Last month, SWMBO and I bought an 8 year old General 350, their right tilt
cab saw. It came w/ a mobile base, a bies 52" com fence and bitchen' miter
guage... for a grand.
A tablesaw is everything, and if you wait and look, you WILL find something
worth having that'll last a lifetime - at your price. If you buy a good,
cared for, used saw, you're letting someone else take the depreciation on a
new saw. Stuff can go bad on saws, of course, but if you buy from an
individual, small shop or the like, you can be pretty sure it hasn't been
flogged. You may miss out on "that new tablesaw smell", but you'll still be
ahead of the game.
I had been looking for a Uni/PM/Jet or General and did lots of research over
the last 6 - months or so and got my saw last month; remarks for Jet were
probably the most current and very positive - that deal that they had/have
for the saw, long fence and router table/router is/was VERY seductive. PM,
of course good, but also some remarks about fit, finish and service since
they were purchased by the company that also owns JET - OK, that and 2
grand. Unisaw remarks were good, obviously a benchmark saw for wooddorkers,
but questions about the X5 and quality control on new saws left me hesitant.
The Delta X5 Tablesaws ARE going to be or ARE ALREADY made in Chaiwan, and I
wouldn't buy ANY first year or so production run of anything (except the
In researching the saws, I called several service departments and tool
repair shops, both dealer and independent, and asked "what died" on the
saws. The most telling remark was most of the repair guys were at a loss to
say when the last time they worked on a General, or what parts fail.
Granted, there are ALOT more Uni's and PM's out there, especially this far
west of Quebec (I'm in CA)so you do have to factor that part of it, but
their silence spoke in volumes for me. The kicker? Arbor bearings are 8
bucks and a new arbor shaft is 13.
I may have gone overboard while looking around. I was toying with the idea
of getting shipping weights and total costs for complete
arbor/trunion/sector gear setups so I could figure out which saw had the
goods. The Trunions on my General weigh more than my old contractor saw.
If you haven't searched the archives, there was a recent post about a GI TS,
I don't know which one... But it's worth looking for. I'd also recommend
that you get/read/steal "Tablesaw Magic" by Jim Tolpin - the guy's take on
tablesaws and his breadth of knowledge are amazing. I've been making
sawdust for a little while, but his book taught me a few tricks. I would
also buy a dial indicator setup for tuning the saw and your other tools -
Check out the Grizzly "President's Special" - I got it in my hand 3 days
after I ordered, for under 25 bucks total.
I don't know where you are, but I also heard good things and would have
liked to have seen a Bridgewood TS from Wilke - I think they are in Penn.
They make both cab and contractor saws, so I'd suggest a look.
My General 350 passes the "nickle test" starting, stopping and ripping, even
on the mobile base. I am very happy with my find and can still, I think,
make out a whiff of "that new tablesaw smell" when the shop is very still.
Everyone has an opinion, and that's mine. HTH!