Need help choosing a table saw

I have been woodworking for about 25 years. I have a craftman 10 inch 120 volts 3450 rpm 12 amps 60 hz 1ph table saw I have ran it forever. Thinking about upgrading . I do some great woodworking but I'm not a professional just an old guy who does woodworking as a hobby. I'm thinking about buying a new table saw but I only want to spend $500 any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. I would like to have this table saw cut hardwoods like butter any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks John
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Just about any table saw can cut hardwood like butter. It just depends on how thick :)
You are probably not going to get much of an improvement for $500 over what you have. You can get a good 2 HP Grizzly contractor's saw with a good fence for about $600. You can get a Delta contractor's or Jet, which probably perform much like the grizzly, but might have a little better fit and finish (but probably not) for a few hundred more. If you're into woodworking, even as a hobby, as much as you sound, you should think about the 10" cabinet saw by Grizzly for about $875.
I had a cheapo Craftsman for awhile, but it drove me nuts when trying to cut anything tougher than a 2x4 so I went the whole hog and got a Delta Unisaw with a 50" Biesemeyer fence and I couldn't be happier. I'm only 30 and I figure this will outlive me.
Mike

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What do you recommend for cutting butter, Mike? :-) -- Ernie
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A good _older_ (pre 1978) Craftsman contractor saw _is_ comparable to most of the lower to mid-range stuff on the market today.
First question: do you have a _good_ reason for wanting to replace it?
A good mid-range contractors saw is going to run in the circa $800 range, new.
If you know what you're looking for, you can find quality used ones for circa $500.
If your saw is in good condition, I'd suggest considering some accessory upgrades for it. *good* blade -- like a Forrest WWII; and a good fence -- e.g., unifence, biesmeyer, Incra, accuramule, etc.; for starters. And a thorough 'tweaking' / alignment of the saw. You'll be *amazed* at the difference those changes will make.
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I have a 1.5 HP $350 Delta Contractor's which is good for the money. (These days I would consider a Grizzly, though.) If you don't mind fiddling with the fence whenever you move it, you wouldn't even have to upgrade the fence (mine stays in place after it is locked). The main thing my saw needs is an upgraded insert (why on earth would the supplied insert not be flat by design is beyond me). In the end, I'm not sure it would be much better than what you have, though. What is it you want to do that your table saw is not doing?
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driven, and tilting, it is better constructed than many of the lesser priced contractors saws of today. Maybe this would be another option: Upgrade to a Forrest WWII blade at about $100 Install a link belt to reduce vibration and noise $30 Upgrade to a better fence-ex: Mule accufence $209 Give the old girl a complete cleaning and tune-up
I have done all but the fence, and will order one soon, but it already cuts like a whole new rig. Others will tell you that it doesn't have ALL of the capacity of a new saw, but for your budget, I still think the list above is better money spent. Many posts have been made to stay away from direct drive saws and aluminum topped, junk fenced saws and my money says they are right. I am getting a new Grizzly 1023Z, but only because it will cost me $600, and I still won't be giving up the Craftsman TS. It will sit with a bevel crosscut sled, ready when I need it for an ongoing project, and the Grizz will be the main saw. Just an idea.
Dig
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ditto on the upgrade...
I have a Craftsman from 1956. It rumbled/vibrated like heck when I bought it. The fence was aweful, no accuracy whatsoever. After putting on a good quality blade and blade stabalizers, I noticed an impressive improvement in vibration. Adding a link belt with machined pulleys took out all noticable vibration. The only sound to be heard now is the blade cutting through the wind. I bought a more accurate fence, cleaned the saw up, lubed it and aligned the trunion to the mitre slot. It's smooth, accurate and doesn't leave blade marks like it used to. It's like having a new saw. Not as nice as a cabinet saw, but good enough for my budget. I'd also argue that it's far better than what you can buy new for < $500. Go to the store and check out some of the new saws. Look for flimsy parts, tables and fences.
Has anyone upgraded the motor or motor mount on their Craftsman?? Was it worth it??
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I do not have any pictures of mine, but it has a cast top and cast extensions with holes in them. It has a rear mounted, belt driven motor, and I guess would be considered a contractors saw since it has legs and not a closed base. The newer ones have a bunch of aluminum in them, many are direct drive, and even though the fences appear better than the old ones, they are no match to the better aftermarket replacements. I will check Ebay and see if I can locate one with a picture.
Digger
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Man, I wanted one like years ago. The only thing I did not like about it was how easy it was to catch a finger or knuckle in the openings in the cast iron top. Get you a Bies or Unifence with a Forrrest WWII blade, a link belt and have fun!! You have the makings of a great setup without spending $1000. Spend some time tinkering with it to get everything aligned like you do with any saw. You'll be happy, have a GOOD setup and be able to move it when you need to. Without spending $1000.
On Tue, 5 Aug 2003 13:41:59 -0500, "Digger" <DW> wrote:

