I am having doubts about my recent table saw purchase. Well, not actually
about the saw. I got a great (gloat-worthy) deal. But, about the decision to
get a table saw in the first place.
You see, I am a newbie. I asked around and most advice given was that the
table saw is the major workhorse in woodworking. So, I got one as my xmas
Problem is that I spent every cent I had to get a good one (well, the best I
could get for the money that I had). And, although it came with a wobble
dado blade (yeah, I know "you'll put your eye out kid"), I now (and for the
foreseeable future with a new kid coming soon) cannot afford a good blade
for a good dado set.
So I am thinking that I should have gotten a really good router combo and a
bit set with the money instead. At least then I could rough cut with my
circular saw and finish with the router. Plus, then I could do rabbets,
Agree, disagree, head up my ass, other opinions?
I bought my first table saw when I was a freshman in high school 45
years ago. I bought a Unisaw and 8" long-bed jointer 20 years after
that. My table saw gets used all the time; my router occasionally.
It depends on what kind of work you're doing.
As for a kid on the way, my wife and I raised nine, and have ten
grandkids, and I'm not 60 yet. And six of our kids haven't been
married yet, so there are a lot more to come, no doubt. It didn't
keep us from making use of the tools -- we needed the tools in order
to have the things we could make but couldn't afford to buy. :-)
Hang in there, and remember that if you try to make a good deal,
you'll always be wondering if you could have made a better deal.
Instead, make the deal, then make it good. Fewer regrets that
Watch Norm...M&T joints, raised panels, etc. made weekly with a TS.
Watch yard sales and pawn shops for a cheap router and get a couple of bits
from Woodline, or even some HSS bits from Sears or the like. You can get a
perfectly usable router for $10-20! I've made many doors/drawers with such
a rig...no prob.
We tend to be seduced by catalogs and TV shows, but look what your ancestors
had! If you aren't raising panels, you will never need a 3HP router! My
little sears from about 1970 edges doors and makes rabbets just fine.
Get some pine and start cutting. You'll be happier when making dust!
<> I am having doubts about my recent table saw purchase. Well, not actually
I can't recall hearing a practicing woodworker say he makes do with a
router table but NOT a table saw. The TS is the heart of a WW shop.
You can rabbet and dado to your hearts content on it. With the right
blade you don't need to "finish" up on the router table, anyway. I get
glass smooth cuts with a Freud or Forrest blade. Granted the Forrest is
about $100, but the Freuds are excellent for much less dinero. Pick up
a book devoted to the table saw and you may reconsider your "problem" as
Sorry, I think that my original post was unclear.
The saw that I got has the original steel (no carbide) Craftsman blade on
it. It also came with a Craftsman wobble dado blade. As I have no more money
(and won't for a very long time), getting a better blade (Forrest, Freud or
other) or any other dado set isn't gonna happen.
So, the only way that I would be able to do a rabbet or dado would be to use
the wobble (that everyone tells me is unsafe and not to mention looking at
it a PITA for accuracy and no flat bottom cuts) or make multiple passes with
the regular blade (again difficult to be accurate and time-consuming).
As I have not yet tried either, I am probably completely wrong of course. I
hope so as it is now too late to do anything about it.
Of course, if money were no object, I would get a Forrest Dado King or a
Freud SD608 or something better, but are wobbles really as bad (unsafe) as I
have heard? Looking at where the setting gets dialed in, hitting 23/32"
would be nearly impossible.
Even if I could come up with a better blade (I thought about stealing the
DeWalt crosscut blade out of my miter saw which has to be better the
Craftsman blade in the table saw now), is making rabbets/dadoes using a
standard blade as big of a PITA as it sounds?
Anyway, it seems to me that using a circular saw to do a rough-cut and then
easing up on the final dimension using a router and straight bit (or
straight edge and a flush-trim bit) would be easier than the options that I
Please feel free to correct me. That's why I am here.
You made the right choice in buying the tablesaw first. Now go to the
library and check out some books to learn the many ways to skin a cat with
I have a wobble dado blade and they are not that big of a pain in the ass.
