I'm a novice woodworker with an appreciation for precison. As a gift some
years back, my wife bought me a craftsman 10" belt drive tablesaw. With
almost every use, I have to adjust the saw for heeling and what a pain that
is. Needless to saw, the fence system leaves a lot to be desired too.
Should I cut my loses and sell this saw and replace it with something more
reliable? If I should, what would be a good replacement for it?
Yes, after replacing the fence you will need to replace the blade, the
link belts, the pulleys, arbor, mitra, the outfeed, the extension, a
mobile cabinet, the wheels, upgrade the motor, hardware.....
The TS is STILL under power ripping 6/4 hardwood. Might as well buy a
reasonable price TS. At the end of the day you still have asked
yourself the time and money spend is it worth it?
That is my personal experience :-)
WD is correct. Many of us bought cheap thinking we would upgrade as
time passed. Problem is (was) that ALL the changes need to be made NOW
so that it will do what I needed it to do. So, I sold my Craftsman and
bought a Delta Contractors saw with Unifence. Then, after noticing
that it would flip over under a heavy piece I was trying to rip, I
bought a UniSaw and LOVE it!!!!! Wish I had saved the time, trouble,
frustration and MONEY by just biting the bullet and buying a good saw
in the first place. From then on, I never buy anything except the best
when I need something and have always appreciated that I did so. May
do w/o a few tools for a while but am very satisfied with what I do
have. And it is much safer as a result. Some will argue and I
understand- but I did what I thouhgt was prudent and am content with
teh results. Craftsman make an OK saw for the money; for MY use, it
was sadly lacking but this may not hold true for others. For a farmer,
they are just what the doctor order; for a cabinet maker or craftsman,
they are a little short of what is desired. But then look at Steve
Knight; I was shocked at what he works with and what he turns out. You
have to make the decision.
I was in the same boat you are. I had a craftsman that I recently replaced
with a Dewalt 746x. Things that used to take me 15 minutes because I had to
fuss with the fence I now do in less than 5 minutes. Not to mention the cut
quality is great.
I also checked out the comparably price Jet saw. I chose dewalt because it
seemed to be put together a little better, and there is a dewalt service
center 5 minutes from my house in case I have problems. I thought about a
Unisaw but I didn't want to spend over $1000 dollars.
Anyway, whatever saw you upgrade to, the difference will be tremendous.
Probably not. Most good fences need a table in the close vicinity of 27" deep,
with a flat front for fence rail attachment (and some require a parallel rear
rail). Most $88 saws don't have the table material to support a good fence or
are formed for the version of a fence that comes with the saw...built-in rails,
more or less.
And it does seem a little unusual to commit something like $220 (and up) to a
saw that costs so little.
A quick look at the Delta website shows the TS200. Is that the saw? It appears
(and the picture is not good, so I'm not sure) to have a molded front rail for
the fence. I can't make out the actual depth of the table from the web
site--it's either 17-1/4" or 26". The latter would work, the former has to make
you wonder why you bought the saw.
"Character is much easier kept than recovered." Thomas Paine
If you only want precision then you might look a fence upgrade but I think
that you would be better off selling the saw and upgrading the whole
package. I started with a saw that sounds similar to yours. Like you, I
was interested in precision and was frustrated with the Craftsman saw. I
upgraded to a Biesmeyer fence and loved it for a while. After purchasing
the fence I started doing larger projects and ran into horsepower issues. I
thought that I would sell the saw, and keep the fence, but I found that it
was a better value to buy a Unisaw package deal with the Biesmeyer fence and
rails than the stand alone saw. In retrospect, it would have been cheaper
to skip the fence upgrade. If you think that you are going to continue with
woodworking a primary hobby, I think that you will do better with a new
I have a 20 year old direct drive Craftsman TS with a 1 1/8 h.p. motor.
While I dream of the day I'll upgrade, it serves me very adequately for the
furniture projects I make. What keeps it in favor is the heavy cast iron
top and extension wings. I've replaced the fence with a Biesemeyer, which
totally eliminated any accuracy problems. I also use a thin kerf teflon
coated Freud blade, and can rip 8/4 hardwood with only an occasional bogging
down of the motor.
If you can afford it, go ahead and upgrade to a better saw, but the
Craftsman with a few improvements is fine for most part-time woodworkers.
I have a craftsmen with the 12/24 rip fence and have aligned it numerus
times, It just won't stay consistantly in the same place. I will probably
buy an after market fence sooner or later. To align the blade you need to
take the belt off the motor, the weight of the motor will keep pulling it
out of alignment before you can get the bolts tightened. I suspect the
trunnion may flex under a heavy load, ripping oak or other hard wood.
Finally got my wife trained to NOT buy any woodworking or tech stuff
for me, as I can be pretty picky about what I want/use. 'Tis better
for her to say "Honey, I cann't think of anything to get you for your
birthday/anniversary/etc, lets go to the local XYZ and let you pick
out what you want" Keeps those domestic spats down to a very low
number, as you note returning something lovingly bought can be a low
point in a relationship
On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 02:57:09 GMT, "Fatty Mcgee"
Mike, I would say at the very least you are depriving yourself of the full
enjoyment of wood working. Having to compensate for a tool that does not
stay aligned or a fence that doesn't set repeatedly is not only wasting a
lot of enjoyment time, but I think it can approach being dangerous. A fence
that doesn't stay aligned can wedge wood against the blade, one of the
primary causes of kickbacks.
At a minimum, I think you should consider one of the good quality contractor
style saws. This will mean spending $500-$600 minimum (counting shipping,
On Thu, 22 Jan 2004 01:11:36 +0000, MSgt Mike wrote:
By all means.
My first saw was a Crapsman belt-driven model. I could never keep it
aligned. It was so bad that I found myself realigning it before every cut.
I now have a Unisaw. No regrets. It was expensive, but I have been so
delighted with it that I have already forgotten the price. So it is with
Interesting. I have a Craftsman belt drive that I'm pleased with. I am
upgrading the fence because I want a T-square type fence and have had a bit
of problems aligning this one in the past because there are no adjustments
and alignment problems are inherent with a fence that grabs the back side
of the saw. As for the blade alignment, I set it once.
I'm curious how a 90lb cast iron trunion secured by 4-5/16 bolts to a cast
iron table is moving. I had a hard time moving mine with all the bolts
I'm sure I'd be delighted with a Unisaw also but I can't justify that cost
for a semi-serious hobby and my finicky personality. I may not give a hoot
about woodworking in another year, you never can tell with me.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.