All Replies on New Guy/New Shop/Saw Size

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New Guy/New Shop/Saw Size

by LOW1
posted 02-14-2018 03:53 PM

19 replies so far

View bbasiaga's profile


1243 posts in 2353 days

#1 posted 02-14-2018 04:05 PM

Mine is one stall of a garage, about 15×25 I think. It would be really cramped with a 52”. I went with the 36 and while there have been times I wished for the extra width, I would notice not being able to walk around the saw 100% of the time.


-- Part of engineering is to know when to put your calculator down and pick up your tools.

View Lazyman's profile


3323 posts in 1746 days

#2 posted 02-14-2018 04:22 PM

IMO it depends upon whether you plan to try to move everything out of the way so you use the space in other ways (such as a garage) when not in use. If that is not a factor, then as long as it has a mobile base on it you can always move it around or turn it a different direction way if needed so I would definitely go with a larger one. Smaller saws tend to be portable contractor saws designed to take to a jobsite and would not be my choice for a dedicated shop. Perhaps a better question is to compare the saws you a considering so we can help you decide between them?

BTW, My shop is a 2-car garage but I have so much wood and other stuff stacked in there it is effectively a 1-car. My saw is 62” wide and it never feels cramped to me.

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View knotscott's profile


8277 posts in 3734 days

#3 posted 02-14-2018 04:50 PM

If the saw is left tilt, you can usually rob capacity from the left side by sliding the rail farther to the right….meaning if you get the 36”, you could fairly easily extend to about 46” if necessary.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View AZWoody's profile


1440 posts in 1582 days

#4 posted 02-14-2018 05:46 PM

Also depends if you think you will ever use that much capacity.

If you’re only going to be ripping pieces less than 4’ wide, you can easily do it with a 36” fence.
Originally, I had a 50” fence on 2 different table saws and i never opened them up that wide.

View BurlyBob's profile


6175 posts in 2624 days

#5 posted 02-14-2018 06:49 PM

It’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

View woodbutcherbynight's profile


5964 posts in 2767 days

#6 posted 02-14-2018 07:31 PM

I have 16×20 shop, with the extensions the saw is at 62” has worked for years. As someone else mentioned it does take up space and longer pieces get challenging. To work with this I installed double doors and oriented the saw to allow the off cut to go out the doors when needed. Mostly I rough cut 4×8 ply outside and bring it inside. Current cabinet build to attached two contractor saws together side by side comes to 68”, still no issue but I doubt I would ever go larger. Current base cabinet under construction:

-- Live to tell the stories, they sound better that way.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4120 days

#7 posted 02-15-2018 12:25 AM

While 52 inch rip capacity is great for ripping 4’x8’ sheet goods, you will not have a large enough shop to handle the infeed and outfeed requirements of 4’x8’ stock.

My Upper Peninsula “Workshop in the Woods” is a basic garage floor plan of 24’x28’ outside dimensions. I can just barely rip a 4’x8’ sheet of plywood, but it’s very close.

Your shop will have a “center stage” area where a large machine will have to be moved into place and then again put back somewhere to make room for other equipment. If you are a big strong guy you can shove around 500 to 700 pound machines. For me… way!

Keep in mind your electrical requirements. Big powerful machines need to be on 240 volt. You will need a 60 to 100 amp breaker box.

Be sure to include on your list, a nice workbench with shoulder and tail vises. My workbench is indispensable. It is my gluing, clamping, and assembly station.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View AlmostRetired's profile


220 posts in 1073 days

#8 posted 02-15-2018 01:04 AM

I have a 52 and use it to cut down sheet stock pretty regularly. If you intend to do that with a separate track saw or that type of setup then the 36 will be more than enough.


View Knockonit's profile


541 posts in 560 days

#9 posted 02-15-2018 01:53 AM

Wheeled unit if 52’’, mine is a 52’’ uni saw, and while i sometimes cut large stock with it, i usually pull it out of the two car garage and do the deed. as all the work tables in garage have projects on them, as does the dang patio. lol. seems i’m always clogging up the joint with stuff, (wifes words not mine).
again depends on what aspect the saw will serve in your intended hobby.
Rj in az

View BikerDad's profile


347 posts in 3959 days

#10 posted 02-20-2018 06:34 PM

Having seen this question asked for many years on forums, the general consensus from those who haven’t had a 50”+ is to go with 50”+, whereas many, MANY not ALL, of those with the 50”+ would not do it again. It simply takes up too much room for how often it’s used. The key question is: will you be crosscutting 4’x8’ sheets of plywood frequently enough to justify the space required. If you’re going to be building lots and lots and lots of cabinets, then sure. In fact, it that’s your intended use, you’re probably looking at building a full blown “workstation” of outfeed table and such.

