Re: Beginner's Table Saw?

Look in the papers for a good used contractors saw. Delta, Jet, General, Powermatic...even Craftsman if it's an older cast iron one. Regardless, make sure it's a belt drive (vs. direct drive) and that the fence is in decent shape. Minimum horsepower should be 1 1/2. $300 will buy you a lot more used saw than it will new.
Good luck Rob
http://www.robswoodworking.com

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I have to disagree with those who recommend buying used for your first saw. It's easy to get burned on a used saw, even if you know what to look for; being new to the hobby, you probably don't.
The Ryobi is a good saw, but it's not heavy duty. Treat it with care, and remember that it's not a big hunk of solid cast iron like the best saws are. You just missed out on getting a free Ryobi accessory kit via mail-in coupon, though.
I'd recommend the Ryobi BT3100 for someone who is new. Heck, I'm old and experienced, and I bought one! Venture over to <http://www.bt3central.com to find out more. Kevin
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wrote:

Hear, hear, hear!
'Mutt
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Maybe you should reassess where you are going to spend your money. Sounds like you have been watching too many TV woodworking shows and not doing enough reading on the subject;.
It's highly unlikely that you actual need a biscuit jointer and the scroll saw may be questionable depending on what kind of projects you intend to build. I'm also willing to bet that the list goes on and on with all the little and big gadgets you've seen them use on TV.
TIPS; There are three or four ways to accomplish just about any woodworking function. None of them require power tools. Power tools make things easier but not simpler. Power tools are, invariably, the most expensive way to go. The two best tools are reference books and your brain. If you don't NEED it to do whatever the present project is you don't need it. Consider all options before laying out cash because buying tools is a never ending process so you had best make good decisions unless you happen to have lots and lots of cash. Don't buy till you really do NEED something. When you do buy the best you can afford with a reserve for those other little pesky things you didn't know you needed, IE, tools for making and keeping cutting tools sharp, good measuring devices, a huge variety of hand tools, REFERENCE BOOKS, etc.
And yes, I have quite a well equipped shop with all kinds of power tools and a bigger collection of very good hand tools. However, it has taken years to get to that point.
--
Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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Other than wood and The Usual Suspects of hand tools:
Gotta Haves... 1. Brain 2. Safety glasses 3. Clamps
Oughta Haves... 1. Circular saw 2. Good table saw (no direct-drive, please) 3. Well-built router (Porter Cable or Bosch make nice choices)
Probably Oughta Haves... 1. Cordless drill 2. Jig saw (or bandsaw if you've got the green) 3. Random orbital sander
Really Nice'ta Haves... 1. Jointer 2. Planer 3. Biscuit (plate) jointer
Niceta Haves... 1. Drill press 2. Stationary belt/disc sander 3. Dust collection
Sure, there's a whole lot of room for argument in those lists. Some will insist that dust collection goes near the top. I saw that as long as you've got a decent mask and a shop broom, it can wait. Some say that a drill press is more likely to get used than a jointer, but my projects don't work out that way. In any event, your mileage may vary.
That being said, my personal tool history is more like this...
1. Brain 2. Wood 3. Circular saw 4. 1/4 sheet finishing sander 5. Belt sander 6. Cordless drill 7. Radial arm saw 8. Table saw 9. Routher 10. Jointer 12. Random orbital sander
Next on my list is either a bandsaw or a planer. After that, a biscuit jointer and a drill press. To paraphrase Mike, if you've got patience and a pocket knife, you can do anything.
'Mutt
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That's a pretty good list. I only have a few comments:
Shuttermutt wrote:

You can make your own clamps...excellent project for beginners. I don't intend to ever buy another clamp...excellent use for scraps and offcuts.

