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View Zvonko's profile

Looking for advice on selecting table saw

by Zvonko
posted 11-30-2018 06:58 PM


23 replies so far

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1499 posts in 1793 days


#1 posted 11-30-2018 07:18 PM

Welcome!
First, unless you NEED to move it up and down stairs or to jobsites regularly, move past the portable saws and on to either a contractor saw (open stand with motor hanging out the back) or a cabinet saw (enclosed stand with motor inside).
If you’re willing to put in some elbow grease look to the used market for a cabinet saw. Any of these can have a mobile base added.
As far as what to look for, the fence is key on a table saw. Dont fret though you can upgrade a fence if you find a good deal on a saw (not on a portable saw though). If you’re stuck on a portable I’d say the fence is the biggest deciding factor and the dewalts seem to be liked. I can’t comment on them though for lack of hands on experience

View Bill_Steele's profile

Bill_Steele

515 posts in 2117 days


#2 posted 11-30-2018 07:23 PM

Welcome to Lumberjocks.

I feel like it is important to understand the general tablesaw categories and then pick from the category that seems to make the most sense for your needs.

The DeWalt DWE7491RS looks to be a job-site saw which is more geared (in my opinion) toward the user that needs to move the saw from jobsite to jobsite. It is more portable but you give up capability in other areas to get portability.

The next category up is probably contractor saws and hybrid saws. These are heavy—not really portable (except around your shop area by using a mobile base). The weight is good thing because it makes the saw smoother in operation. These saws usually have a larger motor than a job-site saw, often they have a cast iron top, a larger saw surface area, and the fence is likely better than a job-site saw (more rip capacity and fence accuracy). This is probably the minimum level you want to be at for more precise cuts and/or if you want to perhaps build furniture or something that requires a higher degree of accuracy.

The next category up is cabinet saws. These are even heavier and more powerful than the contractor saws. Much better fence system, dust collection, etc. Most have 3hp or larger motors (some are offered with motors that can run on 110v but the larger motors require 240v. Still locally portable with a mobile base. I aspire to this level.

Based on your need to do things around the house—if you can dedicate an area for the saw—I would suggest a contractor, hybrid, or cabinet saw. I think it will give you more flexibility, perhaps more accuracy, and allow you to explore other woodworking options (e.g. making furniture).

I’m sure there must be posts on this site that also talk about the pros and cons of the different saws. Try and perform a search of the site for more information. I hope that helps.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

117626 posts in 3962 days


#3 posted 11-30-2018 07:51 PM

Hello and welcome to LJs
Your question is one that is asked almost every day so searching this site will bring a good number of answers to your question. I would suggest you look at this blog by in my opinion is LJs #1 table saw guru.

http://lumberjocks.com/knotscott/blog/32154

View jonah's profile

jonah

2072 posts in 3684 days


#4 posted 11-30-2018 09:22 PM

+1 to reviewing Scott’s writeup. He lays out all the choices nearly perfectly.

View SMP's profile (online now)

SMP

1013 posts in 291 days


#5 posted 11-30-2018 09:48 PM

I think you first need to sit down and think about what you want to make and do with it. What will you be actually building and how often? And what other tools do you have? For example, if I didn’t need to rip smaller stock often, I would probably ditch my table saw altogether and get a track saw like the Festool. I also have a sliding compound miter saw that does most of my crosscuts and miters. I can also rip with my circular saw and clean up on my jointer. But a table saw is really hard to replace for certain things. Again, depends on what you need it for. If the portability of the smaller interests you, and you can cut dados with a router, then the dado blade thing may be a non issue. A lot of variables.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2213 posts in 2415 days


#6 posted 12-01-2018 12:29 AM

I’ll make it simple for ya, Zvonko.
buy a used Bosch 4100 off craigslist.
Done! :)
Seriously, it’s a great table saw as it accepts 5/8” dado’s. A wonderful primary saw if $$$ and real estate is a concern, especially if you get the gravity rise stand. Has all the necessary safety features, minus sawstop flesh sensing capability (well…that’s another story).
And later on when you upgrade to a hybrid or cabinet saw, it’s still a wonderful secondary saw for outside cutting (plywood, mdf, etc).
For folks to advise you on what table saw to seek out, give us a backstory of your power tool experience and what you are expecting to work on today and 5 years from now.

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View Sludgeguy's profile

Sludgeguy

56 posts in 508 days


#7 posted 12-01-2018 02:03 AM

Agree with Holbs. I had the Bosch for several years until I got a cabinet saw. The Bosch was very precise and reliable. Decent power especially with a thin kerf blade.

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2213 posts in 2415 days


#8 posted 12-01-2018 04:48 AM

ooo…impossible quiz! tell me more…
how much would be deducted out of my checking/credit card account?

