first table saw

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Okay, I'm brand new to the scene and what I'm hearing is that the first big tool to get is the table saw. Thankfully, this month's WOOD has a rundown. Ridgid's TS3650 won the prize for contractor-grade, and their TS2400 for portables.
Now, the price difference is tiny: 570 versus 500. I can't think of any good reason to buy the smaller one. But I have read that a beginner should test the water, so to speak, with mid-grade equipment until heshe gets committed to the shop.
Your thoughts?
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If you aren't sure you want to stick with this hobby, you might be tempted to (and rightfully so) buy second class equipment. If you stick with it, you'll be replacing all that equipment as you realize it's shortcomings. You'll end up buying everything twice! It's a difficult decision, because if you go expensive on the first round and then don't keep woodworking, you've wasted your money because second hand equipment sells for pennies on the dollar. If you go "cheap", it's more expensive in the long run. There's no right answer to your question. YOU have to assess the likelihood that you'll stick with it. IF you think you will, I'd urge you to buy the best that you can possibly afford. Conversely, if you buy cheap, you may not get a whole lot of satisfaction from your new hobby. My enjoyment increased by an order of magnitude once I bought a Unisaw and sold my Craftsman TS. After that, I went on a buying spree because woodworking had become truly pleasurable. I got a 6" jointer, a nice router table, a big router, a drill press, a band saw, etc. I'd already owned a thickness planer for some time, but it had seen little duty until I'd gotten the tools that complement it.
I hope you enjoy your new venture as much as I've enjoyed mine!
oh, one refrain that gets mentioned often on the 'Wreck is "you can cry once, or cry twice", which is a reference to the money spent on tools. Meaning if you buy a tool that lasts, but is relatively expensive, it's cheaper than buying a poor substitute and then turning around later and replacing it with what you REALLY wanted/needed in the first place.
Dave
Matt wrote:

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I agree completely with your assessment, David. I would like to add another, important, point. Will Matt be building large items like 8/4 solid oak trestle tables or wee balsa wood jewellery boxes. Tool selection varies greatly if you keep in mind the types of projects you plan on building. My uncle made his living as a cabinetmaker for a boat-builder for 40 years with nothing more than a box of hand tools, a bandsaw, and a jointer. I have a TS2400 and I'm happy with what it does for my needs. I modified it, of course, but so what? I WAS used to a 10-foot sliding table Altendorf and an 4-foot SCM, both with scoring blades and 5 HP 3-phase motors. But I knew I was never going to do that kind of work again. I like the TS2400, because when I'm not using it, I fold it up and slap it against the wall....router panel installed and all. That feature was important enough for me to buy it, even though I knew the TS3600 would be a better saw....(although the motor mount is dreadfully flimsy.)
There are many ways to skin a cat, and with my TS2400 and a Milwaukee 5616 router mounted as an extension I can do a LOT of projects..... and to 'tollerize' a workshop this early in the game would be irresponsible.
There are no definitive answers. All replies to Matt's request have merit in some way..except of course...never mind.
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I can recommend the Delta 36-649 contractor saw that some Home Depot stores have on sale for $317. It is worth looking for. I have a Ridgid portable and if you need a portable it is a decent saw but I wouldn't buy it again. The Delta I just bought is a much better saw and cheaper to boot. The Ridgid contractor saw looks good but is over $200 more than the Delta and you can use the $200 for a better blade and other accessories that you will eventually want.
Phil Davis 247PalmBeachRE.com
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You should buy the TS350. If done correctly, this is the only table saw you will ever buy. Jim
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No one has ever complained that a tool was too good.
I don't know your ideas about the hobby or how fat your wallet is. I started out with a $199 Craftsman saw. I made some nice stuff but soon realized what I was lacking. I later bought a Delta Contractor's saw with Beisemeyer fence and I'm very happy with it. It will last me the rest of my life. (estimated to be from 1month to 30 years.) For a $70 difference, get what you really want.
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That advice is for the people that can't afford it. If you can afford it, top quality tools are worth the money. They work better and will not be a source of frustration. They also will last longer if you get more serious about it and have higher resale value if you don't. Buy the best you can afford.

