Well... I never thought I would see this day, but it looks like I'm shopping
for a new dream table saw.
I need to stay in the $2000 range and I am ( I know.... it's been beat to
death... ) looking for recommendations on what you would do. I think I'm
going for a Powermatic or General, but thinking that maybe one of you know
where I can find my best price, or maybe know of someone selling a used one
in great condition.
I figure I'll get the usual ' you suck ' responses after I get it, but I can
live with that.
Thanks in advance - Matt
There are two types of GENERAL.....one made in CANADA (the standard in
school shops and many pro shops) and GENERAL INTERNATIONAL... imported.
The logos look very similiar to the uninformed. Big difference in prices
They say the Canadian made one will stand up to 30 years of abuse by high
school shop students... 'nuff said?
We had all Northfield tools at my HS shop in the 1980s. Table saw was a
16". I can't even imagine the cost of just the blade.
We also had a 14" or 16" Delta RAS and the thing wasn't usable most of the
school year because they couldn't afford a new bearing for the
Being a Canadian, I'd opt for the General. I haven't bought one yet, but
it's on my wishlist. As far as customer service goes for General, I think it
depends on who your service rep is for General and how you deal with them.
I've talked to a few General sales reps at more than one woodworking show
and to a man, they've all been very accommodating with information,
technical details and following up.
I've got a General 650, which I couldn't be happier with. However,
I've used plenty of PM66's which I also loved. What impressed me to
buy the General was that it's got very little plastic, and a beautiful
table that gets the wings shimmed and installed at the factory. Word
has it that the saws are assembled upside down. This would be a
downside of you need to get the saw up or down stairs, as you'll
probably need to disassemble it.
I've also heard that General's tech support can be a pain, but I've
honestly never needed them, so I wouldn't know. <G>
I say pick a color...
On 20 May 2005 15:39:26 -0700, email@example.com wrote:
I was cheap and purchased a Jet Cabinet saw 10 years ago....But my
reason for commenting is that I feel that IF customer service for
either a Powermatic or General is needed then the machines are over
Never needed Jet Customer service in the 10+ years I've owned the saw
and my Jet sure AIN'T no Powermatic or General...
Just my thoiughts..
I'd still stay with the unisaw. With the exception of the motor, they
are still USA made, and any part of the 2005 model will fit the 1939
model..( right tilt). Best resale vale too... The motors come from
Brazil and seem to be trouble free...
One of the Pacific Rim countries. I _think_ it's Tiawan, but I wouldn't
bet on it.
The downside to the Sawstop is the _cost_ of an activation. measured both
in time and money, it is non-trivial. circa $80, as I recall, for the
'replacement' cartridge, *plus* whatever damage is done to the blade.
Which leads the issue of 'false positives' -- those cases where the thing
triggers off for some reason _other_ than a human body-part in contact with
the blade. This is an issue that *NOBODY*KNOWS* how likely it is to occur.
It is impossible to predict what might happen in 'uncontrolled environments
that could trigger the safety device.
The Sawstop cabinet saw _LOOKS_ to be well built, and is actually priced
fairly competitively. Their contractor saw price, however, is on the
How well it stands up to heavy use is, _at_this_time_, an "unknown question".
When a 'significant' number of users have had them in 'day-in/day-out' use
for 10-15 years or more, THEN there will be some 'hard data' available, as
regards the construction 'quality'.
If _I_ were in the market for a *NEW* cabinet saw, I might actually consider
the SawStop saw. I'd be a _lot_ more inclined to do so, if they gave an
"insurance policy" against false triggerings -- that would replace the
cartridge and the blade..
That said, I'm _not_ likely to ever buy a _new_ saw. I'd much rather buy
a "well used" older saw. :)
Sorry Robert, but that's not a valid reason not to buy it. You're basing
your argument on the lack of evidence as a reason not to consider buying it.
That thinking is a basic fallacy of logical argument. It is understandable
however, that you might be uneasy about it because it is a new product and
not yet time tested.
"Total Cost of Ownership" is a _valid_ consideration in making a purchase
determination. Ongoing 'operating' cost is an integral part of TCO. The
likelihood of a 'significant' recurring expense is a part of estimating
If the thing 'false triggers' on a -weekly- basis, at a "cost" of half
an hour of down-time, and $50-$200 in parts, It is 'too expensive' to
If the false triggers are 'less than once in 20 years', it is an entirely
The _lack_of_data_ on the subject means that there *is* a significant
"uncertainty" as to the future operating costs of this device.
"Don't know" _means_ *don't*know*, and from a 'prudent business decision'
standpoint, one must assume a fairly pessimistic probability for expenses
that one does _not_ have data to make 'informed estimates' for -- failure
to do so can, and *has* put firms out of business, when expenses turned
out to be 'higher than estimated'.
In a 'personal-use' purchase, one doesn't have the 'business risk' consider-
ations, granted. However, there is always the question of "'how much more'
is this particular feature worth to me?" If you cannot make a reasonable
estimate of the total costs (immediate _and_ future) you cannot make a
reasoned decision in regard to "is it worth the cost".
How much 'uncertainty' one is willing to buy into _is_ a valid purchasing
*IF* -- and I want to stress that I am pulling numbers out of thin air here,
strictly for purposes of discussion; I have *NO*IDEA* what the actual
false-positive triggering rate is -- ,in "real-world" environments, the
sawstop 'false triggers' 1000 times (at a cost of $100+) for every valid
triggering, and that valid triggering prevents an injury that costs $25,000
including treatment *and* any loss-of-use, impairment, disability, etc.
then society as a whole, _and_ the average user, is better off *not*
spending the $100,000+ to save a perceived value of $25,000. If there
are only 25 false positives per valid triggering, the economics of the
situation are *entirely* different.
The point is, again, that we *don't*know*. Which means that any decision
is being made on a basis of "faith" -- an _un-reasoned_ conclusion.
This, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you
understand that that _is_ what you are doing, and you know _why_ you are
Deluding oneself that one is making a "rational, reasoned, decision", on
the basis of something that can be only 'taken on faith' is exactly that.
One other thing occurred to me. I think most would agree that this is a well
built saw, excluding any consideration for the saw-stop function. If, (which
appears to be one of your favourite words) as you say it 'false triggers'
once in awhile or too much for whatever time period you deem to be
appropriate, then you can still turn the saw-stop function off, have a good
working saw on hand and not worry anymore about some of your 'false
triggers' happening in the future.
It's not as if any 'false-triggers' are going to bankrupt you. It might
disappoint you or you might end up with a little bit less of a machine than
you wanted, but any way you look it, you'd still own a highly capable, solid
piece of woodworking machinery. As far as I'm concerned, that's a win in my
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