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Hi lumberjocks,
I'm looking for some collective wisdom in sorting out the saws in the title.

Quick background: About a year ago I sold the property I had and when I did I had to part with a Unisaw that I had. It was too big to keep and it was 3 phase which I wouldn't have at the next house. While it was a heavy piece of gear, I honestly wasn't that impressed with it. I know, Van Gogh and Da Vinci owned one… but seriously here were my thoughts:
- It was super heavy and that made it stable.
- Mine had some sort of motor issue, the motor would bog down and stall under moderate load (Pine 2×4).
- It was not a power supply issue, I had 400A 3ph and it was on a 30A circuit with 10ga conductors.
- Dust collection sucked.
- It came with an overhead Biesemeyer, but frankly that thing was clunky and I didn't like it.
- I liked the biesemeyer fence, but thought that having a clamp at only one end was less than optimal.
- I couldn't mount a blade guard to mine. Ordered a part from Delta and it didn't fit and finally concluded that I had an early saw.
- I did add a digital fence readout (Wixey WR700) and that was amazing…. totally want one on my next saw.

So that brings me to the post topic. I'm rebuilding a house and about to get to cabinet work. I'm an ambitious amateur with woodworking. I do okay with welding, construction, etc and have a personal goal/desire to build my cabinets. I used to own a Hurco CNC Mill and have some machining experience which is really baggage in woodworking. :) I try to make cuts with .005" tolerances lol. I have time and enough space. I will be building cabinets for 3 bathrooms, a kitchen, utility room, and custom aquarium enclosure. I may buy the doors and drawer faces if they turn out to be too difficult for my skill level, but I am going to give it a try and I think I can do it. I might waste some wood figuring it out, but that's okay.

My current gear is:
Dewalt DW735X planer with custom cart/stand
Grizzly G0555LANV bandsaw with riser block. I added casters to it and my back thanks me.
Grizzly G0452P jointer.
DIY101 Dust Collector….
Separator lives on but will need a new vacuum source, last one was 3 phase.
China666 Drill Press - similar to Grizzly G7942… it works, it's not pretty.
Hitachi C12FDH miter saw with Dewalt DWX723 stand
A few assorted routers (Makita, Horrible Freight, Hitachi, Ryobi)

I'm planning to buy a Dewalt DWS520 track saw to handle sheet goods and their breakdown.

I really like Grizzly's Outfeed Roller System G1317 and their Sliding Table T10223.

I'm not sure how much I need the roller or slide accessories.

The biggest thing I see myself cutting is a box side at about 30 tall. I expect to plan out my cuts and adjust equipment and make all the similar cuts.

I do not plan to use the table saw for dado cuts or cutting grooves. I tried that with the Unisaw and found it very hard to do. I plan to buy a router table or router table insert for a saw.

I think the R4512 would probably be just fine. My current table saw is a Ryobi BTS20. It's too light. I spent some time to tweak the fence and put a Freud blade on it. I'm leery of the Ridgid being owned by Home Depot which also makes Ryobi. They just love to cut corners and the cost difference in the Ridgid and Grizzly isn't significant.

At the high end, I'd like the Sawstop. While it might save my fingers it rips off my wallet instead.

I'm nearly certain that I will put a digital fence Wixey WR700 on any saw that I buy. It was the single best thing I've done to a saw.

What I'm hoping for from this post is insight from folks who have owned one or more of these saws. My hunch right now is that the Ridgid would work, but might not be enough saw. The Sawstop is probably the safest option as my hands are important to me… I've never been hurt, but I don't have any spare fingers. The Grizzly saws are tough for me… great value, solid saws if they are anything like the other Grizzly gear I have… nice accessories, but I can't tell the difference between the two for what I'm doing.
 

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Yup.. sounds like your Uni was in need of some love and you didn't know how to or didn't want to address the obvious problems.

Cheers,
Brad
 

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I have owned a Craftsman 21833, which is identical to the Ridgid 4512 except for the paint and motor.
It is a piece of shit.
Run, do not walk away from any saw with Ridgid on it.
Cheap, inferior design, shoddy workmanship, mis-aligned machining on the whimpy cheap ass trunions. And no support at all from Ridgid. They won't even admit that the saws have a problem and there are bad reviews all over the internet about the alignment issues.

