How much horsepower is really needed?

Page 1 of 2  

Okay, a friend of mine has been admonishing me not to buy a 1 1/2 HP tablesaw. He says that a minimum of 3 HP is warranted for any decent tablesaw.
Now, I'm not planning on going into the woodworking business. I just want to outfit my workshop with good equipment so that I can't blame the equipment on the lousy workmanship that comes out of it!
The reviews for various 1 1/2 HP tablesaws seem very good. Whether it's Grizzly, Delta, or another good brand, people seem genuinely happy and satisfied with the abilities of those tablesaws.
So ....
Can anyone tell me why the extra horsepower would be needed? I doubt that I'll ever be cutting through anything thicker than 1 1/2". Heck, I'm not even sure how often I'd be doing that much!
Thx!
Jack
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net wrote:

I'm exaggerating, but seriously, I had a hell of time cutting 1-1/2" fir, much less anything harder. My 3 HP Unisaw never slows down at all, even when cutting to it's max height. You might try a thin kerf blade on the under powered saw to alleviate some of the bogging down (less wood to remove).
Dave
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I've got a Jet contractors upgraded to a grizzly 2hp motor. I've had the motor stall out on 3/4 cherry that pinched the blade a couple of times. It also works really hard on 3" cuts anytime.
When you start to bevel cut the, the extra hp comes in real handy. That 1.5" thick stuff become much thicker in a bevel.
So if you can afford the extra dough, an upgrade would be good.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I'm no Sears fan but as a Sears retiree I get fairly good discounts so am on my second craftsman TS, the one with belt drive and cast iron wing that held a router. The most recent purchased several years ago on a closeout when sears and Ryobi split the sheets. Both the older (probably 20 yr) and the newest do real good on 1 1/2 in soft woods but doubt they would hack it very well on hard woods. They serve my purpose well but I seldom if ever need to cut hardwood. RM~
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"> So ....

As stated above, for thicker wood stock, but really, what it comes down to is that if and when you do come across a need to cut thick stock, even if it is only once, its good to have more HP than not enough. And as you progress your woodworking hobby, you will probably start using thicker material on a more regular basis.
--
Regards,

Dean Bielanowski
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For which you will already own a bandsaw.
1.5 is enough. Thousands and thousands of them out there. The number is chosen so they can operate on a "standard" 15A 115 circuit.
Extra is nice, but so rarely necessary that you'll easily find workarounds.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

Well, if you've got the lucre to throw at it, I can't think of any reason not to buy a higher-powered saw. OTOH, if cost is an issue, get the lower powered one, and you can always upgrade the motor down the road if you're so inclined.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
There's a lot more to the power capability than simply upgrading the motor. For one, I doubt the single belt drive on a contractors saw would be up to transmitting the power from a 3 hp motor. That's why most cabinet saws have 2 and 3 belt drive systems. I think your comment was ill advised. If you want to upgrade, sell the current saw and buy a new one.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 19 Nov 2005 08:58:52 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

Old cabinet saws have multiple belts. Modern belt designs can put this same power through a single belt. Polygroove belts are also thinner and more flexible, leading to less power loss and less vibration.
It's getting so that it's actually difficult to buy a triple pulley!
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have a 2 HP Grizzly contractor saw wired for 220 and cut 3" sugar maple without any problems.
"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
A larger motor will pull: a) a wider blade through stock b) a blade with more teeth -- thus a cleaner cut, depending on other factors c) will cut through stock not completely dry.
I'm moving to a national forest in 3 weeks. When I ordered my General 350 TS 6 weeks ago, the tool dealer tried to talk me out of a bigger motor. He was trying to save me money. When I told him I'd be harvesting timber from time to time, he said, "OK. Get a 5hp. It's only $125 more".
If any of these factors are important to you, get a bigger motor.
GC in L.A.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote in message

The extra power is nice as you will not find any wood that slows the motor down on a 3 hp model. Also consider that you are going to have to go to a Cabinet saw to get a 3 hp motor that runs on 220 volts. You may find a TS that claims 3hp on 110 volts but the company building that saw also builds Vaccuum cleaners that have 6 hp and also run on 110 volts. Plain and simple for the typical TS you are gong to have to go 220 volt and a cabinet saw to get 3hp.

If you buy a Cabinet saw, you "can" plan on cutting any wood of any thickness and not worry about stalling the motor.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these saws. I used a TS with 1 hp for 17 years.