I'd take a GOOD handheld jigsaw over the circular saw. I did it in the order you described...but now that I have replaced my Crapsman jigsaw with a Bosch, I would get the jigsaw first. I may never use my circular again.
************************************ Chris Merrill snipped-for-privacy@christophermerrillZZZ.net (remove the ZZZ to contact me) ************************************
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Can you point me in a direction here as far as how to make my own clamps. Thanks, jeb
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Some good points also.
Yes there is a lot of room for discussion, but not argument, on your list and it isn't one, as a whole, I'd agree with.
However, as I said, "discussion not argument". Discussion, because your proposed list is based on what your experience, style of work and philosophy, has been. My list would be different because it would be based on my own, and evidently, very different experiences, style of work, and philosophy..
Neither list, yours or mine, as a whole would be wrong but both might be non applicable for 99 out of 100 other woodworkers both because of varied needs and also cost effectiveness. This would be especially true for a newbie who's experience, philosophy, and style of work has yet to be developed.
Unfortunately such a discussion would probably be long and wandering and most likely serve to confuse rather then aid a tyro woodworker. It is one of the reasons why I refrain from such lists and suggest, above all, the newbie read and study up on the subject and approach the tool buying experience in baby steps only buying what they need for the present and possibly next one or two projected projects if there is overlap. Getting what ever reasonably fits into their budget, even if it is somewhat less then what ever anyone thinks is optimum.
--
Mike G.
Heirloom Woods
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Excellent points, Mike. My list was meant to be (a little) tounge-in-cheek and I suspect the best advice anyone could receive would be; "Take it with a grain of salt!" Everybody's list will be different. Heck, a few good books should've probably been in the "Must Haves" section. <g>
'Mutt
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I suggest that a _good_ miter gauge, and _good_ combo square be in the budget as early as possible. Definitely before things like a biscuit joiner.
Next, buy, borrow, or take the following book out of your library: <(Amazon.com product link shortened)58699904/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/103-3863855-6685463?v=glance&s=books&nP7846>
I picked up my copy, in mint condition, for $8 on half.com or Amazon's used list.
Expect to pay $100-125 or so for a good miter gauge, and $50-75 for the square, unless you can score them used. You'll use them forever, as even high end saws need a good miter gauge and alignment! <G> FWIW, they'll even carry a resale value, via eBay, etc... if you don't like woodworking.
These two tools and the book improved my work as much as anything I've ever bought. I have an Incra Mitre 1000SE and Starrett squares.
Barry
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Shuttermutt wrote:

I'd put _some_ kind of drill on the gotta have list for sure. Doesn't have to be cordless. Absolutely _has_ to be variable speed though.
I'd say you can make do without a drill if you buy a drill press. I would personally put that much, much higher on the list. My drill press is the most incredibly useful and versatile machine I own.

Ooooooooh, this sounds fun!! Let's think back. My personal tool history... Just the most memorable ones, of course. I don't remember when I bought every little hand tool:
1) random-orbit sander (for sanding Bondo on my old junker car) 2) hammers/screwdrivers/pliers (harvested from Dad's lesser tools when I moved out, so I'd have a basic set) 3) electric drill 4) socket set 5) jigsaw (actually borrowed long-term) 6) miter box and backsaw 7) block plane
(many years pass, then I buy a house and have a dinky space to use for a workshop, which is much better than building things in the kitchen!)
8) table saw 9) router 10) router table 11) chisels 12) 10" benchtop drill press 13) horizontal (metal-cutting) bandsaw 14) anvil 15) 36" belt/disc sander 16) circular saw 17) bench grinder 18) jigsaw (mine this time) 19) honking bigass electric drill (more power for digging big bulb holes with a huge auger bit) 20) 15" floor model drill press
My next purchase will either be a bandsaw or a new table saw.
The tool you're sorry you bought:
The bench grinder. Almost completely useless for everything I wanted to do with it. All it's good for is ruining metal and ruining knuckles.
I also wish I had known something about table saws before I bought mine. I bought a serious piece of junk.
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Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < snipped-for-privacy@users.sourceforge.net>
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On Fri, 18 Jul 2003 18:12:25 -0400, "Mike G"

I second that one!
I went as far as putting an old computer, networked to my DSL line, right in the basement shop. I can Google right from the shop! <G>
Having access to books, the web and this group has greatly improved my work, and even saved a few mistakes.
FWIW, the shop computer also allows me to use the various spreadsheets and calculators available on the web.
Barry
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Although the Ryobi BT 3100 is not a heavy duty table saw it is extremely accurate and dependable. It has a few faults like the unwashered screws that align the fence. If you will go to http://www.bt3central.com there is an abundance of info on this machine and it's maintenance. Overall for the price it is the best table saw available on the market.

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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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I bought one of those as my first too. Built a few projects with it but instead of upgrading like I should when the time came, I purchased the plans for Norms saw station and put it in there. It actually worked out very well and certainly increased the capacity of the saw. I sold the whole thing for what I paid for the saw to a friend. He's still using it so it least it's holding together.
Don
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Thanks for all the advice and tips. After reading several reviews I think I'm going to go with the Ryobi BT3100. I realize that alot of the other tools can wait for a while. I already have a good circular saw (Milwaukee) and a decent jig saw. I'm an electronics tech by trade so I do know that in tools you get what you pay for. But I also know that with all the money I put out for other hobbies, mainly restoring antique radios, I am on a somewhat limited budget.
Again thanks for all the replies and I look forward to reading more tips and maybe even contributing a few of my own in the future.
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You know about the 2 forums? My BT3000 bought 5/92 still works for me. Recently needed a bunch of 1/4" strips and made a jig to ride the rip fence that makes the task simple. Protect your hearing.
On 20 Jul 2003 19:46:04 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (DMcKinney37) wrote:

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