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Table Saw & Jig Saw Options & Opinions

by jta
posted 09-19-2018 10:04 AM

9 replies so far

View PJKS's profile


62 posts in 1323 days

#1 posted 09-19-2018 11:01 AM

Bosch barrel grip jigsaw.. Great tool !!

-- Pat / Colorado

View Bill_Steele's profile


714 posts in 2533 days

#2 posted 09-19-2018 03:14 PM

As far as the table saw goes—my suggestion is to get as much saw as you can afford/manage given your space and/or power limitations. Just about any tablesaw can be made mobile with a mobile base—which you can buy or build. A longer rip capacity will obviously affect mobility and footprint.

Unless portability is a primary requirement (e.g. taking the saw to a jobsite)—I would steer away from the jobsite saws and focus on heavier saws with cast iron tops and wings preferably. I have an old Jet contractor saw (like this) that works well and is easy to move around the workshop on the mobile base I made. It’s nice to have a bigger saw table work surface for sleds and other jigs. Try to get at least a 30” rip capacity. A bigger motor is preferable. I have a 1.5hp motor and I wish I had more, but I need to be able to run the saw on 120v. I am able to use a 6” dado stack and a standard kerf blade for most cuts, but thicker wood gives me problems sometimes.

Smaller motors benefit from thin kerf saw blades. With a small motor (e.g 1.5hp that runs on 120v), a 1/8” kerf blade might have a tough time getting through thicker lumber—especially hardwood. I would suggest a thin kerf Freud combination blade (e.g. 40 tooth) or Forrest if you want to go top shelf. I have one saw and no desire to change saw blades for rips and crosscuts—a combination blade yields very good results in both cuts.

I would suggest building a crosscut sled and/or getting a good aftermarket miter gauge for the table saw. I prefer to use the table saw rather than the sliding miter saw for miters where I must be very accurate.

Consider getting one of those Wixey angle gauges for setting blade angle. I think it helps set the angle more accurately.

I have the Bosch top handle jigsaw. I think it’s a great jigsaw and likely the last one I’ll ever need to buy. The reality is that I don’t use it that often. I have a bandsaw, so the jig saw is only used for occasional cuts. I think its a useful tool, but I would not consider it a “must-have” tool for woodworking.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6305 posts in 3295 days

#3 posted 09-20-2018 10:36 AM

Making a cabinet saw mobile is easy, and they generally take no more space than the saw you are considering, other than the extension table/fence arrangement, and somewhat less space than a contractor saw. Blade recommendations would be a really good 40 tooth combo blade that will do 95% of your work, and a good rip blade for ripping the wood that’s over 1” thick. Add blades form there. Like the others above, I have a Bosch jigsaw, and find it hard to imagine a better jigsaw for the price.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View jta's profile


57 posts in 687 days

#4 posted 09-20-2018 03:03 PM

Thanks for the jigsaw suggestions – I’ve been looking at the Bosch and liked it, have a few specific projects in mind and am on the hunt for the right second hand bandsaw.

If I’m going up to the level of a cabinet saw – I need something with a footprint that isn’t too large, and at that price would probably go second hand. Are all cabinet saws 220V? I’ve been contemplating extra power outlets in the garage and so have the opportunity to do so. What can people recommend in terms of Model/Make for a reasonably priced older cabinet or hybrid saw? What should I be looking for in terms of issues that would preclude buying?

Safety wise I really care about a riving knife and probably a blade guard – so either need to be able to retrofit or have already. Ability to upgrade fence/miter is probably also of interest.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6305 posts in 3295 days

#5 posted 09-20-2018 03:36 PM

Most (but not all) cabinet saws are 240V. Generally speaking, anything that’s 2 HP or above will be 240V. Some of the older ones are 120V, and Sawstop offers a 1 3/4 HP PCS that’s 120V. There may be other newer ones that are 120V as well. Second hand is a good thing, but you may not find one with a riving knife…don’t fret, a good splitter is very effective; maybe not as convenient. Try to choose a saw with a good fence already on it, the miter guage is easy. There are several good aftermarket ones available.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Gene Howe's profile

Gene Howe

12215 posts in 4230 days

#6 posted 09-20-2018 03:46 PM

A Shopsmith Power pro would meet all your requirements, except cost. Still, you might investigate it. Shopsmith

-- Gene 'The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.' G. K. Chesterton

View jonah's profile


2123 posts in 4100 days

#7 posted 09-20-2018 03:54 PM

There are really four main categories of table saws, which are unfortunately not descriptively named.

Jobsite saws: the universal motor portable saws you talked about in the first post. Meant to take to a jobsite and rip plywood, framing lumber, and trim. Very small working surface, especially in front of the blade, and often pretty crappy fences. Example: Bosch 4100.

Contractor saws: beefier saws with 1.5-1.75hp induction motors and cast iron tables. Quieter, more stable, more accurate, and more reliable than jobsite saws. Older ones will often have mediocre fences, but the fences can be upgraded, so used ones can have very good fences indeed. Often have the motor hanging off the back of the saw, which was nominally meant to increase the portability of the saw, yet really just takes up more space. Example: Delta 36-725.

Hybrid saws: Essentially contractor saws with the motor inside the cabinet rather than hanging off the back. Sometimes these have beefier internals or better fences. Example: Grizzly G0833P.

Cabinet saws: The top of the line. Heavy, powerful, stable, accurate, reliable. The total package. They cost more, but many find the added features worth it. They usually come with top quality fences and will last essentially forever with some TLC. Example: Delta Unisaw, Sawstop PCS, Powermatic 66.

The counterintuitive fact is that cabinet saws really take up no more space than contractor or hybrid saws, they’re just heavier and better in just about every way.

View ArtMann's profile


1480 posts in 1617 days

#8 posted 09-20-2018 10:01 PM

Jonah has done a good job of breaking down the various types of table saws. I would not buy a jobsite saw, such as you mentioned, unless i was planning to transport it from job to job. That is the only redeeming feature for this type saw over the others except for the fact that they can often be bought used at a low price.

I have been a woodworker for over 40 years and used a contractor grade saw for most of that time. This type is slower than the larger saws but good ones produce results as good as any. They typically do not provide very good dust collection.

I currently use a Grizzly hybrid saw and I like it. I would have bought a cabinet saw but I stumbled across this one at a price I could not pass up.

View jta's profile


57 posts in 687 days

#9 posted 09-21-2018 04:09 AM

Thanks for the clarification – its a rather confusing marketplace out there. I’m kind of partial to a few of the hybrid saws that I’ve seen out there given they provide a cabinet and seem to be reasonably portable based on the available hardware. What has me interested was the suggestion by jonah of the Grizzly G0833P.

Having done some further reading, it seems like either the Grizzly G0771Z or the G0833P would be a good choice for the sort of thing I am looking for (while a 3/5hp sounds nice I just don’t see the justification for the price jump given my level of usage – the grizzlies can be done either 120/240 which I like the option of) – not really sure I can tell what drives the differences between the two be honest. At that price point and given the lack of tools on the market in that type of grade/quality, I’m thinking going new, and perhaps holding off until Black Friday to make the most of the sales they typically have. Anyone have an opinion on either of these saws or perhaps competitors that are worth taking a look at?

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