Table Saw cast-iron trunnions vs. Contractor mech


Looking for a brief synopsis of how much difference one would notice between the cast-iron trunnion/arbor assembly and a contractor saw (std. dual post in cast-iron ends). One guy won't tilt his contractor saw, because he claims it shifts slightly out of alignment each time.
Another says it doesn't matter, the wood distorts anyway.
For precision work - does it REALLY matter, or is another sacred-cow issue. Logic would dictate that is some merit to both views.
Experienced input appreciated.
Thanks,
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Maybe he just has a low quality saw. I have a contractors saw and never noticed a measureable difference after doing angled cuts and returning to straight. Maybe his saw needs a cleaning and something is preventing the stop from working properly.

How much precision are you looking for? Yes, wood more much more liekely to deflect, twist, compress, and go under other distorion while it is being machined. It is not metal and cannot be hel to the same tolerances.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Edwin Pawlowski said:

Actually, I am referring to several writers, such as Ian Kirby. Was trying to keep it brief...

Of course. That wasn't really the question... ;-)
For reliability, accuracy, repeatability, and usability - is there really a difference to the average woodworker.
The engineer in me says that yes, solid cast-iron assemblies would be much more ridged and precise. But real-world conditions sometimes negate the differences.
I know it's like comparing apples and watermelons, 'cause the 'Cabinet Saw' is made to pump all day, and has beefy components designed to stand up to the stress. The contractor saw is designed for ease of portability (!) and to meet a price point. They vary in precision of design, slop, etc.
I was thinking along the lines of a General 50-185-LM1 vs. a working Unisaw or General 50-260-M1.
As a lifelong companion, capable of everything from precision segmented boxes to cabinets and fine furniture.
Nothing long and drawn out - just opinions from people who have used _both_ for a variety of uses similar to those listed above.
Thanks,
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Greg,
I'm upgrading from a contractor saw to a cabinet saw for many reasons. # 1 complaint is there is no blade height locking mechanism on contractor saw. A dado blade causes the blades to drop forcing me to try and lock it by hanging a clamp from the hand wheel. That's very hard to be precise. #2 is vibration. Yes, I've heard that a different belt will help, don't have one. #3 is solid wings. You can get them on a contractor saw now but I don't have them, a new cabinet saw will. #4 is power. I'm wired for 220 now but it's still only 1.5 horse. Cabinet saw is 3 horse.
All of these reasons will add precision individually, all together they should add a lot. I've got an 8 inch joiner, a 20 inch planer, a 10 inch scms, dust collector, a whole bunch of other high quality, precision tools, and a CRAPPY tablesaw. Somethings not right here.... :-)
Bryan
Greg G. wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I'm going to try to sell #2 to SWMBO. Hmmmm, let's see.
"Honey, I need to chuck my POS tablesaw and buy that spanky-new Unisaw. You know, the one with the price tag that almost gave you a heart attack when we were at the last wooddorking show. Yeah, well , it doesn't vibrate like my POS saw does. Yes, a belt would stop the vibration, but I don't have one. How much? Oh, they're *reeeaaaallllly* expensive. The belt, I mean. Really, they're not cheap. Better if I got the new saw".
I know it wasn't your only point Bryan, but that really gave me a chuckle.
jc

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Well, you don't think I'm going to tell her about the belts do you? :-)
Bryan
noonenparticular wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
noonenparticular said:

Hey, whatever works... ;-)
In _my_ case, and I forgot to append this point to Byans post (and was one reason I responded, duh...), is that noise is a major problem.
This thing wakes up the kid next door. Heck, this thing wakes up kids in China. It wakes the undead. It wakes up dinosaur fossils. It's like having an F-14 in your gar^h^h^h shop. I have to wear earplugs - seriously. I don't like it. All these other, better, tools accumulated since, and this POS is my main squeeze? (Tool-wise, that is...)
I'm embarrassed to admit it, and it's been a pretty useful saw in many regards, but it has a universal brush motor and a non standard motor mount that makes 'upgrading' impossible. It IS cast-iron, and I've tweaked it up, rebuilt the motor twice, and stiffened the fence, but that motor... Uggh...
It's what started this whole WW mess. Worst fracken money I ever spent... ;-)
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DamnYankee wrote:

Odd...I've got an ancient contractor saw and it's got a lock mechanism. At least, there's a knob in the middle of the height adjustment wheel that you can tighten to keep the wheel from turning.
Chris
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
DamnYankee said:

Same here.