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Those are the upgrades I was telling the OP about. It made a world of difference in my saw.
BTW, I have never caught a finger or anything else in the openings. Not sure how I could.
Digger
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Just for saying that you will probably pinch them tomorrow.
On Tue, 5 Aug 2003 14:52:23 -0500, "Digger" <DW> wrote:

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won't see my saw used for awhile. Unfortunately, it has left WAAAAY to much time to do stuff like buy tools. In the last week, I have purchased (God, I hate to even list this) a new bandsaw, a riser kit for it, four new TimberWolf blades for it, a grizz 6" jointer, a Grizz 1029 2hp dust collector, Chip carving knives and sharpening stones, a utility trailer to haul wood, oh yeah, another router table at a garage sale. And I have a guy sitting on a Grizz 1023Z bandsaw that has been set up and used to cut one piece of wood for a magazine photo shoot. That will set me back $600. I gotta heal fast or cut off the phone and computer!
Dig
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Yep, had the same problem myself when I had knee surgery. After a while, I felt kinda stupid with boxes and boxes of woodworking tools and could not even stand up to use them. Now, I know better but I am happy you have the money to buy them! Hurry up and get well. What did you do to break a leg 5x's? Sound like a motorcycle rider.
On Tue, 5 Aug 2003 15:40:41 -0500, "Digger" <DW> wrote:

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the buys were one shot deals, now or never. They are for finishing out the major purchases in the shop. I am trying to set up a situation where I can teach my kids about wood and metal working, as the local schools have seen fit to believe that "Shop" has no place in schools. I tried to fight them on this, but there is no budget, so I am taking a different approach. We'll cal it "Home School Shop 101". They are 10 and 12, and the 12 year old girl is really wanting a job, but is too young, so I suggested that they they create their own "job shop" and make a couple of items that they can sell. It will give them new skills including how businesses operate. We are fortunate in that there are a couple of products that we can make, that will sell well in our area. We already have interested buyers.
BTW, I do ride, and have since 11, but this was a work related accident. I had a ladder colapse and my leg went through the rungs, I hit, leg first, followed by the ladder on the leg, followed by me on the ladder. about a 14-16ft fall. There are more details, but I can't say anything right now.
Digger
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This is much like mine (mine is cleaner). It is heavy, and with the mod's I suggested, it cuts very well.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item#39142950&category 789
Digger
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I am in the process of updating my 20+ year old duracraft 10" 1.5hp saw. Additions include a large 64"x52" cabinet around it, new Vega Pro50 fence, and soon I will purchase a new incra miter fence and I think I'm going to mill out a nice shiny new 28"x32" table top for it. In total I have ~$400 into the upgrades and when I'm done with the miter fence and table top I'll be around $700. Everytime I'm at the hardware store I'm amazed at how cheaply built the saws are. I wouldn't trade my 200 lb beast for any new < $1000 saw.
Just my $.02
Marc

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