Don't worry about it. I don't believe they are any more dangerous than
anything else you do with a tablesaw. What is it that is supposed to be
dangerous about these?
You can use your regular blade to make dados too. Just move the fence and
make several passes. Flatten the bottom with a sharp chisel and you're good
to go. Forget the Dado King
A 'budget' carbide blade (which can be found in the $15 range) will be a
A good Freud is only around $50, and would make a major difference.
"Finding the money" is just a matter of "finding the money". <grin>
Seriously, it's the price of a *few* pieces of lumber.
A dado set is a *luxury*. *Anything* you can do with a dado set, you can do
with a straight blade, albeit in multiple passes.
The wobble dado _is_ "ok" for casual work. If you're doing high-precision
"heirloom quality" stuff, take the extra time, and do multiple cuts with
the straight blade.
It is _NOT_ that 'difficult' and/or time-consuming, to cut dados or rabbets
with a regular blade. *ONLY* the 'edge' cuts have to be 'accurate', so you
take your time, and do those first. Then you remove the 'middle' stuff.
NAH. I did it for *MANY* years, It's _slower_ than using a dado blade, but
that is the -only- down-side. *AND*, by the time you add in changing the
blade (and changing _back_ after you're done), cutting with a standard blade
may actually be _faster_ overall.
I've purchased a Freud SD208 -- their good stacked dado set -- and have *yet*
to put it on the saw. For only 1 or 2 (comparatively short) cuts, the time
and trouble of changing blades makes for no net savings.
If you're making _long_ dados/rabbets, it may make sense to do -only- the
edge cuts on the table-saw, and then 'finish' the job with a *hand* chisel.
*EVERYTHING* depends on _what_you_are_doing_.
The *BIG* advantage of the table-saw is that when you cut multiple pieces,
against a fence, or a 'stop' on a miter, or cross-cut sled, they come out
*exactly* the same size. And _consistent_ with each other.
With a router/straight-edge set-up, you don't have anywhere near the same
degree of short-term 'repeatability'. Now, if you're building a box, and
"don't care" if the opposite sides are 1/16" (or more) mis-matched, then
this is probably not a problem for you.
Don't misunderstand me, you _can_ get the pieces the same dimension, using
the router set-up. It is just a whole lot more time-consuming, and a real
When you're living on a budget, there is a downside to _everything_. It is
always a question of what you have to suffer with, to avoid those "other
things" that you -don't- want to suffer with.
If you can't swing a better blade how are you going to swing the wood?
What about measuring devices?
Do I detect buyers remorse? Get over it.
About the time you have had to straighten up a long run of wood using a
router you would wish you had gotten the saw first.
How broke are you? Are you REALLY broke, or just feeling sorry for yourself
because you know what a money sucking poop factory that new rugrat is going
to be? :)
If you're interested, I have a saw blade for you. It's a Freud TK960 (thin
kerf) that's close to new. I accidentally cut into a piece of angle iron
with it. (Don't ask.) I figured it was ruined, so I bought a new one. I
subsequently compared cuts from the two blades, and there's no discernable
difference. I can't find any broken, chipped or missing teeth, and the
blade seems absolutely fine. I expect the only thing wrong with it is that
it might be slightly more dull than its age would indicate, but I don't
judge that it needs sharpening yet.
Email me (just hit the reply button... no hidden tricks or gimmicks) if
Michael McIntyre ---- Silvan < email@example.com>
Linux fanatic, and certified Geek; registered Linux user #243621
Well, the answer to your question is, well, both. I am really broke and (as
this is my second kid) I do know what a "money-sucking poop factory the
rugrat is going to be" (that made me LOL).
And thank you for your offer. It just proves that this group has a great
bunch of folks.
