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View SSDan's profile

A good, accurate & CHEAP contractor's saw?

by SSDan
posted 09-03-2016 01:42 AM


20 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7357 posts in 2558 days


#1 posted 09-03-2016 01:50 AM

I’d stay away from the Dewalt just because of the motor. If you want best bang for the buck, scour CL for a while looking for a nice C-man or Delta contractor saw – something with a real induction motor and cast iron top. They pop up all the time in the $50-$200 range.

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Jeremydg's profile

Jeremydg

5 posts in 994 days


#2 posted 09-03-2016 02:57 AM

A used Craftsman seems like it’d be your best bet if price is a primary concern.

That said, I’ve had that Delta saw mentioned in your post for going on a year now and it’s served me well. I use it just about every day and it’s proven to be reliable and accurate. I’ve found the fence to be excellent. The only real downside to it is dust collection because of the open-bottom design (it’s still pretty good for a contractor saw). Delta put a blade shroud in the saw that routes some of the dust to the included 2.5” dust port and it does work well, but makes it a little bit of a hassle to change blades. I removed the dust shroud, closed the cabinet up a bit more and put a 4” dust port on it which has improved dust collection and, maybe more importantly, made it super easy to change the blade. I also put a router table extension on the right side and it was fairly easy to do and has proven to be pretty useful for a lot of things.

I won’t bore you too much more with the details since you’ll probably be able to find more comprehensive reviews all over. The bottom line is, I think the Delta is worth the price if you can fit it into your budget.

View jwmalone's profile

jwmalone

769 posts in 1061 days


#3 posted 09-03-2016 02:59 AM

I feel your pain Dan been there.

-- "Boy you could get more work done it you quit flapping your pie hole" Grandpa

View GR8HUNTER's profile

GR8HUNTER

5956 posts in 1071 days


#4 posted 09-03-2016 03:02 AM

not sure of the area you are in …. but check craigslist a couple times a day…also widen your search

-- Tony---- Reinholds,Pa.------ REMEMBER TO ALWAYS HAVE FUN

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8277 posts in 3734 days


#5 posted 09-03-2016 03:05 AM

I’d definitely look to a contractor saw over a portable jobsite saw. Used is generally going to be the best bang for the buck. Most decent full size belt drive contractor saws can be accurate…it’s really a function of the fence, blade, and setup. New contractor saws start in the $550 range….I’d prefer the fence of the Delta 36-725 over the Ridgid R4512.

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

View DLM's profile

DLM

7 posts in 990 days


#6 posted 09-03-2016 03:45 AM

I have https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F2CGXGG/ref=psdc_552962_t1_B000HXT2N6 and love it. I don’t really have much to compare, but I can’t really say I’ve ever felt the need to blame the saw for anything that came out of it. I’d definitely like to have an acre of cast iron with a big motor and etc., but that’s not realistic for several reasons right now and the little Dewalt does what I need (and does it on 110), then disappears into the corner. It’s no powerhouse, but it’ll turn a dado blade and is happy in 4/4 oak.

View MadMark's profile

MadMark

979 posts in 1812 days


#7 posted 09-03-2016 04:00 AM

You need to decide if you want ‘good & accurate’ or ‘cheap’? The two tend to be mutually exclusive . . .

If you only want to make little stuff a 4” model makers saw works well. But a decent one is still $400 for the base unit.

M

-- Madmark - [email protected] Wiretreefarm.com

View Holbs's profile

Holbs

2196 posts in 2388 days


#8 posted 09-03-2016 04:04 AM

I’d toss out some love for the Bosch 4100. It has served me dutifully for the last 3 years. For a contractors saw, it has really been a critical component to my wood working experience. The fence is not that bad. They actually tried to make it rather acceptable. It’s no biesemeyer. With the accessories like the gravity stand, left and outfeed riggers, able to do dado blades, and the safety features… it should be a consideration

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

View Woodknack's profile

Woodknack

12772 posts in 2739 days


#9 posted 09-03-2016 04:17 AM

Look for a Delta with a Unifence or Biesemeyer, best bang for the buck: $300 – 450. Second best bang is probably a used Jet with a Bies clone. 3rd is probably a $600 Delta from Lowes.

