table saw recommendations 2010

Hi,
I am interested in buying my first table saw for occasional DIY use. Since it is for occasional use, I was hoping to spend in the 100-200 range. I have found various posts in the archives but some date back to 2004 and I imagine the saws mentioned will have been discontinued and new models introduced since then. What models do you recommend in 2010?
I notice the Screwfix Titan has 45 (IIRC) good reviews, so it can't be that bad, can it?
What are good and bad things to look out for when buying such a saw?
TIA
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Fred wrote:

I brought a Makita MLT100 about this time last year:
http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_idy6884
I'm pretty happy with it, though the blade guard often falls into the blade ripping chunks out the plastic. Nice neat cuts, easy to setup fence, noisy but glides through 18mm ply which is about the toughest I've put through it.

I would avoid Screwfix Titan after my cheap circular saw, which after a very short space of time got demoted to cutting stuff up for the tip only, and replaced with a Makita. The circular saw was far to flexible and had play in the blade, due to them skimping on the metal work and bearings. This made it bend around whilst cutting, leading to the cut not being square to the surface and it wouldn't keep much of a straight line.

A solid table, a decent powered motor, and a blade that doesn't have any play in it as otherwise it wiggles round under load and gives an awful cut.
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ISTR this was briefly covered last year.
I have the Titan mainly for rebating. This involves removing the guard and shortening the riving knife.
Assembling the stand is an evenings work. The start/stop switch was broken on my (delivered) one. Inadequate packaging protection.
A feature of tiltable saws is a large gap next to the blade which can be a nuisance eating chunks of thin offcuts.
The fence clamp works well.
The cross slide is very loose but can be improved (as was suggested) by pin punching to make it wider.
I put spacer washers under the plastic blade surround to bring it level with the table surface.
Adequate as an entry level saw.
The die cast aluminium table of the Ryobi should be better but otherwise I think they are very similar.
regards

--
Tim Lamb

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On Fri, 29 Jan 2010 23:52:59 +0000, Tim Lamb

I was thinking a table saw would be very good for long, straight cuts; better than a handheld circular saw. OTOH is a handheld saw easier (lighter) to use than pushing a big heavy board/door/whatever past a table saw?
I thought that a table saw would be especially useful for very thin cuts but now I am not so sure. What happens when the off cut gets stuck. Do you have to stop, remove the obstruction, and start the pass again?

I have read some criticism about fences. Can they be removed completely if your piece of wood is wider than the table? Can they be brought right up to the blade for thin cuts? I'm sure I read some post suggesting some fences would only go so far in one direction, though I can't quite remember the details now.

Thanks. What is the table made from in your saw?
I've read some posts saying that table size is important: is it? I would have thought that the wood would extend over the table so you would always need something else alongside to act as a table extension: rollers or a sheet of plywood, etc?
Is their an optimum table size or do yo get the biggest you can afford?
TIA
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Fred wrote:

Long straight cuts are termed "ripping", something you can't really do at all with a hand held. Dead easy on a sawbench

Usually not. The workpiece will normally push a stray offcut past the blade or down through the gap

You never use a table saw without a fence. If the workpiece is bigger than the saw bed, you need an extension that will accommodate the fence

The biggest benefit of a table saw is being able to cut long strips e.g. you might need 44mm x 22mm instead of the standard 50x25 . A circ saw and some trestles is usually better for sheet materials.

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Stuart Noble wrote:

Look up a saw board.
It's simple and neat.
Dave
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Dave wrote:

But only if the piece you're cutting from is wider than the saw baseplate. No good for ripping e.g. 100mm x 50mm
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I found it necessary to align the blade with the fence. There is a cap head screw which allows you to swivel the motor/saw blade assembly. A bit fiddly and obviously not something the manufacturers spend much time on:-(

A hand held saw with the work on trestles is fine. Don't cut the trestles:-)
The saw and stand combination is not very heavy. Others have suggested sandbags for stability. I have a Startrite saw with a sliding outrigger for 8'x4' work and would not attempt anything that large on the Titan.

It is fine. The problem usually arises when squaring a board end.

Yes.
Yes.
Eventually you run out of table:-)

Pressed steel. Painted finish.

I have seen workshops where bench heights coincide with the saw table. Roller stands are OK for planks. The usual trick is to cut halfway pushing and then walk round the saw and cut the rest pulling.

I really wouldn't advise buying this type of saw for unaided 8'x4' work.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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On Sat, 30 Jan 2010 21:36:25 +0000, Tim Lamb
Sorry for being thick, but what do you mean by unaided? Unaided by another person or unaided without modifications: table extensions and sand bags, etc?
I thought table saws would be very useful for cutting 8x4 sheets to a usable size but only if you could extend the table with something big enough to support the sheet being cut. Like others have said, this is only practical if you have a lot of space and a circular saw is probably easier.
I hadn't thought about the saw tipping; sand bags would definitely be a good idea.
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Consider thickness.... 20mm ply is ?? heavy. Resting on your saw table about 7' is unsupported other than by you. Assuming you are able to feed at a steady rate the slightest sideways movement loads the fence (which is why others have suggested clamping the free end). After 5' or so you need to be at the other end or the sheet will tip.
Conversely 6mm ply is flimsy. You are 7' away from where the action is and probably holding the stuff well above table level. If you let go halfway the sheet will bow and probably disengage the blade.
You either need an extra pair of hands or a smooth supporting surface each end.

Yes. Supplied saw guides are useless for wide cuts. Follow up the saw board suggestions.

Or trap the saw with your front and back supports.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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On Wed, 3 Feb 2010 22:25:20 +0000, Tim Lamb
Sorry to everyone for being so thick. I hadn't appreciated how heavy 8'x4' sheets were. I bought a sheet of chipboard the other day and was taken by surprise at how heavy it was. Now I understand! Thanks.
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Fred wrote:

As previously suggested the table saw is very handy for precise ripping of small sections. For sheet materials, unless you have a van and lots of space, get the merchant to cut them to size.
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Yet another benefit of good quality birch ply - both lighter and stronger.
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For quick and accurate long straight cuts on 8x4 sheet and/or doors I would strongly recommend a sawboard and hand-held circular saw, especially if you don't have a barn-like workshop (because you can use two workmates on the patio). But, if you do need to rip or bevel lengths of joist, etc. you may be better with a table saw.
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Andy Dingley wrote:

looks good - ive ordered the book, after iv got it i buy a table saw.
(we were pushing a fat bit of wood through my aldi table saw a few weeks ago when there was a burning smell and it stopped working)
[g]
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If power is marginal, consider getting one of the extra-thin CMT blades (Axminster)
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Obscure and out of print book, that I picked up recently in a secondhand bookshop.
Mark Duginske and Karl Eichorn - The Inca Woodworking Machinery Handbook. 1984 ISBN 3-906495 01 9
Most of these "The Tablesaw Book" (or "the bandsaw/workbench/chisel/ screwdriver book") are heavy on glossy pictures, light on real content.
The one I mention above is much more "technical book" - so it might be worth checking out what else the authors have produced.
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Same as a few years ago - Axminster BTS10PP http://www.axminster.co.uk/product-Axminster-BTS10PP-Saw-Bench-21657.htm
Above that, look at old industrial cast iron.
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In message

Speaking of which:-)
I have a cast iron saw bench surplus to requirements. Three phase and around 3hp. Old but sound.
regards
--
Tim Lamb

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