I've been taking 2 classess this semester 1) cabinetry and 2) machine
operations and joinery, and have gotten spoiled by the table saws in the
classroom. I'm looking for a saw that I can use at home to make my own
cabinets as well as take to job sites. Any suggestions?
I've been considering Powermatic's contractor saw (model no. 64A)
because that's the brand we have at school. I *love* the Accu-fence and
noted that the our Delta shop saw has an aftermarket Biessemeyer fence.
So, I guess I've got several questions:
1) Are the big $$$$ saws (like Jet and Powermatic) really worth it?
2) Could you make a more inexpensive saw work better by adding an
aftermarket fence (e.g., Biessemeyer)?
3) Are the larger "contractor saws" really portable enough to take to
My brother gave me his old Craftsman direct drive table saw (model no.
118-295752) after he hung up his bags to become a presbyterian pastor.
I'm thinking about picking up his bags where he left off, but he warned
me his old saw did not cut very accurately--certainly not well enough to
make cabinetry. No aftermarket anything on this saw.
Any input would be appreciated.
IMO, for cabinet shop, there's nothing like the PM-66...but, you can
certainly get by for less...
Maybe, if the rest of the saw is adequate...many have Biesemeyer clones,
anyway...some are ok, some not so hot...
Depends on what the definition of "enough" is...and how you plan to
transport it. Most, if properly mounted can be manhandled adequately.
No data to judge, but I'd not have any reason to suspect he was lyin' to
ya'...if you're really serious, it's probably well worth upgrading. :)
But, there's a difference in a cabinet shop and on-site work...I'd be
considering quite different options if I had one or the other in mind
and you seem to have raised both...
Probably to an outfit that runs 'em hard. Hobby guys can get by on 1.5HP
easily, especially as the advent of link belts have overcome contractor
saws' main problem, the bouncing motor.
You can make the saw work without a Biesmeyer.
Only if you box 'em. The natural tendency is to lift by the fence rails,
which will make things tough for a while - until you fix it.
Best arrangement I've seen is a permanent mount in a traveling shop. Nice
40-footer with openings in the side, and you can custom work anything. See
FWW index for the article.
I have a Delta Contractors saw ith Biesemeyer fence. I love it. Does
everything I want. Hefty to carry around to job sites though.
Somewhat. It also takes enough pwer and a good blade.
How big is your jock strap? I'd not want to move mine around.
Pass on it. I had one and gave it away. It is, however, small enough to
take to a job site. Accuracy is a problem with it. It is difficult to
cross cut large boards on it as it is a few inches less from table front to
blade compared to a full sized contractor saw. This type of saw has a place
in life, but it is not in the professional cabinet maker's shop. My start
into woodworiing was making doll furniture for my wife. It was a good
start, but not for serious work.
That really depends on the person. I have a delta contractor's saw.
it's a great saw and does everything I'll probably ever need to do. I
still plan on upgrading to a cabinet saw at some point. There are
large numbers of people who go with grizzly tools and never regret it.
yes, although there are a lot of bies clones out there. So the fence
that comes with the saw may be just fine. I have the unifence which I
like, but would probably prefer the bies. You should visit a store and
try them both.
Not really. I just move mine to a new house. My father in law and I
had a hard time moving it. This was with a mobile base also. We did
it, but I wouldn't want to do this on a daily basis. The mobile bases
that are typically available for these things aren't good for much more
than scooting it around the shop.
I would agree with your brother. Stay away from anything benchtop or
direct drive (with maybe the exception of the portable planers).
You're after induction motors, not universal. Grizzly has a
contractor's saw with stamped steel wings for several hundred dollars.
This would be vastly superior to any benchtop direct drive saw. You
could also upgrade the fence later, as well as upgrade to cast iron
All I can say is I wouldn't want to cart my tablesaw (a GI 50-185) around.
It weighs more than I do, and I'm not exactly skinny. I did manage to move
it by myself from one house to another, but there was a lot of sweating and
cursing, and probably some blood was spilt as well.
If it was me, I'd probably buy a good circular saw with a straight-edge for
the on-site work (maybe a jig or two for cutting angles and stuff), and a
cabinet saw (Grizzley if you're trying to save money, then go up from there)
for in the shop.
I too have the GI 50-185 from General. It is a great saw 2HP very heavy
and solid with Besimeier (misspelled) fence and a very solid miter. But
Warning: they have the WORST customer service ever! Make sure you get
it from a good dealer if you buy one.
I also have the GI 50-185. I'm on my second one. Both have a problem with
the blade going out of alignment when tilted. I believe it's due to the
weight of the motor racking the tie rods and/or trunion brackets. Does your
saw have this problem?
I have one myself. Why a second one? What was up with the first? I
just started fine tuning mine. At 0 t seems to be out of alignement
with the miter slot by .01 and at 45 degrees it seems to change to
.007. So there does seem to be some issue with tilting. Have you
already messed with the tie rods and trunion? Any suggestions? I'm
not sure what my next step is, I expected better out of the box.
The second one was a warranty replacement for this problem. GI customer
service sucked, but my dealer agreed to replace the saw under warranty. The
second saw has the same problem, but to a slightly lesser extent. My
current saw seems a bit worse than yours; dead on at 0 tilt, out by .015 at
45 degrees. I've tweaked the trunnions and tie rods till I'm blue in the
face, to no avail. No more GI products for me. Good luck.
Well, I spent time this weekend trying to tweak mine. The tie bars
were slightly out of parallel so I adjusted them successfully. I also
adjusted the trunions so the blade is < .001 out of parrallel with the
miter slot. I also adjusted the fence. Everything seems to stay OK
when returned to 0 after raising lower and beveling the blade. Is the
fence supposed to be really stiff when locking? I find that if it
isn't reall stiff there is substantial movement, out of parallel, at
the back when pressure is applied.
Problem is that @ 45 degrees the blade is now .018 out of parallel.
I'll be calling General in the morning.
Unless you've got a heck of a truck with a lift gate, stick with
something smaller for your on-site work. I haven't use one, but
DeWalt makes one that looks like a beautiful jobsite saw. None of
their other tools have ever let me down, so I would imagine the table
saw is pretty good as well.
FWIW, a lot of Delta models come with a Biessemeyer fence, it's not
necessarily an aftermarket upgrade.
Depends on who you are, and how fast you need to work.
You can always make the tools you have work better. Just make sure
you get a saw that will work with an aftermarket fence- most of the
benchtops have too small a table.
I don't think so, but I suppose it really depends on how good you are
at moving things around.
That all depends on how carefully you set your tools up. I've got a
little Delta benchtop saw right now, and it's as accurate as any other
saw I've ever used. The problem with the smaller, less expensive saws
is that they require a lot more setup time, and repeatability can be
an issue if you change your setup, and then have to remake a part. If
you buy the big saw, it'll be a lot easier to use- but it'll be a lot
harder to move. Also, make sure you get one that can accept a dado
stack- I would be perfectly happy with the saw I've got, if it wasn't
for that one missing feature.
Aut inveniam viam aut faciam
Small isn't really a problem, Mule makes a fence specifically for
smaller saws. Sometimes the front fence rail is molded right into the
table though, then you are stuck with it. As long as you can get down
to flat surfaces at the front and back you should be okay.
I don't have any personal experience with it, my old smaller saw died
before I got the chance. Given that the price difference between the
smaller and normal versions isn't much, I'd probably be tempted to get
the normal one (if I was sure it'd fit) so that I could move it to a
bigger saw later.
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