A note for those just getting started ... Don't do it!

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Review by RayW posted 01-20-2008 04:31 PM 4700 views 0 times favorited 20 comments Add to Favorites Watch
A note for those just getting started ... Don't do it! No-picture-s No-picture-s Click the pictures to enlarge them

I learned basic woodworking from an uncle many years ago while helping him remodel his him. I was an enjoyable time for me I loved the smell of the wood shop and was constantly learning. My uncle was a cabinet and furniture maker, with a long waiting list, in his spare time so he had all the equipment you can dream of.

Well, it’s 20 years later now and I’m working a desk job in IT and need a hobby that is not at a computer and I remembered the smell of the fresh cut wood. So in preparation for my new hobby I told everyone “for Christmas just get me gift certificates to Home Depot”, still a great store that I use all the time.

I did a little looking around and decided that since what I wanted to get into doing was box making I really didn’t need “big” tools and what seemed to be the king of small tools at the time was Ryobi. I was impressed, I was able set up my shop for under $500. Table Saw, Band Saw, Plunge Router (I still have this one an love it btw) and a few other miscellaneous tools such as sanders and such.

The first thing I set out on was making some jigs, that went fairly well but the I ran into an issue right away on my cut off sled. Ryobi did not use standard miter slot sizes, so I had to hand make the miter runner for my sled and that also meant none of the good after market miters would work with it either.

I mad a few small projects with it, a shadow box and a few boxes, all of which were just not quite right. I chalked it up to re-learning. But my next project was a little different, my wife wanted some picture rails make for a room in the basement. No problem says I, the newly ordained woodworker. I measured, drew out a plan, got approval on the design (a necessary step with this customer), and went to the lumber store.

When I got back I measured everything again and set up my table saw. I set the fence at 2-3/8” for the long cut of the top board, ran the board through and it looked odd … I measured it, 2-3/8” on one end and 2-3/4 on the other … it was only 30” long so it was noticeable. I re-measured the fence, it had moved 3/8” in a 30” cut! Thinking it must be loose some how I set about tightening things up a bit, I set the fence, and ran the board through again, wide side first, now both end are 2-3/8” but the middle is still off …. checked the fence again, it had moved again. I wound up using a board, that I added cleats too, clamped to the of the say as a fence to get past this project. I called my uncle for advice, which I followed and went out and bought a real table saw, a Delta 10” Contractor Table Saw with a BIESEMEYER Fence. I have been happy with that every since.

So the bottom line advice is if you’re just starting, sometimes you get exactly what you pay for, I will never buy another Ryobi tool even though I’m happy with the plunge router.

once bitten

-- Amateur at best

View RayW's profile


3 posts in 4845 days

20 comments so far

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 4650 days

#1 posted 01-20-2008 04:37 PM

I think most of us had to learn that lesson the hard way.

View Moron's profile


5048 posts in 4668 days

#2 posted 01-20-2008 04:46 PM

buy once

cry once

never cry again

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 4763 days

#3 posted 01-20-2008 04:59 PM

Reminds me of my first. An Ohio Forge from HD about 13 years ago.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Duvidel's profile


1 post in 4554 days

#4 posted 01-20-2008 09:00 PM

Which model did you buy? I was actually planning to get a Ryobi tablesaw, but now I have to reconsider!

View firewood4u's profile


1 post in 4597 days

#5 posted 01-20-2008 09:25 PM

Reminds me of my old Sears contractor type table saw. I’ll say one thing about that saw, it taught me alot about kickbacks, burnt wood, low power, and mysterious moveable fence-the worst of it. I too got myself a Delta Contractors’s saw and said “Wow” what have I been missing. Gave,didn’t sell, the sears saw to the gardner. By the way that Delta TS ended up embedded in my wife’s brand new Honda CRV when a run away car crashed into my garage shop and totally demolished my shop. P.S. The insurance money helped me to finally get a Deltga Unisaw, and as the saying goes: “The rest is just heaven!”

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 4714 days

#6 posted 01-20-2008 09:52 PM

If you can buy other than Ryobi, do it. However, I made two set of kitchen cabinets with a $99 Ryobi table saw and knowing what I know now I can look back and say it was a bit of a bother. Fortunately, I didn’t know any better then and worked around whatever I needed to. If you’re dipping your toes in the water, it might be useful, but you’ll soon outgrow it.

-- Working at Woodworking

View dalec's profile


612 posts in 4663 days

#7 posted 01-20-2008 11:15 PM

We learn as we go and few of us get it right the first time. As I think about it, I don’t know if I would have gotten off the ground without just buying a saw.

Glad you were able to find a table saw that your are happy with and does what you want.


View WoodWright's profile


20 posts in 4851 days

#8 posted 01-22-2008 11:39 PM

I learned so long ago I can’t remember when, that I just can’t afford less than the best available when it comes to tools of any kind.

Since it is the fool (no offense) who learns by his own mistakes and the wise man who learns from the mistakes of others, let these words-to-the-wise be sufficient: Delta, Porter Cable, DeWalt (pro line), Skil.

Milwaukee has been sold to a Communist Chinese holding & manufacturing company. Too much of Delta is now Made In China but it’s still light-years better than Ryobi, etc. Then again, so is parmesan cheese.
Festool and Fein have some wonderful but PRICEY innovations, for those to whom money is no object.

“Delta” machines with letter-numeral catalog numbers like SM400 are all actually Black & Decker, Made-In-China toys for the Ryobi/Makita crowd (illegal aliens who no comprenden Ingles), merely labeled & painted “Delta.”

Harsh? That’s our current “free” (government-trashed) market nowadays. Watch your back, AND your wallet.

Caveat emptor.

