Contractor's Table Saw


I've been taking 2 classess this semester 1) cabinetry and 2) machine operations and joinery, and have gotten spoiled by the table saws in the classroom. I'm looking for a saw that I can use at home to make my own cabinets as well as take to job sites. Any suggestions?
I've been considering Powermatic's contractor saw (model no. 64A) because that's the brand we have at school. I *love* the Accu-fence and noted that the our Delta shop saw has an aftermarket Biessemeyer fence.
So, I guess I've got several questions:
1) Are the big $$$$ saws (like Jet and Powermatic) really worth it? 2) Could you make a more inexpensive saw work better by adding an aftermarket fence (e.g., Biessemeyer)? 3) Are the larger "contractor saws" really portable enough to take to job sites?
My brother gave me his old Craftsman direct drive table saw (model no. 118-295752) after he hung up his bags to become a presbyterian pastor. I'm thinking about picking up his bags where he left off, but he warned me his old saw did not cut very accurately--certainly not well enough to make cabinetry. No aftermarket anything on this saw.
Any input would be appreciated.
Thanks,
n
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NicoB wrote:

IMO, for cabinet shop, there's nothing like the PM-66...but, you can certainly get by for less...

Maybe, if the rest of the saw is adequate...many have Biesemeyer clones, anyway...some are ok, some not so hot...

Depends on what the definition of "enough" is...and how you plan to transport it. Most, if properly mounted can be manhandled adequately.

No data to judge, but I'd not have any reason to suspect he was lyin' to ya'...if you're really serious, it's probably well worth upgrading. :)
But, there's a difference in a cabinet shop and on-site work...I'd be considering quite different options if I had one or the other in mind and you seem to have raised both...
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Probably to an outfit that runs 'em hard. Hobby guys can get by on 1.5HP easily, especially as the advent of link belts have overcome contractor saws' main problem, the bouncing motor.
You can make the saw work without a Biesmeyer.
Only if you box 'em. The natural tendency is to lift by the fence rails, which will make things tough for a while - until you fix it.
Best arrangement I've seen is a permanent mount in a traveling shop. Nice 40-footer with openings in the side, and you can custom work anything. See FWW index for the article.
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I have a Delta Contractors saw ith Biesemeyer fence. I love it. Does everything I want. Hefty to carry around to job sites though.

Good equipment.

Yes
Somewhat. It also takes enough pwer and a good blade.

How big is your jock strap? I'd not want to move mine around.

Pass on it. I had one and gave it away. It is, however, small enough to take to a job site. Accuracy is a problem with it. It is difficult to cross cut large boards on it as it is a few inches less from table front to blade compared to a full sized contractor saw. This type of saw has a place in life, but it is not in the professional cabinet maker's shop. My start into woodworiing was making doll furniture for my wife. It was a good start, but not for serious work.
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Regular size furniture was too big for her?
Or are you just calling her a doll?..In which case it deserves an Ahhhhhhhwwwwwwwww, how sweeeeet! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . sorry, Ed
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That really depends on the person. I have a delta contractor's saw. it's a great saw and does everything I'll probably ever need to do. I still plan on upgrading to a cabinet saw at some point. There are large numbers of people who go with grizzly tools and never regret it.

yes, although there are a lot of bies clones out there. So the fence that comes with the saw may be just fine. I have the unifence which I like, but would probably prefer the bies. You should visit a store and try them both.

Not really. I just move mine to a new house. My father in law and I had a hard time moving it. This was with a mobile base also. We did it, but I wouldn't want to do this on a daily basis. The mobile bases that are typically available for these things aren't good for much more than scooting it around the shop.
I would agree with your brother. Stay away from anything benchtop or direct drive (with maybe the exception of the portable planers). You're after induction motors, not universal. Grizzly has a contractor's saw with stamped steel wings for several hundred dollars. This would be vastly superior to any benchtop direct drive saw. You could also upgrade the fence later, as well as upgrade to cast iron wings.
brian
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check out the Grizzly 0444Z.