Even cutting 3/4" Maple you can stall or burn the wood if you have to slow the feed rate because of the smaller hp ratings.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net (in snipped-for-privacy@comcast.com) said:
| Can anyone tell me why the extra horsepower would be needed? I | doubt that I'll ever be cutting through anything thicker than 1 | 1/2". Heck, I'm not even sure how often I'd be doing that much!
Bevel cuts in hardwoods, dadoing, maintaining feed rates in easy-to-burn woods like cherry.
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I got by with an old 1 hp Sears Contractor's saw for 25 years. It was woefully underpowered for most anything bigger than 1". Now that I have owned a 3hp cabinet saw for about four years I don't know how I did it.
RonB
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 18 Nov 2005 22:47:26 -0700, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

I currently have a 3HP General 650.
For six years, I worked with a 1 1/2 HP Jet contractors saw. I never felt the Jet was underpowered. To rip thick hardwoods, simply make sure you've got a sharp 24T _ripping_ blade, and feed accordingly.
Why did I upgrade from the Jet? The cabinet saw has a left tilt, a bigger table, easier tuning adjustments, a 52" fence, lots more vibration damping weight, and better (but still not GREAT) dust collection. The cabinet saw stays put when cutting vary large stock. I found myself chasing the contractor's saw around the shop on a few occasions. <G>
If you can get a used Jet or Delta 1 1/2 HP contractor's saw for about 1/2 of the new price, with a good fence, you'd be fine for a long time. The perfect score would be the same saw with all cast wings, no stamped sheet metal wings. For about $300, you'd be able to use the saw for years, and probably sell it for near what you paid for it, _IF_ you want to upgrade.
Your buddy is snobbing you. <G>
Barry
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I went from an old Craftsman 8" TS with a 3/4 hp motor to a new 3 hp Unisaw. Never tried to cut 2" hardwood on the Craftsman, but I never felt it was inadequately powered. For really tough tasks with the 1 1/2 hp motor, you might consider using an 8" blade which does not require as much torque (depth of cut permitting). Usually, feeding slower is a satisfactory solution. A first-rate blade always makes a big difference on more challenging cuts. Also, hardwood cutting is somewhat less tolerant of misaligned miter gauges and fences.
BTW, that Craftsman was such a convenient tool that I kept it when I bought the Unisaw. Sadly had to sell both.
Chuck
Ba r r y wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Fri, 18 Nov 2005 22:47:26 -0700, "mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net" <"mywebaccts (at) PLUGcomcast.net"> wrote:

Reasonable enough.
It's a question of torque as well. A brush (universal) motor has higher starting torque than an induction motor. So a satisfactory experience with a cheap 1 1/2 hp tablesaw does _not_ mean that a better cabinet saw with an induction motor would be equally "capable" with the same power.
I wouldn't walk away from a good 2hp saw to a bad 3hp saw. But if I were buying, I'd specify the biggest motor that my wiring could easily cope with. My own saw is an ancient 3 phase brute, converted by the previous owner to an undersized (1hp ?) single phase motor. I upgraded it to a 3hp motor myself and regarded this as money _very_ well spent. It's much safer to use now - I feed it aq deep rip in sticky resinous timber and it just gets on with it, no argument. That's a lot better than a saw that sticks and bogs down, then works free and speeds up again.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Andy, what relevance is starting torque on a table saw (or any woodcutting saw for that matter)? It can't think that it would matter at all.
Bob
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 19 Nov 2005 09:03:04 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote:

It's not the "starting" torque on a saw, although it's hard to give a simple phrase for it. A universal motor compared to an induction motor has a torque curve that gives maximum torque at minimum speed, hence the high starting torque for applications that need it.
In a sawbench, then the time you need torque is to avoid the blade slowing in a heavy rip. Although you're not down to zero speed, you're certainly into the range where a universal motor may well have more torque than an induction motor that's nominally quite a bit more powerful.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Short answer, No.
As others have said there are some scenarios where it can be very handy. To mitigate the problems associated with a marginally underpowered saw: you can do the following:
1. Tune your saw well 2. Use a sharp blade 3. Use a thin kerf blade 4. Use the right blade type: e.g., rip blade, with a lower tooth count 5. For a really big cut, take multiple passes.
Just about every here has owned/used a 1.5 HP contractors saw at some point and we all know they can produce fine work.
-Steve
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.