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Table Saw Recommendations

Post in 'DIY and General non-hearth advice' started by lukem, May 28, 2013.

  1. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I've got several projects on the horizon (building some cabinets and a cider press frame) that are going to require a decent table saw. Been browsing Craigslist for months and nothing is popping up except el cheapos or WW2 era models priced to include sentimental value of old grand-pappy.

    I'm looking for something that is priced under $400 and can rip a 4x8 sheet of plywood in half. I have 110 and 220 available for power. Is there such a machine out there or do I should I be prepared to spend more?

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  2. Retired Guy

    Retired Guy Feeling the Heat

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    I bought a Bosch 4000 a couple years ago and it has worked well.
  3. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    What is the biggest stock you will be working with and what species?

    If using thick stock oak for the apple press frame, you will need some power so it does not bog down.
  4. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    I bought a Skil at Lowes, and while it is certainly no Dewalt or top of the line saw table, it has served well on my addition build. Was about $169.00 and already paid for itself. Even handles a Dado. I have ripped 2x4s with it ripping along the 4" side, and it will start to bog if I don't go slower. Other than that, I am happy with the performance vs the price.
  5. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    I have a fold up Ryobi that I bought used for $75 five years ago on craigslist. I have used the crap out of it and it never misses a beat.
  6. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Mostly hardwood. Up to 4" on occasion. I don't mind taking it slow for the tough stuff.
  7. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    I think the quality/sharpness and appropriate size/type of the blade you use for the job you're wanting to do, and your technique/patience with which you use the tool will go a long way toward making dang near any half-way decent saw work for you if you're not depending on the tool for your livelihood and expecting it to do industrial type work day in and day out. Hell, this is better (and cheaper) than the first table saw I had:

    http://www.sears.com/craftsman-10in...x000001&kpid=00921807000P&kispla=00921807000P
    save$ and Dune like this.
  8. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    A 10" table saw will not cut a 4" piece of stock on one pass. (not even a nominal 4). Actual depth of cut will be something like 3 1/8". Wanna cut through a 4", you'll need a 12" saw.
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  9. jeff_t

    jeff_t Minister of Fire

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    My sister bought me a Skil for Christmas. I took it back to Lowe's after reading a bunch of reviews, and traded it in for a Dewalt. It was almost twice the price, but sooo much better. I really like the fence adjustment.

    I haven't used it a lot yet, but so far I'm very pleased.
  10. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    So, I guess a Powermatic, Delta, or Sawstop are out of the question at this point?:p
    I'd not hesitate to get something like Rick suggested considering your planned use. Get a GOOD blade, and I don't mean a $10 special from Bob's hardware store (no offense to all the guys named Bob out there).
    It'll make using a lesser saw more enjoyable. This is kinda like the advice heard around here about using dry wood. Do it. It works.
    ETA: Consider using a straightedge and circ. saw to do initial breakdown of large panel stock, then do final cuts on the TS. Unless you have a nice sized table and a decently heavy saw (think cabinet saw), the saw may want to move while trying to do full 4x8 sheet goods. The fence may not be sturdy enough for the pressure of a full sized panel either. Just my .02.
    Thistle, save$, semipro and 2 others like this.
  11. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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  12. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Most of the breakdown work on the 4" stock is done and I have access to a good planer so double cutting doesn't concern me. A good sturdy fence and ability to rip larger widths are my main concern. 24" rip isn't a hard requirement but a nice to have.
  13. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    ScotO, lukem, PapaDave and 1 other person like this.
  14. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    My 10" Jet has served me well for about 15 years. Use good carbide blades, If the motor can run on 220-240V, do it. The saw will run with much more power and the motor will heat up much less. Big difference in performance on heavy stock.

