Table saw recommendations

I'm in the market for a 10" table saw for 'occasional' use - so don't want to spend a fortune, but don't want rubbish.
I'm currently looking at an Erbauer saw for £150 in the Screwfix catalogue, or a Clarke jobby for about £120 (including stand) from Machine Mart.
Has anyone got any experience of, or comments on, either of these? Or alternative recommendations in the same price range?
--
Cheers,
Roger
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Get one with a lever-locking fence rather than a screw-locking fence if possible. They're much easier to use.
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Skipweasel
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Roger Mills wrote:

The Ryobi is a decent brand for the price bracket you have stated http://www.tooled-up.com/Product.asp?PID 4303&MAN=Ryobi-Ets1525-10-inch-T able-Saw-240v
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Sir Benjamin Middlethwaite




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Roger Mills wrote:

I have a Charnwood which I'm happy with. http://www.charnwood.net/index.jsp but havig just looked at thier site that range is now much smaller & mine isn't there.
I did upgrade the rip fence with one of these http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id62802&name þnce&user_search=1&sfile=1&jump=0 As Andy said it makes a huge difference having a decent fence.
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On 2006-08-06 09:27:04 +0100, "The Medway Handyman"

http://www.axminster.co.uk/product.asp?pf_id62802&name þnce&user_search=1&sfile=1&jump=0

Hmm..
I'd forgotten about these. Does it bolt on the front of the saw complete with its own rail?
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Complete agreement with Andy Hall's very thorough advice. After much daliance with cheaper options, I finally bought what I needed, a Jet Supersaw. I realise that is much more than your budget, but the small table saws are of very limited usage - so look at the various contractor saws about (Jet, Scheppach etc.)
What are you planning to do with your TS? Presumably you want to rip long timbers? How long? What's the max depth of cut you need? Will you want angled cuts? Will you want trench cuts? If it's all sheet material work consider a handheld circular saw used with guide battens/baords. If you're only looking at small pieces of board/timber/trims (no long rips) look at using a mitre saw.
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

I'll mainly use it for ripping long pieces of smallish section timber. For example, I have just been repairing a shed for which I needed some 45x33 timber, but could only get 45x45, so had to reduce it (2.4 metre lengths). I then needed to rebate some of it for use as a window frame.
As mentioned in my replay to Andy, it was a right pain doing this with my 7 1/4" B&D hand-held saw clamped to the underside of a universal bench saw stand. I envisage needing most of the 75mm depth of cut which 10" saws provide - but I don't think I need more than this.
If I need to cut large sheets, the hand-held with guide battens is perfectly adequate.
--
Cheers,
Roger
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For 45*45mm, 2.4m rips I think you really need a contractor saw. That is after all exactly the kind of work they're used for.
I've seen one of these in use and was impressed (my experience of the scheppach brand and this supplier is also excellent):
http://www.dm-tools.co.uk/product.php/section/4622/sn/SCHTS315GT
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

Would you care to elaborate as to why that would do a better job than (say) an Axminster BTS10PP at £199? http://www.axminster.co.uk/recno/5/product-Axminster-BTS10PP-Saw-Bench-21657.htm
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Cheers,
Roger
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Mainly because of the work you want to do. Contractor saws are designed precisley for the tasks you described. The Axminster product is probably aimed more at the home furniture maker (short, light rips and cross-cuts).
I've only seen the scheppach product used, never used it myself, and only seen the Axminster one on show stands. However there's a scheppach spec here http://diytools.com/store/detail.asp?productid=64897 thats says this saw weighs more than twice the axminster (stability), larger blade and larger motor (momentum and speed of cut is important for good clean/no-burn cuts on long rips). However specs alone are not a good basis for choosing, nothing like seeing/trying for yourself.
Incidentally, this product seems very similar to the scheppach: http://www.axminster.co.uk/recno/4/product-Jet-JTS-315-S-Site-Saw-Bench-32026.htm You could ask Axminster's opinion for the suitability of their 2 products to your needs.
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I think that that would be a good idea. Their categorisations of hobby, light trade, trade,... sem to be very even handed - i.e. they don't try to pretend that something is heavier duty than it is or to sell up the customer to something beyond his needs.
I guess that the contractor saws are heavier because of the motor.
I am slightly concerned about the galvanised steel plate as the table surface on these. It saves weight, obviously, but I worry about stability.
The aluminium cast/extruded tops should at least be stiff which is the main point.
Going the next step really involves cast iron tables. There's no question about rigidity, but there is a definite step of price and weight (says he wheeling a tonne of combination machine across the workshop).
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http://www.axminster.co.uk/recno/5/product-Axminster-BTS10PP-Saw-Bench-21657.htm
Bigger

