Table Saw Buying Advice

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Forum topic by Farkus1982 posted 08-16-2017 06:27 PM 1370 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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3 posts in 1089 days

08-16-2017 06:27 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw cabinet general unisaw

Hi I am new to the community and looking to start a real workshop. I have limped along with some basic hand and power tools through a few renovations, including a recent overhaul of the main level of our new house. The house came with a nice size 23’ x 16’ workshop outfitted with 220V. I would consider myself handy when it comes to home repair and renovation, but am looking to get into some fine woodworking.

I would rather purchase equipment slowly and get machine that will last rather than save money and need to replace it several years down the line. My research has me leaning toward a General (not International), Unisaw, PM66, or perhaps a SawStop. My budget is around $2000 to get started with the right tools to make an end grain butcher block cutting board for my brother’s wedding present.

So far I have a lead on a 6 year old General 650, but the owner wants $1700. It appears in decent condition and it sounds like I may be able to talk him down to $1200-$1400 as it has been posted for a while. He said he would also consider a lower bid for the saw if I also took his Freud dado dial a width, Jointech Smart Miter, and a “Grizzly quality” tenoning jig off his hands. Maybe $1700-$1800 for the lot?

My other option is a Unisaw that comes with an 8’x8’ table and delta dust collector, both of which I could use. The unisaw model and year I am still waiting on. The asking price is $1200.

Any feedback on these saws and whether or not they are a fair price is appreciated. General thoughts on the model saws I am after is also welcome. Thanks and I look forward to learning from everybody here and hopefully one day helping as well!

-- Matt, Colorado

6 replies so far

View Ripper70's profile


1378 posts in 1715 days

#1 posted 08-16-2017 06:38 PM

Both those saws seem like they’d be up to most any task. Any idea of the availability, or lack thereof, of General parts in the event that they’re needed? Also, hard to imagine that the General seller would be willing to part with all the extras for nothing (or an extra $100 bucks) if he’s insisting that you buy them in order to get a better price on the table saw.

From where I’m sitting, the Delta seems like the best fit and bang for the buck.

-- "You know, I'm such a great driver, it's incomprehensible that they took my license away." --Vince Ricardo

View MrUnix's profile


8160 posts in 3005 days

#2 posted 08-16-2017 06:56 PM

Unisaw is a better machine IMO, plenty of parts available, comes with a Biesemeyer commercial fence, the DC setup, and is cheaper… seems kind of like an easy decision :)

As for the model/year of the Unisaw… well, it’s a right-tilt Unisaw, which is pretty much all you need to know (they didn’t change much from the late 30’s until around 2009 w/the redesign). If you can get the serial number, you can determine its age. It was built sometime between 1989 and 2009 since it’s missing the front dust door.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View knotscott's profile


8382 posts in 4182 days

#3 posted 08-16-2017 08:15 PM

That’s the Canadian made General 650…..left tilt version of their venerable 350, and is one of the most rugged of the industrial style cabinet saws. It looks to be in excellent condition. Brad and I usually agree, but in this case I’m not convinced the Uni is the better saw. Either way, both are really good saws, and both seem to be fair deals. I’d take a look at both, decide if the tilt direction matters to you, and see which one floats your boat.

Keep us posted!

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

View Farkus1982's profile


3 posts in 1089 days

#4 posted 08-16-2017 08:22 PM

Thanks for the replies guys. I agree with Scott about the appearances and was leaning toward the General if I can get it for $1200 or for $1700 with the accessories. The Unisaw guy still hasn’t replied, so that one may be out of the picture anyway. Only real drawback to the General is although it looks like light use, the seller just moved and doesn’t have 220 service to test it out.

That extension and 8×8 table do look nice, but may actually be too big for my shop. Not that I couldn’t make the table smaller! :)

From what I’ve heard right tilt doesn’t require recalibration after a blade change, but left is supposedly safer. It probably doesn’t matter for me.

-- Matt, Colorado

View toolie's profile


2186 posts in 3434 days

#5 posted 08-17-2017 02:28 AM

........From what I ve heard right tilt doesn t require recalibration after a blade change, but left is supposedly safer. It probably doesn t matter for me.

- Farkus1982

shopnotes/woodswmith magazine(s) noted that left tilts are safer when bevel rip cuts are executed.

-- there's a solution to every just have to be willing to find it.

View Farkus1982's profile


3 posts in 1089 days

#6 posted 08-22-2017 03:54 PM

I ended up going with the General 650. The saw, side extension, outfeed, dado, miter, and tenoning jig all for $1700. The lock knob on the blade height wheel was broken off so I’ll have to remove the broken threaded end stuck in the wheel and buy a new one. Also, the cylinder on the back of the saw where the splitter attaches is bent. Hard to imagine how it got bent since it is so beefy, but I can unscrew it and was able to get everything working for now. I definitely want to replace it ASAP though since that splitter is a nice safety feature. Anyway, here are some pictures of the setup and now to find a planer! Jet, Dewalt735, or possibly Cutech. I’ll create a new post once I learn a bit more on those.

Thanks for the help.

-- Matt, Colorado

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