Never seen that before. Most have a locking mechanism, such as it is.

Not big problem here, using a flat gilmer belt. Link belts are popular, as are balance and trued pulleys.

Usually. You can get them on a few contractor saws. Of course, if you don't already HAVE them, the chances of upgrading are almost nil..

Generally, and the Cabinet Saw is three _real_ HP - not compressor HP.

Not to mention weight, sturdiness, stability. Oh, and did I mention weight?

Kind of my situation. Crappy doesn't begin to cover it... It's to the point that I either sell it all, or get a real saw.
Thanks,
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
I have both. The contractor is "able" to make beveled cuts but the cabinet saw is able to repeat the process a lot easier.
Contractor saws are capable of just about anything a cabinet saw can do, but repeatability and ease of use of the major differences.
The contractor saw is also much more "twitchy" when it comes to "staying" in alignment, while the cabinet saw requires a greater effort to knock it out.
Both saws can do it "all", while one one can do it easier.
If you have a choice and the money..get a cabinet saw for the long haul.
By buying a contractor saw to begin with, this just creates that famous, "I'm saving up for my cabinet saw" theme that is quite prevelant.
PS:
It is a "fairly" rare for my saw blade to ever be moved from the upright 90 degree position. Your methods might be a LOT different.
Greg G. wrote:

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Pat Barber said:

Pat, Well done synopsis. Thank You. I suppose in the back of my mind, I *knew* the answer but was grasping for that miracle panacea that would allow me to get out cheap - again.
I know... Cry Once.

Tell me about it. It was my entry into this field, and in subsequent purchases I made better decisions. It was to be a Honey Do List kind of thing at first - but then the addiction took hold... <bg>
The experience of doing something well for the first time, completing projects that actually work and look decent, that DIY pride. The challenges that await around the next bend...
Many benefits to be garnered. Not the least of which is the exposure to some pretty bright and funny people here on the wREC.

I'm weird... <g>
Greg G.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I don't have both, but I've used both. I never really saw where there was any repeatability differences between my contractor's saw and a cabinet saw. Nicer action on the cabinet saw, but not really more precise or anything else that would contribute to repeatability. Curious to know what you feel contributes to the repeatability.

That should be quite true, but I have to say that I've never knocked my contractor's saw out of alignment. I'm sure it can be done, but I've never experienced it.

Nicer - I'll agree. There is a certain absolute pleasure in a good hefty tool.

Or the "well, I've already got this and I can't really come up with a good reason to replace it. Sure wish I'd..."
--

-Mike-
snipped-for-privacy@alltel.net
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

For me, resawing 6" wide Ipe was the test. Try to resaw 6" wide Ipe to a prescribed thickness over and over on a contractors saw through out the year and see if you get the same results. ;~) Actually I am not sure that a contractors saw could even resaw 6" wide Ipe much less to the same tolerances.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Very little if any.
Both designs are set to "0-0" at 90 degrees. That is they are fixture set to a specific dimension from the slot to the face of the arbor parallel within a 10" tolerance zone. Both designs then depend on the quality of the parts to get to what you will have at 45 degrees. If the manufacture has good processes and holds parts to close tolerance range, then the degradation will be minimal. If not the degradation will be noticeable. It is a matter of the stack up of the tolerances and a manufacture will set their acceptable 45 degree tolerance based on what they can statistically achieve.
The contractor has a slight design advantage in that one of the parts is taken out of the picture. The plane of the the top plate of the cabinet. The contractor mechanism is bolted directly to the bottom of the table whereas the cabinet design has the table and trunion carriage assembly independently bolted to the cabinet. OTOH the parts are less robust and more easily subject to deflection. And the mechanisim is more inclined to slip (trunion bracket(s) slide on the table boss) with a good knock.
A tip about that, if you have to realign a contractor, throw away the washers (or washer faced screws) and replace. they will have become conical and have a memory and will go right back to where they came from when torqued.
If 45 degree precision is extremely important then you can reset your saw to be as close to perfect as possible at 45 and let the degradation occur going back to 90. But you can't have it both ways (unless you can justify two saws). You can tweak slightly by shimming a cabinet design between the bosses of the table and the top plate of the cabinet. Be prepared to give up a lot of time. I guess in theory you could do this with shims between the table and the trunion brackets on the contractor design.
The above talks about Unisaw design (most cabinet saws) and traditional contractor designs.
Hmm, not very brief but there seemed to be interest.

No opinion, I'm able to do mediocre work on either.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Site Timeline

Related Threads

    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.