For anyone contemplating doing without a table saw

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Forum topic by swirt posted 09-03-2010 08:31 PM 3048 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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7106 posts in 4306 days

09-03-2010 08:31 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw hand saw

I’ve been waffling for almost 2 years now between getting rid of my 1950’s vintage 8” Delta contractors saw. It is in bad shape, does not hold a setting, and either needs a lot of attention restoring it, or needs to be replaced. A third option I have considered is getting rid of it, and doing without one.

If you have been contemplating a similar change, or are thinking about getting by without a table saw, this recent post Are Table Saws Essential by Adam Cherubini at Popular Woodworking is definitely something to read through and think over

-- Galootish log blog,

14 replies so far

View poopiekat's profile


5029 posts in 5069 days

#1 posted 09-03-2010 08:42 PM

Great article, swirt!
When I apprenticed 30 years ago, I had to make frequent use of a 15-point handsaw. There were 4 unisaws in the shop, but they were either in use, or the last user ‘reserved’ it by placing a scrap across the blade and fence. it’s nice to size a board by planing, whether it was sawn by hand or machine. If I was doing custom kitchens, a big-buck table saw is essential…but the gratification you get from producing hand-crafted work in the home workshop trumps high productivity every time. I’m thinking of downscaling my two table saws in favor of something my grandfather might have used, indeed and old Delta, Sears or Power-Kraft antique from the 40’s or ‘50s….and use it sparingly.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7192 posts in 4529 days

#2 posted 09-03-2010 08:49 PM

Greetings swirt, I have 2 tablesaws in my shop, and would never think of getting rid of either one of them…I love my saws. I’ve owned a tablesaw ever since I started ww about 26 years ago, and never did without one…..No siree bob….. My saws are here to stay…I don’t do hand work…. I’m a power tool junky….never enough…....

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4450 days

#3 posted 09-03-2010 08:59 PM

thank´s Swirt to post this question :-)
now I only have to find out what a Ts ,Bs, Ras ,Cs ,tr ,pl,and jointers is…..LOL


View Rick  Dennington's profile

Rick Dennington

7192 posts in 4529 days

#4 posted 09-03-2010 09:10 PM

Ya’ll have to forgive Dennis….... he’s a hand-tool junky…. but…we won’t hold that aganist you, We like you, anyway, even if you do live in a country where they never heard of a tablesaw….. lol lol….

-- " There's a better way.....find it"...... Thomas Edison.

View Gregn's profile


1642 posts in 4318 days

#5 posted 09-03-2010 09:56 PM

For many years I have worked without a TS/table saw in the shop before getting one. So for myself I wouldn’t part with mine. Before getting my TS/table saw I used my RAS/radial arm saw for a lot of cuts. So I could understand why you may be waffling over to get a new TS/table saw or not. I would suggest keeping that old Delta and doing the restoration if for no other reason because of its age. But do understand that some things can be more of a headache to deal with as I have a restoration project myself that has been on the back burner for a few years now. It sounds like you have been doing without one for a while as you have been contemplating whether to replace it or not. I have read Adam’s articles before as well as others and admit that reading articles of hand tool use has inspired me to start doing more woodworking with hand tools as well. Although I wouldn’t give up my power tools as I like using them. So If I were in your position I would be asking myself what would be a reason to buy another after having done without one for so long. With all the other power tools out there a guy really could get along without one without giving up power tools all together. After all look at how the RAS/radial arm saw has almost gone completely by the wayside and people are getting along without one. I don’t think Festool even makes a TS/table saw and is devoted to hand power tools instead. Let us know what you decide and how you feel after making your decision on to buy another or not.

-- I don't make mistakes, I have great learning lessons, Greg

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4450 days

#6 posted 09-03-2010 10:06 PM

well I have to confess that I do have few powerhandtools
and we are well aware of all the bigger powertools in this country
but all the good stuff is priced for the proff. market and is skyhigh :-(
only becourse they can drag it from the taxpayment
and we nearly can´t get good new undplugged handtools here
everywhere they sell only junk to people when it comes to
cheisels and those very few benchplanes you can buy if they have anything
and I have just come to the conclusion that I whant to learn it by hand
and work like a Gentleman, in silence

at least there is a few places wher we can buy the red Bacho cheisels with Swedish steal
but the handles is plastic
every thing is plastic – plastic – plastic …...........aaaaaah I go nuts everytime I have to buy a new tool
and have to do it over the net
I´m just one of those that want to have a real catalog to browse thrugh and want to tuch
things before I buy

if it only was the matters of wood and tools and not all the other aspects to take care of
with a moving
I wuold be living in US faster than you can say Lumber Jock…

sory I just got carry´d away


View TominTexas's profile


42 posts in 4171 days

#7 posted 09-03-2010 10:14 PM

Certainly you can do without a tablesaw. There are alternatives to handling the process of dimensioning wood in terms of ripping and crosscutting. Bandsaws can do a reasonably good job of ripping and RAS/CMS can efficiently crosscut.

