Best portable table saw

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Hi,
I don't mean to start a huge debate here, but I'm looking for a good table saw to make furniture. My limitation is that I get half a garage so I'm limited to a saw that can roll away. I think that pretty much narrows it down to a few saws. Among those, which would you recommend to an amatuer but serious furniture maker.
Thanks,
Aaron
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On 2/23/2009 10:56 AM Aaron Fude spake thus:

I don't think you really want, nor need, a "portable" saw, in the sense of one that can easily be hauled to job sites. Any saw can be made to roll around as you describe. I have a 9" Rockwell contractor's saw that I put up on casters.
My preference: find a good used saw (Craigslist, used tool/building material place, etc.). You'll get more saw for the money.
Things to look for:
1. Blade size: the biggah the bettah (but see #2). 10" is good. 2. Motor size: " " " " . Absolute minimum: 1 HP. 2 would be better, but that starts getting expen$ive. A too-small motor will really slow things down, especially ripping through heavy stock. 3. Stay far away from so-called "motorized" saws, where the motor drives the blade directly (like a slightly souped-up skilsaw on a stand). You want a belt drive. (Typical arbor speed = 3450 rpm.) 4. Stay far away from cheap aluminum tables. Cast iron is what you want. 5. A good (rip) fence is nice, but if the saw is missing it or has a shitty one, you can get good aftermarket fences for *some* saws. (Probably not for that 30-year-old Craftsman that's otherwise in great shape.)
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Any saw can be mounted on a mobile base. For furniture, you don't want to get a cheap saw. I'd highly recommend a mid sized saw such as commonly known as a contractors saw. You get a large cast iron top, smooth and quiet belt drive, and an accurate, easily set fence.
I have a Delta saw with Beisemeyer fence. I'd buy the same thing today, but thee are others that can do the job for you. Jet has equivalent models. The Ridgid is said to be good, General, and some of the Grizzly.
One big difference between a contractor saw and a benchtop is the table size. The smaller saws are limited to the width that can be cross cut to a few inches less than the big saws. In any case, you'll want to build a simple detachable outfeed table too.
Get a good blade. Infinity, Ridge Carbide, or Forrest would be my picks in that order. http://www.infinitytools.com/products.asp?dept 13 http://www.ridgecarbidetool.com/product_info.php?cPath !_32&products_id3&osCsidr51e70cc4dda1348b100869a16a45cc
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Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

http://www.ridgecarbidetool.com/product_info.php?cPath !_32&products_id3&osCsidr51e70cc4dda1348b100869a16a45cc
Yes, for furniture you need a "real" cabinet saw, not a portable contractors saw, not that there is anything wrong with them, they are just for a different type of work.
As an additional note, I'd suggest instead of looking to roll the saw out of the way when you're not cutting you instead make a drop on worktable top that can rest over the saw and provide an assembly / finishing table. Let the heavy cabinet saw serve as the central workspace.
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On 2/23/2009 12:10 PM Pete C. spake thus:

That's an interesting idea worth considering, but it may or may not work in a particular workshop.
In my case, I need to be able to turn the saw 90, one way for ripping long stock, the other way for crosscutting same.
If you're considering using the saw on large panels (plywood, etc.), that's a whole 'nother ball o'wax.
One other thing to consider: get a good roller stand so you can support long pieces.
Lots of ways to arrange one's workspace. And a saw table does make a nice work surface.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Sounds like a good excuse to buy/build a panel saw. You can even make a vertical stock rack to fit between it and the wall. I'm considering doing a similar setup here, though there won't be much wood in it, more metal, lexan, FRP, etc.

An adjustable height worktable with a laminate top works well also. I have one I made from a power adjustable base I scrounged, but you can make one using a trailer jack as well.

The key is to protect the expensive saw table when using it as a work surface. An add on top protects from dings, glue, poly, etc.
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If you're going to be doing furniture, especially in a limited space, you may want to consider a bandsaw over a tablesaw.
jc

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On 2/23/2009 1:11 PM Joe spake thus:

My vote would be for both. A tablesaw is far too useful not to have. Besides just cutting, you can do rabbeting, dadoing, shaping, etc.
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I have a one-stall space for my workshop, so I usually roll my saw out onto the driveway for anything big. My buddy has a two-stall workshop and a full-sized 240-volt monster that he also uses on the driveway--of course in his case it's because his "workshop" is literally jammed full to the ceiling with old scraps and piled tools.
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On 2/23/2009 10:56 AM Aaron Fude spake thus:

I just got back from my favorite recycled-goods store where I saw the perfect saw for you: a Rockwell 10" contractor's saw, basically the big brother to my saw, with a 1-1/2 horse motor. With fence and miter gauge (metal yet, better than my plastic one), all for $120. Fence needs a little work, but mine did too.
You don't happen to be anywhere near Berkeley, do you?
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

Don't you need to take a 30 day course and get a license to buy a table saw in CA?
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On 2/23/2009 3:40 PM Pete C. spake thus:

Yeah, you gotta go to Power Tool school, kind of like traffic school. Then they make you buy the compulsory Safety Kit, with goggles, ear protectors, safety helmet, respirator and lead-lined apron. They have an inspector go to your home and inspect your work area the first time you use it to make sure it's CAL-OSHA-compliant. Then, and only then, they cut the state-installed safety seal on the power switch.
[This oughta keep all you "gummint is bad!" types happy]
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

You forgot the surprise inspections to make sure you have all the safety guards in place...
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On 2/23/2009 5:49 PM Pete C. spake thus:

Heh. Now the topic's starting to drift; might as well go with it.
So question is, how many of you run your table saw with a guard in place?
I've *never* used one. Yeah, I know; I've seen all the photos of the guy cutting with the guard down, and all the admonitions to use it.
Supposedly they're safer. However, I've never even nicked myself on a table saw [knocks on wood here]. I'm just super-careful. Also have never had a bad kickback. Seems to me the guard would just make for more frustration trying to work around it with push sticks and such.
A featherboard, on the other hand, does seem like it might be a good thing to use for ripping to prevent kickbacks. But like I say, I've never had one. Yet.
I think if I used a big shaper or a jointer I'd like to have a guard in place over that big hunk of spinning carbide ...
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I use mine just about all the time. I don't find it to be inconvenient and the pawls can help prevent a kickback. I also use a magnetic featherboard for most ripping. I don't look at it as a safety feature, but as a help with accuracy to keep the wood from drifting at all.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I use featherboards when appropriate to aid in precision cuts. The splitter/guard for my saw is sitting on a shelf still in it's original plastic wrap. It isn't even possible to use it with at least 75% of the cuts I do. As for kickback, I am always careful to stand to the side and out of the line of fire. I did once have a kickback launch a piece across the shop, but since I was to the side I was safe.
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wrote in message

It's NOT "safe" launching pieces of wood across your shop....
since wood can "move" or twist while being cut,a splitter keeps the blade from binding in the kerf.
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Jim Yanik wrote:

I said I was safe.

Splitters only work on through cuts. Metal and plastics also tend not to twist. The last task I did on the table saw was slotting 3/4 depth in 1" square 14ga steel tube with an abrasive blade.
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David Nebenzahl wrote:

I did. For about 2 days.
The only thing I use are push sticks for narrow stuff. Those and an adjustable, fence mounted strip of Lexan that serves as a hold down and (minorly) hold in.
When I was using a radial saw I used featherboards a lot but find they are hard to use on my cabinet saw due to the webbed bottom table surface (hard to clamp to).
I do mean to rig a splitter for my zero inserts. Someday.
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Is that for real or am I just being Duhh to a joke?!
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