Table Saw Recommendations

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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Oooh, lookit me, posting twice in the same topic...
My basement shop gets HUGE use, but has about as much floorspace as a large-ish Galley kitchen. ALL my floor tools roll. ESPECIALLY my TS/Router Table. (home-built rolling 2 door cabinet with Bench saw and Router table mounted on top. Dust collection needs tweaking, but...)
There are Free plans all over the net for stuff like this. I based mine loosly on the "Utimate Table Saw Cabinet" plans that Shop-Notes, or some similar magazine published about 3 years ago.
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On 22 Aug 2006 13:35:01 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Keep your eyes open for a used Contractor's style saw. You should be able to find one in that price range. You should also be able to tell pretty easily if it's been used, abused and or taken care of.
Mike O.
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pretty easily if it's been used, abused and or taken care of.<<<
Best advice in the bunch. Also get one with a good fence, belt drive and put a "good" blade on it. RM~
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On 22 Aug 2006 13:35:01 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I have a Delta Contractors saw in great shape that I am looking to get rid of since I moved up to a Unisaw.
Where do you live?
Gary
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Dead Dog wrote:

I live in Suffolk, VA
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

You've some great posts in response here on how to examine a TS before you buy it.
To cut to the chase, I think the best advice is for you to shop for a good used contractor saw: you'll keep the cost down (plentiful at $100-$200) and get a decent saw you can use for years. You might even get lucky and find an inexpensive cabinet saw if you can go stationary. If at all possible take someone along who is experiences re/ TSs. Otherwise, read some books or magazine articles on TS virtues and vices to educate yourself.
If you jump up to $500, there are several good saws: Rigid, Makita, Bosch, DeWalt, etc. -----------
[caution: plug coming...]
There is one inexpensive saw that fulfills most of the criteria tossed around, and with caveats noted you may find that you would be happy with it, or not: The Ryobi BT3k. At $300 it's a great saw for a certain kind of user.
Its virtues:
*Decent fence (at the time of its release, it was a great fence among benchtops. Now so-so) *Good motor for a universal (induction preferred, but there are some good entry saws with universal motors). I have ripped 8/4 hard maple--to be fair this is really more a function of a good blade, but the quality of universal motors varies widely, and as such the Ryobi is OK. *Accurate, capable of precision cuts *Good blade out of the box (Freud) *Serious belt drive that allows you to cut nearly 4" depth with 10" blade. No other benchtop comes close to that as far as I know. *Good sized arbor that handles a *full* dado set. Some contractor saws don't do that. *Router mount standard on right side of table *Resale on these is very good, nearly retail. I know individuals who part them out on ebay and make money in the process.
Virtue or vice, depending on your prejudices:
*It has a sliding table instead of a miter fence, something you usually find only on high-end cabinet saws (OK, it is small, stop the snickering...but it works well). If you want miter slots for jigs or whatnot, it's an optional factory add-on, or if you can manage to cut a dado in scrap then you can have one for free. Most BT3k owners prefer the sliding table. *Aluminum table and fences. Most everyone prefers cast iron for good reasons: solid and less likely to slip out of alignment, useful for other things (put a propane torch underneath and you can cook a fine meal, for instance). But if it's for occasional use and you keep it in a humid area, sacrificing the niceties of iron for the rust-free practicality of aluminum is not unwise.
Vices:
*The motor, despite being nice, is nevertheless a universal motor and as such is limited (what, 15A?) and it can bog down on some of the more demanding tasks that a bigger saw can handle. A good blade helps--and at least it comes with one--but you may *never* be satisfied on this count without investing in a good cabinet saw (3hp plus--that's *real* hp, BTW). If you're doing small amounts and don't push the feed rate, it stands up well against 1-1/2 hp induction motors on the contractor models. *It's between benchtop and contractor in size, so handling large boards and sheetgoods requires roller stands or tables. Note that this problem is the same with most good quality contractor saws. *It's an aluminum precision tool that's not intended for professional use. I would not advise it for job-site use, nor for someone who is not used to caring for his tools. You'd end up knocking it out of alignment too often and being frustrated with the process of getting it back into alignment. Tom Watson (one of the more eloquent long-time posters here) wrote long ago about the humorous side of trying to use the Ryobi as a job-site saw.
Its affectionados are bordering on the fanatic, and they have a great site devoted to every aspect and then some to using that saw: http://www.bt3central.com / and the Ryobi site, http://www.ryobitools.com/dc/dcboard.php?az=show_topics&forum 4&page [end of Ryobi plug] ---------- So...ask yourself what kind of use you'll get out of the machine. If you're just a hobbyist occasional woodworker who can take care of a tool, this may be ideal. If you want something better and can cough up $500, go for the Bosch/Makita/Dewalt/Rigid. If you want that but don't want to spend $500, then look for used ones (and they are plentiful). If you suspect that you'll be upgrading soon, or if you have the money/space, then cough it up for a really good contractor or cabinet saw.
Good luck, H
...who has upgraded to a Colovos 12" cabinet saw, but I still keep the Ryobi around and use it a lot, fondly.
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hylourgos wrote:

