Ok, I am know various permutations of this question have been asked before
(I've done google searchs and read reviews), but I still need some more
specific and up-to-date input.
I am building a wood working shop,. Over the course of a year or so I have
read books on woodworking, watched NYW on TV, and I have built chess boards,
boxes, and a workbench, mostly simple stuff with relatively cheap tools. I
have decided I like the hobby and want to invest in some quality tools.
Currently I have a $200 portable craftsman table saw. Usually in a hobby I
go as cheap as possible until I decide if I like it or not, then I try to go
quality so I don't re-buy. So I am going to buy either a cabinet saw
(unisaw, powermatic, grizzly, shop fox, etc.) or a contractor saw. If I go
with a good contractor saw like deltaX 36-507x I'll have plenty of money
for other things but I don't want to do that if I am putting myself in a
situation where I need to upgrade in the future. It boils down to the
question: will I be able to tell the difference between a contractor or
cabinet saw at a hobbyist level of use? Are cabinet saws mostly just for
production type work in a cabinet shop or are they more precise and better
suited for a hobbyist who wants to only make a few fine pieces? Is a
grizzly cabinet saw better buy than a deltaX contractor saw (they cost the
same)? Right now I am leaning toward just putting about $2000 into a good
cabinet saw, dado set, portable base, and tenon jig. I have the room and a
220 outlet. If you think there is a better way to go please give me your
advice before I make an expensive mistake. I plan to use the saw for a
lifetime and make everything from furniture to a doghouse with it, but it
will only be in my spare time and weekends. I don't know if it makes a
difference but I am very big on precision, I like things to fit perfect.
Any advice would be appreciated.
Unquestionably, irrevocably, inarguably, IF you are serous about
woodworking, go for a CABINET SAW .. hands down, NO question, NO argument
You will NOT be sorry if you buy the best CABINET SAW you can afford, you
will NOT look back, you will NOT wonder whether you did the right thing, you
will NOT kick yourself for doing so, there will be NO doubt in your mind
that it was a smart move, because you CAN then forget about the tool and
concentrate on the creation.
Between High School and the end of my college years I worked for a sign
shop where I eventually got to regularly use an enormous 14" table
(cabinet) saw. It was 5HP with 5 belt drive. That was my first
experience using table saws.
Graduated from college, bought a house, then a table saw. I got
the then Rockwell contractors saw (10" open base 1.5 HP motor)
That was 20 years ago. 3 months ago I finally got a cabinet saw,
a Delta Unisaw.
The difference between the two is quite noticeable. It is a
pleasure to use and it was well worth the investment to me. I did quite
a bit of wood working over those 20 years with the contractors saw.
I expect that the quality of my work might improve a little with the new
saw, but not much.
I never regretted getting the Rockwell since it was all I could afford
at the time. It has served me quite well.
Well, you have money left over. Get a rebuilt Unisaw w/Unifence,
mobile base and tenon devie ($100). Mighty-T Track for the Unifernce ,
feather boards,and you are in business. You will have no problem at
all if you will buy and pick-up instead of deliver. I load /unload
everything myself which helps. A cabinet saw is :
1) More powerful
2) More steady, sturdier
4) Commands respect.
You will find that you can put a teneon jig on a cabinet saw and not
worry about it becoming unbalanced. It is also easier to work with and
I don't know how to explain that one.
On Thu, 13 Nov 2003 17:26:40 GMT, "Marc"
Depends. If you cut mostly 1" or less, now you will see no difference.
If you are going to rip some 2" or 3" maple, yes, there will be a
difference. If you are only doing that type of work once a year, the
contractor saw will be suitable. If you do it often, spend the extra up
front. In the couple of years I've owned a Delta contractor saw, only once
did I think it would have been better to have more power. It just took me
longer to make the cuts. Not enough to justify the $1000 difference.
If I went with a grizzly it wouldn't be a $1000 difference, in fact it would
be about the same, but more than likely if I take the plunge on a cabinet
saw it would be fair to say it is about $1000 difference in my case (deltax
Take a look at the General from Canada... I own a Unisaw, but I would give
the _Canadian_ made General a hard look if I had to buy again.
Just to give you a look at it.
Yes, I put one on my 36-650 contractor saw... the 52" model.
I LOVE it... accurate repeatable cuts, and well built.
No affiliation, just a happy customer.
B a r r y B u r k e J r . wrote:
You know, I've debated this issue myself. And I'm almost to the conclusion
that I can do any heavy ripping on my bandsaw anyway. Would I really need
a 3 HP+ motor on a table saw since I'd mostly be using it for finish quality
and joints ? My 1.5 HP Delta would take care of any rips up to 6" thick,
no risk of burning. All I'd have to do is plane it afterwards, and some
do that to wood cut on their table saws anyway.
I still love the idea of buying myself a nice cabinet, but I'm thinking as
far as a
table saw goes, a beefy contractor (+two iron wings) would give me enough
stability and power to do all I will need. I'm not terribly satisfied with
state of table saws and how they work right now either. Its
to think I can actually use it without being injured or at least frightened
point of soiling myself.
The software said it ran under Windows 98/NT/2000, or better.
So I installed it on Linux...
On Fri, 14 Nov 2003 04:10:14 GMT, "David Binkowski"
A bandsaw is an amazing versatile machine. If I were limited on
space, a bandsaw would be my choice. But, nothing rips better than a
tablesaw. Sure you can get injured, but I know a guy that lost his
finger on a bandsaw. Table saws have not changed much in the last 20
years, maybe people are less safety-minded. I feel less safe in a
vehicle, than when using my table saw.
If you've got the room, money and 220V - then go for a cabinet saw.
Pragmatically speaking, you'll never long for more (unless you're into
industrial gear). If you "settle" for a contractor saw, there's a chance
you'll be content and a good chance you'll wish you'd had spent the extra
Like you - I stick a "cheap" toe in the water when I start a new hobby. I
too blew $200 on the Craftsman bench saw. After becoming convinced that I
enjoyed it, I went "hybrid" (more contractor than cabinet) because I didn't
have the room and didn't have 220V.
I'd start working in Excel and seeing how much you can get for your $2000
with a cabinet saw. The other decision you'll want to make early is whether
you go for 52" rails or 30". That'll affect your portable base investment
These things seem to hold their value, fairly well. I take solace knowing
that the buck I invest in quality tools means (1) my children, should they
show an interest, will have them and (2) I could sell them and recoup enough
of my initial outlay to take the sting away.
Contractor saws take up more space than cabinet saws 'cause of the motor
hanging out the back. The DeWalt and Jet hybrids are contractor type saws
with the motor inside the frame which makes for a cabinet saw footprint.
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