Table Saw

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I plan to buy my husband a new table saw for his birthday in a couple of weeks. I'll let him pick it out himself (that's half the fun), but I want to do a little research ahead of time. His current saw was one of his first shop purchases 21 years ago. Over the years his shop has grown in quantity and quality, but he still has the Craftsman Table Saw he bought when we were newly married. The thing he complains about most is the unsturdy table and crappy fence.
What would be a good step up for him? He likes to build things for us around the house. Construction projects, closet storage, cabinets, and occasionally furniture. He doesn't require top of the line professional .... but wants something sturdy with a good accurate fence.
Looking through recent posts I see talk about a Delta cabinet saw .... that looks more expensive than I was expecting. Can I get something good for $1000 or less?
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I'm going to upgrade to a good contractor's saw, soon. I'm preparing to sell my Delta direct drive benchsaw. It makes a lot of noise. The instruction manual doesn't have a single word about how/when to maintain it, therefore, it received no maintenance for about four years. Is the Delta worth selling? Is it safe to sell? (There's only one place, locally, that services Delta products. The guy who runs it said he'd look at the saw but wouldn't quote me on maintenance or repairs.) Can it be better used in some other way, i.e., using the motor to run a small compressor???
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It's worth selling, and safe unless something's broken. AFAIK, all you regularly do to these little saws is keep the sawdust out of the various large parts. The motor and gearbox should be self-contained like a circular saw. By that same token, the motor can't be used for much else.
Happy upgrading.
GTO(John)

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What is it that needs maintained or repaired?
hdmundt wrote:

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go with a nice jet or delta contractor's saw with a 2 HP motor, belt-drive and probably a 30" fence and your husband will never stop thanking you :-)
the Delta Unisaw or similar are the next step up, and you'll pay for it - they are heavier and have higher rated motors. Grizzly does make a cabinet saw that is liked by many, and I believe you can get for less than $1000 if you want to go that way.
Mike

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Cabinet saw vs. Contractor saw? What is the difference/preference. Portability? Our shop area is not large. My husband often moves his equipment around for better access. Would he be better off with the "contractor saw"?
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Either saw can work with a mobile base.
Cabinet saw is regarded as the "top of the line", most powerful, usually 3 hp. motors, three belt drive system. Called a cabinet saw as the base is enclosed in a cabinet. Think Cadillac
Contractor's saw is a bit lighter. has a 1.5 to 2 hp motor with a 1 belt drive. This is good service for 90% of us doing woodwork as a hobby. Think Medium sized Buick
Benchtop saws, low end direct drive saws. Think Yugo.
Most every brand name has a series of these in their lineup. At $1000 or so, you are going to get a good saw.
You do want to get a really good fence. If it comes with a Biesemeyer or Unifence, it is top quality.
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"oboe" wrote:

I live in San Diego. That means no basement. I also only have a single car garage, that I used top be able to actually put a car in. Portability was a prime consideration for me. If I want to woodwork, I have to drag my stuff into the driveway. So my powermatic contractors saw was perfect.
--
San Diego Joe


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Your choice really, but if you go with the cabinet saw then for under $50 you can also get a mobile base for it that will allow him to move it around as needed. Go ahead and get him the best saw you can for your money and since the mobility solution is so cheap, address it afterwards.
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
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I have a Delta Unisaw. No complaints. At times I've thought that a sliding table saw would be a vastly superior idea (certainly from the safety standpoint) but the space they take-up is prohibitive for most garage shops.
The one nice thing I like about Unisaws is that most accesories out there are designed to work with this machine first. Keep that in mind. At the same time, lots of other saw clone the Unisaw.
In terms of space, there are neat things you can do. For example, you can integrate your router table right into the saw table. Two machines in one space.
With regards to mobility. I have the rolling base sold by delta. It it a very simple matter to move the say anywhere within the garage or outside, onto the driveway. No problems there. It all depends on frequency of use. Some of us also develop a workplan in the shop, for example, if you are working with 4x8 sheets frequently enough you may have a prefered layout so that feed and output are ideal. You need to know a little more about his typical utilization, but, in general, wheels are good. Everything in my shop is on wheels, even the work tables.
If your husband does not mind getting a used machine I'd look into getting a second hand Unisaw. You'd be amazed how many people barely touch their table saws. I don't know if you could find one in a couple of weeks though.
-Martin
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In three years, I've found one. It was advertised three days after I bought my contractor's saw, and it was close to list price. I see plenty of Craftsman and Shopsmilth for sale though. I guess people in CT keep things longer.
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wrote:

