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Fork in the road

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Forum topic by kcmat posted 08-05-2018 04:11 PM 751 views 0 times favorited 19 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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kcmat

17 posts in 3416 days


08-05-2018 04:11 PM

So as my small garage shop is growing i’m at what I see as a fork in the road and would like input from you fellas.
Iv made shop cabinets, work bench, lumber cart …. these kind of things and am ready to move on some.
So I have an old Crafstman brand contractor table saw with this odd flex drive (Flex shaft vs belt drive) and it’s pretty under powered. It will some times bog down on knots in soft common boards. Past the power it’s beat up. I’v trued the wings, and aligned the fence as good as this thing can do. I’v helped myself best I can with sleds and such.
Now past the table saw I’v got a good Compound miter and the usual line up of other tools. Routers, circ saws etc.

Where my question lies is where to from here tool wise. Common philosophy would say Jointer and Planar. And that’s the road that sounds funnest! Who doesn’t like growth!? But money for money I can’t help but think I’d be better served back tracking some and getting a better table saw. As I squirrel away a tool budget I find my turmoil growing.

What do you fellas think?? Move forward with a saw I have 50/50 faith in, pick up a jointer and planar?
Or back track some and pick up a table saw?

Thanks!!
KC Mat


19 replies so far

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TDH

18 posts in 1745 days


#1 posted 08-05-2018 04:34 PM

I was once in same shape you are in. My experience was to buy a good table saw then a planer. Still don’t have a jointer but there a lot of work arounds for jointing that I actually prefer. A good table saw tuned correctly will open up a new world for you.

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bondogaposis

5414 posts in 2745 days


#2 posted 08-05-2018 05:15 PM

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” – Yogi Berra

I lot depends on your budget, I had that same saw for over thirty years and it served me well. I used thin kerf blades for a boost in power and replaced the stock fence with a Delta T2. I would say that having a planer will change you wood working life. A jointer not so much as there are ways around that. So for the least amount of money upgrade your fence and use thin kerf blades, and look for a used planer.

-- Bondo Gaposis

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clin

1035 posts in 1390 days


#3 posted 08-05-2018 05:51 PM

I had an old Craftsman TS that I only used occasionally. When I got my own shop space, I started looking to upgrade that saw and realized I would just be putting lipstick on a pig. So I ended up getting 3 HP SawStop table saw. Added a nice big fold down out-feed table. I’ve never looked back.

However, a planer was a game changer. Short of using hand planes, I’m unaware of any alternative. With a planer you have the ability to work with rough lumber. And being able to work with rough lumber is a completely new ball game. You no longer are dependent on the availability of surfaced woods and limited by their size.

I get an odd sense of satisfaction taking a rough and generally ugly looking board and running it through the planner. It magically transforms into a piece of fine looking wood.

I think having a good table saw is critical and I think having a planer is as well, if you want to work with rough lumber.

I had the budget, so I got both. I do not have a jointer because my shop is small and I don’t want to allocate floor space for one. While less convenient, I’ve gotten by using a planer sled to flatted boards and a TS and fixtures to get straight edges.

FYI I got the Dewalt 735 planer and really like it.

I would get a better table saw before I’d get a jointer.

-- Clin

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JCamp

981 posts in 944 days


#4 posted 08-05-2018 05:55 PM

I’d say it depends on how often ur bogging down the tablesaw. If it’s once a week then start looking at planers. If it’s every day then invest in a better saw.
Either way u spend it a planer comes before a jointer in my book

-- Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with all thy might

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Charlie H.

360 posts in 1044 days


#5 posted 08-05-2018 10:10 PM

Sometimes spending comparatively big money on one thing when the “needs” are many is a tough pill to swallow.
Everything is a trade off and there’s no singular correct answer.
I was once a young person in a very similar position, having started out with a very well worn low end tablesaw that was a complete pain to use.
When I upgraded the saw I chose (the then new to the market) a good quality hybrid tablesaw. It has served me well for a long time and the difference between using it vs the first saw I had is literally night vs day.
I have no regrets about the fork I chose.
Having said all that if I was giving advice to my son (or anyone else I love) about buying a new tablesaw my recommendation starts and stops with the SawStop.
For a hobbyist woodworker the single negative to the SawStop is the price, but for that price you get a machine that is equal to the very best of all other consumer / hobby grade tablesaws and you get the safety feature that is not available on any other tablesaw.

-- Regards, Charlie in Rowlett, TX --------I talk to myself, because sometimes I need expert advice.---------

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Rayne

1209 posts in 1933 days


#6 posted 08-05-2018 10:23 PM

With a 50/50 faith in your Table Saw, I’d say get a better one. Buy once cry once. I saved up for a while to make my SawStop purchase and it is a game changer for me. But I also hounded Craigslist for good deals on a planer and a jointer ($125 each), so it just depends on your budget at the end of the day. If you’re close to saving up enough for a good table saw, go for it. Get one that you can confidently keep around for a very long time, so you can start saving up for a planer, then a jointer.

View kcmat's profile

kcmat

17 posts in 3416 days


#7 posted 08-06-2018 12:02 AM

Thanks for the great input guys. I appreciate it. My gut has been telling me to get a better starting point.
I’v been eyeing the Grizzly G1023RLW saw. Laundry area is adjacent to the garage so can pretty easily get the 220v.
My wife says “Get the hotdog one!” (sawstop) but I don’t think she realizes the price tag!

