If I don't woodwork, do I need a table saw? Is the miter saw what I need?


Hi, I got a table saw as a gift. I'm debating returning it and getting a miter saw.
I don't woodwork or build furniture. Most of my work is construction: building garden beds, finishing a basement next year, etc. If I needed wood ripped, I'd probably get the guys at Home Depot to fire up that big saw by the lumber.
Wouldn't a miter saw be a better choice? I could chop things with the table saw, I guess. And I don't really know all a table saw can do. But I don't see myself building any jigs.
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bryanska wrote:

There are a wide range of miter saws. I believe you can find one that will do you better than a table saw and likely will cost less. Make sure it will handle the max size pieces that you will be using. From what you describe that would be my choice. However remember that is it more limited in what it can do.
--
Joseph Meehan

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The radial arm saw is very versatile.
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Charles Schuler wrote:

indeed quit versatile, but it was not as accurate as a table saw because the frame would flex a tiny bit. Various attachments such as the router head were complete disasters. The advise a professional furniture maker offered was that if he had to pick just one saw, he would choose a band saw. YMMV
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On Sat, 21 Oct 2006 19:23:51 -0400, Stubby

I have a Sears radial saw and love it. It's not as old as yours. Mine is probably around 20 years old. However, for construction work, a radial saw is NOT handy. I sure the hell am not going to lug that heavy thing around from job to job. I have a chop saw (miter saw), and it works great for cutting studs and the like, and it's easy to lug around. Of course, you can not rip with them. That leaves me with my lightweight table saw, or since I dont rip boards too often, carry the board to the radial saw. When all else fails, I can still make a pretty accurate cross cut or rip with my circular saw which is generally accurate enough for construction, just not for finish work.
Mark
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I bought a radial arm saw as my first big tool, and have kicked myself for it many times. I'd much rather have a table saw. (And a miter saw on the side)
If the wood bounces on a radial saw, the cut goes too deep. On a table saw it doesn't.
Bob
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The OP said "Most of my work is construction." Table saws are not the best choice. Of course, having all three saws would be the best (table, radial, and miter).
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bryanska wrote:

A radial arm saw can do everything a miter saw can do, and usually do it more accurately.
Plus, a radial can rip (up to the depth of the arm).
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HeyBub wrote:

I would agree, but I would also point out that they are generally more expensive and almost always heavier and more difficult to move around the OP appears to be talking about something he can take along on jobs and just just stuff around the house. Frankly around the house I often bring out the miter saw to the job rather than use the radial in the garage.
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Joseph Meehan

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Joseph Meehan wrote:

Thats why you don't even see them for sale anymore. I actually gave away a 10" Craftsman last year for that reason. It is too heavy to move and easy to knock out of adjustment.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.invalid says...

lawyers. Radial arm saws are dangerous, particularly in hands of people who don't understand the forces at work.
--
Keith

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You would be better of with decent hand tools. Or if you needed power tools look into the newer battery powered kits of circular saw, recipro saw, and drill. bryanska wrote:

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On 21 Oct 2006 15:19:33 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@localnet.com wrote:

If you dont mind having the battery fail at critical times, a lack of power, and spending a fortune of extra and replacement batteries. I'll stick to plug in tools. I tossed my last cordless drill in the trash about a year ago when the last battery failed and they wanted almost as much as I paid for the whole drill kit for a replacement. I wont even consider buying another cordless tool. If I felt I needed power tools and could not be near an electrical source, I'd rather invest in a small 15 to 30 amp generator.
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bryanska wrote:

Which make and model?

You might find yourself ripping wood frequently for things like filler strips. No sense in heading down to HD every five minutes to get a piece of wood cut.
If you do lots of plywood work, you'll need a table saw with a decent fence, like a Biesemeyer.

I use both. My 10" PC chopsaw complements my table saw beautifully.
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bryanska wrote:

fwiw ... I do most of my work around the house with a jig saw (with diy jigs for straight edges etc) and a sawzall. Jig saw ... portable band saw :-)
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snipped-for-privacy@HOTMAIL.COM says...

should have bought a table saw (still don't have one). I recently bought a 10" sliding compound miter saw from Harbor Freight for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than I thought it would be. It's more than good enough for construction work (with a new blade).
In short, keep the table saw and spend $100 on a miter saw:
http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber90891
--
Keith


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