View Full Version : Too Good of a Table Saw?
07-10-2001, 09:03 AM
A little background.
I am just getting into woodworking. I plan on making inside furniture, outside furniture, boxes and anything else I or my wife can think of that would be fun.
The first project will be drawers for the kitchen base cabinets that fully extend. I'm thinking of doing dovetail joints(any suggestions appreciated) requiring a router and jig also.
Ok, the saw question.
When I first started looking into a table saw I was thinking I could get a used one reasonable (cheap??) and didn't find any, then decided I might as well get a new contractor style. Looked at Ridgid at HD then went to a tool store and cast my eyes on a Jet cabinet saw ($1499).
All the while reading everything I could in all these forums. Now I'm looking at the Delta Unisaw...and even started sneaking peeks at the Unisaw Platnium. Seems theres no end to my pain threshold(money wise).
I have always believed in getting the best tool I can, but am I working my way up the food chain too high or am I right in looking at cabinent saws if I can afford to part with the money. My dilemma, is I would like to get as useful and good a tool as I can without getting a tool that is way beyond my needs.
I would appreciate all your opinions.
07-10-2001, 09:15 AM
Get the best saw you can afford. You have already set your sights where they belong, in the cabinet saw catagory.
If it helps, you will get more out of a good saw should you need/desire to sell it in the future. But that was never a consideration to me.
Look way ahead, whatever you buy now will probably still be around decades from now.
I have a Unisaw on hold with my friends at my tool store where I trade. It's replaceing a 50+ year old Craftsman that I inherited from my Dad, who inherited it from a dear friend. The old warhorse isn't going to pasture either. It's going to one of my son's, my other 10" Delta contractors saw is going to my other son.
Go for the best saw you can. Then never look back.
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
07-10-2001, 09:36 AM
Normally a cabinet saw is overkill for someone just getting into WW'ing. Start with a decent contractors saw and see if you really like the hobby and build your skills. When you're ready, then get the cabinet saw. It's good to get a high end tool, but if your skills aren't there yet the extra outlay is a waste.
Also, you can often get a deal on a used saw. So as your skills are building, you can have your feelers out to find the right deal.
'course if $$$ no object, go for it!
07-10-2001, 09:51 AM
From one Bill F to another, I am also new to woodworking and also was also stuck in the same dilemma that you are in now. The end result was that I went ahead and bought a contractor saw before our house closing. Then during the month, a sale went on and I upgraded to the cabinet saw (Jet in both cases, but not pertinent to the discussion). Since then, I have been extremely happy with my choice. I bought the 52" table model to help with large parts and sheet goods. It is more saw that my talent, but I know if there is a problem, I can't blame the saw (sometimes I wish I could). The difference from contractor to Cabinet saw to me was large and at the time, the price difference was only $250 so I went for it. Either way you will be happy, but if you can the cabinet saw now, I would. Getting it later could be harder. Other tool wants/needs always seem to come up when saving for a big purchase in my case. Just an opinion and a story. Either way, you will be happy.
Best of luck.
07-10-2001, 10:51 AM
I'd get the Cabinet saw. If you end up loving the hobby, then you won't have to upgrade...and if you decide this isn't the hobby for you, you'll get a lot more resale from a cabinet saw than a contractors saw. If you can afford it...definitely go for the cabinet saw...your skills will develop faster and safer with a higher quality tool.
07-10-2001, 12:11 PM
That reminds me of a song.
"To much fun, whats that mean? It's like to much money, or a girl to pretty with to much class. No matter what they say I've done, I aint never had to much fun"
No saw is ever to good. Until space becomes an issue.
I'm in the same delimina. 1000 bucks for a contractor, or 1800 for a cabinet.
I will probbaly go for the contractor though. With a 52" fence, build the table boards, and add a place for the router. My reasoning will be....I'm going to be moving around a lot in the upcoming years.
But is 1 1/2 ponies all that seperates a high end contractor, with saw a unisaw, or a PM 66?
