Powermatic or General ( finally !!! )

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Matt Zack wrote:

I have run into three recent PM66 buyers who have been unhappy with their saws. Excessive runout and warped tables. One sold, one returned and one still dealing with customer service. I have nothing against them; I have one - 25 years old that works fine. Whatever you look at, learn how to check the runout and table flatness - new or used.
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I own the 650 - have for 2 years. Went through the same research and comparisons your likely dealing with. Looked at them all in person and chose the General - love it. Drop me an email at snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com and I'll forward you an article from Wood magazine, October 2003 that did a shootout. General came out on top. That said, I think the 66 is pretty solid. The plastic motor cover turned me off.
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I also just went through the General vs everything else selection and turned to General (made in Canada). I had a Powermatic Artisan. It was such a piece of junk that Powermatic never seriously entered the equation. My uhderstanding is that all their saws are made in the far east. The General has met my expectations completely. It is a very serious machine that should long outlast me. Dave
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PM66s are still made in the USA. Personally, I would get the General 350/650 if the price was the same. I like my General drill press except for the initial cost.
I only have a Unisaw, but it is plenty good for me. It is a refurb I got for a decent price.
Brian Elfert
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I'm glad you are asking about the "best" price. Many ask about the lowest price and later find that was not the best. Check out your local dealers. When buying a $2000 tool, the dealer service is much more important that saving 20 bucks up front.
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Good point. A decent working relationship with a vendor can easily save a person hundreds of dollars in frustration and aggravation.
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If your interested you can email: auto119042 @ hotmail dot com for the .pdf table saw shootout article in Wood magazine from 10/03.
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Since no one else stepped in, I'd have to say if I had it all to do over again, I'd still buy a 1950ish unisaw. I've had the opportunity to try almost all newer table saws and I still haven't found any reason to upgrade (other than the newer ones being prettier). You can pick up older unisaurs for around $500-600 bucks. Save the rest of the dough for some other tool. Just my 2 cents. SH
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Maybe you can pick up an older Unisaw for 5 to 600 bucks...but I can not even remember when I saw a used one for sale...PERIOD !
That said IF I found a used one I would buy it in a heart beat...Pretty rare around this neck of the woods to see any tablesaws (except Craftsman) for sale...
Bob Griffiths.
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Check out the U.S. Dept. of Defense sales. The "Defense Property Disposal Office." You wouldn't *believe* what they have for sale on occasion. :)
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It's Murphy's Law of Used Tool Acquisition. When I was looking for a used lathe, three really nice, very reasonably priced cabinet saws became available, over a period of two weeks, through the club email lists. (SF Bay Area)
When I gave up on the used lathe, and bought a new one, a 50+ year old 8" long bed Delta jointer, fully rebuilt, showed up on the list. The lathe lesson fresh in my mind, I bought the jointer, too.
One thing I'll say: My wife recognizes a new tool in the shop, all bright and shiny. A used tool is a stealth tool.
Patriarch
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