Which table saw to buy?

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It looks like this is the monthly question, but I'd love to get your input on my specifics.
Woodworking-wise, I'm a newbie. I had a few woodworking classes in high school/college, and some early exposure to carpentry (I "helped" my dad built an addition to the house when I was a younger.) But I've never built a piece of quality furniture.
Ultimately, I would like to build cabinets, bureaus, bookcases, an entertainment center, desks, etc. I'm not a home owner yet but will eventually buy a mass-produced home (as opposed to building myself) and envision adding the finishing work (wood trims, built-in cabinets, coordinated furniture, etc.) to give it a more, architectural-designer feel.)
On the reality-side, I'm starting my shop in a 14' x 17' maintenance room of my apartment building. (My wife manages the apartment complex we live in, so I have free reign of the room.) The room has a single 110 outlet, but the maintenance guy is helping me install a 220 and another 110 outlet this week. I have an odd assortment of tools (a drill, a handsaw, some clamps, levels, squares, wrenches, etc. and a good shopvac.) but otherwise I'm starting from scratch.
Because I don't have any experience sharpening and using woodworking hand tools (which seems really important) and because I have a ton of other stuff to learn (wood characteristics, hardware and finishes oh my!), I'm hoping to reduce the handworking by focusing on accurate cuts in the first place. I would like to be able to cut joints once and put the pieces together with minimal to no hand tooling. (I know this is unrealistic to some extent but I don't know how unrealistic.) If I focus on making good measurements and I buy an accurate table saw, is this a reasonable expectation?
Based on the reviews I've seen, web searches, etc, and a lot of reading in this news group, I think the following table saws might satisfy my requirements. (With any one of these, I would take a 30" fence, add a mobile base, a router table extension and a Forrest WWII blade.)
In order of preference:
General International 50-850 ($649)
Grizzly G1023SL ($895) - cabinet
Grizzly G1022PROZX ($645)
Powermatic 64A ($750)
Price is an issue but it's a close second to my desire to turn projects out successfully.
From what I've gathered, I'm tending toward the GI 50-850. I have a local General/Powermatic distributor, which would make proper adjustment easier to obtain (get their help, resolve problems, etc), and the distributor claims the GI 50-850 is the same unit as the Powermatic 64a, just better priced.
On the other hand, I've read a lot of good comments in this group about Grizzly and there's always a lot of hoopla for cabinet saws. Given the price of the G1023, it perks my interest (if not my wallet).
Can you give me any feedback or comparisons on these saws? I didn't see many comments about the GI in this forum. What do you think of it?
Thanks!
-Another wannabe
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Gerry L wrote:

DAGS
http://groups.google.com/groups?hl=en&lr=&safe=off&group=rec.woodworking
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Our table saw is the heart of our operation. We bought a used (old) Craftsman (pre-Crapsman) saw. Bought a Vega fence and then the husband made the most super cabinet. All told, we have about $600 invested. It doesn't always have to be new. I realize the stock answer here to the table saw question is to do a google search (dags). It has been discussed ad nauseum. Just with any tool, you will have to decide your budget, your needs, find some buddies to hang out with and pick their brains. Perry

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Thanks for explaining "dags". I kind of thought Kevin had clicked reply by mistake. But I get it now.
Actually, I did the google searches prior to coming here. That's how I come around to liking the GI 50-185. I didn't realize it was accessing the same newsgroup and my newsreader searches didn't yeild many hits on the Generals here. (must of missed something..)
Gerry

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Ensure lights aren't on same circuit as power tools. Finishing knowledge will be enhance if you bookmark www.homesteadfinishing.com for Jeff Jewitt, www.targetcoatings.com for Jeff Weiss waterbased finishes and www.woodfinishingsupplies.com for Russ Ramirez. All have forums and readily provide guidance and advice. Homestead has search capability as well as articles. Protect hearing for anybody in the "shop" wherever it might be. Welcome and work safely!
wrote:

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If you can get the General locally for that price, then there you go. Always try to support local dealers when at all possible. You can save a few bucks doing mail order but local service and support is hard to beat. After the table saw, kind of cool it on the power tool purchases. Just get what you need to finish your latest project. If you go out and blow a wad on tools before you even know what you really need you'll probably be sorry.
Your first project should be a decent bench. Do a Google seach on that subject and you should have enough reading for a couple of months. I did mine from a Fine Woodworking of a few years back, issue 96 I believe. If you're interested I'll try to check on it for you.
Just remember that you are going to have to move it in a little while so don't build a "boat in the basement" kind of bench. Plan on being able to get it back apart.
You can also plan on building a couple of cabinets and maybe and outfeed/assembly table. Oh, and you'll wind up wanting a router table, too. I just moved my shop after ten years in the same location. It will amaze you what you can accumulate in such a short period of time.
Jim

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My compliments! I wish I could have seen a General before I bought my Unisaw but I am not disappointed. I wonder why you omitted the Unisaw totally? Most rank tablesaws: 1) Powermatic 66 2) Unisaw/Jet 3) Grizzly 1023
7) hybrid saws You assessed the fence blade situation very well. Goood luck and happy cutting!!!!
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Well, I think you touched on my confusion.
I was looking at things with the idea that a good contractor's saw will run about $800 and that the cabinet saws start around $1500. That made me decide earlier to go with a quality contractor's saw. Eventually, I came to like the General 50-185 and was surprised by it's pricing ($650+options). Cool!
But I got thrown when some good reviews introduced me to the Grizzly 1023 cabinet at $900. I can deal with that price also if it's worth it. Cost will have to be second to getting a saw that cuts right.
So I'm looking to compare the value proposition of going with the General 50-185 (at $650+) vs. a low-end cabinet saw, like the Grizzly 1023SL. (After opening my eyes, I now see that there is also a low-end General cabinet (the 50-200) that goes for $1000 -- and I have a local dealer, hmmm!) Let's say this is my comfort point for cost. (The Delta and Powermatic go out of range from what I see. - and I've got issues with Delta.)
Will the extra $250-$350 to move into a low-end Grizzly or GI cabinet make much of a difference for what I plan to do? I'm big on the idea of cutting once, cutting right, and it seems like the manufacturing quality (the tolerances) at this level is what it's all about. For instance, the sales guy at the local General distributor mentioned acceptable tolerances of 4/1000ths on the 50-185, but then he mentioned 10/1000ths as a reasonable expectation. But I've seen reviewers talk about pleasure when hitting .0015 variance on the fence. If I want to cut once/cut right, for "pretty good" quality, home cabinetry, what kind of tolerance should I require and will I have a right to demand that from a GI 50-185?
The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of going with the local distributor for the support factors. (By the way, I just lucked out in having a local General distributor. I found myself really interested in the 50-185 and then looked up dealers and found I was passing one every day on my way home from work!!) So my tendency is to balance the 50-185 vs the 50-200.
Thanks so much for listening!
-Gerry "Can I buy it now, can I buy it now?"

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Gerry L wrote:

Good choice. I really like my Grizzly contractor saw, but like many others who have posted here, something in the first set of boxes didn't go together right. Local support would have been great.
-- Mark
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Just a few comments: 1) "General International" is the label for the Pac Rim imported saws. "General" is the label for the ones made in North America. There _is_ a notable difference in quality.
2) Don't be afraid to consider "used" tools, as long as you stay away from the low-end hobbiest cr*p. A quality, used, contractor saw, something like Delta's 34-4xx series, is probably in the $700 range, _after_ you add the 'goodies' you mention.
3) HERETICAL THOUGHT -- you might want to consider getting a Ryobi BT3100 (at only about US$300!) to start with. The 'accessories' you mention _will_ migrate to a "successor", if/when that time comes. And, you should easily recover at least 50% of the original 'investment' by selling it, again, if/when you decide to replace it.
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Gerry L wrote:

This is either a very productive troll or genuine.
Cool.

