I will throw my two cents in on this one.I have a Porter Cable 12in compund miter saw and I just purchased a Jet 10 Cabinet Saw (Table Saw), also bought an Incra 1000 miter gague and I can tell you that I have not used the miter saw to cut one miter since.But you need to also keep in mind that if you have to cut a long piece with a table saw,you may be in trouble.It would be a nightmare to try and cut a 12ft piece of crown mold with a miter gague and table saw.So I guess what I am trin to say is,if you have the funds,I would get both you will need them sooner than later I would expect.
OK...let's look at this logically :)
The basic "cuts" that most woodworkers do to make furnuture,
cabinets, shelves, toys, boxes, etc are (not including any
finishing stuff here)
(9) Compound miter
(10) Mitered rip
(11) Raised panel (and cove)
(12) Contour edges
(14) Tongue and Groove
(15) Kerf (for inlay or bending)
(18) Half lap
(19) Sliding dovetail
(20) Box joint
OK...let's look at "standard" jigs and accessories for the 3
tools mentioned (Tablesaw, Compound Miter saw, and Bandsaw) Tablesaw[ul][li]Miter gauge[li]Crosscut sled[li]Miter
and compound miter sled[li]Tall and "specialty"
fences[li]Dado blade[li]Moulding head[/ul] Compound Miter Saw[ul][li]Nothing really...[/ul] Bandsaw[ul][li]Auxiliary table[li]Fence[li]Miter
Alrighty...let's look at each tool and match them to the
listed cuts....Please remember that this is ONLY my
"Excels" at[ul][li]1[li]2 (I know this will raise some
ire...but I use my SCMS when accuracy is NOT an issue, and
my TS sled when it is)[li]7 (same as #2 above)[li]10[li]11
(I only have a PC690 router, plus *I* like the look and the
flexibility of making cove type cuts of ANY size)[li]13 (can
make a deep slot in one pass)[li]14 (unless you have a
matched set of bits for the router and are cutting 3/4"
Additionally, "Can do" or "is able to" [ul][li]3 (sorta
kinda)[li]5[li]6[li]8[li]9[li]12 (with molding
"Excels" at[ul][li]2 (ease, not quality)[li]7 (same
comment)[li]9[li]18 (ease of set up and use)[/ul]
Additionally, "Can do" or "is able to"[ul][li]5 (with a
Sliding CMS)[li]15 (very limited)[li]17[/ul]
Additionally, "Can do" or "is able
to"[ul][li]1[li]2[li]7[li]9 (Really poorly!)[li]10 (same
comment)[li]17[li]18[li]20 (very limited)[/ul]
I'll add router table in here... Router and Table
"Excels" at[ul][li]5[li]6[li]10 (if stock already ripped to
Additionally, "Can do" or "is able to"[ul][li]3[li]21
There are a lot of variables in all this...such as
dado's...some like them on the TS, some on the router. I
have both, so I do whatevers easiest with less set up time
depending on where the dado's gonna be.
If I had to choose only one tool, or my first tool,
you can see it's be the tablesaw. Limited to only 2 tools?
Well, an awful lot depends on what you want to
make...I'd choose the router and table myself. 3 tools only
you say? TS, Router, and Bandsaw. Honestly, if my SCMS were
to blow up today, I'd probably not replace it. I use it to
hack long boards down to managable lengths when I get a wood
shipment or to chop a bunch of oak strips to length for
basket handles. If I need a good crosscut, I use the
TS, sled, and a good blade.
Once again, this is only my opinion...differing opinions are
always welcome...that's how I learn.
Wow, what an outline Marc! Well thought out & nicely stated. For the most part I would agree that a tablesaw would get my vote for "most important tool". However, as a cabinetmaker, I could never throw out my miter saw. That goes back to the "depends on what you're making" thing. Every tool has it's purpose. Good luck Mitch.
... for an all around woodworker. Cutting miters or crosscutting long lumber or molding on a table saw is cumbersome at best.
If you can afford a miter saw, go for it. If you'd rather save the money, you could just use a miter box. If you're making tons of something, that might not be preferred, but then if you were making tons of something, you might find a way to afford a miter saw.
Radial arm saws are pretty cool, but much of what they can do is done better with a table saw. A RAS with a dado set looks pretty handy to me. (from New Yankee Workshop)
>I am considering a purchase of a saw. What is the main
>difference between a Miter saw and a Table Saw. Is there
>anything a Miter saw can do that a table saw can not?
I have just learned that my Craftsman MS is usless at 45s if the board is over 4" wide. I tried mitering a 2x6 base for a router table I'm building and by the time I got to the final 45 I had a big "canyon" gap to deal with. Look up my question in this section and look at the good replies.
Mark do you own a RAS? If not how can you comment that. I CMS will not and never stack up to a RAS for shop and I emphasize "SHOP" use. Crosscutting dados, crosscut much wider panels, rip (albiet dangerously) and allot of other usages. A CMS is a jobsite tool for carpenters.
99% of the pple that had RAS got rid of themand replaced by a scms cms, for the reason of they take up too much space, not as acurrate, dangerous, not good for miters and so forth, myself i still have the RAS just cuz i cant afford a scms right now, but the only concern i have is capacity of cut in the scms, will it be able to cross cut 12 inch wiid boards like my ras?
I don't currently own one but I used one for several (6) years. Just 'cause it ain't in my shop now doesn't mean I've never used something. Don't have any air nailers but I've done more than a few square of 3-in-1 and cedar shakes with one!
They're a very good and flexible tool, but for ripping I just don't like 'em.
The only serious saw accidents I've ever personally witnessed have been on RAS's. Saw a lumberman lose 3 fingers on a BIG DeWalt industrial saw and my father damn near rip off two fingers when a simple rip on a small piece of panelling got away from him. The piece was thrown into the garage door (and I mean sticking out of!) and the sides of the old man's fingers were filleted.
I remember him doubled over in pain, barely able to breathe saying "thank god it hurts, thank god it hurts". Asked him what he meant and he said "If it hurts, they're still there..."
When we looked at the piece you could see where it cocked slightly and the cut got rough and then it went in a *TIGHT* circle and you could see the individual teeth marks on the ply. Figured that could only happen when the piece was moving at the full radial velocity of the blade...
Maybe its just my own personal view but I don't like to rip on em. I don't care for the turn the blade on it's side mode either. But for crosscutting and tenoning they're hard to beat. I've also done some fancy ornamental stuff on 'em. They're pretty well obsoleted by the CMS.