View CharlieM1958's profile


16286 posts in 4993 days

#9 posted 01-22-2008 11:54 PM

I’ve been using that same saw for several years. I keep telling myself it is time to upgrade, but there is always some tool I want more. :-)

The fence totally sucks, but you can work around it with a bit of extra effort. measuring, and sometimes clamping to hold the darn thing in place.

I would not recommend this saw to anyone who was already serious about woodworking. But if you are just looking to test the waters and see if you like the hobby, it’s not really a bad choice. If you find out you’re not really into woodworking after all, you’re only out $100.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View scoobydooo9r's profile


187 posts in 4551 days

#10 posted 01-24-2008 09:49 AM

I too fell victim of the big box lights and Ryobi cheapness. I bought the BT3100, which seemed like a great deal. It has a sliding table, seems like a great deal for $350. Well, then you realize that miter slots are a nice thing to have, and the corrugated aluminum table top is less than satisfactory in real world applications. I honestly can’t complain too much about the fence, though. Deflection was not a big problem, and it never slipped. The biggest problem with this saw is the location of the blade in respect to the table top. There is so little room in front of the blade, that it makes so many operations highly difficult. Plus, I decided to put casters on the legs, had the sliding table portion hanging on the “convenient” hangers on the side of the saw, and went to tilt the saw to move it on the casters (positioned way up the side of the leg making you have to tilt the saw about 25 degrees), and the slider table fell off and literally shattered into pieces. I still can’t get it completely fixed after buying new plastic clip things that hold it together. I would save the hassle, and put the $350 towards a contractor saw with a respectable cast iron table. Oh, and don’t put casters on the side of a saw which require you to tilt it to move.

-- I don't make mistakes, I make design challenges!

View grovemadman's profile


556 posts in 4547 days

#11 posted 03-04-2008 12:34 PM

I have this saw now and it is limited to say the least. You could work around a lot of problems but it is a hassle. I am lucky that my uncle has a nice Ridgid contractor saw only ten minutes from my shop. It just so happens he has the 14” Delta x5 bandsaw and the dewalt 3 knive 2 sped thickness planer too, so I just go over there if I want to make something nice. I bought mine for $65 from a guy who used it to build a deck. I mainly use mine to rip MDF base molding for window trim and I need something portable. I’ll keep mine for that reason but I wouldn’t recommend one of these to an enemy!

-- --Chuck

View mark's profile


36 posts in 4936 days

#12 posted 03-11-2008 09:29 PM

I have several of the smaller Ryobi tools and am glad that I decided to stay away from them. I have to say their drills and other small tools have worked fairly well for the price so far. I think one just has to be careful and cautious no matter what tool they are considering purchasing. I have tools from Sears, Ryobi, Porter Cable, Jet, General, and Steel City. So far I have really been impressed with Steel City.

-- Mark, Norfolk, VA

View woodcravings's profile


6 posts in 4204 days

#13 posted 01-05-2009 05:17 PM

I picked up this saw just before Christmas to test the woodworking waters. I had made a trip to the local Woodcraft store and talked to someone there about table saws, so I knew this wouldn’t be a “serious use” table saw. However, I didn’t want to drop several hundred dollars to test the waters.

For $100 I’m not too disappointed, but I can see why there’s such a large price difference between this saw and others. I’m building a glider that’s not too complicated, but when you try to rip anything over about 12 inches, the distance from the front of the saw to the blade is too short. You can’t always get a straight approach into the blade because it’s not always easy to determine whether you’re completely parallel to the fence. A couple of times, I’ve just clamped an 8’ 2×4 to the fence to give me better alignment.

I’ve only had one problem with the fence slipping, but easily corrected that by only applying moderate pressure perpendicular to the fence. With that in mind, I can make reproducible cuts without needing to keep readjusting the fence.

The miter gauge has a lot of “slop” in its fit into the miter track. I’ve managed to get pretty consistent cuts by paying close attention and applying consistent pressure to the gauge as I move it forward, but you do need to pay close attention.

There are a couple more projects I will probably tackle with this saw (some basement storage shelves and Adirondack chairs), but if I were to take on something more advanced I’d look at upgrading. By that time, the waters should be pretty well tested.

-- Neal

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3970 days

#14 posted 09-02-2009 08:05 PM

Being new to woodworking this was my first table saw purchase, and still is :( I was very happy with it for the first few weeks, but as I learned more and more about features it was lacking I wished I waited before purchasing. The price and size of it is what sold me. Since I work out of my garage I have to be able to move everything to the sides so that two cars can still get in. I can’t wait to upgrade this to at least a better contractors saw.

The fence is not accurate at all so I just rely on it for a starting point of measuring, and then I use an accurate combination square for final measurements. Also, as said before from other reviewers, the miter track is not standard size which is really bugging me. I had to make my own wood rails to use in the tracks for a cross-cut sled.
Finally, there is no dust collection of any kind with it. My wife sewed a nice canvas bag that I put under it and drilled a hole in one of the side plastic vents to accept a shop vac. This has greatly reduced the amount of saw dust accumulating around the shop and amount of vaccuming needed afterwards.

I recently upgraded the blade to a Forrest Custom Woodworker II which costs slightly more than the entire table saw itself. I figured that if I was going to have to use this saw for a while before I can upgrade it, than it better have a good cut at least. The new blade is sooooo much quieter than the stock one, and produces a thin smooth kerf. I can’t wait to move this blade into a better table saw. Hopefully sooner than later.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View a1Jim's profile


118066 posts in 4352 days

#15 posted 09-02-2009 11:32 PM

I don’t know that it’s just Ryobi it’s the price range you buy in .I had a Ryobi Bt 3000 that was a darn good little saw for the price rang it was in .I used it for a couple of year when I started woodworking. The saw you have now is a much better saw and more powerful too.


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