OP here - I've gotten a lot of good stuff here and am staying far away from the real entry level saws now.
I have looked at the BT3100 because there are lots of great reviews - but have they stopped making it? It is not listed on Ryobi's site and listed as "currently unavailable" at home depot...
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I hadn't heard that so looked into it as soon as I read your post. Unfortunately, it is true, but the causes are as yet uncertain. Several thread from the NGs I mentioned above go into some detail. Here is one post:
"I don't know if there are plans to drop BT3100 from production and not going to guess. What I do understand is that each product has it target market. Contractor saw targets contractors. Cabinetmaker saw is being sold to professional furniture makers. BT3100 is not robust for contractor, can give you precision comparable to cabinetmaker saw at a fraction of a cost but is not heavy duty. Its market are people who aspire to make fine furniture but not for sale, so they are not expecting revenue stream to justify high cost. This saw gives you set of good features at rock bottom prices. That means it has very low profit margin for Ryobi. It also means Ryobi must be very carefull not to improve this saw in terms of its durability otherwise it will cut into sales of Ridgid's brand contractor saws where profit is higher. Remember that TTI needs to sell several BT3100 saws in order to make same profit as one Ridgid TS. [Alex V]"
Another post w/ Ryobi/Rigid connections asserted that there would be a new model out next year. Considering this was Ryobi's best seller it would be surprising if they did not. The move from BT3000 to BT3100 caused similar angst among the faithful. The new model will probably be improved, and will cost a little more (but that's just a guess).
It's still a great saw for a certain type of user. HD is marking them down to about $240 right now and there are still some left. If you're a hobbyist user who wants an inexpensive precision saw, then your opportunity has never been better than right now.
Otherwise, you're better off saving up and getting a sturdier, higher quality, and much more expensive saw. And that's pretty much the same advice you'll get about every single tool acquisition you make in woodworking now! Don't say you weren't forewarned, this is an expensive hobby.
Best, H
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On 22 Aug 2006 13:35:01 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I am very happy with my Bosh portable that I bought as a factory rebuild
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*snip*

*trim*
You know... I believe my grandpa's table saw was a circular saw turned upside down. Sure you'll have to use a 2x4 for a fence (better plane and joint that one) but I don't trust my TS's fence to be straight the first time anyway. You won't have the same capacity, but it'll still be enough for cutting most things.
One thing to note if you're thinking of doing this: On a table saw the blade rotates so the cutting action pushes the board against you and down onto the table. (So if you're standing to the left of the saw, the blade moves clockwise.)
Puckdropper
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Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

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wrote:

6 months ago I was looking for the same thing. I wanted a saw for small projects around the house. I didn't want to spend more than 2-300.00 given the amount of use I thought it would get. As read and looked at saws it became clear I would regret buying a saw in that price range.
Don't underestimate the value of tools that are safer, save you time, and allow for future needs you may not anticipate. If you think in those terms, a sub 300.00 saw is a poor value.
For less than 1000.00, there are basically 3 categories of table saws:
1) Benchtop saws (100.00! - 600.00)
-These have a motor beneath the table and are designed to be light and portable. Contractors use these because they can toss them in their truck. For home use they are generally not a good choice because they use only a little less floor space than other types and their light weight features are a liability. If you plan to store it on a shelf or under a bench it would be the saw to get, but very few shops are so small that you would prefer packing the saw up to keeping it on wheels and rolling it in a corner.
-The motors are weaker which can make some cuts more of a struggle and therefore less safe. Not to mention they usually fail sooner.
-The top is small and usually lightweight aluminum or stamped steel. That makes for a more difficulty achieving accurate cuts. It will prevent you from making cuts beyond it's rated width. Also, the combination of light weight (less stable), a small top (less support), more effort (small motor), and larger pieces or stock make for more danger and less accuracy.
-The fence and controls on these saws are almost universally difficult to control precisely. Have a look at any saw in the 2-300.00 range. Tip the fence to the left then lock it down. Tip the fence to the right and lock it down. In both cases the fence will lock in an obviously non-square position. Many will also flex significantly when locked unless you add a rear clamp. Do you really want to subject yourself to flimsy crap like that? A misaligned fence is also a kickback waiting to happen. One kickback accident and you could easily erase any money you saved buying a cheap saw after fixing the damage to your house or to you.
-If you must have one of these, you will need to spend 4-600.00 to get a passable one. The Bosch 4000 is a good example.
2) Contractor saws (300.00 - 900.00)
-These semi-portable saws are heavier saws with the motor hanging out the back. They have decent weight and stability, the fences are nicer, and the tops are larger and usually cast iron. They can also be had with reasonable power for occasional home use. Most of them have the ability to take nice upgrades like a really good fence or a router table extension.
-Unfortunately, it is difficult to control dust with these, mainly because of the motor hanging out the back. Also, the motor adds to floor space and pretty much eliminates the fold - down outfeed table option.
3) Hybrid tablesaws (450.00 - 1000.00+)
-These are stationary saws that have the motor back underneath in a cabinet. Otherwise they are built much like the contractor's saw. Most of them come with pretty nice fences, decent power, cast iron tops, and good dust collection. Once on a mobile base, they can be tucked out of the way, even if you add a folding outfeed table. Or they can be the heart of a nice big open station with ample outfeed support. They can be run on 220v if you want and take most of the add-ons that the true cabinet saws will take.
Normally buying the least expensive model of a tool category would be a poor choice, but the entry level hybrid saws are generally pretty good - much better than the best benchtop saws. I ended up getting the Delta 715 which can be had for less than 600.00 if you watch the prices at Amazon. The Craftsman entry hybrid (Sears item #00922104000 Mfr. model #OR35506) is going for about 450.00 on their website and it appears to be a very good saw for the money.
After putting the saw together, aligning the fence, and putting on a good blade, the smoothness and accuracy of these things are amazing. 3/4 plywood just glides through the blade leaving cuts that are spot on and cannot be improved with sanding. The saw is heavy enough to feel very stable with no significant vibration during use. It is also very quiet.
I was uneasy with spending twice my original budget at first. Now I feel the advantages of safety, dust collection, ease of use, upgradeability, power, and durability are well worth the cost. This is especially true if you consider the life of the saw. The quality of the cuts will also open up more project possibilities. Simple pieces of furniture I would never have considered taking on before are looking realistic and fun.
If you can't swing that much money, I agree with Phisherman. Look into a nice circular saw and guide. Or, if you are working with mostly smaller stuff, you might also consider a small band saw. Band saws also suffer in quality in that price range, but it would probably be safer and more versatile than a cheap tablesaw.
-Steve
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?catnch+Power+Tools&pid921805000&vertical=TOOL&subcat=Table+Saws&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes
I have been reading this group for about a year, and never posted for fear of Spammers getting my address, but I just HAD to chime in here.
I am a cash earning @ home/basement shop cabinet maker, and I started out on a Craps-man saw similar to the one you listed... The bearings in the motor went all pear shaped in the first month. After about 5 hours of total run time under load. (Actual cutting.) Swapped it out under warantee for a new one, same issue. Upgraded to another higher priced Crapsman, and this time I sent off for replacement bearings when they went. Soon there-after, the motor went bang and blew the GFI I had it plugged into...
Well, I took it to the curb, and never looked back. I will NEVER buy a Craps-man power tool again. Hand tools, ok, but NEVER a power tool.

the miter gauge channels. AVOID the saws with am inverted T shaped channel. This limits your future capabilities. By the time you're confident enough to make jigs for the T channels, you'll realize how horrid they are...
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*snip*

One of these days the dremel is coming out and the T channels are going away. Luckily they're only in a few places and not run the whole length.
Puckdropper
--
Wise is the man who attempts to answer his question before asking it.

