Cabinet Saw Decision - Lengthy

I want to thank everyone who posts and opines on their table saw choices. So many sources to reference - gotta love the internet. Somebody posted and stated they felt more research, time and thought went into buying their cabinet saw then their car. I'm in the same boat.
I'm buying the General 650. Took the last 3 months and put my hands on the Grizzly 1023SL, Powermatic 66 and Delta's Unisaw left tilt X5. The General just spoke to me. Below is my little recap.
Grizzly: First saw I looked at. Made the pilgrimage to Muncy, PA when I was on business in Phili. Drove away thinking - huh. Just wasn't impressed - questioning whether any saw would 'wow' me and maybe it was just the nature of the purchase. Fit and finish seemed sketchy, even for a floor model. A common thread of all saws I looked at and something you have to look past - likely these are assembled by some kid without a lot of pride in workmanship. Almost every saw I viewed had something assembled wrong, poorly or missing something. Anyway - I actually had my heart set on the Grizzly until I looked at it. I think like everyone else, I thought - man this thing is sure priced right. I think it was at this point the made in Taiwan issue began weighing in. It was a long fricking ride to view this saw - kind of a disappointment.
Delta Unisaw: I saw this and the Powermatic next to each other and was fortunate enough to have both the factory reps on hand at 7-Corners Hardware in St. Paul to ask stupid and loaded questions. Delta is unquestionably a great saw. The Beisemeyer fence is solid, has a Marathon motor, nice table top and the X5 gives you a choice of free stuff - I imagine the mobile base would be the obvious choice. And yes, it is the full size mobile base with support for the table legs. After relenting to spend enough to get something that 'wowwed' me, it initially boiled down to the Powermatic and the Delta. One thing that sucks on the Delta is their "new age" motor cover. It took the factory rep 5 minutes, yes 5, to get the cover off and when he did I was certain something had broken. Horrible design. Perhaps a minor issue in the big scheme of things. Overall nice saw at a reasonable price. This became my new choice.
Powermatic: This thing left an impression. Pull the motor cover off - which is also plastic and just a notch below Delta in design. Two screws hold it in place. If the screws are loosened it can be lifted up, twisted around and pulled off. Otherwise the screws need to be removed completely. Where was I? Oh yeah - under the motor cover is one monster trunnion and carriage assembly. This saw wowwed me. The Baldar motor is monster - hell, everything is monster. Table top is beautiful. Bottom line is this is a gorgous saw, albiet at a premium price. Roughly $400 more than the Delta without the mobile base, saw blade or a five year warranty. Tough sell to the Mrs.. You can buy a new splitter and Dado King with money left over to buy some wood going the Delta route.
General: Dealer network is limited. I live in Mpls. and would have to drive to Des Moise to actually see one. All the Mpls. stores 'can order one' but don't stock the 650. However, being the road warrior I am, sitting in Salt Lake City I tracked down a local dealer and took a look. This saw was originally kind of an afterthought - something to eliminate to justify the Delta or Powermatic. I had called Canada and spoke with the friendly French folk about the saw. Just the right touch of arrogant pride. Baldar TEFC motor, available in a variety of power configurations. The table - beautiful. The fence super solid. The motor cover!!! Someone took the extra time and $5 to actually put a usable cover on the saw. It has a nice latch and hinges back out of the way. The trunnion/carriage assembly in on par with Powermatic - monster. I've since spoke with several dealers who sell the General, Powermatic and Delta. Most preferred the General - some thought the saw was simply better than the Powermatic, some thought you got more for your money. One thing was constant - they thought it was a better saw than the Delta and about the same price. Granted you don't get the X5 package - but I'm looking at the saw, not the marketing package. This saw wowwed me in the way the Powermatic did and I almost instantly knew - I've found my saw! This was a fun trip. Fit and finish are beautiful - even if the assembly kid mounted the power switch backwards.
The October issue of Wood Magazine, #151, also had a shootout of the these and other saws. I discovered this after-the-fact and it only served to comfort my choice. It came out on top in their opinion. I have this article in .pdf format if anyone would like. Email me at snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com. Figure it's the least I can do after all of your help. Thanks to everyone.
Now... what to build?
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"MN Guy" wrote in message

Hmmm ...wonder if they have changed the cover? The one on my UniSaw (not the X5) comes off in about two seconds.
That said, I don't think you will go wrong with your choice.
--
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what's up with the motor cover?? Mine comes off in 3 seconds, with a little rap on the edge of it. It is retained with 4 spring clips. it's about 2 years old.
dave
MN Guy wrote:

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You people and your new saws. SH - my 1950 uneesaw has never seen a motor cover.

