Shop Equipment

I have a pretty descent shop for metal maching and would like to get some basic woodworking equipment. I don't want the "Best" ($$$) but would like some equipment that is good for home shop project use. I have a cheap ($179) Craftsman table saw that I don't like, it's noisy and vibrates a lot. I am willing to spend up to $400-$500 for a nice table saw, would I be better off with something like a JET, Grizzly, DeWalt, Delta, Other, or used equipment? Also would like a nice Bandsaw in the $250 - $400 range. Of course cheaper is fine if it does a good job :-)
What are your recommendations for home shop (occasional use) machines (and where to buy):
Table Saw?
Band Saw?
Radial Arm Saw?
Thanks!
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Roger N wrote:

I was fortunate to buy a bandsaw, drill press, jointer, planer and dust collector in *great* shape from someone getting out of woodworking. I saved about 1/3 over having Grizzly deliver them, but the real benefit was using each of them before buying, proving there were no shipping-damaged parts etc. Keep your eyes open, maybe you can find the tools you want used.
I have a Grizzly contractor saw I bought new. I like it a lot. After using it a year I wanted a better fence. I bought a Shop Fox Original fence used on the internet but don't like it. When finances permit I'll probably get one of these: http://www.mulecab.com/products.asp?mnu_Products=1 If I feel really rich I like micro adjust & would get something like this. http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?pageG305&category=1%2C41080&SID=&ccurrency=2
-- Mark
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Like myself you made the mistake of buying a crapsman table saw. I sold my 11 year old saw to a neighbor for $225 and got a Delta Unisaw. It's like night and day. Why spend $400 for ANOTHER crappy saw; you already have a crappy one? Seriously, you can't get a good TS for peanuts; you gotta let loose with some serious green, Roger. I'm not rich, (or even well off <g>) but I'm not expecting to ever have to replace the good equipment I've been buying this past year to outfit my shop. Spending the money ONCE on good stuff is a double win. You get the pleasure of using the good stuff, AND you won't have to replace it, the good Lord willing!
You will get lots of recommendations for specific tools here. Everyone has an ax to grind, so to speak. Your best bet is to look over any large ticket item carefully in person after winnowing down the contenders with suggestions from around here, reading magazines, and gathering info off the web. For example I almost bought a Powermatic table saw, but instead of just ordering sight unseen, I drove 50 miles (each way) to see it side by side with a Delta and Jet. I spent several hours looking under the hood and playing with the hand cranks and fences, and asking questions. It boiled down to the fact that the Powermatic was $600 more than the Unisaw and it didn't appear to be worth that much more to ME. Someone else might argue that it's worth more, but I'm the one writing the check. If I felt buying the Unisaw would be "settling" for second best, then I would have gotten the PM. Fact is I love the Unisaw and have enumerated the things about that I like better than the PM anyway, regardless of price.
Happy tool hunting!
dave
Roger N wrote:

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I would suggest purchasing a GOOD contractor's table saw, and router for starts. Then build all the jigs and etc. for each as you need them. If I had only two major power tools I could purchase, that would allow me to do the most, it would be these two. Mind you I have all the major power tools, and would not like to do with out them, but if I had to choose only two amongst all, it would be a GOOD table saw and router.(or good radial arm saw in place of the table saw) You can build a lot of nice stuff with these two power tools alone, with supporting fixtures/jigs/ cutting implements. IMHO.
Kruppt
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The $400 table saws are not incrementally better enough to upgrade to that range. Keep what you have to go to a good contractors saw. Look for used at that price.

Ed
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