Tab;e Saw questions

I have decided to stop fighting with my old TS trying to get a straight/square cut. The poor thing is getting old, it was second hand when I got it. Anyways i was at a tool place today and was looking at a very nice Porter-Cable. About $600 Cdn . I told him about my troubles with getting a good cut on my old one. He then indicated that the PC was not for me because it was "direct drive". He said that i should get a "belt drive" which is inherently a lot more accurate, and stays more accurate. I'm not sure what direct drive is. This guy was running the store by himself and was very busy, so didn't get much time to query him. Am i correct in thinking that "direct drive" is when the blade is on the motor shaft itself? I'm quite sure that I have never seen a belt driven TS and i wonder who/what models of reasonable priced belt driven are out there right now? Should i expect to pay a lot more for a belt driven? I've come to accept the fact that i may have to pay more, but am quite willing to do that as i expect a new one now will last me for the rest of my woodworking days. Ken in NS
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Right, direct drive is affixed to the motor. Do a search for "contractor" type saws, and "benchtop" type. Expect to pay more, and enjoy! Tom >Subject: Tab;e Saw questions

Someday, it'll all be over....
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snipped-for-privacy@usenet.ca wrote:

There are three basic types of table saws, bench top, contractor and cabinet.
The bench top model is very limited for general use. Generally, these are the limitations:     - direct drive motor     - small (underpowered) motor     - small table top     - poor quality fence
A good contractor saw, and a skilled operator will handle most jobs, especially if you add a good fence and extention tables. Compared to a cabinet saw, the contractor saw usually has a much smaller motor.
A good cabinet saw is the saw that I would always recommend, if you have the budget and the space. A cabinet saw usually has a 3hp 220 volt motor which will cut all day long without complaining. Grizzly has a very nice saw for about $900.
Why not visit a few web sites before deciding on a particular saw. You might look at the forum on http://www.woodworking.com/ww101et-table.cfm for some basic answers.
Before spending money on a new saw, you might consider tuning up the saw that you alread have. After I'd already ordered my Delta Unisaw, I tuned up the old Craftsman so that I could sell it. It was amazing how well the old saw cut when the blade was parallel to the miter slot and the original fence was replaced with something better. Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't want to go back to the Craftsman, but I learned that tuning a saw was absolutly necessary to get straight/square cuts.
Regardless which saw you buy, consider buying an alignment guage (I prefer the TS-Aligner Jr.) and a good saw blade (I prefer the Systimatic Budke blade, which I have resharpened (1200 grit), to make it better than new).
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As a fellow Canadian, I'll give you my $0.02 worth. I was recently in your situation, but I didn't have any table saw. I was doing my cuts using either my bandsaw, or my circular saw (aka SkilSaw). But I was able to recently pick up a new tablesaw. I looked around for used ones, with not much luck. Either the people still wanted like-new prices for them, or they were old pieces of machinery that would be difficult to get blades for (like 8" Beaver saws). So I narrowed my choices down to the Delta 650C (with 30" fence), the King 10GC (with 50" fence), or the General International 50-185 (also with 50" fence).
The Delta would have been a good choice for me because of the price (around $750, I think), and the power requirements (known to run good on 15amp 120V circuits). The King looked almost identical to the GI saw, and they have the advantage of the larger fence capacity, and more powerful motor (upgradable to /capable of 220V). If they were paint the same color, I don't think I could have been able to tell them apart. The King was about $150 less than the GI, and the dealer for the King gave me much warmer/fuzzier feelings than the dealer for the GI. But I went with the GI, partially because it's a Canadian company (although the GI saws are made overseas) and partially because of the product reputation. When I went out with cash in my pocket (ok, credit available on my credit card, if you must know), I went to the GI dealer first, with the thought that if they had them in stock, and would cut me a deal of any sort, I'd walk out of there with the saw. Turns out they had them in stock (which they didn't the week before), and I got $50 off the saw, and about $150 off the blades.
So far, I'm pretty happy. The manuals for setting up the saw are awful, and plain incorrect in places. The manual for the fence is even worse, and it's a made-in-Canada product. But I got it together, and everything lined up out of the box. I was concerned about blowing the circuit breaker in my basement shop, but so far, nothing. I've only been slicing up plywood and MDF so far, no 8/4 maple. My saw cost me about $900 CDN, and came with no blades. I've heard that out East, you can get a package deal for $1000CDN that includes the tenoning jig, the saw, a ripping blade, and the mobile base. I ended up putting my saw on a home-built mobile base, but the tenoning jig is over $100 anyways. I've sometimes wished I got the 30" fence rather than the 50", as space is pretty tight in my basement shop. but the saw itself is pretty much everything I was looking for. I don't know if I'll be looking to upgrade it anytime soon. I guess if the right Uni-saw dropped in my lap at the right price, I might.
Anyways, I hope this helps. If you have any specific questions, let me know. BTW, all three of those saws are belt driven, AFAIK. Almost all of the "contractor" style saws are going to be belt-driven. Kelly Mehler wrote a book about tablesaws (http://www.leevalley.com/wood/page.asp?page0037&category=1,46096,46119&ab spage=1&ccurrency=1&SID=); you might want to see if you can find a copy of it or something like it. You can also check out the forums for two of the Canadian wood-working magazines. I know there's people there from your neck of the woods, and they might have some more input for you as to where you might go to find a saw. They are: http://www.workshopbuzz.com/cgi-bin/buzzforum/hw_config.pl http://www.canadianwoodworking.com/chat/webbbs_config.pl
Sorry for babbling on so long! :)
Clint (in Alberta)