07-10-2001, 01:32 PM
You have gotten lots of input on this and I will add my little bit.
Buy the best you can afford. There is a lot more quality in a cabinet saw than the small price difference. Everything on the saw is better: The arbor, trunion, worm gear lift and tilt, motor, drive pulleys, cabinet, sawdust extraction, top, weight, ...
I have spent much more than I would have spent if I had just bought the right saw in the first place. One of the issues if you buy the contractors saw is that you will most likly not repalce it later if you do find that this is the thing you want to do. It just costs that much more. By the time you make the contractor's saw good enough you will have more sunk cost than you will be able to get out of.
I just got a call today from my best friend. He and I have very similar shops. We both have 30+ year old contractors saws that have Bessy fences, bigger motors, Link Belts, Wood cabinets and extensions. Lots of time and money spent. He wanted to know what I thought he could get for his saw. I told him the fence was worth more than the saw. If you take the fence at about 250, the saw for 100, the cabinet for about 100 maybe he could get $400 for the whole thing. Maybe. You see he has decided to go for a Powermatic 66 and needs to get the space back.
I am a little green at the prospect. That is the saw the I want.
So if you can now go for it. There have been others that have said that a cabinet saw is too much for a beginner and could be dangerous. Kickbacks from a 3 hp motor can be bad. But, read a bunch on safty, use hold downs and I would get board buddies or other anti kickback devices and go for it.
07-10-2001, 01:36 PM
...you been to Cold Springs Tavern?
Too Much Fun, those guys are great up there. I have a few of their CD's and my Bro has everyone they have out.
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
Steven Wilson (Guest)
07-10-2001, 03:54 PM
You can never have too good of a saw !!! I had a Jet contractors saw (cast wings, 30" Exacta fence) that was OK, but was a bit of a pain with large sheet goods (50" fence would have been better) and thick wood (8/4 stock). So I upgraded to a Powermatic 66 and haven't looked back. When you go to sell your contractors saw you'll get 45% to 70% of what you paid for it. So save yourself some time and frustration and get a cabinet saw with a 50" fence, the Jet would be just fine. What you'll have is a saw with no vibration (it's heavier and they don't vibrate), that will cut what you want (12/4 no problem with the right blade), and is easy to align and set up (much easier than a contractor saw).
07-10-2001, 08:44 PM
Get a Powermatic 66. You can use the table for a mirror.
07-10-2001, 08:57 PM
MadMark is absolutely correct. A cabinet saw is a overkill for an inexperienced woodworker. I usually start world war 3 when I say this but from personal experience, I don't think that an inexperienced has any business with a cabinet saw. FACT: Contractor saws stall or the belt slips. A cabinet saw will keep on going.
07-10-2001, 11:41 PM
Thank you all for the great input. I really value your opinions. I'm not going to make a final decision until after the AWFS show in Anahiem, Ca. Maybe I can get a great deal there :-)
07-11-2001, 06:06 AM
I think tools, TS especialy, are like boats. If you own a boat you understand perfectly.
No bones about it, get the cabinet saw. Should you end up disenfranchised with woodworking you could sell it, buyers are a plenty.
Sometimes we have to just settle, not getting what we would really like for a mutitude of reasons. Consequently having to make do and working with something perhaps less than adequate.
While comperable results can be achieved the pleasure and enjoyment threshold can be wained. Case in point; I taught myself how to ski with my snow boots nailed to a pair of antique wooden
jump skies. I learned, woefully and painfully, but I learned. I was then adorned with a gift of downhill skies and boots with bindings. All my senses were jubilant (is that a word?)to say the least. If I started out with the downhill skies first my efforts would have reaped much greater rewards (two knee surgery's instead of one, LOL. This can be twisted and turned inside out and misinterpreted, etc. But there is a parallel between learning from the best and learning with the best.
07-11-2001, 10:44 PM
Well, here's my two cents...
