I bought a contractors saw because of the space of my shop. I spent the extra money on a good fence system. I love it. I purchased the DeWalt contractor's saw and have had no problems with it. Between the two of them, there is nothing I can't handle. I would recommend a good band saw, get comfortable with that and save your money for a good contractors saw.
Either way, happy sawdust!
"hope springs eternal"
11-22-2001, 05:23 PM
Thanks Lynn for the suggestion. I was considering getting a band saw, since it's a safer alternative to a table saw (combined with a router to clean up the rough cut) than the circular saw. However, a few things discouraged me. One, a decent band saw retails for as much or more than a better grade portable table saw; I read some user reviews at the Amazon.com (http://Amazon.com) site, and none of the users seemed happy with any of the band saws reviewed; someone told me it isn't possible with a band saw to make accurate enough finish cuts for woodworking projects (e.g. saw won't cut true, can't make exact 90 degree cross cuts, etc.) (I'd be using the saw to make melamine cabinet carcasses, hardwood/plywood cabinet doors, built-in shelving, as well as rougher jobs like 2 x 4 shelving units for the garage.)
I haven't had any luck finding used tools in my area, so I'll probably have to pay retail. Any suggestions on brands, models, how much to expect to pay, etc? Thanks!
11-22-2001, 09:52 PM
Before giving up on finding a good used saw, I have two suggestions:
1) Find out if there are any woodworking clubs in your area. Those folks are a great resource and probably can help you find a saw. The local Woodcraft here in NH hosts a monthly club.
2) Look in the yellow pages for a woodworking equipment dealer near you. I'm talking about the ones that sell to the trade, not the retail stores. I used to work for one, and they always had used equipment that was taken in trade when a shop upgraded. It can be kind of hit or miss, but the price may make it worth the effort.
Hope this helps,
11-23-2001, 08:09 AM
My advice is similar to others here. If money is no object I would recommend the Powermatic 66. A wonderful machine and the left tilting blade is a great feature. I have not heard good things about the lower end Powermatic, the 64. For a contractors saw, I had the Jet for several years and it served me well. I did upgrade the fence to a Biesmeyer, though. Delta is usually a safe bet. Do your homework and check tool reviews of several magazines.
11-23-2001, 05:40 PM
there is a good possibility that you could find a good deal on a table saw by gambling the few dollars on a "wanted" advert in your local newspaper or advertising paper......
several years ago, i tried that, when a friend of ours wanted a saw, and got a number of replies......some, of course, were dealers who tried to sell us over-priced items, and some people had saws that had been damaged or rusted or just didn't work....
two of the calls were well worth the cost of the advert, tho....and the one we bought was a 8" delta "homecraft" (a good quality smaller saw) in excellent condition, which ran well. this one had belonged to an older gentleman who had passed away, and his family had no interest in it.....i had to admit i was a little surprised when they said "we'd meant to put an advert in the paper to sell the tools, but just never got around to it.......would you give us $25 for the saw machine???"
the one we almost bought was another really good deal....and one we should have bought.....one of the delta "combination" setups, with the small pattern 8" table saw and the delta 4" jointer on the same stand, driven by the same motor.....this one was also in excellent condition, and the owner asked us $150....then came down to $125....
i think the best small type table saws were the ones built in the late '40's to the mid '60's.....there are several good makes...delta, walker-turner, boice-crane, atlas, and a few others......the older "craftsman" saws, whilst not as good quality as the "delta", are basically alright, and will work well.
picking out a good one is rather easy, actually......just look for one which shows no signs of having been rusted, or has any parts broken, and, will run smoothly and normally. make sure the various controls....the mechanisms which raise/lower/tilt the blade, and the rip fence clamps...work smoothly and easily through their travel.....a spray can of wd-40 may be needed to free up mechanisms on tools which have been in storage for years, to be sure, but be sure everything works after some oiling, cos you would rather be able to just use the tool than have to repair it first...
(here's little "secret"......often, the v-belt on an old power tool will deteriorate from age, and the machine will vibrate due to the "lumpy" bad belt......new belts are cheap and readily available at any hardware store......or....to make an old tool run even more smoothly, replace the usual 1/2" "a-section" v-belt with a "notched" v-belt from an industrial power transmission supply firm.....they cost more, but are more flexible, and run more smoothly over the usual small motor pulleys)
11-25-2001, 11:10 AM
What an absolutely wonderful website you have at woodshopdemos.com (http://woodshopdemos.com)! Bless your heart. I wish you and my dad could trade places for a few days - he was a cabinetmaker for thirty years and, god love him, doesn't have the patience to share much of his know-how.
Your circular trim saw looks less intimidating than a standard size saw, though logically I suppose you can do yourself great harm with either of them if you're not careful. What size is your Porter Cable, again? Your website says 6, your message says 4 1/2. Goodness, I feel like a neophyte. (Probably 'cause I am!)