======================Honestly I do NOT see ANY Tablesaws being advertized in The Classifieds... Ed saw one in 3 years,...lol Boy Those Damn Yankees (not meant seriously) must buy and sell a lot more then the rest of us...
BUT ...I would advise the OP to look at top of the line Contractors saws... My main TS is a Jet Cabinet saw...now close to 15 years old...but I still have, and still use, my Rockwell/Delta Contractors saw that is now.pushing 35-40 years old... It can do 99.95 percent of the things I do my my Cabinet Saw...
Major difference is the Delta still has its stock Fence..and I ordered the Jet direct from the factory with a real Biesmeyer....AND the fence is most likely what I like about the Cabinet saw...
A Good contractors saw with a good fence will make any ex-craftsman TS owner/user smile so much his jaws will hurt for days...
Bob Griffiths
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Hey!! I resemble that remark<g>.
I dumped my craftsman for a 10" Delta contractor's saw w/52" Biesemeyer fence about 2 years ago and have no regrets.
-- Al
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I have a Delta contractor saw. As far as I am concerned I will never need to replace it. Sure a Delta Unisaw would be nice, but for the limited use I give it, it does all I need, and you can buy one for under $1000. Make sue it has a Unifence or a Biesemeyer fence. http://www.deltawoodworking.com/index.asp?e 6&px5 or http://www.deltawoodworking.com/index.asp?e 6&px8 Greg
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: Cabinet saw vs. Contractor saw? What is the difference/preference. : Portability? Our shop area is not large. My husband often moves his : equipment around for better access. Would he be better off with the : "contractor saw"?
A contractor's saw is lighter than a cabinet saw, but they're both too heavy to lift, and neither is too heavy to mover around on a mobile base.
A cabinet saw takes up less floorspace than a contractor's saw (with an equivalent length fence rail). (This is because the contractor's saw has the motor hanging out the back).
A cabinet saw can be hooked up to a dust collector easily. A contractor's is open at the back (because the motor hangs out there), so some rigging is needed to make dust collection effective.
A cabinet saw has the motor mounted independently of the table, so it's easier to align the top and the blade.
All that said, fine work can be done on a contractor's saw, but if you can afford it, the cabinet saw is an intrinsically better design.
    -- Andy Barss
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on 3/14/2005 2:24 PM oboe said the following:

If you're going to pay for it too, how about dumping him and marrying one of us?<g>

At the risk of being stoned for uttering the word "Craftsman" I would suggest that you take a look at their "professional" 10" table saw offered with the Beisenmeyer fence.
I saw one up close and personal in the store a couple of weeks ago and 1) it seemed to suggest that Craftsman is bringing back some quality offerings in power tools, 2) was quite solid and, while, not a Unisaw, did a passable imitation thereof, and, 3) if a quality fence is what he wants, he'll be hard pressed to find better than the Beisenmeyer.
All this for around $950.00 NEW. Look hard, get lucky and you might find a used Delta around for around $1000 or less.
While I thought the build on the new Craftsman saw was better, there are plenty here who would commend the Jet table saw to you.
Nice of you to think of him in this way, though. Good luck on your quest. I'm sure you'll get lots of advice and opinions here. All you'll have to do is sort them out<g>
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Yes .... but he has a 21 year history of building things for me ... among other things <grin>

Wow, I didn't expect Sears to be one of the recommendations. Is the Beisenmeyer fence the same as the one offered with the Delta?
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You will get a lot of negative opinions of Craftsman for sure. For years their quality has suffered, but as stated in the other posts, it seems as though they are trying to make a comeback... at least in the table saw market. I recently purchased the step down from the "professional" which is a hybrid of the cabinet and normal contractor's saw. I absolutely love it and can't imagine getting a much better saw. The fence that came with mine is definitely one of it's weaker points, but the beisemeyer that comes with the "professional" is widely regared as one of the best money can buy. I won't pretend to say it IS absolutely better than the Delta since I dont own either of them, but in my research up to buying one last month I found no advice pointing to the Delta over the beisemeyer, but plenty pointing to both as great fences.
Good luck in your search.
Mike W.

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writes:

Please check this out http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?BV_UseBVCookie=Yes&vertical=TOOL&pid922124000&subcat=Table+Saws The Sears saw has a genuine Biesemeyer fence. It is identical to the Bieses on other saws and it have their name in big black letters. Others have cloned the style but they still sell under their own names.
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=============I just was over at Sears and I looked at that Fence....up close and personal...
Now I have owned a 50 in Biesmeyer "Homeshop" fence for a good 15 years ordered it direct from jet when I ordered my cabinet saw...
The Sears fence IS...it realy IS the Biesmeyer Homeshop Fence...
Rails are slightly smaller then the Commercial Version and the Fence itself is "only" 36 inches long... the Comercial version is 40 inches long...since most Tablesaws have 27 in long tables...the 36 inch fence still hangs off the end...
BTW after 15 years "my" Bies now required 3 ounces of downforce to lock the fence down dead solid....15 years ago it only required 2.5 Ounces of force... damn cam is showing signs of wear...do not know how long I will be able to exert that extra ounce of force ..
That said...... I would pass on the saw....
Bob Griffiths
Bob Griffiths
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