-- Rick M, http://thewoodknack.blogspot.com/

View MikesProjects's profile

MikesProjects

172 posts in 2261 days


#10 posted 09-03-2016 04:25 AM

I like the dewalt jobsite saws. If you built a mobile stand for it with small outfeed table & maybe some side spacing I think it could prove to be a good value, you are not crazy. The 744 is better or the newer generation posted above by DLM. That said the craftsman 113. saws are good, the fence is its downfall so if you just happen to run across one with a biesemeyer fence for you would be styling if it was tuned in, often times setting one up is a project in it self but thats half the fun or is it? I recently sold my craftsman 113. with biesemeyer, it had full on dust collection. I posted it for $600 & it sold the next day for slightly less.

I also sold another craftsman 113. with stock fence, no upgrades for pretty cheap, that one took weeks to sell. My point is the upgraded saw is more desirable than a barebones stock saw.

I like the craftsman 100’s, 1961-1965 I believe. If you spend the time to dial it in they are great, I only sold my set up craftsman with the biesemeyer because I unexpectedly got a cabinet saw otherwise if still have it. I have the dewalt 744 & 745, both are great saws with gobs of power, they are very accurate.

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

View 49er's profile

49er

172 posts in 1963 days


#11 posted 09-03-2016 03:01 PM

I feel your pain. In 1998 I lost my 1965 ImpalaSS 396, my 1957 Coupe Deville, and 1968 Dodge Charger RT
to the big D. Life is good now.

-- Correlation is not causation but I did loose my Doctor !!!

View Bdobs13's profile

Bdobs13

13 posts in 992 days


#12 posted 09-03-2016 04:25 PM

I have a hybrid porter cable PCB270TS with a Biesemeyer fence (great price on CL). Before the Biesemeyer it was an alright TS but now it is a great budget saw. It also has a built in mobile base so I move it to the wall when not in use. Next is to replace the belt with the Power Twist Link belt but its a good saw as is. The TS is discontinued but if you find it on CL for a few hundred bucks its a good option.

-- 15 hours of youtube tutorials and research for my 20 min project...might need to rethink this...be back in 15 hours

View SSDan's profile

SSDan

3 posts in 990 days


#13 posted 09-03-2016 06:59 PM

Thanks for the great replies. I figured I probably wouldn’t be the only guy here who’d been through something like this. Here’s a pic of my old shop.

It’s a combination of 2 shots (didn’t have “panorama” on that camera). Haven’t looked at that in over 5 years. I do still have a lot of that gear, mostly had to get rid of the bigger/240V machines. And I sold them on CL, too. BTW, if anyone hasn’t tried one, that Ridgid oscillating belt/sleeve sander was a great, versatile addition to the shop, especially for < $200.

Much as I’d like at least a decent contractor’s saw with cast wings, etc., I think with my current circumstances a job site type saw would be better. The Bosch looks good, but of course the most $$$. Anyone know of a particularly good review comparing this type of saw? A lot of suggestions for a used Craftsman. I’ve got a ton of older Craftsman hand tools, from back when they were considered professional quality, but I thought those days were long gone. This one’s new, good price, at least, anyone know anything about this model: http://www.sears.com/craftsman-10inch-table-saw-with-laser-trac-reg-21807/p-00921807000P?intcmp=crft-pdp-buy-cta Good reviews on their site, if that means anything.

I’m thinking of buying a saw now, because I’ve recently begun doing some volunteer restoration work on a 150 year old house in the area (South Sound area, WA), where it would be nice to have some ripping capacity. Also have been considering making cigar humidors to sell online. So, although I don’t really need to be able to crosscut a 4×8 sheet of plywood, I would like to be able to make cuts precise enough for decent “fine” woodworking, as well as being able to rip long boards.

Thanks again for the input,

Dan

View DLM's profile

DLM

7 posts in 990 days


#14 posted 09-03-2016 07:45 PM

How important is the “space” bit of your considerations, and how is yours shaped? I had a little gap in a corner into which the folded Dewalt fits, and that was no small part of my choice.

