Hi all, I'm looking to make a first-time tablesaw purchase and request the help and knowledge of this fine forum.
As this will be my first *excited* table saw, i'm leaning more towards a really good contractors model rather than a cabinet. (although I could be swayed)
$600, $700, $800 tops is about my budget at this point. I have been looking at the Grizzly line, the Jet JWTS-10CW2-JF ([possibly with upgraded XACTA fence), and the Ridgid 3612. Any ideas, or suggestions?
I think that maybe too much saw would be wasted on me at this moment, but I also do NOT want to buy something that will be outgrown in six months and need to be replaced.
I beseech the gods of wood (you) to help me in my quest.
OK, basically, i'm leaning more towards a contractor to save a few bucks (to buy some good blades and such?) now, i'm no cheapskate, but i also don't have a money tree out back. (anyone have a cutting i can take)
obviously i know you should buy the best you can afford, but you (or the wife) has to draw the line somewhere.
i really like the griz 1023 and just missed a used Z model for $700 which gives me hope that there might be a chance to have a great saw and some dough left
right now it's main use would be outdoor furniture of hopefully decent quality, but i would like to progress into nice indoor display pieces and such
will a good contractors' last for five/six years at an average skill progression?
or should i just save and spring for the cabinet?
Most of the powermatic tools are now made in Asia as well.
If I could I would own a PM 66, But...
Now to your other question. This question has been asked more than any other on this or any wood forum. It is a key question that many ask. The first thing I will tell you is that you will get a very fast update by useing the search function on buying a tablesaw.
the choice is different for everyone, budget, use, skill, space, transportation all are factors in the choice. Brands should not be a big factor. Every manufacture has some lemons, you saw the Jet supersaw and have seen the worst tool in Jets product line.
Now the Griz 1023 get very high marks from those that have bought it and It cost the same as the high end of the contractor saw line.
I own a 35 year old craftsman contractor saw. It is not much like it was when I bought it. And although it is now a good tool I have invested over 1000 in in over the years after I bought it to make it a good tool.
So a contractors saw can last a long time and make some real nice stuff. But, with what I have spent on motors, fences, and other things like miter gauges, I could have my PM66, most of the money was spent when 1300 would have bought a US made PM 66.
So what should you do.
Read the archives.
Determine what you want to do with the saw short term and long term
Read some books on woodworking and learn what the saw can do.
Then decide how much you are willing to spend on the tool. And go buy one that fits your needs no mater what I or anyone else thinks.
PS. I would nto buy Ridgid at this point as there is a major shake up and until the dust settles you might be buying a dinausaur.
I have the Jet contractor-style saw and am very happy with it. I have thrashed it for a couple of years now, using it nearly daily and have had no problems at all.
It has the standard JetFence as well, poo-pood by many, but it works fines, stays aligned and has not been a source of trouble in any way. Plus, it didn't cost a bunch.
I have more on my site about this saw and my impressions of it at the link below.
There is no debating the issue. If you can afford to spend $800 you get the 1023 Grizzly. It is by far and away better than the Jet saws in its price range, which are contractors saws, due to the following reasons. A superior table with wings; a 3 hp 18 amp motor with 3 drive belts; a superior arbor; and generally it is just a heavier and more well put together saw. The only reason not choose the 1023 is if you have to move the saw between locations. In that case the benefits of the 1023 become a burden and a contractor saw would be a better choice. I purchased a 1023 a month ago and I am very satisfied. You will not be disappointed if you get one. If you are near one of their show rooms go look and you will immediately see why it would be foolish to buy a Jet. Grizzly is in some ways like Dell. They are selling direct to the customer thus you save because you are not paying the markup by the retailer. I would discourage you from not buying a Grizzly because you want to save a few bucks. Look at the price of a Grizzly, and the $200 difference, over a 20 year period and thousands of cuts. If you get tired of the hobby the 1023 will likely have a higher resale value. Last word: donít buy the Jet until you see the 1023.
If this saw is going to live in a shop/garage and not move from site to site then get a cabinet saw; they have a lot more power, a lot less vibration, much beefier fences, and actually take up less room than a contractor saw. Of the cabinet saws the Grizzly is a good value at roughly $900 (left tilt) but to compare it feature for feature with the usually configured Jet, Delta, General, and Powermatic's you'll need to add in the cost of the 7' rails and extension table with legs - so add on another $250 which brings you up in the $1100-1200 range. FYI a 3HP Jet is $1500. I was originally going to pick up a Jet and then had the opportunity to see a Jet, Delta Unisaw, and Powermatic 66 with their tops off. The Jet and Delta were very similar in build quality, the PM66 has a more substantial trunion assembly, among other things, so I chose to pay the premium and go with it. A year later I saw a General 350 with its top off and it compares quite favorably with the Powermatic. So there you go - a price range of $1150-$2000 for a 10" cabinet saw with 50" rip capacity; General and Powermatic on the beefier end of the range and higher in price, Delta with a great history and parts availability (nice to know since these saws will outlive you) a bit less beef but good enough, Jet as the current leader of the Asian imports (very good product, great customer service) and then the serviceable and quite good Grizzly, Bridgewood, SECO, et. al. at the less expensive end.
To me you only have two choices. One the Grizzly the other the Ridgid.
In contractor saws the Ridgid is the biggest bang for the buck. It is left tilt which I prefer, the angle stop adjustments are superior to everything but the Delta which is the same. The height adjustment crank is moved down so you don't smack you hands every time you turn the crank. The saw guard and splitter is superior to all others. The trunion adjustment has a feature that is basically an aftermarket addon for everyone else. The negatives are webbed extension tables. Although many claim this a benefit over the solid rather than a handicap, you can clamp easily to it. Ridgid is also shifting it's operations from here in the USA to overseas. Any Saw bought in the immediate future is still made in the USA.
The Grizzly offers everything a Unisaw does at a cheaper price. That is because it is a reversed engineered copy of the Unisaw. If taking someone else's design and building it in low labor cost country doesn't bother you then the Grizzly will meet your needs. Personally I think the one that did the R&D should receive compensation for his work, however our society fails to believe that, until it happens to them. What goes around comes around. Time has a way of teaching this lesson. Ask the car workers and the steel workers. Also remember you do not have a local dealer who you can put your hands around his neck when things go bad.
For a new innovative design look at the Dewalt 746. It is a total redesign offering a unique trunion/arbor system with great dust collection and is designed for a sliding table which you can purchase with it or at a later time. The negative here is it is Dewalt that has a primary business philosophy of "lose a customer so what there are many more."