my shop, it sees the most use and is the most versatile (sp?). Just
don't skimp on the price - get the best saw you can afford - you won't
I'll toss in my opinion by agreeing with the "don't skimp"... As far
as which to purchase, that depends - if you can't afford a good-quality
table saw right now, there is a lot you can do with a handheld circular
saw (or small bandsaw) and a router table. That's where I am right
now. If you only have a couple hundred dollars, for instance, it
seems like it would make sense to save money until you can get a nice,
solid, accurate TS rather than one that you'll want to replace soon.
That couple hundred dollars could go towards a very nice router and
stuff to build your own router table, or a cheap TS. Of course, if
money is no object, get both.
Many things that can be done on the TS CAN indeed be done on a router table.
Walking instead of driving to you favorite vacation destination CAN indeed
be done also.
You need the saw then build around it.
Since no one mentioned it, let me suggest a bandsaw as an alternative to
the table saw or the router table. Probably safer than a table saw,
and it can make tenons and dovetails and cut curves easier than a table
saw. There is actually a lot of overlap in bandsaw/table saw functions.
Truth is an awful lot of woodworking joints can be cut on a tablesaw by
itself. I think the bandsaw may run a close second.
You might collect some plans for the kind of things you'd like to build
and try to imagine how the various parts would be shaped and cut. You
may even decide that hand tools will produce the desired effects.
I don't think I'd agree that a router can do what a table saw does. Oh I
guess in an odd sort of way, given enough time it might be similar. For
instance, I don't think I'd want to rip a 2X6 into 2X2's using a router, too
much loss of wood, it might take a lot of time to do and probably won't be
as accurately cut. And while making something that needs to have a quantity
of pieces crosscut to the same length, I don't think the router is the tool
for this task either.
I think I'd go for the best table saw you can afford first then a router
later. There may be two schools of thought on buy the best you can afford.
(1) If you save up for a Powermatic 66 for example it might be a long time
before you cut any wood. or (2) Buy the best and only cry once. A high
accuracy table saw will make your projects turn out better.
It hurts for me to say this... But if a Craftsman is in your reach, at
least it will get you started. (That should get a fire going on this news
group! It's vogue to kick Craftsman you know, but they earned it!)
Table saw first. Always better than you can afford :)
And for some reason I'm alone in the thinking that a router table is a
silly item. Why not get a shaper (with router bit collets) that is
actually designed for doing that exact job? People here spend a
fortune getting the table, fence, height adjuster, router, etc....when
equal or even less money will get you a decent little shaper that
takes router bits, has easy height adjustment, and you can get real
shaper cutters for the most used profiles.
Ever try to adjust the height of a router that's hanging upside down?
Ever looked at where the chips are going in an upside down router?
Ever had to chuck a router bit dangerously close to the end to get
If you need a router for freehand work fine, get one, but ever tried
changing base plates and installing a router into a router table
upside down while trying to screw it from the top?
Obviously all routers and situations are different, but I never see
anybody here advocate shapers for some reason?
My 2 cents.
firstname.lastname@example.org chopping out the mortise.
BBS'ing since 1982 at 300 bps.
Surfing along at 19200 bps since 95.
WW'ing since 1985
LV Cust #4114
Nothing catchy to say, well maybe.....
WAKE UP - There are no GODs you fools!
You are absolutely right, Steve. Well put.
By the time you add a good lift, a good router, a good fence, a good
insert...you can buy a decent small shaper. Plus you get an induction
motor which is much quieter and durable
Now, if you buy a small shaper with a tilting spindle...now you're off
to the races.
Maximum speed is something to consider though... so is a stock feeder.
I have a shaper and agree that it is a great tool for spinning shaper
cutters but don't think that it is even a good tool for spinning router
bits. The maximum speed of most shapers is way too slow for most router
bits. I have a no frills router table for router bits and use the shaper
for the bigger jobs.
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