    In general I have had very good experience with Jet tools. Also have a 6" joiner, an 18" band saw, and a 20" planer, all Jet. And a 12" commercial grade Delta radial arm saw, also very good. All motors wired for 220-240V.
    Dave A., PapaDave and fishingpol like this.
  15. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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  16. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Having played the game with various table saws over the years, and being a professional sharpener/ machinist/et all, here is my take. Based on your starting post, I would not waste time and money on on 90% of the "table saws" on the market. For starters most of them are too light, designed for easy mobility which translates to shake rattle and roll when trying to use and way under powered. 220v is the only way to fly minimum 3hp. If you take your time and diligently search you can come up with a good cabinet saw including a decent fence $400-800 range. When I say cabinet saw this means the table is mounted to the cabinet and the motor/trunnion assembly is also independently mounted to the cabinet. In this way the trunnion to table interface ( blade running parallel to the miter slots and fence) can be achieved very easily something that is almost impossible to do on the bulk of the units out there including the hybrid table saws. Delta unisaw, Powermatic PM66 are more or less the standard for comparison. Recently I picked up ( craigs list) a PM66 with 66" fence system for $300, sold a less than adequate unit I had for $75 . The age of the unit is about 30 some odd years old. It is quiet doesn't shake or vibrate all over and is repairable. It will out last me and my son as well . This is a 10" , the motor alone weighs in at about 50 lbs ( 3hp 220v 1p) over all about 400 lbs.
    Saw blades, Good quality blades are not cheap. expect to pay at a minimum $1.25 per carbide tip. The heart of a blade is the body. A good blade will be within .002 runout. Dewalt, Vermont, Old Ham are generally on the bottom of the list of most pros. FS Tool, Systamatic, Popular Machinery and Tool, Skarpaz are some of the better quality blades, and not generally found in the big box stores. 12" blades a on table saw is a nice luxury, 12" on a power miter saw is necessity.
    Radial arm saws again here we are dealing with rigidity issues for the bulk of the units out there sold in homeowner outlets, older industrial units are quite plentiful and represent a better bang for the buck , 12" is the better way to fly here also. Down side is that a lot of them might be 3 phase but a static converter resolves that problem in a cost effective manor also applies to table saws if set up for 3 phase ( 3 phase actually represents the better buy most times).

    I got to get back to work, post questions if need be and I will try to answer later. Chris
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  17. ironpony

    ironpony Minister of Fire

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    the ryobi bt 3000 mentioned above is a pretty versatile saw for the money. I have one decent power, nice slide table for angles, rip 24 wide a little on the light side weight wise. Cuts nice with a good blade, not a cabinet grade saw by any means but will fill the table saw need nicely.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    If cutting 4" thick stock, you're in the territory of 16"+ blades and 5+ hp. Northfield, Oliver, Tannewitz... maybe a Delta12/14, in a pinch. You ain't gonna touch much in 3-figure territory. Check the price on a Northfield no.4.

    Why not a band saw? If I could have only one saw in my shop, it would be a 20" band saw.
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  19. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    24" and 17" bandsaws here for nicking down to apx size, then to planer.
  20. semipro

    semipro Minister of Fire

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    This interests me, primarily because I haven't used one and don't have one. How is it that a band saw is that useful?
    Not that I have much room in my shop for anything else. :(
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I should actually qualify my original statement, but first some background: I have two band saws in my inventory, a newer 20" JWBS-20 and a vintage 32" Crescent. I also own a table saw, a 2200 lb. 5 hp Oliver with a 40" x 42" table, a rolling table with quadrant, dual arbors for 14" blades, and the capability to run a single blade up to 22" diameter. It's a monster of a machine, the only similar example manufactured today being the Northfield No.4.

    When I was just starting out in woodworking, I was looking for the best way to add capability at minimal cost. I grew up using a radial arm saw, albeit a crappy Craftsman / Emerson 10"/12" unit, and knew they could be very flexible. I also knew they could be inaccurate, flimsy, frustrating, and dangerous. Reading all the best woodworking magazines of the day, I had it in my head I needed to shop table saws first, as I saw guys finding ways to do every possible operation on a table saw, but like you, I was looking to work with some pretty large architectural timbers.

    Because of the specific job I had to do, I ended up buying the Jet JWBS-20 bandsaw, 20" throat and ability to saw 11" thick stock, at least in theory. I used it for ripping miles of timbers for beams and flooring. Because it was the only machine I had, I found ways to use it for other jobs, and began to realize that the bandsaw is really the analog to the hand saw. It makes a thru cut, and is an ideal machine for cutting tenons, shoulder mortises, ripping heavy stock, re-sawing planks, you name it.

    Shortly thereafter, and looking for something that could compliment the band saw, I came back around to the radial saw. I learned of some of the very heavy and accurate radial saws made (WW2 vintage) by DeWalt and Delta, and more recently by Original Saw company. I found a heavy 1948 vintage DeWalt GE, an increadibly precise machine, which carries a 16" blade. The compliment of the two handled every job I needed to do, and I was set for a long time.