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Slowhand wrote:

holder option.
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On 05 Mar 2004 14:09:53 EST, Mark and Kim Smith

A Subaru dealer once told me that they lost several sales due to Subaru's small cup holders. Cup holder? I hold my beer between my legs! <G>
Barry
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wrote:

Do you have a mullet? <G>
Barry
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wrote:

Hey, bottled beer fits in those small Subaru cup holders. Just say no to cans! I always wear shorts so cold beer doesn't go well between the legs......
Gary
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wrote:

I ALWAYS drink bottled beer, preferably a Magic Hat, Otter Creek, or Ipswich product. Subie's cup holders are too short, and the bottle spills. The dashboard cupholder on my Outback is a bit high on the dash for, ahem, privacy.
The other night I was driving on I-91, on the way to a Hartford Wolfpack game. I passed a mid-60's Ford Comet that was actually in decent shape for 40 year old car. The driver had a half-full "40" sitting on the dash! <G> I thought it was funny that the driver never thought, or didn't care, that the car itself is going to make people look at it.
Barry
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Mark and Kim Smith wrote:

I'm partial to the power cupholder on my computer. When I'm done with it all I need to do is give it a nudge and it puts itself away. Damn fine piece of technology - it even provides space to store that plastic coaster the folks at AOL sent me...
--
Morris Dovey
DeSoto, Iowa USA
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Morris Dovey wrote:

I'm just glad we finally have these options. The only one that didn't work so well was the cup holder on my 3hp router. It wouldn't swivel when I went off horizontal.
Those AOL coasters also work well when used as an extremely thin kerf blade. Good for cleaning up dado's.
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just keeping up with the times! :) (sort of...can NEVER have the newest of anything, for more than 3 weeks)
dave
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"Slowhand" wrote in message

Why, you're so underprivileged with that old thing you don't know what your missing.
Mine own Uni, about three years old, has not one, but TWO (count'em) TWO, miter gauge holders built right into its handy dandy "motor cover". AND, were you to feed your hounds "free choice", turned over on its side, it would hold about 100 lb of dog chow ... so eatcher heart out!
... 'course said "motor cover", being engineered entirely for profit, is built JUST on that thin edge of being strong enough to be called a "cover" and still be one.
--
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On 5 Mar 2004 09:14:47 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com (MN Guy) wrote:

You and I speak the same language. I used the exact same phrase describing why I chose the 650. <G>

The latch reminds me of the hood latches on my Jeep Wrangler or a tractor trailer.
My General has been fantastic. The wooddorking school where I take classes has the Jet and a late model Unisaw side by side, and my buddy has a PM66. After a decent amount of time on all four, I would easily buy the General again. I think all four are excellent tools, but the difference is in the small details. One of the differences that I often notice is the flat out smoothness and lack of backlash in the hand wheels. Sweeeeet!
Have fun! Barry
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the General seems to say "solid", doesn't it. I've just read FWW 167 and the General was the pick of the contractor saws too. Interestingly, the Powermatic did poorly - overpriced and out of adjustment.
--

Greg


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If anyone wants to take a look at the General 650, here is a link to it: http://www.general.ca/product/general/650t50anfea.html
Looks like a good one!
Don
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my general 650 arrived just yesterday. after tearing it off of the pallet and cleaning it a bit (not much, no cosmoline required), i whipped out my TS Aligner and took a peek.
the arbor had exactly zero runout. literally, i couldn't get the needle to move. same with the flange - flat, true.
i did, however, notice that the long fence rails are not straight. they both have bows, which surprised me. but... i think that's not a big deal. we'll see.
today i run my wires. i got the 5 HP motor, so i'm putting it on a 40-amp breaker.
haven't taken the excalibur table out of the box yet. to fit that, i have to cut down the fence rails, and i don't want to mess with that yet. plus, don't have a chop saw.
suggestions on any of this?
enjoy your general.
---- dz
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Is that an Excalibur cross-cut sliding table that attaches to the tablesaw? I'll be interested to hear your comments on it's operation when you get it set up.
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yeah. i got the large excalibur. and i will definitely post when i get it set up.
i can tell you that on first inspection, the quality of the table itself looks excellent.
i'm suddenly busy with other work, so may be a week or so before i get it set up.
--- dz
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