To buy or to wait, Table Saw Dilemma...

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Forum topic by SJD3 posted 06-08-2010 12:57 AM 7100 views 0 times favorited 28 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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11 posts in 3388 days

06-08-2010 12:57 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw rookie craftsman delta jet


Thank you to those that posted welcomes this morning.

Im just starting to get into woodworking, weekend projects and such. Currently Ive done some rough shelving, framed some walls, built 4 computer desks (very basic) and have read a lot about joinery and how/when to use it. Im starting to get the hang of it and I think its time to step up and buy a table saw. I bought a cheap tabletop at Lowes and have been completely disappointing every time I use it.

Ok, so Ive been looking around and just like anyone else the biggest baddest tools are tempting. I would love to get a cabinet saw but with what little room I have as a workshop out of half my garage, needing to wire up 220v, and obviously the cost a cabinet saw is just not the right thing for me At this time I think a Hybrid saw would be great. Its middle of the pack from Cabinet Saws and a Contractors saw.

Right now Im leaning toward a Delta 36-717 Hybrid with a Biesmeyer fence or the 36-717 with T2 fence. I like the boxy style of the fence as Im thinking it would be easier to attach jigging and also double as a router table fence at a later time. These are pricey but do-able. Add in a Frued dado stack and a Woodworker II possibly a mobile base and suddenly Im up in the $1200-1500 range. I justify the price knowing that this is a saw that will last 10 years minimum.

I had seen a couple review of the Jet hybrid but it seems like the Pro Shop series is the only thing available at this time. I like the cabinet style setups more then the leg setups combined with preferring the better end fence. Otherwise this is another option but at nearly the same price I lean more to the Delta.

And then comes the sale…...

So my friend has also been looking into lower end contractor saws. Well he finds Sears is having a sale on the 21833. This is currently marked at $409, with two coupon codes and Bing cash back its looking to get this down in the area of $350 before tax. He has now bought and I helped him put it together and while it looks solid I have seen a few posts about alignment issues. This scares me.

Well, this is where I come to the experts. I believe the price on the 21833 is only good for the next week and the cost has me thinking about using the savings to get a jointer and a planer. Or should I stick to my original plan and get the saw that I think will become family.

Thank you in advance for any advice.

-- Jr.woodworker

28 replies so far

View hairy's profile


2908 posts in 4009 days

#1 posted 06-08-2010 01:07 AM

I will join you in waiting for the experts. What I do is a lot of reading before I buy, get the best I can afford, and take care of it.

If you think something is junk, you’re probably right. Cry once and move on. Good luck!

-- Genghis Khan and his brother Don, couldn't keep on keeping on...

View uffitze's profile


199 posts in 3432 days

#2 posted 06-08-2010 01:13 AM

Usually, I advise people to get the best tools that they can afford. But, assuming that you don’t have an unlimited budget to work with, in this case I might say go with a contractor saw. The primary reason that I say this is because you don’t have a jointer/planer, and while you can work without these tools, most of the ways to do it are work arounds, and the most efficient way to surface wood is with a jointer/planer. So, I say come up with a plan to get all three tools. (Or learn how to surface boards with hand tools.)

Contractor saws are pretty good tools, and you will learn a lot owning and using one. Yeah, you might end up replacing it in 5-10 years, but you might not either. And, in the meantime, you will have added the other tooling (jointer and planer) that you need.

View a1Jim's profile


117708 posts in 4054 days

#3 posted 06-08-2010 01:19 AM

From my experiance Jet and sears saws don’t last You might take a look at Grizzly saws . If your thinking contractor style see if you can find a Ridgid 4511

View SJD3's profile


11 posts in 3388 days

#4 posted 06-08-2010 01:52 AM

Uffitze, I dont have a requirement to buy the table saw right now. I can wait to see if I can find a sale on the Delta models. Im only concerned that the deal on the 21833 wont last long.

I have had the same experience as Jim and while craftsman hand tools last the items with moving parts have generally let me down. While the 21833 says contractors saw, it really is in the hybrid category priced as a contractors saw.

The Ridgid sounds attractive with the granite top, but trying to get one is difficult. And having bought difficult items, when it comes time to buy a spare part its going to be that much more difficult and I may end up with having to replace the item.