    The table saw came along some time later, and by then I had two jointers, a planer, and a host of other small equipment. The table saw can plow a dado or rabbet, but so can my router or the radial saw. The table saw can rip, but so can my band saw. In fact, I found that almost every job that needs doing can be done better by one of my other machines, with the following exceptions:

    1. The table saw can rip more safely than a radial saw, and more quickly than the band saw. It can leave a glue-line edge, like the radial saw, whereas the band saw rip requires planing to clean up.

    2. In dado mode, the table saw is removing a specific amount of material, as the amount of blade protrusion up thru the table is fixed. If your stock varies in thickness, you are always removing the same amount of material. Conversely, the radial saw is always leaving a specific amount of material, as the fixed variable in that configuration is the space left between the blade and the table. Again, this can be useful when performing precision operations, if your stock is less than 100% consistent (always).

    The table saw is also a very fast machine for many jobs, cutting much more quickly than the band saw, and requiring less setup time than the radial saw. But I'm not working in a production shop, and I don't like to rush when I'm in the woodshop, anyway.

    Recently I moved, and now I'm doing a lot of work on my 1770's vintage house, making new windows to fit the original sash, new wooden storm windows, cabinet doors, mouldings, etc. I have not set up my "permanent" new shop yet, and I'm temporarily working out of a detached garage, with extension cords strewn to various machines. I have set up my radial saw, the 20" band saw, my little 6" jointer, my 12" planer, and a crappy store-bought router table. The big table saw sits in the corner, with a dozen other things piled atop it. It would be great to have it set up for a few operations, but it's less flexible than the band saw / radial saw duo.
  22. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    MY world is primarily metallic, Want a giant over arm router - its called a knee mill ( bridgeport being a brand name) I can make cuts a couple inches deep by putting slitter blades on the horizontal mill. Between my tool and cutter grinders and mills I can make most any joint, just not in a timely manner. Due to rehabbing a home I am back to doing wood working so slowly acquiring quality wood working machines , old school heavy iron style at reasonable prices ( takes a lot of patience for the right price on some of this). Planner, jointer, shapers are another area where mass is good along with long or the ability to add in and out feed tables to minimize snipe. Yep, skitterd a few boards across the mills to get down to thickness needed. Takes a long time though. My 24" bandsaw is an old 2 range variable speed Du-All unit early 40's vintage Low speed about 16 sfm to a top end about 1600 sfm which is still slow compared to the 17" top end. One thing I do try to stay away from on old iron is Babbitt bearings. Their replacement has become a lost art now days. If I come across an old 16" radial arm piece of iron at the right price it will likely follow me home.
  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    16 - 1600 fpm is a good metal machine, but most wood band saws run 3000 - 5000 fpm! I see the Do-All's pop up in the local auctions... nice machines, on part with Northfield. Not often found cheap, though.

    I went vintage Crescent. You can't beat the styling, and they're possibly the most solid and ubiquitous wood cutter ever made.
  24. Sisu

    Sisu Feeling the Heat

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    I bought a Ridgid folding table saw from Home Depot, since space is an issue for me. I am pretty impressed with it. It cuts nice and has a lot of power. Also it has received some pretty favourable reviews. The price is alright too.

    If I had the space, I would have sprung for the Ridgid table saw with a caste-iron top. Both are 10".
  25. blades

    blades Minister of Fire

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    Saw blades - 10", 20-30 tip for rip and very course crosscut, 40 and 50 good for just about all operations, 60 on up for great cross cuts and smooth glue joint cuts, finish cuts. Tooth configuration - Alternate top bevel = general purpose, Flat top = rip, Triple chip for composite type material ( osb , mdf ect.) Finish cuts, Atb High Angle or what is referred to as California triple chip for the composite materials generally 80 tip on a 10" dia. blade.
    No mater what saw you get first thing to do is make aux. tables for out feed and left and/or right aux. tables for support , and maybe even a split one for the input side when working with 4x8 sheets ( split just means you can walk down the middle up to the saw. ). Out feed table is a must have function otherwise you are fighting gravity to keep say a 3 ft cut on the table saw when nearing the end of the cut. Really the same applies for the band saw and Radial arm units as well it is much safer that way and requires less help when working with large panels or long lengths.

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