Been there. Tried to get away with minimal power tools, and by many
standards I still have the bare minimum, and discovered that I spent most of
my time hand planing boards. I learned a lot about planing and planes that
way, but it was damn tedious work after a while. I now own a Delta planer
and a General tablesaw---HALLELUJAH!--- and was finally able to complete a
small bench. So, I am so damn motivated right now that my wife kicked in
some loot and we got some Kentucky Coffeetree for new end tables. Life is
Here is the basic challenge--you have to be able to make four square
boards before you can make decent furniture. There is no way around that. A
router ain't gonna get you there very quick, but a table saw will allow you
to square your stock when ripping and cross-cutting. Planing/Jointing can be
done at the mill if needed.
It's tough being a newbie, but I have to admit I'm really lovin' this
woodworking stuff. Just stick with it. Maybe you can find some projects that
are specifically geared to the tabel saw?
And DAMN IT, if you have a table saw gloat, I wanna hear it!
Well, it's not the best gloat on the road (although I feel pretty good about
the deal) but here goes:
Craftsman model #113.298750 (early 1990's Emerson-built)
10" Left-tilt Contractor table saw
15 Amp, 110 Volt (220V capable)
red PowerTwist link belt
all metal hand-wheels
Jet Xacta Fence 30" (Beisemeyer-style)
2 original webbed cast iron ext. wings
one MDF ext. table
standard and dado throat plates
Woodstock clamping miter gauge
34" total right-of-blade ripping capacity
24" total left-of-blade ripping capacity
crappy Craftsman blade
crappy Craftsman wobble dado blade (yeah, I know, wobble sucks)
new condition (no rust at all)
I also got a Incra V27 miter gauge with fence and stop for Xmas.
I have that same saw (bought it new) and it is a good saw (and it is far
better than what they are selling now) and should work well for you. If
money is a little tight, go to Sears and get one of their carbide tipped
blades for it. There mid line blades are easily affordable and do a good
job (better than I expected). I also used their wobble dado blade for a
while and it did the job. The bottom is not as flat as a stacked dado blade
would do but they get the job done. Good luck with your new toy.
If at first you don't succeed, you're not cut out for skydiving
After reading all the posts to your original question I think you've
recieved your answer. A tablesaw is a must in any woodshop and with
"shop made" jigs you can do almost anything. Did you know that it's
possible to flute a tapered column on a tablesaw??? Try routing a
23/32" dado....won't happen with one pass.
GL with the new family addition...
Trees take time to grow...so should woodworkers...
Why not? Many manufactures make 23/32" router bits specifically for the
"undersized" plywood. See:
Buffalo, NY - USA
(Remove "SPAM" from email address to reply)
I stand corrected Jack. I never saw a 23/32" router bit. Thank you.
I've always used the old tonge and groove method for carcass
construction. Variations in plywood thickness becomes a non-issue
with T&G joints
I could take most of what is in all the previous post and say DITTO
Then saw is the heart of WW the router can do a lot of thing but cannot cut
When you get one you will be delighted but first learn how to use that table
saw, it makes sweet music and when you can get it to play a symphony then
get the router nad other things.
Good luck on your upcoming fatherhood.
Whether you did the right thing or not ... I don't know. What are
you trying to do? Boxes? Bookshelfs? Tables? Pukey ducks? House
I started out with a router first. I was living in an apartment and
got a good deal on a Hitachi TR-12 at Costco. I managed to build a
bookshelf with it, starting S4S material.
It was slow going. I would have been better off with a table saw.
These guys who are telling you that you can't cut wood to dimension
with a router must not have used a half-inch straight bit and a
straightedge before. :-)
If you can't come up with the $60 to $80 for a good blade, i.e. about
two sheets of plywood, where were you going to get your wood? BTW, I
have a general purpose CMT blade that I like. Something like the
Systimatic 1035 at <http://right-tools.com/budcomblad.html at $50 plus
shipping would be a big step up from an all steel blade. You might be
able to find a used blade at a garage sale. Sharpening it should be
less than $20.
I've never heard that wobble dados were unsafe before, they don't
make great dados but AFAIK, they are as safe as a stacked dado. If
you don't like the way it cuts dados, you can make dados by cutting
two parallel slots with a regular saw blade and chisel out the
material in the center or nibble it out with a regular
saw blade. You can use cheap chisels, you'll just spend a lot of
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