I think with a solid saw I can accomplish a good amount while starting my savings over for a Planer.

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MrRon

5495 posts in 3637 days


#8 posted 08-07-2018 05:08 PM

Let me share my life experience. All my life, I have always bought less than the best in order to save a few cents. Now in my waning years, I realize how much of a mistake that is. If I had it to do all over, I would go for the best right off the bat. I tried to save a few bucks by buying a lawn tractor. After a few years it broke and I had to buy 2 more. If I had sprung for a zero turn mower way back, I would now be ahead of the game instead of a credit card charge I’m still paying on. I realize affordability is an issue. When you are young, you’re impatient for that new toy, so settle for less than what you want. As one gets older, you develop more patience and will wait until the resources become available. I guess that’s why you see an old guy driving around in a Mercedes or Porsche and the young guys driving a Chevy or Ford.

In response to your original question, save up and buy the saw of your dreams.

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BHZ

22 posts in 1372 days


#9 posted 08-07-2018 05:24 PM

Listen to your wife.

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Andre

2626 posts in 2199 days


#10 posted 08-07-2018 05:24 PM

Been there done all that, it usually isn’t the tool that is too blame?
New state of the art equipment may increase efficiency but the same or
better results can be obtained in many ways.
Every time I hear the debate on Sawstop I think of the old saying,
Make everything idiot proof and you create a world full of Idiots!
It all still boils down to buy what you can afford. IMHO.

-- Lifting one end of the plank.

View ChefHDAN's profile

ChefHDAN

1401 posts in 3243 days


#11 posted 08-07-2018 07:03 PM



I think of the old saying,
Make everything idiot proof and you create a world full of Idiots
- Andre

I have a “New” “Old” saying, thank you Andre.
In my commercial kitchens everyone using a knife is required to wear a Kevlar glove to prevent “slips” I spent years developing ridiculous knife skills as I saw it was part of my art, but now if i’m around crew, I have to put that %$$!!!!*&ing glove on and “Lead by Example”... I’ve met a few old school 9 fingered butchers but never a chef with less than 10, more than a few times for stitches and you either get GOOD! or Get OUT!

-- I've decided 1 mistake is really 2 opportunities to learn.. learn how to fix it... and learn how to not repeat it

View DBDesigns's profile

DBDesigns

220 posts in 391 days


#12 posted 08-07-2018 07:48 PM

Somehow safety always becomes a thread in these forums. And that is a good thing but you can still kill yourself in a car with airbags so you have to watch where you are going! I agree to an extent with the people who say that you have to develop the skills to be safe. The biggest skill to keep is situational awareness. If it doesn’t feel safe then it isn’t so slow down and plan the operation. I have been lucky with my fingers but boy have I screwed up some expensive wood in my days.

The original question about what machine to get is a fun one to examine and I think I have a different perspective to offer here.

kcmat,
How skilled are you with mechanical and machine repairs above and beyond your wood skills? If the answer is pretty skilled, then I suggest an older saw that needs some love. If you have read my comments on here before, you will figure out my leanings towards old tools but there is a reason for it. You can find old Unisaws or other cabinet saws on CL and EBAY that will be way cheaper than a new saw. Then if you have to upgrade the saw, you can do whatever you want to it and probably still come out cheaper. It is a breeze to replace the motor on a belt drive tablesaw. Fences can be modified and jigs can be fabricated.

As far as what tool to get, I can complicate that question too. the real game changer for me was my bandsaw. Suddenly you can re-saw wide boards and use rough lumber that was not available before.
Good luck with your decision.

-- I remember when Grateful wasn't Dead

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kcmat

17 posts in 3416 days


#13 posted 08-07-2018 08:52 PM

This is a pic of the model I have. It’s driven via a flex shaft from a 1 1/16HP motor. I think what gets it is the energy loss in the flex shaft then that ramps the current draw up on the motor.
I’d have to peek inside and see if I can maybe convert to belt.

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kcmat

17 posts in 3416 days


#14 posted 08-07-2018 08:54 PM

I’

v spent most of my career adjusting machinery down to
.001 or .002 of a MM.
But this old tablesaw does NOT wanna tune!

View kcmat's profile

kcmat

17 posts in 3416 days


#15 posted 08-07-2018 09:02 PM


kcmat,
How skilled are you with mechanical and machine repairs above and beyond your wood skills? If the answer is pretty skilled, then I suggest an older saw that needs some love. If you have read my comments on here before, you will figure out my leanings towards old tools but there is a reason for it. You can find old Unisaws or other cabinet saws on CL and EBAY that will be way cheaper than a new saw. Then if you have to upgrade the saw, you can do whatever you want to it and probably still come out cheaper. It is a breeze to replace the motor on a belt drive tablesaw. Fences can be modified and jigs can be fabricated.

- DBDesigns


I like where your mind’s at!
Couple decades now as a Maintenance mechanic and I agree with you. And I have adjusted it in pretty good. Can only polish this turd of a fence so bright but I do have the blade to miter slot down to .001” – .016” depending on blade. Thats pretty good for any machine I’d think. The fence kills me. Adjust and tune and it still gets wonky when you lock it down. So I spend time measuring front and back before every cut. Doesnt help that Im a little OCD with measurements! So an aftermarket fence doesnt sound like a bad idea.

But even if I put a better fence I feel limited on the power due to the flex shaft model I have.

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