General Table Saw (Canadian) Quality - and Slider


Until a few weeks ago, I was aimed at getting either a Felder or Knapp Table Saw. It would take me 18 months of saving to afford one of those.
Then, a fellow in my Woodworking club showed me his Inca with a bolted on Sliding Table made by Robland. He suggested I look at General.
The Canadian General Saw is about $1000 more than their Taiwanese product.
Is the Canadian equipment important enough to pay an extra $1000. ?
Is General better than Grizzly?
How does that sliding table with outrigger perform? On crosscuts, say, or for ripping big panels?
Gary in Los Angeles
(with eyes bigger than his wallet)
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Depends on what you want to use a tablesaw for, how often you will use it and how much you're into woodworking. The Canadian made General is a buy once in your lifetime saw. You'll likely never need to buy another one again unless you plan on going into commercial woodworking and even then, the General would hold it's own.

In my opinion, that's a definite "Yes".

Only experience I have with sliding tables is what I've played with at woodworking shows. If you're got the room and expect to be cutting panels on a regular basis, as well as having enough spare cash to buy one, then I think they're worthwhile. But again as I mentioned, it all comes down to how much you think you'll be using it.
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On 29 Aug 2005 15:12:21 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Yes. The General 350 is especially a quality product. although the dust collection could be better. Take a look at the Powermatic 66 (my favorite) too, another excellent machine. Another decent table saw is the Delta Unisaw.

In general, yes. Grizzly is lowered priced and also scores lower in precision. But, I'd go with a Grizzly cabinet saw over a Powermatic contractor saw, both for about the same money.

I'm not familiar with the sliding table w/outrigger, but you can easily build an extension outfeed table and panel cutter. Don't expect a lot of precision cross-cutting from a table saw.
As with any table saw purchase look at the warranty, fence, large flat heavy table tops.

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In answer to your questions:
My only experience with Europea Format saws (those with a sliding table supported by an "outrigger" is watching and drooling over an Altendorf as it operated at nearby Anderson Plywood near the old MGM studios.
Unvelievable, for safe handling of 4x8 sheets of 3/4. The saw ripped them into 18" strips like it was cutting bacon with a sharp knife. Meanwhile, the operator stood at the corner, a good 4 feet to the right of the blade. Safety is my big reason for wanting a slider.I will be doing a lot of sheet work, and will be alone in my new shop.
In talking to owners of these format saw, I would say the safety margin over a regular tiling arbor table saw is about the same as the difference between a radial arm saw and compound sliding miter saw.
As to getting a solid table, the General model from Canada weighs 750 lbs plus with a slider and 5hp motor. The same item in General's Chinese version weighs 500. Whatever I buy, this will be me first and last table saw. The 5hp is important because I'm moving to timber country in the far north part of California. Wet wood might be more common than I'd like.
General was the manufacturer of Biesemeyer fences for decades, so that part of the deal is a slam dunk.
Gary C.
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snipped-for-privacy@comcast.net wrote:

Yup. it's fun to take 1/2" strip off the length of a 4x8 sheet. I have shoulders and a lower back which remind me on a rainy day that I ran one of those for a living. They're not that expensive when bought used. 3-5 K will get you one.
Saws like that ( http://tinyurl.com/8kfwf ) cut real nice, but you still have to feed them sheets. <G>
Enough nostalgia. Yes, it is safe to buy a General 350. Damned nice saw. I have used one. It would be my first choice for my next saw.
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Phisherman wrote:

I have a 650, it's truly a top notch machine.
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Canadian made GENERAL woodworking equipment "will stand up to 30 years of abuse by high school students". Quote from a high school district equipment buyer.

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On the Altendorf, the operator stood 4 feet to the LEFT of the blade. Correction.
GC
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If I had to replace my Unisaw, it would be with the General 350.
--
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Last update: 8/07/05
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Before buying my General I looked at the competition pretty closely; having been stung with a Powermatic Artisan saw ten years ago. The attention to detail on the Canadian General is superb. Unfortunately, the quality of the competion has slipped badly in the last few years. The General is engineered for a lifetime of service.
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