table area is one factor.
This is probably why it makes sense to go and look at some saws and see what you think.
Of course the problem is creeping incrementalism. There is always something a bit better for a bit more. One could easily (well perhaps not that easily) go in steps like this all the way to an Altendorf.
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"The galvanized table top is largely dimensioned," - meaning parts of it have no dimension? The Tardis of table saws.
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Andy Hall wrote:

You have to drill the edge of the table and bolt two brackets to it. This has to be done fairly accurately although there is a little adjustment. One reason I chose the Charnwood was the cast ally table.
BTW Charnwoods after sales service really is good. I wouldn't hesitate to buy other stuff from them.
The fence rail is fitted to the brackets. Once on, the fence is then adjsutable to get it perfectly square.
The clamp is very good indeed, no wander at the back end at all. Transformed my table saw.
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Dave
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On 2006-08-06 17:08:03 +0100, "The Medway Handyman"

As

That makes a lot of sense.

They've been around for a while. What's good is that they have figured out that there is a market for taking products which have the potential for after market upgrade and adding this as a service for a fair price.

That's interesting. It means that you can take the £120 saw, add this and make a difference for reasonable cost.
It's a shame that the saw manufacturers are doing mimsy mitre channels in Europe. If they did 3/4 x 1/2" it would open up a huge number of enhancement options.
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Portable table saws are a conundrum.
I looked at a lot of these recently for a friend.
It's understandable to start from the perspective that it's for occasional use and because of that choose at a certain price point.
However, there's a few important points to appreciate when deciding what to do.
- Safety. The very low end machines (~£50) have very flimsy guards and generally poor construction. It isn't worth risking fingers.
******
- Fences. Principally the rip fence is the thing that makes the difference between a saw that is almost totally worthless to one that can do small work reasonably to one that will tackle larger projects. Among portable saws, this is one of the largest factors vs. price. Having a solid and easily adjustable rip fence makes a large difference to whether square cuts can be achieved in the size and type of material that the user wants to cut.
This is determined by the construction, fixing, adjustment and clamping arrangements for the fence. The fence is normally clamped at the front with either a push down lever or a screw handle. Generally levers are better. However, the stiffness of the fence itself is an important factor. On large fixed table saws, the fence is a very substantial and heavy item - for portable saws weight is a factor, so other ways have to be found (or not).
At the very low end, nothing is done - there's a simple clamp at the front. If the fence extends all the way to the back of the table, it can at least be clamped there once square with a G clamp or equivalent. This is necessary to avoid the fence being pushed to an angle as work is passed through.
The better portable saws may have a secondary clamp built in at the back that can be screwed down or otherwise locked after the front clamp. At least then the fence won't move as work is pushed against it. However, this (or the DIY clamp approach) mean that there is a set up to do for each cut, and that takes time.
The higher end saws have a mechanism that ensures that the fence always tracks parallel to the blade. For example, I have a DeWalt 744 which I occasionally use for work remote from the workshop. This one has a rack and pinion arrangement and lever and the fence is very solid for the type of saw.
The other thing to look at with fences is the mitre fence and slots. On the low end saws, there is a slot of size decided by the manufacturer. The mitre fence is more a tick in the box item than anything worth using. The problem here is that it fits into the slot by having a small bar of aluminium underneath. Neither this, nor the slot are very deep and moreover there is usually quite a bit of sideways play, meaning that the angle achieved for the cut will not be consistent or reliable. In the U.S. the mid range portable saws and above all have a standard slot size of 3/4 x 3/8 inch and there is a host of after market accessories that will get round the limitiations. Unfortunately, this is not so common here in Europe and some of them will cost as much as the saw itself. For some applications, you can make a suitable jig to run in the slots - e.g. a crosscut sled.
Looking at the Clark CTS10D, this is a generic that you can see with several different brand labels. Most of the DIY stores carry this one. For all but the very lightest work (piece of material not exceeding table size) it is going to be fairly poor because the fence is very small and flimsy. Moreover, it doesn't extend to the back of the table so there is no easy way to clamp it. The Axminster Perform CCTS10 is essentially the same saw.
If you look at the rest of Axminster's range, they have the JTS 10 which is more substantial - the fence goes to the back and could be clamped (£159) - and then the BTS10PP which has a more substantial lever operated fence as well as a secondary clamp at the back (£199).
If you compare these with the Makita 2704 (£482) or Bosch GTS10 (£516), you can see that the fence arrangements are far more substantial than the others. Of course there are a bunch more features and generally better construction by far, but the price more than doubles. I suspect that you wouldn't want to invest in one of these. Unfortunately, there is a gap between the £200 price point and the £500 one in portable saws.
*****
- Size/Weight. All of the portable saws have a limitation that results from their size and portability - that is that they are light and can become unstable. Therefore, I think it is important to think about what you expect to want to do before buying. It is not going to be safe with the saw just on its stand to attempt to rip 150mm from the side of a 2440x1220mm sheet of chipboard single handed for example. With care, and some assistance and carefully located infeed and outfeed rollers it might be marginally possible.
The table sizes are again a limitation of portable saws. For some, extensions are available. Otherwise you can make them or even make a workstation into which to locate the saw. There are a few plans around for doing that which are not particularly difficult to implement.
Alternatively, there are some contractor type saws aroun that have a larger work area (e.g. Screwfix has one by Ferm for £140). I believe Grunff bought one of these and was happy with it. It would be appropriate if space is not too big a problem for example.
*******
So in summary, I would suggest forgetting bout the very lowest end (e.g. the £50 jobs) - they are just not worth having, and in my view pretty dangerous.
If you want to go for the £120 - 150 range, then look for one with at least a fence that runs to the back that can be clamped. Without that, I think that you would be disappointed and frustrated with the results, even for very basic DIY tasks.
If you can stretch to £200, I think you would find a noticable difference in the quality of work that can be achieved - the entry level ones really can't cut reliably square without the fence clamped in some way. An alternative to the Axminster one at this price is the Ryobi ETS-1525SC - this one has an extendable work area as well, although on rods so only suitable for light materials.
I think it's important to understand the limitations. Realistically, these are not going to do large or heavy work and one has to appreciate that that will be the case regardless of how much it's used.
Therefore I would start with thinking about what work you want to do rather than how often. If it really is occasional and you want to have large cut pieces, then it is more realistic to use the cutting service of the supplier.. Alternatively, for large sheet cutting, a guide clamp and circular saw are a better option than a portable table saw anyway - regardless of quality.
HTH
.andy
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In an earlier contribution to this discussion,

