Need help on deciding between a 3hp/ 5hp Powermatic 66 Vs 3Hp/ 5 Hp Delta X5
series cabinet saws? Does anyone have good or bad experience with either?
I've only read good about Powermatic and motor problems with Delta, is this
true? Fine woodworking mag gave top scores to Delta. I'll be doing cabinet
work, remodelling house, furniture with this saw.
I just spent 2 months comparing the PM66, X5 Unisaw, Jet JTAS-10,
Grizz 1023, and a General 350/650. I compared them in person, not
simply via statistics.
I bought the General 650, at a price that fell in between the PM 66
Finger them all, I think all are serviceable, with the PM66, X5, and
General being top notch, with an almost imperceptible step down to the
Jet. The Grizzly was a decent saw, but clearly not up to the quality
of the other 4. You may feel one is better than the other, or get a
decent used deal on one of them. Buy that one! <G>
I bought the General because I really liked the cut quality of the one
I tested, the complete lack of negatives, and the all metal
construction of the saw. New Generals now include a chute that
directs the dust towards the DC outlet.
I have the Right Tilt model of the General (the 350) it's about 8 years old
and boy oh boy do I like that saw... I picked it over both the PM and the
Delta, due to positive reviews, no negatives *at all* that I could find in
Newsgroups.... and it's GREEN.... Every group of reviews for the PM/Deltas
always seems to have this subcurrent of some dissatisfactions... Not
something you want when you're going to drop some LARGE dollars on cast
iron... I couldn't find a bad word about the General.
Also, I called several dealers while researching saws, and Delta/PM dealers
mentioned problems w/Arbor brgs, gear slop, bad castings, etc..... The
General dealer said that he couldn't remember the last time he'd had anyone
that had trouble with a General saw.... He also carried PM and Delta, so it
wasn't like asking the barber if he thought you needed a haircut. The best
part - arbor bearings $8 each... Arbor shaft.... $13....
As for power, do you really need 5 hp? 3 hp is fine for just about anything
a rec'r or contractor would throw at it, and perhaps a more perverse way of
putting it might be to ask.... If you ever have a kickback and get the "fast
pitch" from your table saw, would you rather have 3 hp or 5 hp behind that
spinning chunk of maple, oak, pine, or plywood coming at you at sub-light
speed? Also, think about your power consumption....
PS: If it's strictly between X5 and PM66, I'd take a PM66... Lurk around
and look for used saws - 3 phase units come up much more frequently if you
have three phase available.... Must be all those cabinet shops closing here
and opening up in Kandong Provence, China...
in message wrote:
Speaking from the contractor point of view, I have a delta cabinet 3hp and
constantly wish I had more power. I rip alot of lumber (green and dried)
and will often bog the saw down with a perfectly sharp rip blade (specially
the green stuff). From my perspective, I wish I would have shelled out the
cuppla hundred bucks for the 5hp model. Just my 2 cents.
I think that Barry gave some great advice.
I think that you will be fine with a 3 Hp. motor. I have the Unisaw with a
3 Hp. motor and never have any problems cutting 12/4 maple or cherry. I
would also look at the regular Unisaw unless you have a need for one of the
tools in the package.
If you are going to be cutting a lot of sheet goods, and have the space, I
think that a sliding table is a wonderful addition to the saw. I work alone
so I purchased the Laguna large table and would not want to work without it.
There are other brands that I have also heard good things about but have not
Bob McBreen - Yarrow Point Washington
Now that is the Best unbiased review on a set of machines that I have ever
And the most truthful
I have never touched a General, have only heard good about them
For for 40 odd years Powermatic has had it over the Delta, IMHO
I think Jet has come a long way since its entrance to the market, was real
crap when it first came out,
Griz is okay for the money but should really not be mentioned in the same
sentence or breath.
I do have a Unisaw because thats the Deal that came my way when I needed it.
It is a 5 HP right tilt but would prefer a left tilt.
I have had 3 HP but prefer not to use anything less than a 5 HP
What I really want is my sliding table saw. 16" Blade 9.9 HP 120 Inch
Whoooowe How I miss that baby Oh well,
As they say you never miss what you never had, Well I had one and I miss it
If anyone here has been in front of the blade on one of these then you know
what I Mean
Well one Christmas Santa may bring one as soon as he gets about 12 K to Piss
in message wrote:
In addition the Powermatic has a left tilting blade. The woodworking mags
are always making a big deal of this since the cutoff portion in a rip won't
get caught between the blade and the fence. I bought the 5 hp three phase 66
and had the dealer replace the Biesemeyer fence with the Excalibur as part
of the deal. The beast is heavy duty and very well made. It's about 10
years old so I don't know if they are still making them as well or not.
I've always wondered about this statement.
To me, the best reason for having a left-tilt is that when cutting
miters on veneered sheet material, using the fence on the 'proper'
side - you know, the long side with the ruler - the tear-out is on the
Maybe I'm just slow... <g>
I respectfully disagree. Go with what you are used to. Each tilt has its
advantages and disadvantages. Having used a right tilt since my shop days
in high school as well as dad having a right tilter, I 've grown up with the
right tilt and have gotten used to working with that tilt. I have also used
the left tilt quite a bit. I'll also have you know I've been hit with kick
backs from both! So to say one is safer than the other is hog wash. Both
tilts need your undivided attention when cutting at any angle.
Now if you are a newbie and getting a saw for the first time and are not
used to a certain tilt, I would try to find both a right and left tilt to
demo and decide for yourself which is better. A cabinet saw is a big
expenditure and is one you should definately be comfortable with. Just my 2
I am very opinionated on this and I am happy to debate anyone on this topic
as I am very secure in my point of view.
