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Has anyone noticed that it is getting more and more difficult to get hands-on for a table saw before buying? Maybe those of you near cities don't have this problem, but here in Maine, it's very difficult. I was interested in looking at Ridgid contractor or hybrid table saws - all that Home Depot in the three locations nearest me carry are the portable or benchtops. Wanted to look at the Craftsman 22116 hybrid and 22114 contractor saws but none of the Sears around here have any of the higher end models on display. Not to mention that the saws in which I was most interested have been discontinued - Ridgid R4511 and Craftsman 22124 - story of my life!!

Other than a Rockler over 1-1/2 hours away, I can't find anyplace to touch and drool! And I certainly want to do that before laying out the $$$$ for a new table saw. Guess it's just one of the disadvantages of living in the sticks (but the advantages outweigh disadvantages so I'm staying)!!!

Jim
 

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every time i go to box stores ,
half of the tools are missing knobs ,
or the guards are twisted ,
the wrenches gone ,
and no manuals to see what comes with them or they can do .
and none of the sales people seem to know a thing about any of them .
i wind up helping some guy explaining to him what to look for in a tool.
maybe keep your eyes peeled on the sales , on the net , like now for fathers day ,
thanksgiving and Christmas .
i too won't go back to the city , to much rushing , and to little friendliness .
 

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Ive been shopping for a new table saw for a few months now.
I've found saws not set up correctly, missing parts etc. Drove 1 1/2 hours intent on buying a saw only to find the fence stuck and extension tables not lined up on the display model. Thats half-way understandable i guess but add to that the dont-give-a-crap attitude i get from the sales guy and youll see the back of my head as me and my wallet leave.
Dont even get me started on sears, they've given me nothing but grief lately.
It's the ebay,amazon, buy stuff sight unseen and pray it works when it arrives age. Sales staff dont seem to think they actually have to SELL a product.
They think the fact that its a [insert major brand name] in [insert major retailer name] should be enough. who cares that the blade guard is laying on the band saw next to it and the fence is laying on the ground. im waiting for the day when the fence on the ridgid jointer in my local HD falls on someones foot and they sue. Im afraid to walk near it as its about to fall off and has been that way for months. One good bump and its gonna fall off and break someones foot.
 

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The local hardware stores are jokes around here. Admittedly, I haven't been shopping for stationary tools (I'd have nowhere to put them), but the biggest local Lowes and the only remaining Home Depot are the only ones to even have portable contractor tablesaws. Actually, I guess Menards carries the Bosch and the Masterforce Bosch clone. The HD worker policy seems to be stay the hell away from the customer. While Lowes associates are more engaging, the last one was an elderly gentleman that came over to feed me all sorts of misinformation while I was comparing the feel of impact drivers in my hand.

My least favorite is the local Woodcraft; they do a great job making me feel like I don't belong, and seem to be the last people to suggest somewhere else to look for something if they don't have it. Do they have a SawStop and an army of large drill presses? Yes. Are they my only Festool dealer within 100 miles? Yes.

There's a little local place though, Oak Tree, that's really quite friendly. However, they don't seem to actually stock any big tools, though they sell used tools and sell various things on consignment.
 

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I gave up on the big box stores around where … they have pretty much quit carrying stationary tools altogether. They can order them, but all they have on display are benchtop models and portables. HD has one pathetic bandsaw on display in their clearance area and as Patron said, it is missing so many parts it is hard to tell what you would actually be buying.

I think it is a sign of the times and the economy. It costs more to stock these items and is a more complicated / expensive floor plan.

I don't have to go the big city to shop for tools … we have a tool and machine shop (A-Line Machine Tool, La Crosse, WI) that carries tools from several major tool groups and always has floor models on display in their showroom and shop area. Last time I was in there, they had a bunch of table saws on display … Delta, PowerMatic, Jet, Steel City, etc. The staff there is very knowledgeable, and can actually answer just about any question you put to them. This shop also sponsors Saturday morning 'seminars' during the winter months where they bring in experts and give demonstrations on a wide range of techniques. Sure … they make sales pitches during these 'seminars', but the information is always good, they usually have hand-outs and price drawings, and the coffee and rolls are always welcome on a cold winter morning. My table saw, band saw, mortiser, PC690 router, and my Freud blades all came from that shop. They are competitive on price, and even on special orders they don't charge shipping!
 

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Jim, FWIW I have read less then stellar things about the granite top saws. I have read about cracks and the fact that they aren't very slippery. I have also read that Ridgid and Sears have made blade access a 4 screw affair instead of the old quick clips like on the 4650. Any reason why you are looking at the granite top saws in particular?

