SO the decisions getting harder. For those of you who havenít read the happening in Just Talking. I'm now in the search for a cabinet saw. Price has a definite ceiling between 2500 and 3K (though I'd still not relish the idea of spending 3K). This saw will be used for a business projected to start next year.
The purchase has been limited to 3 biggies. In a particular order :)
Laguna TS - more than I'll need and by far the most expensive. Bennies - Baldor motor and 900+ lbs and DON'T forget the riving knife and scoring blade!! I can still move this with my truck. Note they have one on sale for the 2K price thatís over tomorrow!! A bit of a fast decision!!!!
General 350 - high on my list of superior saws. Again - a Baldor motor and the aged :) cast iron top, plus Louís advice on it having larger trunions than other cabinet saws.
Delta Uni X5 - The 5 year warranty, and added heft to close to 600 lbs. I also get a PC 690 with this one and its locally available. I also appreciate the original Beismeyer fence with it. I know other saws have clones but the original is something I respect.
Always always always another auction.
Don't let it panic you into a choice.
I'd buy my General 650 (the leftie version of the 350) again over the range of saws.
I'd probably still be tempted at the PM66 if I hadn't been so disgusted at the overall quality and treated so oddly.
Buying the General after that buy was like finding the perfect pillow :D
I'm not sure I'd say the castings are as heavy as the PM, but they aren't far off, are refined and don't look like scraps of angle iron ground down to a vague fit and painted (bugs and all) as the pm's did.
General says I, but you should check out the uni and the general together either way.
They're still a little bit different, and you might just like the uni more, but you won't be horrified at either.
The laguna at all...I don't know.
It's probably more than I'd want just remembering how frigging heavy these things are, without sticking another 400 odd pounds onto one again, but...Different situation again.
Any specific questions about the General. Feel free.
I went for the 5hp baldor 650 T50.
SR, iirc the General actually has the original Bessy. Just so happens Delta bought the name and the rights to it.
With the Laguna, again iirc, it is made for them by some company in Belgium. Robland if mememory serves. With a one year warranty, its a long way to go for parts. Don't get me wrong, it does look like a sweet machine, but being rushed to a decsion just muddles everything up. As with anything that costs that much, ya gotta try it out.
I've read a considerable number of complaints about quality issues with the Laguna...something about the gears in the height adjustment self destruing and needing some redesign at the point of manufacture. Considering the price and their track record for mediocre customer service, I think I'd drop that one from the list until they've improved and proven the saw more.
The General is nice machine by just about anyone's standards. The 650 was rated #1 by Wood, owners swear by them, and they're still family owned with no manufacturing location changes....still made in Canada from castings forged in their own foundaries. Side by side it's noticeably more robust than the Uni.
The Uni is a nice machine, but the change in ownership to B&D leaves too many questions about service for me. Add to that the fact that the cast iron now comes from China, and the motor from Brazil, I'd be leaning toward the General....can't lose with that machine.
Thansk all - funny how meny times I've seen this "I want a saw..." posting on the forum. I's typically post a reply to it at times and think boy - these guys need to use the search funciton. Now its my time and if I'm spending 2 grand - I WANNA POST MY OWN QUESITON!! :) :) :7
I was looking for some problem with the Laguna. Seemed a bit too good and all that. Plus I'm not sure I coulda bought one sight unseen. I'll be heading up to Phoenix to make a comparison of the General and Uni - hopefuly they have them side by side.
Rob - can you tell me how much your 5 HP motor draws. I have a 20 amp 240V line already set up for my TS saw. I'm not against routing new lines - I'd rather not in this heat, but this saw will out last my current shop.
Even 5 years ago PM was the right choice. But, they sold out to the same company that owns Jet. The Foundry was shutdown and the company was moved to a new facility combined with Jet.
The old powermatic is no more... Still a good saw. But not what it was...
When I was looking at saws I looked hard at the Laguna Even talked to one of the main competitors to them. One of the companies that has machines starting at the 10K level. Their recommendation was to keep looking and at the price point I was at, the General was the best option. At the time I was leaning on a combination machine with a price of 13K with every option in the world.
Powermatic still has a good machine but, at the price they want, it is not as good as the General.
Back when Bessy was an independent company, before They sold out to Delta. General was the contract Manufacture of the Fence. They also had the rights to use the fence on their Saws. When the sale of Bessy went through they still retained the right to manufacture and use the fence, but not the name. So What you get is a True Bessy commercial fence with a General name on it.
I am getting to the same point that you are. I am expecting to have a panel in the shop with all the juice that I need.
I have been looking and drooling.
Powematic - Looks great but I am leery with the change in ownership. One of the members of this board had a nightmare dealing with Powermatic. At the shows, the Powermatic tech reps (a.k.a. Sales Engineer) are saying that the saw is 100% American made. (Maybe what they are saying, with hand firmly planted upon the Powermatic demo model, is, "This saw is 100% American made.") In addition, if you owned a company that manufactured table saws, why would you buy another company that does the same thing? DOES NOT OFFER A RIGHT-TILTING MODEL.
Jet - Definitely a lot of Asian parts. Sells for less than Powermatic. Great customer service before the buy out by WMH Tool group. I have a contractor model and really like it. Since the buy out, I have had no contact with WMH or Jet. ????
Delta Ė Now part of the B&D group of companies. Originally, a very good table saw. Little has changed since the buy-out by B&D. I have been told that the saw contains some Asian parts. Once considered the standard by which others are measured. Now??? The older examples at school are holding up very well. The instructors seem to prefer the Uni-Fence on their own personal saws. I had a poor experience with Delta customer service over a nickel part.
General Ė Canadian made which is as close to American made as possible. I have seen a couple at shows and rather impressive. The company is service oriented and even answers E-mails promptly. Nobody seems to say anything bad about General. There seems to be many examples of General table saws in Middle and High Schools. My problem here is that in the Los Angeles area metro area there is but a single dealer. I am leaning towards a right tilt General, perhaps in the fall.
I've got a basement full of the spare parts Powermatic sent to me and never picked up for the flawed parts, Lou, and I sold the two inserts (Dado and regular) on ebay recently and the guy who bought the regular insert for his antique PM66 had some cracking stories for me regarding the modern powermatic company.
In a strange way it's reassuring (though sad to boot) to hear that it wasn't just me having terrible luck after all (though I imagine that they couldn't all be to that level or they'd be broke within a year) and others have been experiencing the same troubles, but he's in the antique tool business and went on about.. well to cut it short that they have some pretty accute problems, and we had a bit of a chuckle exchanging what was wrong with the saw I had, and the ones he'd seen on his day to day travels.
I okayed it and he even emailed my stories to his friend, a cabinetmaker who'd bought two of them and had to return both for similar reasons to the things I was noticing, I presume to make him feel better about his own saga with Powermatic.
As I said, after those 3 months of continual tinkering and phone calls, when I got the General, it was a breath of fresh air.
It was almost an instant setup.
Ry, it's the very same Baldor motor that the PM66 had, and while the PM claimed a max pull of 26 amps, the manual for the General claims that you should use a 40 amp breaker.
My general is still on the 30 amp I alloted it from the PM66 stats of the 5hp baldor and hasn't popped to date.
So the answer is, I'm not altogether sure :D
It could be the general just allows a generous margin, but as I say I havn't had it pop on the 30 amp, and it's never run on anything lower.
What these things draw after the initial surge is anyones guess and I'm no expert.
Knowing sonny, I bet he's found out what his 5hp uni peaks at on 'ignition', but I'd hazzard a guess that a 20 amp may not be enough. It might hum along fine on it, but I wonder what that start up amperage hits.