If you have room to build a cabinet around the saw, or even to roll a bigger saw into a corner, I’m not sure I’d see the point of a contractor saw – I suspect you can do better off Craigslist for the same $ or less if you can fit a bigger saw somewhere.

I looked pretty hard at the Bosch 4100, and I’m sure I’d have been happy with it. I believe the Dewalt folds a bit more compact, has a better fence system, better dust collection, and a bigger (32”) rip capability. A lot of people really like the Bosch’s soft start and stand. I don’t think you can go wrong with either, just pick the features you find most important.

Many of the smaller saws will not fit a dado, if that’s important to you.

View knotscott's profile

knotscott

8277 posts in 3734 days


#15 posted 09-03-2016 09:53 PM

The suggestions for a used Craftsman saw are generally referring to the larger cast iron Emerson or Ryobi made contractor saws, which have potential to be a decent saw if fitted with a good fence. I suspect the Cman 21807 would be a quite a let down compared to your PM, and even compared to an older used contractor saw. (they’re really a pretty humble entry level homeowner type saw)

If a jobsite saw is the most feasible for your current situation, I’d still look to a used Bosch, Ridgid, or DW jobsite saw over a new Cman benchtop saw. I’d also opt for a new DW 745 over the 21807. Personally, I’d try to find a way to make a cast iron contractor saw work for me, even if I needed to remove the wings.

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

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7357 posts in 2558 days


#16 posted 09-04-2016 12:02 AM

This one’s new, good price, at least, anyone know anything about this model: http://www.sears.com/craftsman-10inch-table-saw-with-laser-trac-reg-21807/p-00921807000P?intcmp=crft-pdp-buy-cta Good reviews on their site, if that means anything.

That is a great saw if you never plan on using it, or using it very infrequently for really small projects. Plastic base cabinet, aluminium top, pseudo-direct drive universal screamer motor that will melt with any kind of sustained use, odd-ball miter slots with ‘tabs’, cheap plastic bushings holding up the slide out extensions that will flex with just a little bit of weight… you see them on CL all the time for $50 or less from people who upgraded after realizing it’s limitations.

Is there any specific reason you are looking at the little plastic portable/jobsite saws? If it’s a space issue, then keep in mind that the footprint of that saw isn’t much smaller than a full sized cabinet saw. It’s on a mobile stand/base, so you aren’t going to be throwing it up on a shelf when not in use – you will be pushing it up against the wall somewhere out of the way, same as you would with a full size contractor, hybrid or cabinet saw. I’ve posted this before, but here is that same saw (well, an older version that doesn’t have the laser) on top of a Unisaw:


(C-man taken off it’s stand for the photo)

There is only a couple inches difference between the two, and the Unisaw has a larger than normal right extension wing (13” instead of 8”).

Cheers,
Brad

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View Rentvent's profile

Rentvent

151 posts in 1208 days


#17 posted 09-04-2016 12:20 AM

I was using a DW745 for about two years. I just recently upgraded a few weeks ago.

The good:

I spent about 90 minutes calibrating-adjusting and it is very accurate.
The Dewalt rack-and-pinion fence system is best fence system of any of the compact jobsite saws.
Easy to install\remove riving knife
The blade changing wrenches, blade guard, etc are secured to the casing – no need for a parts baggie
It only takes up 2’ X 2’ space when stored or on a table top. It will fit in just about any car.
It can be carried one-handed
It was cheap – $179 on Black friday two years ago.

The Meh:
A shop vac connected to the dust collection port only gets 80% of the dust at best.
The cheesy miter bar is useless, but the miter slots are standard size and a homemede crosscut sled works great
The fence is hollow extruded aluminum and nothing can be clamped to it
Aftermarket zero-clearance insert needs to be hacked in order to accommodate the riving knife
Can’t use dado blades on this model
can’t use thin kerf blades with standard riving knife and no thin kerf riving knife available

The Bad:
The motor is a screaming banshee. It is really loud and distracting
The blade sits about 4” from the front of the table.
It takes a lot of effort to keep wood lined up with the fence when cutting most anything.
Because of the short lead-in, I don’t think any miter bar would work very well. I always had to put on the cross-cut sled for anything not being ripped.
a miter sled won’t work unless you rig something to support it on the infeed side.

