First Table Saw?

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Hey Guys,
As I start to watch more and more wood working shows I start to get more and more ideas as to different things I'd like to build. I am realizing that I really need to get a table saw.
I was just at my local Woodcraft store and got to talking to one of the sales people about table saws. I was asking him about the differences and he was really pushing me towards a Steelcity brand. I have never heard of that brand, but that doesn't surprise me too much. What does surprise me is that he was initially pushing me towards a $1000 model.
I mentioned that the model was a little pricey, so he pointed to another model (not sure which one), but discounted it by saying that the fence wasn't that good and I would be much better off with the Steelcity model.
I'd hate to buy something that is going to be way more than I need. Sure I am looking for precision, but not at a huge cost. I am sure there has to be something at a lower cost that is reasonable.
What kind of table saws do you guys recommend for a guy just getting into this and also for one who doesn't have a TON of room?
I'd really do not want to go over $500 as I would like to pick up a jointer too sometime soon.
Also can someone confirm whether or not he was trying to up-sell to me rather than taking account of my needs?
Thanks,
Adam
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I would suggest that you go to grizzly.com and look at thier line of TS price range is from $95 to $9000. You should be able to get something decent there for around half of the wood craft price. They make a good tool for the money and the service dept is good.
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I'd suggest the Ridgid table saw available at your local Home Depot. Other people here seem to have had good experiences with it.
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I second to that - I got my ridgid 3650 with 36" ripping fence and super lifting wheels to move this 300lb cast iron saw around the shop. With 2.5" dust collection port I have it connected to delta dust collection with 1200cfm and still under $1000 for both.
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Steel City is a relatively new brand. Many of their executives left Delta to start the company. I don't own any Steel City tools, but they seem like a good value to me. A thousand dollars buys a middle- of-the-road tablesaw, not top-of-the-line.
If you stay serious about woodworking, your last saw will probably cost well over $1,000. But that doesn't mean your first saw has to. You can find a saw that will meet your needs (for a while) for $500. If you remain smitten by the woodworking bug, you'll outgrow it and buy another, but if not, your investment in a passing fancy was smaller. You'll have to work around some of the shortcomings of a $500 saw, but I see value in that too. The sweetness of a really fine tool is only improved by the memory of what you had before.
DonkeyHody "Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - Will Rogers
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On Fri, 07 Dec 2007 05:44:54 -0800, DonkeyHody wrote:

Steel City actually has a small cabinet saw for around $900. It's a real cabinet saw but with a 1.75HP motor and runs on 110.
Maybe a bit much for someone who's not sure he'll like woodworking, but for those past that point and looking for a saw I think it's a pretty good choice.
And yes, I work part-time at Woodcraft. We have a lot of nice saws I'd suggest for an experienced woodworker, including the SawStop, but I think the little Steel City is in a class by itself. Other Woodcrafters may not agree :-).
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I bought the Craftsman branded version of this. I compared photos of the Steel City trunnion with that on my saw and they're the same. That interests me because I've found the 1.75hp motor to be a limitation and I'd like to replace it with a 3hp motor. I emailed Steel City asking if I could upgrade the motor and they suggested I buy a new saw of theirs.
Does anyone know the the specification of the 1.75hp motor? Perhaps if I had that I could go to a local motor shop and get a 3hp to replace the under powered motor.
A beginner.
Larry Blanchard wrote:

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NoviceOne wrote:

...
Is the motor integrally mounted or on a standard baseplate? If the latter it shouldn't be too difficult. The problem you may run into even in that case is sufficient clearance to be able to raise the blade to full height or to tilt the blade to full 45 because the larger HP motor will have a larger footprint.
I've not seen the Steel City up close enough to know -- all I've seen are the outside pictures in the slick-paper ads. I'd suspect it isn't, but if it were mounted more like most contractor saws your chances would be reasonably good I would guess. If it's more of the Unisaur/tablesaw integral mount, not so good...
--
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A friend offered up a Unisaw 3hp motor, but the mount was *completely* different, and the motor quite large. The motor on this saw is basically connected to the machine via a steel plate, about 4"x6" with four mounting bolt holes. I'm pretty sure a 3hp replacement would work because Steel City does sell a 3hp version that, from their brochure, has the same trunnion. The unknown, I guess, is that when people mock up brochures the sometimes use photos that are not necessarily exactly correct - but the cabinet and table and everything else in the spec looks the same as far as I can tell.
I guess I should just take the motor out and live without the saw while a shop gets me a replacement.
Thanks.
dpb wrote:

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NoviceOne wrote:

...
That sounds like standard NEMA mounting then -- if you measure the distance between mounting there are standard sizes/dimensions. The key still will be the overall dimensions from the plate to shaft centerline, motor height and length as to whether there is sufficient clearance. All that is simple enough to measure and will be available for any motor from the spec's.
What you need is how much clearance do you have above the present when the saw is at the extremes of up/down in both the 90- and 45-deg positions on all sides to determine how much larger dimension you can tolerate.
--
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Last post from me on this. I downloaded Steel City's manual for the hybrid cabinet saw that is basically the same as my Craftsman. Evaluating the exploded parts diagrams there's more to going from 1.75hp to 3hp than swapping a motor. The powerswitch is different (I'm guessing magnetic), some components of the arbor assembly, the elevating bracket, pulleys and belt.
After reviewing the Freud 24T blade on the recommendation of a post from Bonehenge later in this thread, many Amazon reviewers of the LU87R010 thin kerf 24T rip blade were highly complimentary of its ability to handle larger stock without having to upgrade an underpowered saw. So that's what I'll try before going the upgrade route.
dpb wrote:

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Whole lot of difference, including a need for a 240 volt power source, something your 120 volt hybrid does not require. A true three HP motor is a monster to mount, too, as it is considerably heftier than your 1-3/4.
I wouldn't bother: get the Freud ripping blade (they also make a fine 30 tooth finish rip blade, but you probably want the 24 tooth) or a CMT rip blade or an Infinity. You might also get a Forrest rip blade. You'll find the top notch rip blade reduces power needs considerably over what, IIRC, is a 40 tooth general use blade. Make sure you are on a 20 amp circuit and are NOT using any kind of extension cord, unless it is 10 gauge or heavier (8, say)...
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NoviceOne wrote:

Under what circumstances is your saw bogging down?

--
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--John
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My saw bogs down ripping 8/4 hard maple and 8/4 white oak. I've tuned the saw (blade to miter slots, fence, checked arbor runout). I rewired the motor to 230v and have it on a 30a circuit, although I run an extension of 10g vs 8g - I should probably rewire that. I have a Freud 24T rip blade on order since I'm not in the mood to nearly completely disassemble the saw to get to 3hp and I've no interest in getting a new saw since I'm in a small shop and everything is fairly intricately organized.
J. Clarke wrote:

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Feed slower and be patient. 8/4 maple is tough stuff and no amount of tuning is going to add 1 1/2 hp to the saw.
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"NoviceOne" wrote: .

tuned
rewired
Freud
completely
new
Patience is a virtue.
Wait for the 24T Freud.
I use one on a 2HP, 3,400RPM, 230V motor powered T/S for ripping 8/4 white oak with no problems.
Just don't try to force the cut, let the blade do the work.
Have fun.
Lew
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NoviceOne wrote:

Well, that's how I'd expect it to bog down and the 24T rip blade should address the problem.

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Agreed. I have a Steel City 16" bandsaw: it is one of the best 16" bandsaws I've used, within anything like its price range. Pay $600 extra and you can do better. I don't know their table saws well, but they look much like slightly modified Delta designs (which makes sense: Steel City execs are mostly old Delta hands, and the tool designs are classics that work), with decent prices.
That said, I've used two of the Ridgid tablesaws over the years and found them both reasonably precise. They won't give the cutting power you need for a lot of heavy oak or maple cutting (5/4 wood and above can bog them easily), but for most jobs that the amateur woodworker does, they are well above simply sufficient. The hybrid saws--and I used a Craftsman 1-3/4 HP Orion based model for several years--work well, give almost the results you get with a full cabinet saw, but weigh a tad less, and cost a bit less. They are also down on power for heavy duty woodworking, but, as noted, most amateurs do NOT need that power 99% of the time or more. The Craftsman models use the Biesemeyer T square fence, which is also a classic and excellent design. The top notch hybrids, regardless of seller, whether Craftsman, Delta, DeWalt, Grizzly, Jet, or anyone else, all have fine fences, good features, and take up less space than a contractor style saw but cost more, usually about $250 to $350 more than the same brand of contractor saw.
If I were just starting--ah, youth--and wasn't sure of the depth of my long term interest, I'd start with something like a Ridgid or Grizzly or Jet or Delta or other contractor's saw. If my memory is working, the Ridgid is about the lowest cost in that batch. If interest remains at the end of a year or two, sell that for maybe 65% of what it cost, and apply that to a saw better suited to your increasing skills.
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You are looking for someone else to do your work for you and will soon realize they have it done it poorly. YOU need to go to the library and read every back issue of every woodworking magazine that has a review of contractor, hybrid and cabinet saws available. Make a list of what you want to do with the saw right now, what you may it to do in the future, and how much money you have to spend (forget the jointer for now, put your money into a good saw!). Then travel as far as necessary to put your hands on each saw and get a feel for each. Then decide for yourself which will make you happy. If you won't do this then be prepared to blow in the wind as each saw bias come charging at you from the many experts you find here.
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I'll give you the advice that most of the people here would. If you're really going to get into woodworking, your table saw is the cornerstone of your workshop. It's the most used and most important tool you'll ever buy. So choose wisely! That being said, I survived 10+ years with a 10" Craftsmen contractor's style saw. I added a decent aftermarket Vega fence to it and was pretty happy. Saw had its limitations but I built a lot of furniture on it over the years. But after replacing it with a Delta Unisaw some years ago, I wonder what took me so long to go to a more powerful cabinet saw. Yes, it's more expensive - but the advantages, the power, precision, etc are well worth it. Girzzly has some decent models at various price points - but you get what you pay for. Steel City is a new entry into the market and by all accounts has done a really solid job of designing good tools for woodworkers and maintained good quality control over production. Powermatics always seem to be great tools (top end cabinet saws). SawStop is probably a must to at least look at. Reviews are good on the tool and the safety feature is a really good idea for someone getting into woodworking - but very pricey. I'd probably go the SawStop route if purchasing again. The Marc Adams school replaced all their saws with SawStops (I'm sure there were liability concerns as a school with thouands of students using them) and they seem to like them. So bottom line - to me, the table saw is the most important tool purchase you'll make (until the next one). Buy as much quality as you can and you'll be happy you did.
my 2 cents
Gary A in KC

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