etc.
Andy,
Many, many thanks for your very thorough analysis of table saws.
I certainly take on board your comments about fences. I currently have a 7 1/4" B&D saw, designed to be hand-held, which clamps onto the underside of a universal 'bench' contraption on the occasions when I need a table saw. It's a right pain to use - difficult to get the blade parallel with the fence, extremely difficult to adjust the cutting depth, and a flimsy fence which gets deflected by the material being cut. Oh, and I also have to use a cable tie to hold its switch in the ON position, and actually start and stop it at the power-point - so not ultra safe!
I currently don't have space for any new machinery, but am about to have a new double garage/workshop built, in which I can accommodate a decent saw.
Of the saws you mention, I am rather taken by the Axminster BTS10PP. I think the budget can be extended to £200 if I ask nicely!
Presumably the fence can be removed when cutting wide material? It's not too clear from the picture exactly how the depth and angle adjustments work - they're both on the front, whereas some machines seem to have one on the front and one on the side. Presumably the handwheel winds the blade up and down? How is the angle adjusted?
Is there much difference in the quality of motors and blades used in saws in this price bracket?
--
Cheers,
Roger
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Roger Mills wrote:

Oooh, don't like the sound of that. A table saw needs the fence in place always. If the workpiece (i.e. the bit you want to end up with) is wider than the blade>fence distance you need an extension table to lock the fence to. Freehand cutting is a big no no
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Well, I agree freehand isn't good, but it needn't always be a fence. I have a pair of nice sliding squares I made up which fit in the protractor groove. One carries bits at right angles, the other at 45°.
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Stuart Noble wrote:

Agreed. But how does that Bob Grose on DIY SOS get away with it? Free hand cutting & usually no guard. How come he still has all his fingers? How come the Safety Police haven't jumped all over them?
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