I plan on getting a Jointer and Planer as they are obvious tools required to ensure your pieces are flat. At this time I will get the table saw as I can learn how to do joint types on softwoods as well as use the table saw to build storage and workshop items that can have imperfections.

Also, as for the Grizzly, according to the grizzly website they removed the Hybrid that had several good reviews. They now have the G0715P now listed on the site. This is new and as of last week they did not have any Hybrids listed. There are no reviews of this model so it is an unknown at this time.

-- Jr.woodworker

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3552 days

#5 posted 06-08-2010 02:35 AM

Cheap tools are expensive! I once bought a modest Craftsman TS (don’t remember the model number). I put up with it for a while, but eventually I bought a much better TS. The money I had spent on the craftsman was, de facto, a waste. That’s why I say that cheap tools are expensive. You don’t need a super expensive TS. Just step a notch or 2 above the cheap s**h.

Here’s something to consider – A track saw (a.k.a. plunge saw) can do virtually 95% of what a TS can do and, when you eventually get a good quality TS, the track saw will still play an important role in your shop. I routinely use a TS, a miter saw and a track saw. There is a role for each in my shop. However, if I only could have one saw, it would be the track saw. It’s the most versatile.

Festool, DeWalt and Makita all make track saws and they are all priced about the same. Furthermore, they are priced lower than any good quality TS. They also don’t take up much space in your shop.

-- Rich, Cedar Rapids, IA - I'm a woodworker. I don't create beauty, I reveal it.

View Dark_Lightning's profile


3510 posts in 3586 days

#6 posted 06-08-2010 02:55 AM

Rich, if I keep seeing you plug this Fesstool plunge saw,I’ll probably buy it instead of a bigger table saw. I bought the infamous Ryobi of lawsuit fame (still gots my pickers, I don’t violate OSHA regs…much). That thing requires the multi-function table, iirc, and that’s big ticket stuff when paired up. I guess I could sell that ‘60s muscle car I’ve been restoring to pay for this stuff…guess I’m really a lumberjock, after all. But I’m sure gonna miss that straight line neck snapping acceleration. :(

-- Steven.......Random Orbital Nailer

View SJD3's profile


11 posts in 3388 days

#7 posted 06-08-2010 03:19 AM

Well, I actually have a track saw. The dewalt. Love the saw but the accessories make me wonder if they actually tried everything together. The T-Square adapter has a knob on bottom to snug to the track but if you put a clamp in there (which they give you a nice slot to fit the clamp through) the pistol grip hits the knob and you cant release the clamp on anything thinner then 5/8”.

Also, a track saw wouldnt be my ideal tool to make perfect repeatable cuts like face boards for a cabinet or such. Its GREAT at ripping down 4×8 ply sheets to finished dimensions. And that is what I use it for.

-- Jr.woodworker

View miserybob's profile


88 posts in 3522 days

#8 posted 06-08-2010 03:38 AM

These days you can find good used table saws pretty cheap – a sad result of the current economy, but a good opportunity for someone looking to buy. Check out Craig’s List in your area and various woodworking forums – most of them have a tool swap section.

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3747 days

#9 posted 06-08-2010 03:44 AM

Rich is indeed correct on the uses of a good track saw. I would also suggest that I have operated without a planer or jointer but you will never get quality results without these tools (or leaning to be proficient with hand planes). Lumber that you buy from box stores or other sources that are cut dimensionally are expensive and not usually very square (wood moves over time) so you will always need to smooth and square a piece prior to working it….if you can’t or don’t do this you will end up with poorly fitting joints and amateur looking projects.

I recommend to folks that are getting started in woodworking to buy the best tools you can by first researching, learning and trying tools…. and then shopping for the best value. You made a great decision to join this site as it is one of the best source for great folks with great information. There are a lot of good blogs on tools and reviews of their worth and value. A search on any tool will usually get you a blog with reviews and opinions.

Now, there is an ongoing debate amongst woodworkers as to what tools are needed and when. I recommend that you find a local group or club, look for classes at your tool or wood store or local college/schools. You can’t really buy a good tool unless you know how it works and what it does….that will also help you to prioritize what you will need and when….I learned wood working by doing with my grandfather…and with other like minded folks…I cannot place a high enough value on personal experience and the benefits of learning from an experienced and skilled teacher.

