The hunt for a table saw

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Blog entry by TheBossQ posted 02-05-2011 10:24 PM 1990 reads 0 times favorited 8 comments Add to Favorites Watch

My wife bought me a Steel City Hybrid with a Granite Top. That didn’t work out. I won’t rehash that debacle, but you can find the details on Lumberjocks in the reviews section.

So it was time to find a good used saw, or pony up the extra cash for something like the Grizzly G0715P. I am not that patient when it comes to waiting, especially when I have a list of projects waiting for the saw. Being that the Grizzly was backordered for quite a while, I started weighing my options.

I first headed to Lowes to check out the $599.00 Porter Cable saw they routinely stock. As I got within about 10 feet of it, it was plain to see that it is overpriced garbage. A heap of rickety plastic and stamped steel. No thanks.

The multiple Home Depot locations in my area only stock jobsite saws now. I’ve already been down that road.

Time to scour Craigslist …

SCORE! $500.00 Unisaw! Only the guy won’t sell it to me. It turns out someone from Yuma AZ committed to buying multiple pieces of his equipment. Unless I was willing to purchase all the same equipment and beat the offer, he was not going to sell to me. Well I don’t have the room or the need to buy out a retiring cabinet maker, but I went the next day to check out the rest of his equipment. What a mistake. The Unisaw is flawless. It looks as if it came off the showroom floor. I offered him $850.00. He says no thanks, the buyer from Yuma is dropping 6k on his equipment. I’ll admit it. I cried. I still think about that saw to this day.

$390.00 Unisaw??? I never had a chance. It was gone within 20 minutes of the ad being placed.

Another $500.00 Unisaw??? Well, it’s missing a bunch of pieces. A handwheel, the cabinet doors, a bunch of odds and ends and the motor is a 3 phase 5hp. I would need a rotary converter. Not willing to MacGuyver an electrical solution, I would need another $350+ just to run it, and who knows what to replace all the missing hardware. And they don’t have 3 phase power there. They can’t even prove the saw will run.

$400 Grizzly 1023SL? This is a repo from a shop that went under and simply abandoned their equipment. The saw came from out of state. They apparently wheeled the equipment out of the shop and left the stuff outside. It was rained on, looked like it was worked hard and illl maintained. They didn’t have a receptacle that matched the plug, so they couldn’t plug it in to prove it would run. I offered $325. They declined.

I learned that the majority of Craigslist users haven’t a clue of what “excellent condition” means. I took a look at a slew of older Craftsman, Delta and Rockwell saws that were in “excellent condition”. Apparently, excellent condition means one or more of the following: Rusted and pitted cast iron tables, screaching arbor bearings, trunnions that will neither raise nor bevel the blade, wires hanging out everywhere from the motor (but somehow “runs great”), and missing hardware galore.

One woman wanted me to meet her in the middle of a school parking lot to buy her dad’s saw. She said she didn’t want people from Craigslist coming to her house. It was an interesting conversation.

“Well how will I plug it in to see how it runs?”

“Oh, it works great!”

“Have you ever used a table saw?”

“No, but my dad says it works great!”

Oh, really …. it works great? Sweet. I’ll be right there. (Yeah! I said it … after I hung up.)

Another guy with a Craftsman saw had the best demonstration. Raising the blade to it’s full 3 1/4” height, he proceeded to shove a 4×4 block of dry rotted something or other through the saw. As the saw audibly bogged down, I took a couple of steps away, ready to protect my face in a Ninja like fashion. He finished this cut and proudly exclaimed, “See, it didn’t slow down a bit!”.

“Yes, I noticed.”

I grabbed the block of “wood” and snapped it in half with my hands. I thanked him for his time and told him if I was interested, I would get back to him.

Then there is the young lady with the old Rockwell. Her dad is a Psychiatrist, and is selling his table saw for a good cause. He runs a school for special needs kids. When I tell her I don’t think a 30+ year old table saw that is missing two thirds of the table and has wires hanging out of the back of the motor is worth $350, she attempts to manipulate me into feeling bad that I have the money to buy a saw “in this economy”. She does this VERY deftly … her father is a psychiatrist after all … but growing up with my family, I am completely immune to manipulation. However, my patience is wearing VERY THIN at this point. Against my better judgement, I am thinking of offering $300.

I’m tired of missing out on Unisaws and I’m tired of looking at people’s overpriced junk. I called Grizzly and they have G0690’s in stock. It’s WAY more saw than I need, and it’s way more than I really want to spend. I resolved to give Craigslist one more go and if there wasn’t a viable option, I would order the Grizzly.

And wouldn’t you know …

I finally got my table saw. It’s a Powermatic 10” Model 63 Artisan. Contractor style saw with a 1.5hp motor. Other than being dusty, there is hardly a spec of rust on this saw, as it’s been sitting in storage for 4-5 years. The cast iron table top is pristine. Got it from a former cabinet maker that took a job as a high school shop teacher here in Phoenix. $300.00. I think I got a pretty good deal.

