After getting married and buying a house, I find that I have a desire to do some of my own woodworking in addition to the myriad home improvement projects I have going. I'd like to be able to make some furniture (baby's room, maybe), maybe some cabinets, etc. Trouble is, the house isn't huge and I have some severe space limitations.
I'd like to have a table saw, but no matter how hard I try I can't find a place where I could put a good woodworker's table saw or even a contractor's saw permanently. I really need to be able to fold the saw up and put it away, which is a severe limitation.
I have been looking at the so-called "jobsite" saws from DeWalt, Bosch, and Ridgid. Are these saws even remotely useful for general woodworking, or is their practical use limited to homebuilding? Assuming they are in fact useful, I need some advice on which features will truly be important to me and which ones I don;t really need to worry about. I have been unable to see a Bosch in person - stores in Maryland tend to favor tools that are yellow - so I am having to rely on internet info for that one (unless someone out there knows where I can go look at one):
(1) The Bosch and the DeWalt don't have a T-grooved miter slot for supporting the miter off the table or a groove in the fence for jigs. How important is this?
(2) I like the cool rack-and-pinion fence on the DeWalt as it seems very solid, but the table seems a good deal smaller (particularly in front of the blade) than the other two, and the miter slot doesn't have a t-groove, so I was beginning to rule it out. Any comments on this saw?
(3) By all accounts the Bosch has a superior motor, which seems important since these things are direct drive and the quality of cut is in question. I like the fact that it comes with outfeed and side support rails. The lack of a decent stand, a grooved fence, or T-groove miter slot make me question it's value beyond homebuilding. Am I right? I am willing to buy a better, more portable stand for this saw if it really is superior, although there is a fair amount of pain associated with the fact that this drives the price up close to what I would spend on a decent contractor's table saw or a DeWalt woodworkers table saw. I don't have the space for them, but if I'm paying the money and not getting one it hurts.
(4) The Ridgid has a nice, solid fence and a fairly large table for this category of saw, but possibly not as nice a motor and there seems to be no way to attach outfeed or side support to the saw. How serious is this? It also comes with a really nice stand (available separately, so it would fit the Bosch or DeWalt for extra $$$). I am worried that this seems to no longer be an Emerson product but is now a Ryobi product, and I haven't had much luck with Ryobi in the past. Also the complete lack of information on the internet or available accessories makes me question how easy it is going to be to improve my setup in the future. The last thing I tried to order from RidgidParts.com is still pending after months because their website somehow managed to let me order a power tool from the vaccum cleaner division, and they can't figure out how to either fill it or cancel it. This saw seems like the best value, if it is capable of doing the job. Any thoughts?
(5) Assuming I bought the Bosch or DeWalt saw, I could get another stand for it to increase portability. Are the Rouseau stands which make larger table surfaces sufficiently easy to set up and store again later? How portable are they? Can they make it up and down stairs? How good is the fence?
I have read the recent jobsite saw review in Workbench Magazine, but it is fairly sparse on details. They say things like "It's a great saw, but lacks a few features" without saying *which* features. Or they say controls are "average" or "above average" without saying *why*. And they seem to focus a lot on the quality of the stand when I'd rather they had focused on the saw. So I am finding it less useful than I had hoped.
Any help and/or opinions on these subjects would be GREATLY appreciated.
Thanks, Bill Cook _/)_