The only other saw I have used was an industrial 3 phase 12" Powermatic at work and a little 8" Craftsman contractor saw at my Dad's.

I think if I was in your shoes I'd seriously look at a Grizzly G1023. Maybe the one with the router table extension.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yea, I think it was probably a bum Unisaw. Aside from it's performance issues, I just wasn't that impressed with the saw itself. I thought it was serious overkill.

I've been reading reviews on the $aw$top all evening. Looks like I can do without it. I have good work habits and treat the blade like it's going to get me…. I am extremely careful around my tablesaw.

I'm leaning towards the G0771….but I like the fence on the 715p. Sigh. It would be simpler if the saw ran on 120v.
 

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I'll tell you before anybody else does because I have a machinist background too.

If you want precision cuts, you want a cabinet saw. It's just that simple.

They are not overkill for the work, just maybe the wallet. I just picked up a used right tilt Unisaw. I'm coming off a craftsman contractor saw and there's no way I would even dream of getting the precision out of it that I'm going to get with this Unisaw. That's when my Incra setup gets here that is. I've done some cross cuts dialing in my Incra mitre gauge and can already tell it's night/day different than any contract saw I've ever used.

Contractor saws are for hauling around and framing houses. The Rigid, Grizz 715, etc. are just contractor saws dressed up. They just aren't designed for the work you and I want to do. If you are on a budget get the Grizzly G1023. That's what I was within a day of picking up at Grizzly when I happened to stumble onto this Unisaw. I've not used a Sawstop, but from those I've cast an eye on they look like quality. I personally just couldn't buy one when I could get 2 new Grizzly G1023s for the same money. I still need jointer and planer. Jointer will likely be Grizz unless I stumble onto another deal (not my usual luck) and I'm looking hard at Woodmaster for a planer.

Check out knottscott's saw comparison thread. He knows his stuff.

Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Shadowrider,
Great advice. I'm not buying another Unisaw. I think a Hybrid saw will be accurate enough for making cabinets.

I actually stumbled on to the Eureka Zone stuff and am seriously considering their EZ-One table/track saw system. It would solve my largest problem which is ripping panels and it's a better way to do it then wrestling with a saw and it's attachments. There was another Canadian option very similar to Eureka Zone, but I can't find it now.
 

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Oh yes, the hybrids definitely are enough for cabinets if you can get it dialed in. If you can do that, the Grizzly contractor or hybrids will do nicely, just be aware that it may be difficult and frustrating getting to that point. Probably less so with a Grizz than the others you mentioned except maybe for the Sawstop.

That track saw setup is a whole different animal and looks to be only really suited for ply/sheet products. It's definitely different, I'll give it that. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Sheetgoods are what genuinely scare me. I tried making the tablesaw capable of handling them with my unisaw. I was partly successful. I just do not have the space to give up on my floor and even if I did I don't use it enough.

What I need is to be able to setup my garage to be a cabinet shop for a few weeks, and then get my garage back when I'm done. A hybrid has this possibility.

I built a panel saw one time and it was functional, but not accurate. I bought my current table saw to rip down Baltic Birch 1/8 and 1/4 ply from when I had an engraving business. I used to buy a bunch and cut it down to my laser engraver's table size. That was terrifying so I built a panel saw.

Thicker sheet goods on a more powerful tablesaw are just begging for trouble. It's just a matter of time before something horrible happens that belongs in a sawstop commercial.

Something like http://www.amazon.com/Safety-Speed-Manufacturing-PR02K-Vertical/dp/B004NDV5ZO/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1426197363&sr=8-6&keywords=panel+saw would do great…. but where would I put it when I was done? And what else can it do?

I considered a track saw… but the prospect of manually aligning the track to make cuts is not appealing. For one off stuff it sounds great. The secret to accuracy is one setup with a bunch of cuts or being able to simplify the task… at least in my mind it is.

What I like about the Eureka Zone solution is that it looks like it could be put away or at least do something else besides being an industrial coat rack and professional grade dust catcher. Being able to set stops on it means I could do one setup and then feed material through it and make my cuts. The router attachment is intriguing, but I still think I'd need a router table. I really like what they did with the picture frame though. I can definately see some benefits to that for certain things. For cabinet making, and cope and stick doors I still see a need for a router table. I tried making one of those once too and it didn't go so well, so i'll buy one the next time.
 

