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Forum topic by botanist posted 04-23-2010 04:54 PM 1498 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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167 posts in 4825 days

04-23-2010 04:54 PM

I just got $700 last night from selling my car and I’m looking for ways to beef up my tools. I’m currently using a 50s era Shopsmith as a table saw and I’m less than pleased. The table is too small, the fence goes out of alignment when you tighten it, and at 3/4 horses the saw has trouble going through 3/4 pine without slowing down (even at a slow, even feed rate). I can’t afford the Sawstop contractor saw (even though that’s what I really want) but I’ve seen some good reviews on the Ridgid contractor saw. I also don’t own a planer, a circular saw or a bandsaw (or even a jigsaw), so I don’t know if I should go with the table saw or get a number of smaller tools.

I’m leaning towards a table saw because right now I avoid the Shopsmith like the plague and it’s limiting what I can do. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to spend 30 minutes aligning the fence for each cut and even then not trusting the accuracy. I can’t think about putting expensive hardwoods through this thing because I don’t want to screw up the cut. I don’t think it could handle hardwoods very well without blowing the fuse every time it bogs down or without burning the wood because I have to feed it through sooo slowly. Not to mention the complete lack of modern safety features or dust collection.

Does anyone have any advice for me or suggestions for table saws and/or other tools?

7 replies so far

View patron's profile


13722 posts in 4628 days

#1 posted 04-23-2010 05:18 PM

i’m not familiar with the rigid saw per say ,
but any dedicated table saw is going to be better ,
than what you are going thru .
and as the backbone of the shop ,
i would go with a good table saw first ,
then expand your auxiliary tools as needed .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View MrsN's profile


988 posts in 4813 days

#2 posted 04-23-2010 06:28 PM

I had very bad luck with the fence on my ridgid contractor saw. I haven’t used any others, soit might be a fluke. Other then that it worked great.
My principal was using my shop over the summer, and he hated it. he called me in to sign a PO for a new one. I now have a delta contractor saw. It works very well for the needs of my classes.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 4557 days

#3 posted 04-23-2010 07:01 PM

I use my table saw on almost every project. A TS is good for ripping, dado’s and several other tasks (there are accessories to add almost everything to a TS). The better the saw the less agravation you will have with your projects. That said….I would recommend that you get the best one you can find/afford. I would also recommend that if you have the space – get a cabinet saw. At the top of the lines are Saw Stops (due to quality and Safety – a very big concern IMHO), the Unisaws and the Powermatic’s. The Grizzly brand is a good saw and for a good price. All of the above have contractor’s versions and some have hybrids…if you don’t have the room for a cabinet saw. Remember, if you are not into turning or carving….this will be your go to tool.

-- Woodworking.....My small slice of heaven!

View deeznutz's profile


33 posts in 4307 days

#4 posted 04-23-2010 07:02 PM

I second the recommendation of looking for a used Ridged. I bought a used TS3650 on craigslist for $250 which included a new blade and a freud dado set. I’m willing to be any used saw you buy will take you a little while to go through, make all the necessary adjustments, and get everything all squared up. This was my first table saw and I’m actually glad I went the used route and had to do this…I learned quite a bit about the saw and how to property tune it in the process.

I’ve had it for a year and half now and love it. With the money saved on buying used, I strongly recommend you get a zero clearance insert and a QUALITY miter gauge for it. I got a Kreg one and am happy with it but would probably get something else if I were to do it again.

Just my 2 cents. Good luck!

View NewPickeringWdWrkr's profile


338 posts in 4300 days

#5 posted 04-23-2010 08:06 PM

just make sure it has the standart mitre gauge slots. I have non-standard and so I can’t upgrade to even a halfway decent mitre gauge :-(

-- Mike - Antero's Urban Wood Designs

View MyFathersSon's profile


180 posts in 4600 days

#6 posted 04-23-2010 10:22 PM

Just a ditto on the recommendation of th TS as your primary tool for most types of work.
Can’t give you any specific recommendations on brand or model except to agree with those who say buy best quality you can reasonably afford and the sturdiest you have space for.
My TS’s have always been DIY model ‘benchtop’ saws. They have served my needs—but have their limitations and frustrations.
Beyond that—-
To me it really depends on what type of work you will be doing.
If you are doing a lot of work on sheet goods and large panels you may find it easier to take the tool to the wood—in which case a good quality circular saw, and jig saw, would be invaluable.
In my work—mostly cabinets, tables, bookcases etc—the next most often used tool is my router.

-- Those who insist it can't be done - should politely refrain from interrupting those who are doing it.

View botanist's profile


167 posts in 4825 days

#7 posted 04-23-2010 10:29 PM

With sheet goods I usually cut them down to size (usually by borrowing a circular saw) and then finishing them up with the router or table saw. I don’t trust myself to manipulating a large sheet of plywood on a table saw. For NewPickeringWdWrkr, I understand the problems with non-standard miter gauge slots. I picked up a bench dog featherboard for cheap but couldn’t use it on the Shopsmith. I’d love to buy something used and be able to use the money for other tools and other stuff (like a nice dinner out to thank my wife for supporting my habit), but getting used tools in central IL, especially large ones, is pretty difficult.

Thanks for the advice everyone! You’ve helped me make up my mind. I’m going with the table saw. I just need to find one I like (and can afford).

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