-- The Carpenter Bee is derived from the Ancient Greek word wood-cutter "xylokopos/ξυλοκὀπος"

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8289 posts in 3761 days


#9 posted 12-02-2018 04:20 PM

I’m late to the party, but would advice to skip a portable of you don’t absolutely need portability. The better portables are pretty good, but they give up a lot compared to a full size stationary saw with a belt drive induction motor. The biggest drawback of the portables IMHO is the table size….there are only a few inches of table surface to get a board settled and flush with the table before it contacts the blade. Also, an induction motor has a lot more torque, better reliability expectations, and are much quieter. The added mass is also a notable plus, not to mention the ability to accept aftermarket accessories so the saw can grow with your needs. A 300# saw will undoubted require a couple of strong guys to set in place, but once there, it can be put on wheels and easily rolled around a sheep for reliable service for years to come.

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

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

48 posts in 199 days


#10 posted 12-04-2018 12:25 PM

Wow, thanks for all the responses. I’ll try to answer some of the questions/comments below:

I don’t have a need to move the saw around to job sites, but I do need to be able to move it around since my “shop” is my garage. Usually, when I need to work on some project, I’ll have to move my power tools around the garage or even into the driveway.

Compared to the people I’ve seen on this site, I’m probably not much above a beginner. My woodworking experience has been mostly “rough carpentry” (my term) with very little “finish work” (again, my term). For a while, I was maintaining 20 rental units and did most of the work on them. Maybe I’d be better categorized as a handy man instead of a woodworker.

I want to start doing more intricate pieces and work my way up to making some nice furniture. At some point, I’d love to build a real nice dining room table.

My inventory of power tools is not extensive beyond the basics: electric & cordless drills, jig saw, reciprocating saw, brad nailer and circular saw. I do have a real nice 12” Craftsman compound miter saw and a big 30-year old Craftsman 10” radial arm saw.

The miter saw gets a lot of use and I’ve been able to cut wood with it to build some small boxes, bird houses, shelves, etc. At the time I bought it, they didn’t have (or I didn’t see it) the sliding feature I’m seeing in some miter saws now.

The radial arm saw has gotten a lot of use and is still my work horse for big cuts or ripping wood. It’s big, though, and a hassle to get out and move (I put it on a wheeled platform) into the driveway. As a result, I only get it out when I have to do a lot of cutting.

A table saw seems like it will fit the needs between the miter and radial-arm saws and be a lot easier to move around than my huge radial-arm saw.

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

48 posts in 199 days


#11 posted 12-04-2018 12:38 PM

I forgot to mention that I also have a router and have a fair bit of experience using it. Additionally, I have a Dremel tool for fine work and just bought an old lathe (heavy sucker) from the grandpa of a friend. I haven’t tried the lathe yet, but I’m really excited to use it!

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View jonah's profile

jonah

2072 posts in 3684 days


#12 posted 12-04-2018 03:54 PM

Given that you are only moving the saw around the garage area, I’d look for a quality contractor saw, not a jobsite one. You’ll be much happier with that type of saw, and on the used market they don’t cost a lot more than good new jobsite saws.

Look for a Rigid 3650 or a Craftsman saw of similar vintage (5-15 years old). You shouldn’t have to pay more than ~$300 and you’ll get a quality saw that is very movable on the mobile base.

View Joeswoodshop's profile

Joeswoodshop

5 posts in 197 days


#13 posted 12-04-2018 04:08 PM



Given that you are only moving the saw around the garage area, I d look for a quality contractor saw, not a jobsite one. You ll be much happier with that type of saw, and on the used market they don t cost a lot more than good new jobsite saws.

Look for a Rigid 3650 or a Craftsman saw of similar vintage (5-15 years old). You shouldn t have to pay more than ~$300 and you ll get a quality saw that is very movable on the mobile base.

- jonah

This^^

I have a Ridgid 3650 with a router table wing that works great. I have to move it a lot and it has a built in lift that makes it easy.

View Robert's profile

Robert

3394 posts in 1866 days


#14 posted 12-04-2018 04:32 PM

If you need to move the saw up and down stairs, I think your best best is a jobsite saw. There are some decent ones out there stay with the name brands. IMO any beginner should look at a SawStop. They make a good quality jobsite saw. I’m sure your loved ones will appreciate the safety features.

When your renovations are over and you think you want to do mainly shop work, when you outgrow it you can sell it and buy a stationary cabinet saw. All but the biggest will take a mobile base.

Now I want to say something unrelated but in your post. SAFETY is such an extremely important issue for a beginner. I can’t emphasize it enough. Do some reading, take a class, watch some videos. Always keep SAFETY in mind when making a cut. Learn the limitations of your machines. Learn to read your lumber before feeding it past a blade. By this I mean look for bows, loose knots etc. Learn how make assist devices like push blocks and use them properly. Know where your hands are at all times.

