Canwood Table Saw

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? Thanks. http://www.canwoodtools.com/content/houseoftoolscom/Templates/www.canwoodtools.com/industrial.htm
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Uzi,
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 parallel.
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 TS-Aligner.
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.
Bob S.
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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 level).
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 cabinet saw.
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 heartbeat.
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.
Regards,
Benoit Evans

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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.
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Hello there,

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, arbourface-bearing-pulley-bearing, etc. - 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 pulley. - 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...
Thanks,
David.
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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 link:
http://www.canadianwoodworking.com/chat/webbbs_config.pl
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.

http://www.canwoodtools.com/content/houseoftoolscom/Templates/www.canwoodtools.com/industrial.htm
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