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

View hazbro's profile


109 posts in 3467 days

#10 posted 06-08-2010 03:58 AM

another tool work around: before I could afford a stand alone joiner I used a straight edge and a router with a top & bottom bearing to make my boards straight. it was a pain in the but, but it worked.

I would suggest making due with the track saw and the increased set up times until you can afford a saw that you know will be a work horse and make you happy instead of fighting a moderately ok saw that tests your nerves all the time. those “just good enough” tools take the joy out of the craft.

-- measure once, keep cuttin' til it fits

View gbook2's profile


10 posts in 3391 days

#11 posted 06-08-2010 05:18 PM

I’d be very hesitant about the Craftsman 21833. I bought one in late April, and while it appeared to be good at first, I found a huge alignment problem. The alignment changes as a you raise and lower the blade. See the problems I and other people have had here:

I’m actually returning the Craftsman and plan to get the Grizzly G0438RL instead. A $500 300lb saw should not have any alignment issues. When I see more than one person with the same problem, it makes me leery of any Craftsman saw.

View Ger21's profile


1087 posts in 3608 days

#12 posted 06-09-2010 02:18 AM

Rather than spend $1200-$1500 for a saw that will last 10 years, why not buy a used Unisaw or Powermatic that’ll last a lifetime. Watch Craigslist, and be patient, and you may find a really good cabinet saw for around $750 or so.

As for a tracksaw doing 95% of what a table saw can do. I’d say that 95% of what I use my table saw for can’t be done with a tracksaw.
Yesterday, I ripped a 3”x24” board in half, then put a 3/4” dado on to cut some slots. Then used my sled to crosscut some 3”x6” parts. With a tracksaw, I’d still be standing there scratching my head??

What about making rabitts, box joints, tenons, coved mouldings? A miter sled on a table saw is the most accurate way to cut mitered mouldings. A tablesaw is far and away the most versatile tool in the shop.

Sure, a track saw has it’s place. But can it do 95% of what a table saw can do?? Not even close.

-- Gerry,

View SJD3's profile


11 posts in 3388 days

#13 posted 06-09-2010 02:38 AM

Well, 220V requirement, lack of mobility, Overall size (current space limitation), and increased price are limiting me from buying a cabinet saw, as from my first post I would LOVE to have a high end cabinet but a Hybrid seems to be the best fit for me.

Buying used can lead to great gems but honestly its not something to jump in and buy as a first time saw. After owning a saw for awhile and being very comfortable knowing how to adjust every bit of a saw then I would feel comfortable checking a used saw and determining it to be good or not.

Im leaning toward picking up a delta so I guess Ill just wait until they have a sale.

-- Jr.woodworker

View knotscott's profile


8318 posts in 3853 days

#14 posted 06-09-2010 03:25 AM

The price of that Delta is pretty high considering that it offers traditional table mounted trunnions, old style connecting rods, and no riving knife. I think I’d consider something like the GI 50-240GT, Steel City, Craftsman 22116, Grizzly G0661, G0715P or Jet Proshop, or even a closeout on the Cman 22124 before spending that kind of money on the outdated Delta….all have mechanical advantages over the Delta design, whether cabinet mounted trunnions, a single piece cast arbor carriages, riving knife, or all three.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View SJD3's profile


11 posts in 3388 days

#15 posted 06-09-2010 03:45 AM

50-240GT is $1600 and appears to have limited availability.

Craftsman 22116 is $950 which is more then a Delta 36-715 (closest comparable fence)

Grizzly G0661 is a contractors saw with table mounted trunnions at nearly $900

Grizzly G0715P looks nice and seems to have a decent price at $850. Currently brand new and I will keep an eye on reviews. This is a contender for the Delta.

The Jet Pro Shop saws are nice but at the same budge Im looking for something with a full cabinet base. If all options equal this is one possible determining factor.

Craftsman 22124 is completely discontinued at this time.

So, the Delta 36-71X (5,6,7) has been around awhile. Parts and accessories are widely available. The saw is easily available from multiple vendors. There are many reviews and most are very positive.

Honestly the Grizzly is the main contender. As I read more the Jet Pro Shop may, but the fact that its not a cabinet is a turn off.

-- Jr.woodworker

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