Once you have decided you are going to spend $1500-2000 for a table saw,
there is only one to get, a General 350.
I work at a very large machinery dealer in Canada, we sell Delta,
Powermatic, General, General International as well as a few offshore brands
very few of you will have heard of. I don't get nearly the same level of
complaints about General 350's as I do about Uni's.
General is the only company who still controls *every* aspect of manufacture
of their equipment. Iron ore pulls up at the back door and finished machines
go out the front door. They are the only company who still uses Meehanite
castings ( http://www.meehanite.com/ ), they are quite proud of this and
have the certification plaque displayed quite prominently in the foundry.
When Powermatic still owned a foundry, they were a Meehanite certified
foundry. When Delta Canada still had a foundry (the Callander foundry in
Guelph Ontario) it too was a Meehanite certified foundry. When I asked what
happened to the millings, if they went back into the furnace, I was told
quite plainly "No", all materials in the furnace are virgin, offcuts could
not be recycled. We were (our company) packing up from a trade show last
year when a light rain caught a couple of our machines outside. The
Taiwanese stuff rusted and pitted almost immediately, with the Canadian made
General equipment, all we had to do was wipe the water off, no marks on the
When you operated the tilt and height wheels on a 350/650, there is *no*
lash, I don't mean very little, I mean *no* lash. The saw comes assembled in
a crate, you have very little to do to fire up the saw when you get it home.
When the top is put on the saw, it is checked with a 4' strait edge, shims
may have been put under the corners of the main table between the top of the
sheet metal cabinet and the cast top to ensure it is flat (the flange at the
top of the sheet metal cabinets are not faced, this is the only way to
ensure every table top is flat, who else shims the tops?). The trunions are
much beefier than either a 66 or a Uni. The motor is an off the shelf mount
Baldor. The mitre slot measures out at 0.0750" and the mitre gauge bar is
0.0749" (yes, I have measured them with a digital micrometer). There is no
side to side play between the mitre bar and the slot, the mitre bar is a
piece of milled steel, not a piece of off the shelf bar stock. The mitre
gauge head is cast iron, not pot metal or aluminium.
I was very disappointed the first time I saw a 66, it has a unique drive
pulley, double bearing, arbour arrangement, rather than the usual bearing,
drive pulley, bearing, arbour face arrangement like a General or a Delta
Uni. While I know the 66 is a good saw, it would seem better to support the
drive pulley on both sides with a bearing rather than just on the inboard
I visited the foundry and machine shop in Drummonville Quebec last year and
I was totally impressed. It is a strange mixture of new and old. CNC
machines spitting gears all day long, but the final assembly and fitting of
the each saw is still done by hand. The assembly line consists of three
stations with four or five guys. The trunion is hoisted into the saw and
bolted in, the tags are hand riveted on (as in manual riveter!). The top is
lifted on, aligned to the blade with a dial indicator and torqued down,
shimming where necessary to ensure the table is flat. The last station a guy
slops cosmoline on the top and all exposed cast iron surfaces, wraps the saw
in plastic and air nails a crate around the saw.
When you buy a General 350 you are buying the best saw made today for under
$3000, Hell, even Keith Bohn (aka UA100, UniNut, etc.) said if he were
buying a new saw he would buy a 350.
BTW, I am not a fan of left tilt saws. All the arguments for them are
meaningless. If you dado a lot, you are going to want an accurate scale for
your fence rather than having to do math each time you make a cut to account
for the blades stacking on to the arbour backwards to a right tilt saw, for
me anyway, that out weighs all the "merits" of a left tilt. If you put a
sliding table on your left tilt, the point is at the bottom for bevel cuts,
which is one of the arguments people make against right tilts oddly enough.
Anyway, I can go on and on as to why the General 350 is the best saw made
today but I have things to do...
Every neighbourhood has one, in mine, I'm him.
Remove the "splinter" from my email address to email me.
Newbies, please read this newsgroups FAQ.
rec.ww FAQ http://www.robson.org/woodfaq /
Crowbar FAQ http://www.klownhammer.org/crowbar
IMHO, the PM 66 is nearly equal to the General 350. Since I'm in the
USA, I got the more-readily available PM 66. Excellent table saw, and
recommended by many woodworking professionals. I were to get a Delta
tablesaw, it would be one built 20 years ago after seeing a new and
old one side-by-side. Since you are in Canada, the General 350 would
be the best choice for $2000. I bet there are many more PM66s than
Generals 350's, so more complaints about the PM.
I'm still trying to figure out your statement about more PM66's
equates to more complaints ?
Here is a simplified point of view. General 350, 100, 1000, or 10,000
units very few complaints if any. Yes, I know its Canadian made, we
do have a few good products worth mentionning.
If you google a search, you'll find more complaints postings on the
PM66. You'll also find more postings about the PM66. It is a
statistics thing, rather than a statement about quality. There are
more PM66s manufactured/sold than General 350s manufactured/sold.
Maybe it is due to more woodworkers in USA than Canada, availability,
or effective advertisement, I don't know. If anyone chooses a General
350 or PM66, they have made an excellent choice for their shop and it
may be the last tablesaw you ever buy.
Davey, Are you trying to start a cross border war or a brand war?! I do
agree though, being the very happy owner of a 350 myself. I had always
thought bout getting a Uni, till I saw the saws side by side at House of
Tools. Really no comparison (except the dust extraction). I worked with
big machines in the oil patch and when you are used to well made heavy iron,
you notice things right off.
Happy sniping Delta PM fans
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