The one thing I noticed immediately is that the blade is shrouded which will help with dust collection. It’s not a cabinet saw, so of course I will still be wearing a respirator, but it will keep my garage a little cleaner.

It came with a Vega fence. With very short rails. I didn’t measure, but the rip capacity seems well shy of 30”. I haven’t used it yet, so I’ll reserve my judgement until then, but my first impression is that I’m not a fan.

However, I am stoked to get this saw cleaned, tuned and cuttin’ some wood!

8 comments so far

View PurpLev's profile


8654 posts in 5146 days

#1 posted 02-05-2011 10:32 PM

quite an ordeal – fantastic writing!

I’m not a big fan of the artisan, but that is a personal thing. it is a solid and proven saw nonetheless for what it is so you should get good performance out of it. congrats!

-- ㊍ When in doubt - There is no doubt - Go the safer route.

View TheBossQ's profile


115 posts in 4190 days

#2 posted 02-05-2011 10:58 PM

Thanks for the compliment PurpLev! I am pretty excited.

I wrote it up as quickly as I could (I am at work today). I corrected some mistakes that made a couple things nonsensical.

This probably won’t be my last table saw, but like you said … it’s solid and proven. And LJ’s here have done nicer work than I can with less, so it’s going to be great for my current needs.

View TheBossQ's profile


115 posts in 4190 days

#3 posted 02-06-2011 04:12 AM

This is unbelievable. I just found out that the Rockwell table saw was NOT being sold for a special needs school. I asked the lady some questions about the saw that she couldn’t answer and she gave me her dad’s phone number. I called him a couple days ago and he just returned my call this evening.

It’s not even the dad’s table saw. It was given to her husband as a gift, by a friend of the family and she didn’t want it in her garage.

Young Lady … you were just ratted out by your own dad! I am SO GLAD I did not buy that saw!

My BS Radar was going off that day and I couldn’t really pinpoint why. What a jerk.

View jperson's profile


12 posts in 4189 days

#4 posted 02-06-2011 04:48 AM

Your story made me smile the whole way through as I am in the same struggle myself. Trying to be patient and sifting through all the junk that pops up on there.

My saddest story on missed opportunity was when I had to pass on a Powermatic Model 66 for $800. The guy was just getting old and didn’t want it any more. Unfortunately, I did not have the $800 at the time so I had to pass. I still think about that deal almost every day. I was really tempted to start selling body parts to come up with the cash at the time.

-- Josh- Kansas City, Missouri

View TheBossQ's profile


115 posts in 4190 days

#5 posted 02-06-2011 06:29 AM

Oh, man. I would own a PM66 if that were the case. I would sell my left hand. I can push stock through with my right hand, a push stick and a featherboard.

The best priced PM66 in this area was $1500.00, but I’d have to travel to get it. All the rest were $1700+, and in production settings. Too pricey.

Sorry to hear about that missed opportunity. I would tell you to hang in there, but I’d be a hypocrite. I was on a mission though. I looked for table saws on a daily basis since the day I packed up the Steel City saw and sent it back. Every single day, 10-15 times a day. I can probably tell you what is on Craigslist right now simply from memory. I was truly sick of it.

I will wish you good luck though!

View EEngineer's profile


1151 posts in 5111 days

#6 posted 02-06-2011 08:03 AM

I call bullshit!

I laugh at these things. I bought my Craftsman contractor's saw from Craigslist for $50 (without that fence or extension table) – yeah it needed work, but the bearings were good and surface rust on the table came off easy. And the guy I bought my fence from bought a Unisaw with a 50” Beismeyer fence for $300 from Craigslist.

Caveat emptor! But there are better deals on Craigslist than Ebay. Ignore this man’s bitches!

-- "Find out what you cannot do and then go do it!"

View TheBossQ's profile


115 posts in 4190 days

#7 posted 02-06-2011 05:49 PM

Here is the link to Phoenix Craigslist. Do some research then call bullshit.

Find me a working $300 Unisaw with a 50” Bies and I’ll be there with cash within the hour. I’ll send you a $100 finders fee. I am dead serious. Put up, or shut up.

View jperson's profile


12 posts in 4189 days

#8 posted 02-06-2011 10:19 PM

I stalk Craigslist multiple times a day…it is quite sickening how often I check it. I mostly get tired of seeing the same individuals posting the same tablesaws over and over again because they are so overly priced. 99% of what I see are cheap contractor Ridgid saws for $350+ and tabletop Ryobi and Delta Shopmasters that they want $200 for, and they all say “Heavy Duty” and “Perfect” condition but the pictures tell otherwise.

-- Josh- Kansas City, Missouri

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