Knowing what I know, and how I work, I would not do it today. I’ve no interest in wrasslin’ full sheets of plywood onto the table saw (mine is 6” higher than normal). I’ll just use a circular saw to break the plywood down and finish on the tablesaw. If precision in the first cut is required (it hasn’t been yet), I’ll invest in a tracksaw.

-- I'm happier than a tornado in a trailer park! Grace & Peace.

View ArtMann's profile


1363 posts in 1174 days

#11 posted 02-21-2018 03:49 AM

A 16 X 20 is a little small to accommodate that size of saw rails. You need walking around room.

View Sark's profile


95 posts in 719 days

#12 posted 02-23-2018 03:57 PM

I, for one, hate jockeying 4×8 sheets of plywood over a table saw. When I shut down my cabinet business and shrank back to my garage shop, I set up my saw for a 36” wide max cut. For sheet goods I use a guided rail system like Festool which is as accurate as needed. And its much easier to plop a sheet of plywood on a couple of shop made sawhorses than trying to raise the ply and push over the saw. Especially with MDF. So I don’t think the extra 12” width is worth the space and cost when working in tight quarters where space is at a super premium.

View bigblockyeti's profile


5674 posts in 2079 days

#13 posted 02-23-2018 04:31 PM

It s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it!

- BurlyBob

+1. My shop is just under 13’ 6” wide and I have a 52” right tilt saw and planning around the saw initially has proven to offer adequate space save for when my inner wood hoarder kicks in.

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View Jon Hobbs's profile

Jon Hobbs

147 posts in 1063 days

#14 posted 02-23-2018 06:08 PM

I’ll reinforce what others have said – I think how you intend to use the saw, need vs. want, should drive the decision more than the space available.

If you get the 52 incher:

If you truly need 52 inches often, you’ll easily find a way to deal with the space issue, while happily enjoying the generous rip-capacity of your saw.

If you do not truly need 52 inches, you’ll frequently curse all the space that it occupies and the shop will become a less pleasant place to play :)

If you get the 36 incher:

If you truly need 52 inches often, you’ll curse yourself often for not getting 52 inches.

If you rarely need 52 inches, you’ll easily deal with the work-arounds (many of which have been suggested already) on the rare occasion where you need more capacity, while enjoying the spaciousness of your workshop :)

-- Jon -- Just a Minnesota kid hanging out in Kansas

View LOW1's profile


3 posts in 460 days

#15 posted 03-18-2018 07:56 PM

Thank you all for your help. I got the 52 but hedged my bet by getting the industrial base. The shop that it is for is in northwest ontario on an island. Rather than dealing with putting the saw in the boat this summer we brought it up last weekend over the ice road. 42 inches of ice so no worries. If i knew how to post some pictures i would. Thanks again for the help and insights

View Woodknack's profile


12772 posts in 2738 days

#16 posted 03-18-2018 10:31 PM

edit, oops, I see you already bought.

-- Rick M,

View Knockonit's profile


541 posts in 560 days

#17 posted 03-18-2018 11:19 PM

Put it on wheels, and get a 30 ft cord and move it out when not in use, i have a full size uni saw, with uni fence, think its about 52’’, i pull it out of the garage shop into drive way, breakdown the big stuff, then wheel it back in bad weather to work inside on the small stuff. It allows me to push it out of the way to make parts and pieces on the work bench, make up table, and if i cover the saw with paper it sometimes becomes the assembly bench.
good luck and in reality, you won’t know how it all works till you begin the process of building something, then you will discover, uh oh, this needs to be there, that over there needs to be here, and well, the process is fluid

View Sparks500's profile


253 posts in 689 days

#18 posted 03-19-2018 12:21 PM

I have a 52” Biesemeyer that I would trade for a 36. I can count the number of times I’ve ripped a full sheet of plywood on it with one hand, and now I have a track saw.
Been thinking of just cutting it down, but the scottish in me won’t let me waste it.

-- A good day is any day that you're alive....

View Sark's profile


95 posts in 719 days

#19 posted 03-19-2018 06:22 PM

I had a 52” delta Unifence which I cut to approximately 36” and never regretted it. Unless you have large outfeed table and infeed and side support, its really tough to slide a 4×8 sheet of plywood over that table and tougher to get a straight cut without binding or wandering. Which is why sliders were invented, which is why track saws are so useful as well as vertical saws. I’ve seen a lot of commercial cabinet shops where the principal panel saw is a 10 or 12” saw with really big permanently fixed out feed and side tables. That works really well but takes a lot of floor space.

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