After reading the Wood 3HP table saw comparison, I went down to the
House of Tools to check out the General and, hopefully, the Delta.
They didn't have the Delta there, but did have the General. The sales
guy pointed out another saw, the Canwood 16-457. Now, most of what
I've learned about table saws comes from Norm and this news group, but
it looked like a quality saw. The fence looked and felt more solid
than what was on the General. The table looked more polished.
Adjusting the blade height and angle seemed quite a bit smoother, too.
Plus, it's $400CDN less than the General.
Anyone have any experience with this saw?
Canwood Tools is trademarked by House of Tools so these are ??? made tools
branded for them. I've never seen them advertised before nor compared in any
tool reviews that I can remember.
It just "may" be a good TS but not being able to touchy-feely, I'll comment
on what I did read. First, their 2 year warranty is open-ended for them and
all weasel words. Read it and you will see that they're guaranteeing -
nothing - for a full two years - Wowee ! (the etc. in the sentence along
with what they consider to be, wear and tear is their out for just about any
defect). And to top it off - you have to pay for all labor....? Helluva
guarantee they have there...
I would ask the sales guy what specifications do they guarantee on table top
flatness, arbor runout, miter-slots parallel and sides of miter slots being
Don't be fooled that it may look beefier than a General and remember - you
probably aren't getting the bang for the buck that you think you are on that
TS. The quality of the iron is something that there is no simple test for
and only time in your shop will reveal if the iron was aged properly before
it was milled. The Keefer (Unisaw A100) and others more knowledgeable than
I about old iron may be able to tell you more on that subject. But you
trying to convince them that a cracked trunnion is a defect may be a tough
sell with that warranty.
If you are hell-bent on getting it, you can always cut a deal with the store
check out the TS you're purchasing in the store before paying for it. Get a
straight edge (Lee Valley) and some feeler gauges to check the flatness of
the tabletop, front-to-back, criss-cross and side-to-side. Hang the
extension wings - They may need slight shimming but anything more than a few
thou and you may want to look closer. Checking runout on the arbor requires
a dial-indicator and magnetic base set-up (again Lee Valley) or a
I personally would go with the General if you can swing it and cry only
once. You may be saving $400 now but in the long-term - I doubt it. What
can go wrong? - its iron after all - right! Plenty.... I don't know the
correct terms (Help Keefe!) but "green iron" will eventually crack. I'm not
sure on the pre-stressing (annealing of the iron?) but a few years back
there was an article in the trades that compared the different iron that
went into name brand versus non-name brand tools. Properly aged iron (1
year +) was a must for quality, long-life tools and there was a significant
difference noted on milling techniques. Not knowing what I'm talking about
on that subject, I'll defer to others.
Look around and see how many old Generals there are and that General has a
rock solid guarantee (not weasel words like the other one) and it has a
reputation for being a quality built product. Reputation matters.
If you search th Google News archive for / canwood quality
groupe:rec.woodworking /, you will get a fairly small number of "hits",
almost all of them unfavourable. As one person said, it looks pretty but
that's about all. There is obviously a market for a saw at the Canwood
price point and for some things, like chopping up construction-grade
lumber to build thinks like decks, floors, garden furniture, etc., it
might be a very good saw indeed. For making furniture and quality
cabinet work, it is not the way to go unless your budget just won't
allow anything else.
I have a Delta, but not the 650 and it was a compromise purchase.
However, when I replace it, I will go with a General International saw
(unless something changes in the price quality picture for saws at that
Check around for a better price on the General. Look in the Yellow pages
for local dealers who sell woodworking tools to the trade. Some of them
will have the entire General (and General International) line on display
or available on short notice. You may find a better price--or even a
good deal on a used General or Delta where someone has traded up to a
If it were me and I could reduce the price difference from 400 to 200 or
maybe even 300, I would take the General Int. over the Canwood in a
By the way, be very wary of the way some things look on a display model.
They are not always assembled "by the book" and often get beaten around
in the store. Sometimes, what seems to be wrong is nothing more than bad
assembly, improper alignment or store abuse.
On Sun, 14 Sep 2003 19:40:54 -0400, "K.-Benoit Evans"
Thanks to you and Bob for your replys. The $400 isn't a big deal, but
it is better in my pocket if the saws were comparable. The salesdrone
made a big deal that the saw was made by Powermatic. My first thought
in that instance is was Powermatic going to make a saw that sells for
less than their high end saw that competes with it? Maybe it is my
cynicism, but it makes me want to kick the tires more before I put my
money down. Which is why I posted here asking for opinions.
My cynical nature also kicks in when the salesdrone starts saying
things like that saw (the General) is good, but look at our 'house
brand' (the Canwood). The reason house brands are sold is because the
house probably makes more on them. It is the same reason that
supermarkets sell clones of name brand items. I can't see them doing
it if they don't make more money on it. Otherwise they take up twice
the space on the shelf for two items that generate the same return.
Space that could be used for a different product. Would I say they
would deliberately setup their house brand better than the name brand
to give it the edge while demonstrating it to tire kickers like me?...
Again, that is why I was posting here. To find opinions, good or bad.
Because sometimes the house brand does the exact same thing as the
name brand and is cheaper, just like generic drugs at the pharmacy.
Run, do not walk from that store.
If Powermatic makes that saw I will eat my shirt.
There are only three designs when it comes to cabinet saws.
- The ubiquitous Unisaw design which all offshore clones are based on. You
can tell this design by looking at a real Unisaw and then comparing it to
the offshore copies. It is very obvious with the curved yoke that runs from
front to back under the hood, the three belt drive system,
- The Powermatic 66 is unique in that it has arbourface-two bearings,pulley.
No outboard bearing supporting the arbour shaft on the other side of the
- The General 350, easily the best Cabinet saw on the market. General Canada
is the only company who still controls *every* aspect of manufacturing of
their saw. Iron ore pulls up at the back door, finished saws go out the
front door. I was at the General factory and foundry last winter and the
level of detail they go through making their saws is exceptional. The saws
are hand built. The "assembly line" consists of three guys at three stations
who do the final assembly, *by hand*. General is the last company to use
Meehanite for their castings ( http://www.meehanite.com/ ), ensuring
castings that will not warp and that will stay true.
We sell all three saws where I work, and I am going to be late if I don't
sign off, but I could go on and on about the differences between the
General 350 and all other saws and list all the reasons it is better, but I
am out of time...
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
Remove the "splinter" from my email address to email me.
Newbies, please read this newsgroups FAQ.
rec.ww FAQ http://www.robson.org/woodfaq /
Crowbar FAQ http://www.klownhammer.org/crowbar
Go to the forum of Canadian Woodworking magazine and ask about this saw.
You'll find more people there with Canwood products that can answer your
questions. There are probably more General owners there too. Here's the
I've been to House of Tools a few times and they do push the Canwood
products a bit because it's their house brand.
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