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If one is working with large pieces like that AND is space constrained, and it sounds like both fit your situation, a setup like that might be the way to go. But for general woodworking like most of us do it's just not really feasible in my mind.

I'm pretty space constrained too, I have a two car garage and can only get one car in it as it is. I put my Unisaw on a roller base and when I bought it had only one CI table extension which was perfect for my plans. The side without the CI table extension had a long extended table along with a 60" Unifence. The guy I bought it from was cool selling that long table, fence, blade guard setup separately because I was planning on running an Incra TS-LS fence and router table from the outset, so I just ordered the whole combo pack from them. The stars must have aligned for once.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
The manufacturer is Toronto Tool. They have some particularly neat roller stands:
http://www.torontotool.com/shop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=24&cat=Professional+Work+Stands

They also make what appears to be a predecessor to the Pro-Cut, which is a Saw / Router Guide which is less expensive and less complicated:
http://www.torontotool.com/shop/shopdisplayproducts.asp?id=22&cat=SRG-50

Hmm…. and much easier to make.

I think I'm sold on either a track saw or EZ-one style saw. Time to play in Excel and figure out what it would save me if I made one. My real need (as opposed to my tool need aka fantasy) is to safely cut down sheet goods. If I can do it precisely using work stops it will reduce the demand for the table saw, perhaps eliminating the need to do sheet goods on the table saw altogether.

Option 1 would be the Pro-Cut 50 which includes a nice looking Hitachi Circular Saw.

Option 2 would be to buy a EZ one. I'd need a dedicated circular saw because I'm too lazy to mount and unmount my saw and I can get something that will work for $50-$75 and put a good blade in it.

Option 3 would be to buy a track saw and then build a table/jig for it.

My worry with the EZ-one is that the aluminum extrusions look flimsy and it's pretty expensive for what it is. I do like the clamp mechanism they use with their track saw that is mounted to it. It just looks like something I would trip near and grab and have it fall over. It looks an awful lot like 8020 the overpriced industrial aluminum solution.

I like the pro-cut, it's built simply and that means it will be easy to keep it working for a long time. I especially like the handle on the saw trolley. What I do not like is that it does not have a feed stop, so doing repetitive cuts is a drag. It would be relatively easy to build something like this with angle iron and square tube. It's using bearings for trolley wheels, which is okay, but it's sensitive to sawdust accumulation on the rails. It reminds me of a silkscreen press I used to own that was built with off the shelf parts from Grainger by a company called TUFF.
 

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Being in the middle of a refurb myself I had a similar thought and discovered that it wasn't worth the time and cost to make the cabinets. Once I took into account lumber, ply, finishing materials and hardware I would have saved maybe 10.00 a cabinet by making my own assuming I didn't screw up a sheet of ply. The only exception was the double oven cabinet. Just look for where the good contractors buy from. My oven cabinet with ply sides self closing euro hinges and slides was 500 with tax. The cheapest self assembly big box store version was 1100. The normal cabinets were cheaper then ikea and they all came from TN. I am making my own countertops as that does seem to be a real money saver if you want nice looking wood ones.
Now spending the cash on a large planer/moulder and making your own trim is a money saver and opens up a world of wood and design options while saving money and not taking too long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Derosa,
Sometimes it's not about saving money, it's about doing it yourself and getting exactly what you want. Yes, if I compare my material costs with Big Box express, there isn't much of a difference. I think it's hardly fair to compare fiberboard and particleboard with plastic connectors to hardwoods and plywoods. When you start looking at plywood cabinets with mostly drawers and lots of convenience features the cost differences become pretty significant.

I had an argument with my partner about it tonight. He thinks I should buy the cabinets. I've always wanted to build them, I have the time, I have the money, and I have most of the tools. Therefore I will build them. I also know that putting the time into designing cabinets with features that are exactly the way I want them will be very fulfilling for me.
 

