Powermatic or General ( finally !!! )

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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
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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 and quality. They say the Canadian made one will stand up to 30 years of abuse by high school shop students... 'nuff said?
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Wonder if the newer Unisaws will do as well as the ones we used in HS and college wood shops 30 years ago?
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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 raising/lowering mechanism.
Brian Elfert
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I have a General 350 for sale but the email I sent bounced because it is invalid.
-Doug
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Doug - please try
mattzack at gmail dot com
Thanks

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I'd probably opt for the Powermatic. I think they're both great saws, and anecdotal feedback seems to indicate that General can be a bear to deal with from a customer service standpoint post sale.
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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.
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wrote:

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...
Barry
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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com writes:

General Canadian tools are so good you'll probably never have a need for customer service.
Brian Elfert
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On 20 May 2005 15:39:26 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.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 rated...
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..
Bob Griffiths
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Sawstop! http://www.sawstop.com/ see the movies there and you could do a search for past posted reviews in this group.
--
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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That is very impressive !! You only need to take advantage of that thing once ! Thank you.

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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...
AAvK wrote:

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wrote:

Can you cite statistics?
The resale on a General 350 or PM66 is pretty sweet, if you can actually find one for sale.
Barry
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Ain't as safe tho... where are Sawstops made?
--
Alex - newbie_neander in woodworking
cravdraa_at-yahoo_dot-com
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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 high side.
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. :)
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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.
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"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 on-going costs.
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 maintain.
If the false triggers are 'less than once in 20 years', it is an entirely different matter.
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 decision consideration.
*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 doing it.
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. Delusions.
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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 books.
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