.......
For what you describe as being your immediate plans you could use my #3 saw, a Rockwell 9" from the mid 60's.
After getting over the difficulty of obtaining 9" blades with 5/8 arbor she is a sweetheart. Worm gear trunion, extensions (such as they are), a Rockwell fence sufficient for 'rough cut' without needing to indicate it to spec, and easily passes the 'nickel test' with a lawnmower belt and Irwin blade.
LMAO.
Has the Rockwell base with retractable wheels.
Gloat?
Won it with a bid of $110.
Buy Used.
Brought it home, reinstalled and aligned the fence, cut a board.
After having this saw for a few months went to another auction, an off brand 10" cabinet saw went for $25. If I didn't already have a rough cut saw (Saw #1, Craftsman 10", $30 plus clean/ tune) this saw would have went for a bit more.
Buy used.
I would have got this last saw if I could have justified it to myself. Wife would have no trouble with it. I left it go for $25 because the winning bidder looked like he needed it more than I. To do it right it would have needed taken apart, cleaned, lubed and reassembled. That's par for the course.
14' x 17' isn't bad for a shop. Under your conditions it's really sort of good. Lots of people here would love that much dedicated space.
See if the electrician will run a sub panel for you.
Just occurred to me, you may have access to 3 phase. Be surprised how cheap 3 phase equipment can go, not many people have it or are willing to get it.
Anyway you look at it you have a 'no voltage drop' situation, enjoy it.
--
Mark

N.E. Ohio
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input
I'd resemble that remark if I wasn't a Tolkien fan.

You must be laughing at me because I'm still thinking about the worms.

Yeah, I know, I know. I'm a big fan for buying used. But I just don't have the comfort factor on this.

Now you're gloating!

I know bits but not electrons. The maintenance guy and I will be installing the run on Thursday. We're setting the pipe and pulling the wire and will have an electrician hook it up. Do you know what wire we need to pull to prep this? I take it this would be to hook up additional outlets easily.

It's nice to be the manager's side-kick...you get to stretch the rules...free rent & utilities...
Gloat?

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Forget the TS, buy a RAS!
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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you forgot to tell him to slick up the table top with Vaseline...
dave
Rumpty wrote:

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I would never buy a RAS...and I am far from alone to see all the used RAS ads in the local papers.
That machine is just too frickin' scary....and it does not offer anything that I can't do with my TS and router.
Not to mention I don't have a wall handy I can dedicate to it...
If I need that kind of crosscut capability, I will buy a SCMS before I buy a RAS.
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On Mon, 17 Nov 2003 23:24:27 +0000, stickdoctorq wrote:

Here's a partial list of things I do on my RAS that I haven't figured out how to do on a TS:
1) Drum sanding 2) Rotary surface planing 3) Horizontal boring 4) Overhead pin routing 5) 1/2" bore shaper cutters
and yes, it rips accurately as well as crosscuts. If I had to give up one of either the TS or RAS, the TS would go. OTOH, as soon as I have (re)-saved enough for a 1023SL, it will replace my current TS.
-Doug
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I can't believe you said that!
I'll be damned if I didn't !!
I did buy a fr$ckn RAS! Oh yeah, it's more versatile ...
It had four (4) defective parts and had at least a 1/16th to 1/8" play at the stops before locking the yolk. And this was after talking to technical support and fiddling with it for several hours.
Don't get me wrong. Theoretically, a RAS seems quite workable and is more versatile, but it just didn't work out that way for me. Maybe mine was too cheap (but it cost several hundred), or maybe the manufacturer's quality just didn't apply to this particular unit (yeah!), and/or maybe I was just an idiot with no experience (okay, fine!), but I can handle myself around a server room and am not a complete idiot.
I sent it back and I'm not looking back. I'm a convert!
-Gerry "Scr#w up once, shame on them. Scr#w up twice, shame on me" or however it goes.
(no real offence intended - just a bad experience man!)

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On a serious note, a good used DeWalt, i.e. 7790, GWI, will out perform "ANY" TS.
BTW, why did you ask this question to the group? You should have sent an email directly to B.A.D. for woodworking advice.
--
Rumpty

Radial Arm Saw Forum: http://forums.delphiforums.com/woodbutcher/start
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he would have gotten better advice than listening to you! :)
When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail, huh, Rumpty?
dave
Rumpty wrote:

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=====================Rumpty:
We all know you LOVE your RAS and thats fine.. !
I have to wonder however what you would say if you were NOT making a SERIOUS comment...
My opinion, and the vast majority of other woodworkers, is just the complete opposite of yours...
Bob Griffiths
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