Choosing table saw

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I am looking for a mid range table saw. I am 70 so this will be the last one that I buy. I don't want to go through the hassle of buying a used one (been there done that in spades). The two that I am looking at are the Porter Cable PCB270TS at Lowe's. It is fairly recent and has gotten a few good reviews. The other is the Ridgid R4512 at Home Depot, again fairly new with a few good reviews. It is very similar to the Craftsman 21833 at Sears the has gotten mixed reviews mostly to an alignment problem which may boil down to some missing instructions and needing some better washers at a critical point.
I have been doing woodworking for about 65 years, starting in kindergarten. I am sort of an intermediate wood worker who has very inexpensive tools. My present saw is a Delta tabletop with a broken miter gauge. I looked at the portable contractors saws and it looks like for a few $ more I can get a very substantial beast. For examples of some of my work look at
http://ray80538.home.comcast.net/~ray80538/Woodwork/woodwork.html
and
http://ray80538.home.comcast.net/~ray80538/Woodwork2/woodwork2.html
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Good looking stuff there Ray. I really like the number of projects you did with the "wild" grain.
As for the saws, I don't know anything about porter cable.
What is the price range you are going for?
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On 11/29/2010 10:05 AM, Lee Michaels wrote:

If you just want to replace you table saw because you can, forget this message. ;-)
If not, why don't you just replace the miter gauge?
There are a lot of good mitre gauges at places like Rockler, Lee Valley, etc.
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Dang Ray, if you consider yourself an intermediate then advanced has not yet been achieved by "anybody". I was going to advise you to look a little larger scale for your TS's but you obviousely know your skills and what you can do with what.
I will tell you this however, Porter Cable and Craftsman are now what they used to be 20-40 years ago. Craftsman has been going down hill for 15-20 years, maybe longer compared to what some people have experienced.
Porter Cable & Delta seriousely are not what they used to be. I highly suspect that many of their products are manufacutred along side other less know brands in Tiawan and China.
That said there is some value in those products if you are willing to work around certain features that are now well thought out.
If you want your last saw to be a good one, and SAFE. I would strongly recomend the SawStop brand. Pricey but you know as well as anyone that an accident can happen at any time, the SawStop removes much of that risk.
Good luck with your hunt!
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You under estimate your capabilities! JoeG
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 07:50:54 -0700, Ray wrote:

Ray, Porter-Cable and Craftsman have gone way donwhill from what they used to be. If the Ridgid is made by the same folks that make the Craftsman I'd be leery of it as well.
I've heard good things about Powermatic, General, and Steel City. I don't know your price range but Steel City has a small cabinet saw that runs on 110 for about a grand. General offers a lifetime warranty if not used commercially. Powermatic may be too expensive but they're hard to beat.
And a little lower in the price/quality range don't forget JET. I think they're good value for the money. IMNSHO they've been getting better at about the same rate Delta has been getting worse :-).
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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I'll second that opinion. The undercarriage on the HD and Craftsman saws is getting almost flimsy by comparison to whtthey sold in the seventies. And the tilt "bearings" on the Delta 14" Band saw are flimsy (1/16") Pot-metal that have broken twice since I got the unit (used) two years ago.
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Ray wrote:

...
Not terribly long ago Fine Homebuilding did a review--unfortunately, I can't tell you otomh what was in the review nor who "won" or "lost" as am not in the market so didn't pay much (as in any :) ) attention. But, their reviews are, I think, pretty fair and reasonable so might see if you can find the issue online.
I've got to run right now, but if I get a chance and no joy on the web prior, I'll see if I can find it in my back issues and either post either synopsis or at least Vol/Number/Date...
If'en you're doing that kind of work with the saw you have, perhaps as somebody else noted, maybe some $$ could go to a quality miter gauge and fence for the saw you have and any left over to mini-lathe or something else to expand your facilities...just a thought.
--
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dpb wrote:
.