Speaking of safety, I strongly advise against doing rip cuts with a radial arm saw. It is THE most dangerous procedure on probably THE most dangerous machine in a shop.

The second thing I want to address is regarding one of the biggest mistakes we make as beginners and that is develpoping hand tool skills. As a beginner my self (even after 30 years of ww’ing) I did the same thing. IMO “fine” woodworking or excel at craftsmanship is not possible without hand tools.

Some will disagree with me on this, but try fitting a drawer or door without a hand plane & trust me all you’ll be doing is making a lot of dust with a sander or over shooting trying to dial it in with a saw.

I want to encourage you so much about this. Get a #4 hand plane, a set of bench chisels, a couple good hand saws, and some marking tools. Do some research and find out what the quality tools are. Fine Woodworking magazine has excellent reviews on all these. Just their video library alone is worth the membership fee.

Good luck hope this helps.

Check out Paul Sellers he will be an excellent source for you.

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1391 posts in 3235 days


#15 posted 12-04-2018 05:06 PM


I d look for a quality contractor saw, not a jobsite one. You ll be much happier with that type of saw, and on the used market they don t cost a lot more than good new jobsite saws.
Look for a Rigid 3650 or a Craftsman saw of similar vintage (5-15 years old). You shouldn t have to pay more than ~$300 and you ll get a quality saw that is very movable on the mobile base.
- jonah

Completely agree, it sounds like you’d quickly outgrow a jobsite saw, and you’ll need the size and power when you get around to that dining room table. I’m in a 2 car and can actually put a mid sized car into the garage when all of the tools are put away. I’ve got one of the Ridgid saws, (TS3612 with rails from a TS3650), and they were pretty much the same saw as the craftsman 113 saws. They come up often of Craig’s list like jonah said in the $200 $300 range. Kelley Mehler’s Table saw book is a good tool getting a used saw set up & tuned

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View dday's profile

dday

172 posts in 1815 days


#16 posted 12-04-2018 05:31 PM

For a garage shop like the one I have—where my car still lives in the garage when I’m not working—
My Delta 36-725 from Lowes have worked out perfectly for me. Not overly expensive, runs on regular 110
and has an excellent fence system. It rolls away with ease on the included casters.

View trhoppe's profile

trhoppe

9 posts in 195 days


#17 posted 12-04-2018 09:03 PM

I sort of had this same question a few weeks ago. After checking out some fences in person, IMO, the fence on the jobsite SawStop is better than many “contractor” saws. Looking at that, the great reviews, and the added bonus of not cutting my finger off (being a noob), I spent the $1300 on this saw and couldn’t be happier.

Ripping a 2” thick, 36” long maple board into a straight piece was cake and I felt much better that if something went sideways, I was safe.

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

48 posts in 199 days


#18 posted 12-05-2018 03:01 PM

Thanks again for all the responses. Great feedback and tips.

One thing I’ve noticed is that most of the saws being recommended are in the $1,000 and up range. I might have to wait a while so I can save some more money because that’s a bit steep for me right now.

Some of you suggested looking for used saws. In the past, I haven’t bought used power tools because I wasn’t sure I’d know how to fix them if there was something wrong. The only exception was the lathe and I only bought that because I knew the guy who was selling it.

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1499 posts in 1793 days


#19 posted 12-05-2018 03:14 PM

The delta 36-725 has been recommended and it’s $599 all day long at lowes. It has an excellent fence and mobile base, if you want new that’s the way to go and you may be able to come up with some savings somehow. I know using a lowes card saves a little
https://m.lowes.com/pd/DELTA-10-in-Carbide-tipped-13-Amp-Table-Saw/50081568

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

48 posts in 199 days


#20 posted 12-05-2018 03:52 PM

My bad GrantA. I did some cursory searches and was only finding the more expensive models.

I just checked out the Delta 36-725. That looks good. Maybe I’ll ask Santa for some Lowe’s gift cards. :)

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

View mathguy1981's profile

mathguy1981

93 posts in 290 days


#21 posted 12-05-2018 04:52 PM

My first saw was a ridgid R4512. They’re also $599 and some HD have them in stock. The only upgrade I did to it was replacing the stampled steel wings with some from a craftsman saw. That gave me a ton more weight but the saw still moved around on it’s retractable mobile base just fine. I highly recommend this saw, especially if you can score some real iron wings on eBay like I did.

-- Two thumbs and counting

View GrantA's profile

GrantA

1499 posts in 1793 days


#22 posted 12-05-2018 05:00 PM

Here we go again – Zvonko in case you haven’t seen them yet don’t click the link above, spammers make posts like that.
Edit – looks like it’s already gone

View Zvonko's profile

Zvonko

48 posts in 199 days


#23 posted 12-05-2018 07:23 PM

GrantA – do you mean “the impossible quiz” post?

-- You can't always control WHAT happens, but you can always control HOW you respond.

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