I guess the real question is whether you want to give up using a power tool approach to dimensioning your material. Obviously, pre-industrial cabinet makers created beautiful pieces without the use of electrons but somehow I think if powered equipment had been available to them, they would have jumped at the opportunity – afterall they were making a living at woodworking and efficiency meant more profit.

I wouldn’t give up my tablesaw or any other of my powered equipment. However, I also use a number of handtools from planes to chisels to handsaws and appreciate the fact that there are processes performed with handtools that achieve better, more accurate, and more satisfying results than a power tool.

Just my .02 cents worth


-- East Side of Big D

View MedicKen's profile


1615 posts in 4797 days

#8 posted 09-03-2010 10:16 PM

Dennis….I am about to find out shortly what its like…..I will let ya know

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

View ShannonRogers's profile


540 posts in 5122 days

#9 posted 09-03-2010 10:43 PM

I swore off my TS for 60 days as an experiment. I lumped my jointer in with that as well and I did just fine. My TS takes up so much room in my small shop that I wanted to see what it would be like to have the extra space. While I probably won’t get rid of it, I have been thinking of putting it in storage and using the band saw for a lot more stuff. Plus I love my hand saws too much to insult them by using the TS.

-- The Hand Tool School is Open for Business! Check out my blog and podcast "The Renaissance Woodworker" at

View swirt's profile (online now)


7106 posts in 4306 days

#10 posted 09-03-2010 10:56 PM

I liked the article and appreciated the reference to dimensioning the length of stock to the tenon shoulder rather than the end of the board. I did this quite a bit when I built my timber frame gazebo so it resonated with me a bit.

I swear at my table saw every time I have to move it in order to do something else in the shop. It takes up too much room. I think the only reason I have not gotten rid of it is that it belonged to my grandfather. He would have thought that it was silly to be sentimental about tools though. He used them well but only to get stuff accomplished. It is more likely that he traded an old outboard motor for this saw on a whim than doing any kind of research on its features and quality.

We are contemplating a move in the next few years from upstate New York to Florida and I have vowed that I will not be lugging that saw down to Florida when we do. Until then, it will probably just be in my way in my shop. I’ll use it begrudgingly when I must. Until then I’ll get more enjoyment out of my hand saws and my band saw.

-- Galootish log blog,

View JasonWagner's profile


566 posts in 4514 days

#11 posted 09-04-2010 01:57 AM

I would give up every tool I own to keep my table saw! I’m young(er) and ignorant so forgive me. If anyone is planning on getting rid of their power tools, let me know ;-) However, thank you for the link. Any different thinking is good even if you don’t follow it.

-- some day I hope to have enough clamps to need a clamp cart!

View Smaug's profile


5 posts in 4156 days

#12 posted 09-04-2010 09:54 PM

To me, there are only a couple good reasons to go without a table saw:

a) Your type of work doesn’t lend itself to a table saw. (for instance people who do mostly turning would be better served by a band saw)

b) You have a lot of time on your hands and don’t mind trading the time for sweat & quiet.

Personally, I spend 8 hours a day at work, another 6-9 sleeping, and I’d like some time with my wife and for other leisure activities too. Spending more time woodworking just isn’t an option.

Get rid of the old table saw and get one that will hold a setting. I recommend an induction motor model. I have a great Ridgid table saw; the bigger jobsite saw, and it does the trick. It has an electronic soft start and speed control, a great fence and everything, but it is loud. For my small shop, I need a saw that can be stowed. If you have room, get a good contractor’s saw. 1-1/2 hp with induction motor is plenty. Don’t skimp on the fence, or you will regret it.

You will thank yourself every time you make a square cut with very little effort. Your time as a woodworker is better spent elsewhere.

-- "Well begun is half done."

View jusfine's profile


2422 posts in 4260 days

#13 posted 09-04-2010 11:36 PM

I have two tablesaws as well, wouldn’t think of getting rid of either.

Ripping a number of pieces of 11” wide hardwood (70 @ 5’ long down to 3 inches) would take forever without a table saw. I put on a Forrest blade and only have to take a light pass on the jointer to clean up, if that.

Would take alot of the fun out of the shop for me, if I had to do without… I enjoy ripping and crosscutting on the tablesaw (use an Excalibur sliding table).

-- Randy "You are judged as much by the questions you ask as the answers you give..."

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 4409 days

#14 posted 09-04-2010 11:44 PM

From the day I got my Festool plunge saw I’ve been wondering – if I were starting over, would I buy a TS. I think the answer is “no”.

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

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