Think that saw has a smaller miter grove then most full size table saws. The after markets can only adjust to the larger grove.
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Rich wrote:

...
Then I'd wonder what is broke and if'en I couldn't fit the head from another to that bar as a starting point (unless, of course, I was adamant that "I really, really want a new saw..." :)
--
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On Mon, 29 Nov 2010 11:35:45 -0800, Rich wrote:

Another reason to not buy Craftsman.
--
Intelligence is an experiment that failed - G. B. Shaw

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Ray wrote:

Nice work!!!! I have that little Delta I use out in the field, not a bad saw for a mini. I believe Lowes use to sell Jet table saws, you might take a look at them too. Don't think you can get an after market miter for the mini saw because the miter grove is smaller then your full size saws. Rich
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Thanks to all for the kind comments on my woodworking projects, and thanks for the input on saw choice.
The Delta bench top saw has served me well, but I want to move on to something better. I first looked at the mobile contractors saws such as the De Walt 745. It got very good reviews. It sells for ~$300. I also looked at the Ridgid R4512. It sells for $529, but since I am a veteran I can buy it for ~$475. For 50% more money I get a saw that will accept dado blades, has separate elevation and blade angle cranks, has a nice fence, has stand, cast iron top, and weighs 5 times as much. Seems like good value. Reviews seem mixed in this price class with common complains about blade alignment being off by .003" and table top being off flat by .019". This class of saw seems to be an order of magnitude more than what I presently use, and since I tend to be a sawdust maker rather than a tool collector I wonder if this is good enough for me? The next step up seem to be the Grizzly etc. which are about double the Ridgid and with other exotic saws costing about what my first house cost. My son has a Shop Fox in the $1K class. It is a nice saw. Will I really see much difference between the $500 and the $900 saws since I am stepping up from a rather basic saw?
On re comparing I think I like the Ridgid better than the Porter Cable because of the fence and ease of adjustment of the blade.
Thanks
Ray
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On Tue, 30 Nov 2010 09:56:56 -0700, Ray wrote:

Yes. In general you should see smoother running, better ability to hold an adjustment, and closer tolerances. And I'm sure I forgot something.
It sounds like the General and Powermatic that I suggested earlier are a bit more than you want to spend. But take a good look at this Steel City saw:
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)>
A contractors saw with a riving knife *and* table mounted trunnions - worth their weight in gold. $600 with free shipping from Amazon.
I don't pwn one of these saws, but I was working at Woodcraft when they were carrying them and I was impressed with the quality for the money.
Tip: If you do get a contractor saw without table mounted trunnions, be sure to get the PALS adjustment system:
<(Amazon.com product link shortened)? ie=UTF8&s=hi&qid91138792&sr=1-1>
I did have one of those on my last table saw and I loved it.
Just to be fair I must point out that the above are my opinions. You can put 3 woodworkers together and get 4 different opinions :-).
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wrote:

Home Depot discounts for vets?
--
If your name is No, I voted for you - more than once ...


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wrote:

Both Homey's Despot and Blowes give 10% discounts for veterans. I hadn't known that until now, either.
-- Do not taunt Happy Fun Ball!
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Lobby Dosser wrote:

Nope. Active Duty, and Retired. Not for vets.
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snipped-for-privacy@windstream.net
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On Thu, 2 Dec 2010 08:40:12 -0500, "Mike Marlow"

http://fwd4.me/qzq "In February, Lowes expanded its military discount program to give all active, reserve, and retired military members and their immediate family members a 10% discount everyday."
P.S: Retired = veteran, Mike.
-- "Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is also in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong. A love of truth and a veneration of virtue. These amiable passions, are the latent spark. If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference?" --John Adams
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I'm a veteran and I'm retired but I'm not a retired veteran.
Max (Retired Deputy Fire Chief, El Paso Fire Department, '53 - '86) (US Army, Korea, '50 - "51)
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Ray: I used one of the old 1970's Craftsman, open bottom "Contractor's" saws for 25 years. It seems like they must have made millions of them and I was proud of it when I bought it new. It was underpowered, the blade-tilt hand-wheel required both hands to make adjustments, it vibrated, had a loose miter gage and the fence was not good. But it worked, and I cranked out some pretty nice projects.
When I upgraded to my Grizzly 1023s 10 years ago it was like moving from a garden tractor to a Lexus (well, maybe a slight exaggeration ~:^} ). The 1023s is smooth, the fence has required very infrequent adjustment, the stock miter gage is good, but not wonderful, the hand- wheels are smooth as silk, and it has power to handle anything I need to do.
I also mentioned using our son's Grizzly contractor saw. The only comparison between the his Grizzly and the Craftsman was general size and appearance. The Griz has cast iron table wings like the 1023s. The handwheels are smooth. The fence is very similar to my Grizzly/ Shop Fox fence and the overall operating characteristics are fairly similar to my Grizzly cabinet saw. It is just a little smaller, open bottomed and has 2hp instead of 3hp.
Your work examples clearly show you are an advanced woodworker. I certainly won't say that an upper end contractor's saw or a cabinet saw will make you a better woodworker. I will say it will make woodworking easier and more enjoyable.
RonB
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