And I'll tell you this, as a fella who has lived in Buffalo, San Diego, and the LA area, who now lives in the boonies… I love living in the sticks.It is awesome to be able to walk out my back door with my rifle or my bow and just start shootin'
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Don't get me wrong, people, I love living in the sticks; in fact, the further I can get away from civilization, the better I like it. My ideal home is a place with porches on all four sides where I can walk out and fire off a 30.06 without fear of hitting anyone! I was just bemoaning the fact that it is very difficult any more to do the 'kick the tires' business when looking to make a major power tool purchase.

sandt38, it is for just these reasons that I would like to be able to kick the tires before considering buying. Nowhere in the literature does it mention that accessing the blade involves removing screws; nor have I found mention in the literature whether the trunions are top-mounted or cabinet-mounted. I'm not specifically looking at saws with granite tops, it was just these two that caught my interest because of reviews and features. I grew up with granite - we lived at the base of a granite quarry hill - and every time I stuck a shovel in the ground, I found granite! I think granite is getting a bad rap on these saws - granite is extremely strong but because of its mass/weight, granite must be reliably supported. If not, it will crack. And I also wonder how many actual cases there have been of cracked granite tops and if these were the result of use or of shipping. The internet facilitates one or two reported incidents of something being related through blogs, forums, whatever, so that it ends up sounding like the reported incident is commonplace, whereas in actuality it only happened a relatively few times.
 

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Jim:

http://www.sawmillcreek.org/showthread.php?t=123315

I had assumed the granite would be better then the cast iron tops, and contemplated getting the Ridgid and upgrading from my 4650. Don't get me wrong, I love my 4650, and don't think i will be changing it any time soon, but I found one on CL for a stunning price and thought… maybe i will upgrade. But after reading a few somewhat negative reviews on the granite tops I decided to steer clear and stick with my 4650. I think the only thing I will be doing is upgrading to one of the incra fence systems. But I figured since it was quite recently that I started looking, I would share what i found.

Yes, I agree that the issues could be shipping, installation, or user issues, but they are issues you don't really hear of with cast iron, so I figured I would mention them. And yes, I agree it is more common for people to toss negative views of something around then positive, so I take that with a grain of salt… but still, i figured they were of worthy mention.

Good luck in your hunt, and FWIW, I will say it again, I love my Ridgid saw.
 

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Is there a Woodcraft in the neighborhood. They have a lot of saws on the floor here. Also is there a WoodWorking show in a city near you. Most of the time, there are a lot of saws that are being demonstrated.

Domer
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Domer, no to both of your questions. Nearest Woodcraft is 3-1/2 to 4 hours from me (not round trip - one way) and other than going to Boston, or beyond, no woodworking shows. With severe chronic back pain (20+ years) and two arthritic knees, I don't travel well. Not excuses, just points of fact.

Jim
 

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Come on out to our tree farm guys. Shoot all you want. Nobody will care. Beter bring a generator or hand saw, though:)) All who live out there have solar and generators.

I waas at HD to get breakers today. Paid a bit more attention to the stationary tool section. It is all pictures with a boxed up one underneth.
 

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First I have worked for HD and Lowes. I retired from construction and wanted a part time job to pay for my toys.
Hah, retail is brutal for a start. Second, I went to work at HD expecting to be in the plumbing dept.(30+ years of experience) they put me in the home and garden which I despise and know very very little about. Duh. Lowes was a little better except I had 9 aisles to cover in plumbing-try that on a Saturday morning by yourself. These people hire managerial people that don't have a D#[email protected] clue much less any experience and put them in positions they aren't qualified for.No wonder the employees don't have any incentive other than work or get fired!
Woodcraft, I've had good experiences and bad. One store was more interested in "getting your shirt collar size" that selling something.Local store where I live now(Florida) great service,nice people,knowledgeable people.
Guess that all depends where you are.
Jim appears to be like I am. If I'm going to spend the bucks.I want to see what I'm getting and if I ask questions I want someone that knows what they are doing. If I knew I wouldn't ask the question.
That's my soapbox for today-- have a great day everyone.
 

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I can relate to the touchy feely thing myself. I drove 5 hrs to get mine from Grizzly. It was a kid in the candy shoppe feeling to say the least. But was well worth the trip for all the things I bought. Like A1Jim said I'll trade a place in the sticks for a table saw any day. Good Luck in your search.
 

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I am lucky to have a couple options for shopping for tools in Columbus Ohio. I have worked at woodcraft and have been involved in woodworking shows and I believe that the tool shootouts and comparrisons in the woodworking magizines are accurate and a great comparrison tool when selecting equipment. you can take their advice and shop by mail. Jim
 
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