If you are looking at the Jet cabinet saw, and want to save about 200 bucks, go to Redmond Supply (www.redmond-machinery.com). I bought a reconditioned Unisaw for 1300. It had NEVER been used. I think it originally had a bent arbor that they replaced, then recalibrated and shipped out at good discout. It is dead on accurate. That priced includes a left cast iron extention wing, and 50" Biesmeyer fence, with a table and legs. They litterally have these things stacked to the ceiling (I live close enough and hauled it away myself).
I am a beginner as well, and am having a great time learning on it. I actually bought the Ridgid, but took it back before I even opened the box. That was because I put my hands on a cabinet saw a felt the difference. I do suggest that you go look touch and feel before you purchase. Remember, its your saw, nobody elses, so make sure it fits YOU.
07-12-2001, 04:35 AM
I have the Jet. If I'd known about the unisaw's your talking about I would in all likely hood own a delta. However, compared side by side I went with the Jet. But one of those deltas at the price you mentioned would have been a sweeter deal indeed, wish I had known.
Denis Kerrigan (Guest)
07-15-2001, 05:44 PM
About 24 years ago I bought a coronet universal woodworking machine It came with an 8 inch blade, a planer thicknesser and a belt sander , the cost was £440.00 ( with inflation around £5000.00 today) I was going to sell it but changed my mind and bought a second hand 36inch lathe and attached it to it, 6 months ago I decided to go for broke and enlarged my garage/workshop and bought myself a cabinet saw and a dust collector both from Scheppach the saw is the Scheppach TS25 the lot cost me a little over £1500.00 I reckon it is money well spent, as I am now retired I can look forward to a very enjoyable few years ahead . So go for the best tools you can afford now and add a bit, if you are serious about woodworking you wo'nt regret it.
Denny, Liverpool England
Denis Kerrigan (Guest)
07-15-2001, 06:05 PM
One other thing worth mentioning is I spent a lot of time studying the forums and taking in what was said about different makes and models, then came the the fly in the ointment, in europe there is a place called Brussels which is full of beaurocrats who spout on about about things they know very little about and then because some of them are twopence short of a shilling or as those in the USA might say twenty cents short of a dollar, they passed a law that meant we in the UK could not buy TS's with the same specifications as are sold in the USA, so I bought the Sheppach which is made in Germany and therefore up to EEC standards ( but cannot be fitted with a Dado cutter) never I use a Router for dado's
Denny Liverpool England
07-16-2001, 01:20 AM
I've been making 1/4" dados with a non dado blade.
Make a 1/8" cut, move the fence, and cut again.
Faster then on my router.
Dave, Start a revolution, get woodworkers from all over the country, even Ireland to demand Dado's.
07-16-2001, 01:01 PM
If it's a centered dado, turn your stock around, end for end, and run it by again.
If not, well move the fence like yer doing.
All kinds of ways to skin a cat. Thanks for bringing it up.
Bloody Awful about them Brits. Glad we have options. :D
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
07-16-2001, 03:01 PM
Yeah, I have been flipping it for centered Dado's.
I started this project not really expecting to be able to complete it, with my abilities and tools.
But with some old fashioned ingunity, I got by. Kinda impressed me.
07-16-2001, 04:23 PM
Persavirence in the face of adversity.
Just remember: Yes I can! I can do this. :D
Dealing with the hardships makes the victories sweeter.
"Precision Firewood Specialist"
07-16-2001, 06:52 PM
Approval of Sonny.
07-17-2001, 01:22 AM
Don’t force yourself into something that may be an expensive over kill, ‘just because’ and don’t reject the contractor’s models out of hand. Get what you are the most comfortable with. Just because I purchased xyz doesn’t mean that it is best solution for you. Look at some of the work that Dave does on his saw. (The saw is neither a “Contractor’s” nor a “Cabinet” model.)
You appear to be in SoCal. Drop me E-Mail if you want to check out the feel of my saw.