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Sorry, but that saw is a very entry level saw. You might have noticed by now that most of the woodworkers here don't think much of it.
I have been manufacturing sawdust for about 30+ years and started with one of the old Craftsman 1hp, cast-iron table, sheet metal wings saws with the motor hanging out the back. Then I put up with it for about 25 years. If you want to cut anything that rates above a craft project (plywood, small stock, etc) you need to raise you sights a bit.
Take time to look at contractors saws that retail new in the $400 to $600 range. These might include:
- Delta - Rigid (I'm not a big fan but many here have had good luck) - Grizzly (I am a fan) - Jet
Many will tell you that the heart of a shop is the table saw and the heart of a table saw is the fence. All of these will provide a decent fence or the ability to move up to an aftermarket fence later. A 2hp or larger motor is good too.
Also look for these brand names as used equipment. I see Jet and Delta table saws in the local classified pretty often. Even better, look for estate sales, for a good discount from retail. The neat thing about estate sales is they often sell the whole kaschmeer for one price. My cousin picked up a Radial arm saw with a half dozen blades, dado cutter, shaper attachment and assorted do-dads for $150 - like new.
Notice that beyond the second paragraph I didn't use the word Craftsman.
RonB
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Good luck finding a saw. Don't buy this one though. I bought one about three months ago. Here are the problems.
1. Non-standard miter slot. This model has a slot that is about 3/8" at the base and 1/2" at the top. No after market add ons will work with this saw. 2. Makes a lot (I mean a LOT) of noise. 3. No dato blade insert plate is available. There is one on the bottom of the web page, but it does not fit this saw. The existing blade insert is so thin that you cannot replace it with a plywood one. The manual calls out a part number for the insert, but it cannot be found on the website (main or parts).
I wish I had spent a little more to get a better saw. Hind site is 20/20. I'm looking for a Delta or Ridged at present. Keep an eye out on your local Craig's list.
nathan snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/product.do?catnch+Power+Tools&pid921805000&vertical=TOOL&subcat=Table+Saws&BV_UseBVCookie=Yes
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Form follows function. You first have to determine what you are going to do with the saw. Cut Balsa wood or Lignum Vitae? What size? one by sixes or planks? Sheet goods? Will arbor take dado blades? If you're going to do small craft projects, then the saw will work, if you are going to do furniture, then this tool is marginal.
--
Frank Howell


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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote: : I am going to buy a table saw and was looking for some recommendations. : I am using it for various household woodworking projects, but nothing : too fancy - I don't think it would be worth it to spend a whole lot on : it considering how much use I think it will get.
Although I agree with the othr posts in this thread (a good used big saw would be dandy), one other option to consider is the Ryobi BT3000 or BT3100. They have a very substantial and loyal following, and there are user groups on the web that can give you more information.
    -- Andy Barss
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other option to consider is

The contractor who did some remodeling on my house several years ago swore by them, said he beats them to death then tosses them and buys a new one. RM~
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Construction crew leader posted several years ago his 3 crews insist on the BT3000 and he buys replacement sets several times per year.
wrote:

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Andrew Barss wrote:

I'll toss in a second on this recommendation. I wound up going with the BT3100 after much research (this board is extremely helpful) and consideration of space and budget constraints, and so far have been very pleased. Makes clean accurate cuts, fence is reliable, and sliding miter table is very handy. Caveat - the 3100 is essentially discontinued, purportedly to be replaced by a new model later this year (more info on www.bt3central.com), but you can still find a few at some borgs on clearance.
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