Good table saw worth it?

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James "Cubby" Culbertson wrote:

From what I've seen at the Depot, and at Sears recently, they are both being made by the same company, probably Emerson Electric. That was one of the vendors Sears used when I worked there, and they made all of the better and "best" versions at that time.
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A friend of mine lost his job last year. He bought a $150 portable Ryobi table saw plus he already had the other tools of the trade. He does light remodeling with it. Is making great money. No boss. Can work as often as he wants. Or as little as he wants. The table saw is still going strong, but of course, he's pretty easy on tools. Some people are rough with tools and they thus break more often.
But a more pricier table saw is easier to use. I'd spend the $500 on the better unit, if I were you, and if you can afford it. You'll be more apt to want to build larger, more complicated pieces with it.
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Eigenvector wrote:

Consider a radial arm saw instead. You can't cut a 4x8 sheet of plywood in half with a radial, but most other table-saw stuff can be done on a radial with far more accuracy and ease of use (such as changing blades).
You'd be hard-pressed to get the precision necessary on a table saw, for things like shutters or molding, that is trivial on a radial.
Of course, maybe I'm just partial.
Oh, radials take up, operationally, less room, too.
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<...snipped...>

No maybe about it!
--
Every complicated problem has a simple solution that doesn\'t work.

Larry Wasserman Baltimore, Maryland
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Yes.
When a guy who is handy with tools buys a BIG tool, he will usually learn a lot of things quickly with it. I say BIG tool to differentiate them from the likes of screwdrivers and such. By big tools, I refer to table saws, lathes, welders, routers, jointers, planers, hydraulic bending equipment, etc, etc. Tools that once you buy them, you learn, and therefore want to expand the amount and type of work you do, even if you are only doing jobs for yourself.
You can make all sorts of things that you only thought about making previously. AND, you can make them easily by yourself, and have them come out pretty close to right, or dead on perfect. Once you get to making things, the small differences between a GOOD tool and an average one become obvious. Then there's the wearout factor. Cheap stuff usually doesn't last, and if you get to using it a lot, you will end up buying a good one anyway eventually when you wear out the cheap one. Your skills and experience grow, so you can do more with the tool. And all you have left for the worn out tool to do is be a boat anchor.
I bought a cheap Ryobi table saw to do some very simple work I was doing at my cabin. It was $99. For the work I've done already with it making shelves and book cases and the things I bought it to do, I figure it has paid for itself. BUT, I think I wasted $100, because now I want a bigger better one that will handle bigger pieces of wood easier than the small one, and now I have to go spend $500, and I have this one that I probably can't sell for more than $40. I don't know what I was thinking.
I usually seriously overbuy on tools, and I have seldom been wrong. I buy things I think I will grow into, not what is just marginal to do the job at the time. That's what I did with the Ryobi. Then I saw, HEY, I can make all kinds of stuff, but this little saw has serious limitations. Small top, light motor, inaccurate cut gauge..................
If you think you will do much woodwork at all, you can't go wrong with a good used saw. I passed on an old Craftsman once for $100 that was about ten years old, weighed a ton, had a huge top, had a mongo base. If I had gotten that one, I would have started woodworking earlier, and had a much better saw. I'd probably still have it today.
If you don't need it right away, I'd shop around for a good used one. That way, if you don't continue in woodworking, you can break even on it or not take as serious a beating as you would on a new saw.
Steve
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On Sat, 23 Sep 2006 17:22:34 -0700, "Eigenvector"

Remember--You get what you pay for. If all you have is $500 I suggest looking for a quality used saw. Look for a large flat cast iron surface, precision fence, dust control, easy adjustments. If portability is what you need I suggest a good circular saw.
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Phisherman wrote:

well said.
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Eigenvector wrote:

If you have a project which required a tablesaw then that is a reason to buy one. Tablesaws are the most versatile tool in the shop but there is only one task they excel at, ripping long boards. Is this a task your project requires? I have a lightwieght contractor style saw that i use for rips and dados. I often find myself, however, doing long rips with my circular saw and a chalk line. This is often more convenient than lugging the board to the saw or the saw to the board. A circular saw and router will to all the same work as a table saw and are a lot more convenient. If you don't already have these then i would say buy them first. If you do have them then just try a few rips and dados with them before buyin a table say. A high quality skilsaw is without question, indespensible and worthe the money. I make rips with a worm drive saw and I highly reccomend you buy one before you get a table saw. Amazon has them marked way down. Skil HD77M MAG 77 7-1/4" Wormdrive Circular Saw
Link: (Amazon.com product link shortened)
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I, for one, would spend the money, if I had it. For now, I have bought a used Ryobi mid-grade saw, and will upgrade later when I can afford it. The problems with all cheap saws, and most mid-grade, are cast aluminum tables and the use of universal motors, which makes them loud and gives them less torque. AFAIK, there are no direct drive saws equiped with induction motors. My Ryobi is nice, with a cast iron table, but steel extensions, and it is direct drive, and loud as hell. My grandfather's Craftsman (my brother-in-law gave it away, don't ask!) was 45 years old, table and one extension cast iron, the other sliding steel, belt drive, induction motor, and the only noise it made was the ringing sing of the blade itself. Damn I miss that saw.
Eigenvector wrote:

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An in-between saw that got a good review in Wood magazine ( I think) was a Ridgid 2420 or something close to that. It came with a collapsable stand too. It received surpringly good reviews for its size. They really liked Ridgids 3650, which I own and really like a lot. The 3650 come with a built in caster system for moving the saw about your shop - great for those of us working in a confined space.
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