Portable Table Saw for begginer?

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Forum topic by Steven H posted 01-21-2010 10:13 PM 3596 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Steven H

1117 posts in 4135 days

01-21-2010 10:13 PM

For general use nothing fancy building, what is a good portalbe one for a begginer? I have 460 square foot garage. At this time there is not enough oulets and space. My budget is around $300-400.

17 replies so far

View JimmyNate's profile


124 posts in 4425 days

#1 posted 01-21-2010 10:28 PM

The fence is the key. In this price range, you’ll find little variety in terms of quality from one brand to another, and you can upgrade the stock blades. Where you’ll see the biggest performance difference is if you can budget your way into a saw with a good fence…maybe a new $200 saw and a used high quality fence for $200 more.

-- "We are what we repeatedly do; excellence then is not an act but a habit." ---Aristotle

View davidpettinger's profile


661 posts in 4275 days

#2 posted 01-21-2010 11:19 PM
Although these are reconditioned tools, they are still first class. I have bought several of the tools and have been impressed with them. Read the warranty, call them, they are helpful and the price is right.

-- Methods are many,Principles are few.Methods change often,Principles never do.

View juicegoose's profile


118 posts in 4137 days

#3 posted 01-22-2010 12:30 AM

Although its a little outside your budget I can not speak highly enough about the Bosch 4100. The saw is feature rich for a portable saw and the fence has stayed dead on accurate. Theres a reason it keeps winning tool tests in it’s class

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4836 days

#4 posted 01-22-2010 12:48 AM

First things first. While it’s tempting to buy tools and “just get started”, You first need to set up your work space in the garage. Typical garages are very short on light and electrical service. At a miniumum you will need a 15 amp circuit for lighting, and another separate circuit for tools, so you won’t be left in total darkness half way thru a cut. (I’ve been there)

I like the new electronic ballast fixtures with T-8 bulbs; ample light, and low power consumption. If the walls and ceiling are finished, paint them white. This will really enhance your visibility, and safety as well. Having a good workbench and shelving for storage is just as important as having your power tools. Study some of the books on setting up small shops.

Send us some pictures.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Alonso's profile


949 posts in 4313 days

#5 posted 01-22-2010 01:13 AM

Just a few words

Ridgid R4511 now on clearance for $299

It is portable (Herc-U-Lift system)
Nice big granite table
Strong Enough
Can be converted to 220V
Good dust collection
Nice fence
Cabinet-Mounted Trunnion

Do I miss something?

oh yes

Ridgid Lifetime service agreement….

-- The things I make may be for others, but how I make them is for me.

View Steven H's profile

Steven H

1117 posts in 4135 days

#6 posted 01-22-2010 05:17 AM

@8iowa How easy it it to add new outlets? I notice the garage is on 15 amp circuit connected to bathroom also.

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4960 days

#7 posted 01-22-2010 05:44 AM

LOOK AT THE RIDIGID it’s a very nice saw.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4836 days

#8 posted 01-22-2010 06:21 AM


If the circuit breaker box is in the garage, and the walls are unfinished, It would be easy to add new breakers and run 14 ga romex (15 amp circuit) thru the studs to various locations on the walls of the garage.

However, if the breaker box is located elsewhere, and/or the walls are finished, you will have to have an electrician install a new breaker box in your garage. Then you can run shielded cable to recepticles mounted on the wall. You can also use shielded cable on the ceiling to connect to your light fixtures. Check your local codes first.

If at all possible, it’s great to have a breaker box in the garage. Once it’s there, you can do most of the work yourself, and this will also give you the possibility to add 240V recepticles in the future.

In my “Workshop in the Woods”, on the ceiling, I have placed nine 4 ft T-8 fixtures and six incandescent fixtures. Having good light really makes a big difference.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

1527 posts in 5200 days

#9 posted 01-22-2010 08:14 AM

Let me also beat the “how about a circular saw on a rail?” drum. Different from a tablesaw, but way useful.

An add to 8iowa, I’d run 12ga wire and 20 amp circuits, just because some of my tools have 20 amp plugs and really do draw on the high end of 15 amps.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California,

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 4212 days

#10 posted 01-22-2010 08:16 AM

I would use 12 gauge romex. If I can add my 2 cents worth.

View 8iowa's profile


1591 posts in 4836 days

#11 posted 01-22-2010 04:11 PM

For my “Workshop in the Woods” I did run 12 gauge romex to the recepticles, spaced about 5’ apart and 42” high off the floor. However, I had to have 15 amp recepticles. 20 amp recepticles would have placed me in the “commercial” category according to the State of Michigan electrical inspector. On each circuit line The first recepticle had to be a GFI. Even if you do this work yourself, you do need to check your local codes.

For lighting in the ceiling, which definitely should be on a separate breaker, 15 amp 14 gauge is all you need.

-- "Heaven is North of the Bridge"

View toolman's profile


45 posts in 4678 days

#12 posted 01-22-2010 05:33 PM

You can look at portable circular saws also! We have a nice description of how they work and what to look for in different products offered!

-- Toolman -

View Chris Wright's profile

Chris Wright

541 posts in 4556 days

#13 posted 01-22-2010 05:53 PM

I’ve used the older version of this Ryobi

It didn’t have the sliding table, but other then that it’s pretty much the same. It was a good little saw and fold up small and is easy to move and set back up.

-- "At its best, life is completely unpredictable." - Christopher Walken

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4537 days

#14 posted 01-22-2010 06:04 PM

I dont think that by getting a small, portable saw just to jump and get your feet wet on is a good thing. The smaller saws, for the most part, are not very accurate and you may just get frustrated and not want to continue. I would find a used cabinet or contractors saw with 1 1/2 to 2 hp and a good fence. They are overly abundant on craigslist and can be picked up for $200-$400. Read everything you can on setting up shop and woodworking equipment. If you have a Woodcraft locally, attend classes. Practice safety from the start. Eye protection, puch sticks and feather boards are a must as well as common sense. You have started your journey off right by coming here to LJ’s. Good luck with your decisions and your future projects

-- My job is to give my kids things to discuss with their [email protected]

View Jim K's profile

Jim K

94 posts in 4212 days

#15 posted 01-24-2010 04:23 AM

I have not good luck with G.F.I. outlets. the test button usually stops working a couple of years down the road. Personally use a G.F.I. breaker More money but in the long run will work all the time. Biowa No disrespect intended Your location how many inspector do you run into?


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