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Hi Ken, I'm another fellow Canadian and I agree with Clint's advice. I have the Delta 36-650C but also looked at the General but $$$ were the deciding factor. I got it for a show special of $700 CDN. The General probably has a better fence though. I just want to add that General is supposed to be working on their lousy manuals and maybe they have already improved them. Otherwise, it seems most people are happy with there products.

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On Sat, 08 Nov 2003 00:10:26 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@usenet.ca wrote:

If you just really want a new toy...and feel the need to just go out and buy yourself a treat...then buying a new saw will be the only solution for you.
But if your goal is just to get a good cutting saw, you might consider what has already been suggested by someone....tune up what you have.
I've got a $79 table saw...$99 with the stand!...and it gives me excellent cuts. But I had to go out and buy a hollow ground planer blade for it. Its like night and day compared to a regular blade.
And I check all the settings on the saw every now and then...and just before any major, precision project.
And, in general, many of the older saws are much better quality than the current run of medium-priced saws. You might be disappointed with the new saw you buy. But I think the folks here can steer you to some of the better ones.

I've heard that, too...but I haven't seen it in actual practice. My saw is a direct drive...and most times the cuts are of glue-up quality.
Don't forget...no matter what type you buy, the blade will be running on an arbor of SOME kind. Get a sloppy arbor...you'll still get a sloppy cut.

Correct.
One note...my personal opinion...
For the most part, they're louder and whinier than a belt-driven saw.