I got accurate cuts for the most part, but it took a lot of extra effort on most operations. I bought a pair of HF roller stands to help with the infeed/outfeed issues, but they consume time and effort to set up too. Most of the negatives I listed are common amongst most jobsite saws – not just the DW745. All the extra time and effort to set up cuts plus the loudness drove me to pursue an upgrade – especially since I’m not transporting my saw anywhere outside my garage.

View SSDan's profile

SSDan

3 posts in 990 days


#18 posted 09-04-2016 01:34 AM

I’ve basically used/owned 2 cabinet saws, a Unisaw I had briefly before moving to WA, and the PM2000 I had/used here for about 3 years, and which I used much more than I had the Uni. That PM was one sweet, smooth machine! I see what you mean about the footprint (very effective photo for depicting that!), but for me, the massive WEIGHT of a cabinet saw is also an issue, especially if you’re in a set up where you’d have to be moving it frequently. And ESPECIALLY if you’re as impatient as I am! ;-) But mostly, it’s cost. I saw this Ridgid at a HD today http://www.homedepot.com/p/RIDGID-15-Amp-10-in-Heavy-Duty-Portable-Table-Saw-with-Stand-R4513/100090444 Unfortunately, the way they had is “set up”, it was hard to get a great look at it, but from what I could tell, it looks pretty good for the $$$. I was able to compare it to this Bosch http://www.homedepot.com/p/Bosch-15-Amp-10-in-Corded-Table-Saw-GTS1031/202716940 and this dewalt http://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-15-Amp-10-in-Compact-Job-Site-Table-Saw-with-Site-Pro-Modular-Guarding-System-DWE7480/204511988 and it looked “beefier” than either. I see it gets good reviews, BUT apparently they had (still have?) a tendency to fry their motors. And speaking of motors, I agree about the NOISE! I still have my Dewalt planer, works very well, but my god that thing’s loud. I don’t even turn it on (let alone plane anything) without ear muff type hearing protectors. I’m guessing that noise is going to be part of the experience with ANY of these brush type motors.

One thing I won’t compromise on is a saw with STANDARD miter gauge slots, so I can use things like a tenoning jig. That is, assuming you CAN use one effectively on such a small table top.

Dan

View MrUnix's profile

MrUnix

7357 posts in 2558 days


#19 posted 09-04-2016 01:56 AM

[...] the massive WEIGHT of a cabinet saw is also an issue, especially if you re in a set up where you d have to be moving it frequently. And ESPECIALLY if you re as impatient as I am! ;-) But mostly, it s cost.

Just something to keep in mind… with a mobile base, it’s pretty easy to move them around. My saw lives in the garage and has to be moved out every time it’s used. The mobile base makes it pretty easy. As for cost… the Unisaw above was purchased for less than that Dewalt saw you linked to in the first post sells for ;-)

I see it gets good reviews, BUT apparently they had (still have?) a tendency to fry their motors. And speaking of motors, I agree about the NOISE!

Most all of those little plastic saws with the universal motors have two things in common; 1) they are loud… really loud. And 2) they have plastic motor housings that also house the rear bearing. It only takes a little bit of heat to get the plastic to warp and deform, which will quickly tear up the motor. This is a typical motor (out of that Craftsman saw you were looking at):

And here is what happens to the rear bearing housing if pushed too hard:

Kind of hard to see, but the housing is melted/deformed and basically trashed. It allowed enough play in the rear bearing to let the rotor make contact with the windings – resulting in a nice shower of sparkles shooting out the end of the thing. The only way to fix it would be to replace the plastic motor housing, which costs as much as the motor, which costs about as much as the whole saw.

Cheers,
Brad

PS: The footprint comparison wasn’t to encourage the purchase of a cabinet saw, just to show that the space issue is not as great as some people may think.

-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View MikesProjects's profile

MikesProjects

172 posts in 2261 days


#20 posted 09-04-2016 03:22 AM


Anyone know of a particularly good review comparing this type of saw?
Thanks again for the input,

Dan

- SSDan

Heres a comparison between 6 or so jobsite table saws
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=idenTvNNdB0

-- -Mike, Southern California, YouTube User ( Give & Take )

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