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All I can say is I wouldn't want to cart my tablesaw (a GI 50-185) around. It weighs more than I do, and I'm not exactly skinny. I did manage to move it by myself from one house to another, but there was a lot of sweating and cursing, and probably some blood was spilt as well.
If it was me, I'd probably buy a good circular saw with a straight-edge for the on-site work (maybe a jig or two for cutting angles and stuff), and a cabinet saw (Grizzley if you're trying to save money, then go up from there) for in the shop.
Clint

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I too have the GI 50-185 from General. It is a great saw 2HP very heavy and solid with Besimeier (misspelled) fence and a very solid miter. But Warning: they have the WORST customer service ever! Make sure you get it from a good dealer if you buy one.
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I also have the GI 50-185. I'm on my second one. Both have a problem with the blade going out of alignment when tilted. I believe it's due to the weight of the motor racking the tie rods and/or trunion brackets. Does your saw have this problem?
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I have one myself. Why a second one? What was up with the first? I just started fine tuning mine. At 0 t seems to be out of alignement with the miter slot by .01 and at 45 degrees it seems to change to .007. So there does seem to be some issue with tilting. Have you already messed with the tie rods and trunion? Any suggestions? I'm not sure what my next step is, I expected better out of the box.
sidney wrote:

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The second one was a warranty replacement for this problem. GI customer service sucked, but my dealer agreed to replace the saw under warranty. The second saw has the same problem, but to a slightly lesser extent. My current saw seems a bit worse than yours; dead on at 0 tilt, out by .015 at 45 degrees. I've tweaked the trunnions and tie rods till I'm blue in the face, to no avail. No more GI products for me. Good luck.

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Well, I spent time this weekend trying to tweak mine. The tie bars were slightly out of parallel so I adjusted them successfully. I also adjusted the trunions so the blade is < .001 out of parrallel with the miter slot. I also adjusted the fence. Everything seems to stay OK when returned to 0 after raising lower and beveling the blade. Is the fence supposed to be really stiff when locking? I find that if it isn't reall stiff there is substantial movement, out of parallel, at the back when pressure is applied.
Problem is that @ 45 degrees the blade is now .018 out of parallel. I'll be calling General in the morning.
sidney wrote:

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On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 14:36:31 -0400, NicoB

Unless you've got a heck of a truck with a lift gate, stick with something smaller for your on-site work. I haven't use one, but DeWalt makes one that looks like a beautiful jobsite saw. None of their other tools have ever let me down, so I would imagine the table saw is pretty good as well.

FWIW, a lot of Delta models come with a Biessemeyer fence, it's not necessarily an aftermarket upgrade.

Depends on who you are, and how fast you need to work.

You can always make the tools you have work better. Just make sure you get a saw that will work with an aftermarket fence- most of the benchtops have too small a table.

I don't think so, but I suppose it really depends on how good you are at moving things around.

That all depends on how carefully you set your tools up. I've got a little Delta benchtop saw right now, and it's as accurate as any other saw I've ever used. The problem with the smaller, less expensive saws is that they require a lot more setup time, and repeatability can be an issue if you change your setup, and then have to remake a part. If you buy the big saw, it'll be a lot easier to use- but it'll be a lot harder to move. Also, make sure you get one that can accept a dado stack- I would be perfectly happy with the saw I've got, if it wasn't for that one missing feature.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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On Fri, 22 Apr 2005 05:53:05 -0500, Prometheus

Small isn't really a problem, Mule makes a fence specifically for smaller saws. Sometimes the front fence rail is molded right into the table though, then you are stuck with it. As long as you can get down to flat surfaces at the front and back you should be okay.
-Leuf
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I must have missed them... are they worth the upgrade? I'd like to keep the little Delta I've got for odd jobs if I can get a better fence for it. Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
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On Sat, 23 Apr 2005 06:41:50 -0500, Prometheus

I don't have any personal experience with it, my old smaller saw died before I got the chance. Given that the price difference between the smaller and normal versions isn't much, I'd probably be tempted to get the normal one (if I was sure it'd fit) so that I could move it to a bigger saw later.
http://www.mulecab.com/TableSaw /
-Leuf
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On Thu, 21 Apr 2005 14:36:31 -0400, NicoB

Yes!
Yes. A good quality fence is important with any table saw.

Yes. Larger heavier table saws have less vibration and greater accuracy but less portable.

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Thanks, all for your input. I guess if I'm gonna be making cabinets, which is my intention, I'm gonna be using 2 different saws. I appreciate all of your input.
n
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