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The better you are at a skill, the more easily you can accomodate less than perfect tooling. As you learn, you learn how to compensate, jig, or design around a tool's shortcomings, and they are all somehow less than perfect.
Regarding the tablesaw question: If you don't absolutely NEED the portability, then go for the other saw. Stability and mass count.
And budget for the purchase of a couple of better sawblades, too.
Patriarch
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Ridgid is a fine brand but in my opinion it is more targeted at the construction industry (ie contractor) than the shop type applications.
Some other considerations are the hybrid saws. In short, a cabinet or furniture shop uses a cabinet saw. It's a different design offering more stability, less vibration, thus better cutting performance. Some companies are now creating hybrid contractor and hybrid saws. Dewalt and Jet have them for about $800 (I much prefer the fence on the Dewalt) and Craftsman now has a hybrid for $500. Maybe someone here can comment on the Sears hybrid but I've seen some good reviews.
http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid922104000&subcat=Table+Saws
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1) Unless you need a portable saw, you will curse it everytime you go to use it.
2) You have gotten advice, and will get more, that you should get a $800 or $1,200 saw. Yeh, they are better than $500 saws, but unless you have a lot of money and room, or do a great deal of work with big panels, they simply aren't worth it. I couldn't fit a $1,200 saw in my workshop, even if I were inclined to spend the money. I have to cut plywood and large panels with a circular saw, and that is a PITA, but without the room... (Heck, I had to take the door trim off just to get my contractor saw in!) Don't forget, you will need a router table, a planer, a jointer, and a miter saw to do any serious work. You have the room and money for them? (and a drill press, belt sander, and band saw are nice to have also)
3) Used saws can be a tremendous bargain. Mine had a bunch of upgrades and would probably retail for about $900, but I got it for $275 in perfect condition. You might not be so lucky, but you might. (My used jointer was $200, but the blades needed to be sharpened; oh well.)
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miter
You do make an art out of being wrong, don't you?
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I was tempted to say something, but you beat me to it. Figure on the tablesaw handling mitre saw duties, a router mounted in a wing of the tablesaw, shims for using the router as a jointer, and a planer? Well, I'd love to have one, but considering that I wasn't aware of their existence for the first 20 years of my woodworking life, it's not all that difficult to get by without one and still make some serious projects.
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wrote in message

Lets see, a $600 TS and a $400 jointer, or a $1,000 TS and shims on a router table. They seem to be of equal utility to you? You really want to joint a 60" board on a 27" TS wing router table? Don't be silly. (I don't even want to know how you propose thickness planing on your router table.)
I suppose a table saw "can" substitute for a miter saw, but so can a hand saw. Don't be silly.
Matt, you will get a lot of foolish opinions here, but you will also get some wisdom. You just have to use your common sense to sort it out.
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router
When did he say that he had $1000.00 to spend? Seems to me he was comparing table saws that were well below that price point.

Wouldn't be my first choice. Hand plane is my first choice. Cheap, fast and dead easy. What more could you ask?

Sure can, what's the problem?

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Forget the jointer if you are buying S2S or better. I can easily straighten a board on my TS much faster and as accurately as on a jointer.

Once I properly equipped my TS, I absolutely quit using my 12" Delta CMS unless at a job site. Absolutely no comparison in accuracy to the TS and its jigs.
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Surfaced wood I buy is NEVER flat enough to use "as is". Besides which, it's never exactly the right thickness--just close.
I agree that the CMS is not nearly as accurate as using a sled on the TS.
Dave
Leon wrote:

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Well, where you buy the wood may not be, that is too bad. Fortunately I do not have that problem. I think I would look for another supplier. If your "surfaced" wood is not "flat enough" IMHO too much material has already been removed and especially if is being sold as already being the right thickness. Personally I would never consider surfaced wood that was not flat.
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Even the priciest wood emporium in the area sells wood that's not flat. And I'm talking god-awful expensive. Southern Lumber. Anyone in my area knows how high their prices are. count your blessings that you get perfectly milled wood that stays flat until you buy it.
Dave
Leon wrote:

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oh, BTW, I'm way too cheap to buy wood at SL.
Dave
David wrote:

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Did you get over to PALS yet? How's their South Bay outlet look?
Patriarch
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