Besides all the excellent advice you'll get here, Ken, you might do a Google search for table saws. I'm sure you'll find many different brands where you can read up on the specs.
The only belt-driven table saw I've ever owned is one I built myself. I had it for MANY years. I think some divorce attorney owns it now! lol
So I went out and got a new saw...and a new life!!
Good luck.
Have a nice week...
Trent
Fighting for peace is like screwing for virginity!
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He gave you good advice.
And, yes, you are correct in your understanding of 'direct drive' vs belt drive.
_All_ the 'serious' "table saws" are belt-drive. Direct drive is used only for the "little" -- generally 'low precision' -- "benchtop" table saws.
Belt drive saws _are_, in general, *considerably* more expensive than direct drive saws. Only a comparatively small part of the price differential is attributable to the actual 'drive' design. The rest of the price difference comes from the belt-drive saws being "built better" -- heavier construction, heavier-duty parts, more precise engineering, etc.
Some manufacturers of belt drive table saws: Milwaukee Delta DeWalt Grizzly General / General International ("Made in Canada" / "imported" from Pac Rim) Jet Ridgid Ryobi Emerson (sold by Sears)
Several of those manufacturers _also_ make direct-drive saws.
I don't know Canadian markets -- I _think_ prices tend to run somewhat higher than US (over and above the exchange-rate differential, that is).
In the U.S. market, in U.S. dollars, the 'standard of reference' cabinet saws -- the Delta UniSaw and the PowerMatic 66 -- list for circa US$1600. Quality 'Contractor' saws list for around half that. At the other extreme, you can find undersize, underpowered, direct-drive saws for as little as US$100.
You _can_ do 'quality work' on a very low-end saw. You just have to work *really*hard* at it. Know how to tune/adjust the saw (and be prepared to *do* it frequently), double-check (at least!) your settings for every cut, etc., etc.
For 'more money', you get machinery that you can tune/adjust once, and then pretty much forget about having to re-adjust, ease of 'repeatability', less need for 'babysitting' settings, etc. This translates to better productivity, and improved "ease of use".
For a "serious" woodworking, the -minimum- you want to consider is a good 'contractor' table saw -- something like the Delta 34-444, or equivalent. And, if you can 'nearly' afford it, and have the dedicated shop space for it, give serious consideration to stepping up to one of the good 'cabinet' saws. These are lifetime investments.
If the budget is seriously constrained, you've got to look at the Ryobi BT3100. It lists for about US$300, and is in a class by itself. You've got to spend (at least) _double_ the money to get something appreciably better.
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admin responds:

Let's not send the guy looking for Milwaukee table saws of any kind. Milwaukee makes hand-held power tools for the most part.
I'm no longer sure what kind of table saw Ryobi makes, but their parent company appears to be making tools for Sears now, and the only things Emerson is making for Sears at this point are shop vacuums.
Ridgid woodworking tools started out being made by Emerson, but are now made by Ryobi's parent company, still for Home Depot distribution only.
Powermatic is an obvious candidate, too, even if Jet now owns the company. Tradesman might be, as they offer a contractor's saw, though I have never used one of their tools.
Bridgewood can be added to the above list. They have some excellent tools, across a really broad line of woodworking machinery. (Wilke Machinery.)
Shopfox is Grizzly's "other store" line and is usually quite good.
Charlie Self
"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." Thomas J. Watson
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Charlie Self wrote:

While I kinda doubt this to be the case he mighta/coulda been referring to the Delta/Milwaukee in which case I'd have to agree.

IBM's Tom Watson or Guelph Mills' favorite son?
UA100
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wrote:

Hey, don't hang that one on me!
I've got about five of the damn things all by myself.
Regards, Tom Thomas J. Watson-Cabinetmaker Gulph Mills, Pennsylvania http://users.snip.net/~tjwatson
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Don't forget that the *other* Tom Watson was fired by Major(Col.?) Deeds, the originator of National Cash Register, because Watson had that ridiculous idea about punching holes in paper cards. Nahmie
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Correct, for "the most part". However, a local "custom precision millwork" shop _has_ a Milwaukee branded cabinet saw. Logo lettering is a 'nearly exact' match for my Sawzall. I wouldn't want to guess on the vintage, definitely "older", but it was an impressive tool. Size-wise it was like any other normal cabinet saw, but _damn_ it made nice cuts. Only time I've seen mahogany come off the saw with the ripped edge _shiny_. So smooth it was _hard_to_hold_onto_. Like trying to hold a piece of glass, literally.

Does the "BT3100" ring any bells? <grin>

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On Mon, 10 Nov 2003 15:33:18 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@horatio.agresource.com ()

The current Sears P&H Tool catalog has an identical saw to the BT-3100, branded "Craftsman" for $100 more than The Borg sells the BT.
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There is nothing inherently wrong with direct drive. It has gotten a bad reputation as most all low cost and low precision tablesaws use it. It is a fault with the manufacture, not the drive setup. That being the case, a belt drive saw would be a better choice.

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