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You say you dislike a fence that clamps at only one end. But a solidly built T-square fence is more reliable than one that clamps at the far end. Look at it this way: the only way a far end clamp will work is if it solidly grips something, like a rail. I've never seen one that does (old Sears TS, Delta contractor, Ryobi BT3100). Clamp one of those fences as tight as you can. Then smack it solidly, sideways, with your fist. (I realize somebody may prove me wrong, but that is my experience with them).

And yes, your Unisaw needed some attention. Mine has the 3 hp. Delta motor (single phase), and I've yet to find anything that bogs it down.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I found another company last night called Insight Tool Works. I'm probably going to order their TrueTrac starter. I like them for a few reasons:

1- They have a simple, easy to use website. Information is clearly available and the videos are clear and they have good photos. I'm able to understand their product and they answer most questions.
2- They are using American made parts. I try to support small businesses that are owned by people who are passionate about their business when I can find them.
3- The system works with my choice of circular saws. That means flexibility to me. Flexibility to make changes as my needs change.
4- It looks robust and solid. They have the anti-chip strips setup to act as anti-slip surfaces which reduces the need for clamping. Their clamps are simple and straight forward.
5- It's cheap. $169 for a 57" starter kit.
6- It looks like it will be easy to store and last a long time.
7- It solves my immediate need, breaking down sheet goods.

I'll build a 2×6 frame table for cutting. I estimate that will cost me $60 plus hardware (screws etc.) The table dimensions will be 4×8 feet. With a little help I should be able to relocate the table to the driveway when I bring in the bulk of my sheet goods. I can then use it as an assembly table later on. If it's anything like the tables I've built in the past I will own it for several years.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
You say you dislike a fence that clamps at only one end. But a solidly built T-square fence is more reliable than one that clamps at the far end. Look at it this way: the only way a far end clamp will work is if it solidly grips something, like a rail. I ve never seen one that does (old Sears TS, Delta contractor, Ryobi BT3100). Clamp one of those fences as tight as you can. Then smack it solidly, sideways, with your fist. (I realize somebody may prove me wrong, but that is my experience with them).

And yes, your Unisaw needed some attention. Mine has the 3 hp. Delta motor (single phase), and I ve yet to find anything that bogs it down.

- runswithscissors
You're right, my Unisaw needed some attention. When I bought it I had to rebuild the Biesemeyer fence system. It's a pretty nifty design. The motor cost was why I wound up scrapping the saw when I had to move. The saw was solid and extremely heavy. I don't deny that for the right application it's the ideal tool. I just realized after tuning and building one that it was overkill for my needs. I don't need to drive a Porsche 918 Spyder… http://autoweek.com/article/car-reviews/first-drive-porsche-918-spyder $845,000 list price Goes from Zero to broke in .05 seconds. I have more modest needs and I do fine with a 2013 F-150 V-6 super cab. Granted there are occassionally times where I wish I drove a 4×4 or a v-8 or a turbo diesel or a crew cab. But more than 90% of the time my basic truck does just fine. In the times where I wish I had a bigger truck there is usually a solution to be found.

I think a digital read out on the fence is something that every saw should have. It takes the guess work and aggravation out of trying to make precise cuts. I'll make that investment on the saw I buy. I also happen to be a big fan of Starrett adhesive measuring tapes. I happen to like the dual metric/standard version. They are well made, clearly marked, and easy to read.

I don't regret buying a Unisaw, but I recognized after owning one that it was more than I needed and that there were better options for my needs. It was too heavy to take with me, and too expensive to convert to single phase. It threw dust everywhere and I was unable to easily add modern safety features. I don't have the real estate to dedicate to it, so I got rid of it.

Tablesaw wise, right now I've ruled out the Ridgid. Too many defects.

I like the Grizzly, but it's frustrating that accessories aren't available for all their saws. It's a crap shoot with their Hybrids. One has a good fence and a sliding option, but doesn't work with their outfeed option. The other has a basic fence and outfeed option, but doesn't work with their slider. It also took them 10 days to respond to a pre-sales email.

I'm beginning to wonder if a Sawstop might be worth it in the end. Everyone says they are very nice saws with great support. All of their options are available for pretty much all of their saws. There are some minor issue around cutting through staple or pressure treated lumber. I try pretty hard to keep staples and nails away from my table saw…. I run Freud blades and they aren't designed to cut metal.
 
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