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Used table saw for acoustic guitar building

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Forum topic by Tigerfang posted 12-30-2020 01:32 PM 401 views 0 times favorited 9 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Tigerfang

4 posts in 69 days


12-30-2020 01:32 PM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw guitar acoustic neck fretboard

Hi, I’m looking into getting a table saw for my guitar building projects, and don’t know exactly what I’m looking for. I’ve been poking around on Craigslist and found a couple that look like good saws. I don’t really have a “limit” on what I can spend, but I’m trying to keep the cost down as much as I can. Most of what I’d use it for is neck work. I do a bolt on mortise and tenon with angled knife edges. Two piece neck with a 15 degree headstock. I have looked into the possibility of acquiring a sawstop, and I’m not opposed to the idea if these saw wont do what I need them to do, but they are expensive compared to some of these used saws.
One of the saws I found was a Powermatic 66 https://nh.craigslist.org/tls/d/canterbury-powermatic-table-saw/7252241479.html.
Extension table
3hp, 3 phase motor
Biesemeyer fence
riving knife
blade guard / dust collector
It looks like pretty good condition, and I was wondering what you all would think of it. Will it be a good accurate saw? Is 650 a good price?
The other one is a Jet E171548 1 1/2 hp contractor saw. https://nh.craigslist.org/tls/d/londonderry-jet-table-saw/7254280993.html How would this one compare to the powermatic? Is it worth 300?
I’m not determined to get a used saw either. I would just like to keep the cost down. Would either of these saws be good enough for accurate neck/fretboard work?


9 replies so far

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Tigerfang

4 posts in 69 days


#1 posted 12-30-2020 01:38 PM

Also, Would my money be better spent getting a better jointer, and other higher quality tools?

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Kudzupatch

120 posts in 2218 days


#2 posted 12-30-2020 02:44 PM

Not being a luther I can’t tell you what would be most useful to you. Only you know what you do and need.

Table saw is the heart of most shops. That Powermatic is a nice table saw that you will not outgrow. Assuming it is in good condition of course. But do you have 3 phase power? If it was single phase it would sell fast at that price. But the 3 phase hurts it. If you don’t have it in your shop it is very expensive to install… if it is even available.

Jet is contractors saw. Nothing wrong with that but light weight and not as sturdy as the PM-66.

The PM-66 is a cabinet saw and while they will both do the job, there is something more pleasurable about using the heavier saw. They tend to be a bit smoother running, less vibration. I have had a couple of people that use contractors saws come over and use mine and made the same comment. They cut wood pretty much the same but I like using the cabinet saw a lot more.

-- Jeff Horton * Kudzu Craft skin boats* www.kudzucraft.com

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JAAune

1932 posts in 3326 days


#3 posted 12-30-2020 03:32 PM

A 3HP motor is easy to run off single phase 220 using a VFD that accepts single phase input. It would add around $300 to your cost. The VFD also provides some nice options such as customizable soft start and braking.

The Powermatic 66 (assuming it is in good condition) will do everything a Sawstop will do. It just lacks the safety features.

Personally, I want a riving knife on any table saw I purchase. The blade-stopping mechanism on a Sawstop is a nice feature but between the two, I consider the riving knife more important since it protects against kickback.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

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Foghorn

1037 posts in 396 days


#4 posted 12-30-2020 04:23 PM

I build guitars and would never want to give up my 10” table saw. There are many ways to do it without though just as there are many ways to do most woodworking tasks including completely by hand.

-- Darrel

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JAAune

1932 posts in 3326 days


#5 posted 12-30-2020 04:32 PM

I should mention that the ad for the Powermatic 66 is incorrect. That saw does not have a riving knife, it has a splitter which is not nearly as useful since it doesn’t raise up or lower down to match the blade height.

-- See my work at http://altaredesign.com

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Loren

11019 posts in 4657 days


#6 posted 12-30-2020 05:00 PM

Contractor saws sometimes (often) “heel” when the blade is tilted. This can throw off cuts. The heeling is caused by the weight of the motor pulling on the trunions unevenly. The way around this for guitar making is to make jigs instead to hold the work at an angle.

Most any contractor saw will be up to building acoustic guitars with this caveat taken in mind. I’ve built them.

Some of the most accurate saws for joinery (not that you need one) are the old tilt-table saws made by Inca, Delta and other makers.

I’ve done scarf joints for headstocks using the band saw, hand planes and a sanding board. Goes fairly quick that way. I don’t know if a 10” saw will cut a 15 degree scarf joint in a guitar neck effectively. Chances are whatever you use the hand planes and sanding board will be necessary.

One of my guitar building mentors only used a table saw for slotting fretboards. I guess he used a band saw, routers and hand tools for most everything else.

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SMP

3434 posts in 915 days


#7 posted 12-30-2020 05:51 PM

Do you already have a bandsaw?

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Foghorn

1037 posts in 396 days


#8 posted 12-30-2020 06:41 PM


I ve done scarf joints for headstocks using the band saw, hand planes and a sanding board. Goes fairly quick that way. I don t know if a 10” saw will cut a 15 degree scarf joint in a guitar neck effectively. Chances are whatever you use the hand planes and sanding board will be necessary.

- Loren


I use a jig and cut scarf joints on the table saw. 3” of blade height is sufficient. Like you, I’ve also done it with a bandsaw and plane. Hand saw and plane works fine for this as well.

-- Darrel

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HowardAppel

44 posts in 4043 days


#9 posted 12-30-2020 09:09 PM

I had a 66 back in the 90’s, excellent saw, stable and dependable. The only reason I got rid of it was that SawStop came out and, as I had someone lose a thumb on my 66 (a contractor let one of his employees use it), I upgraded to the SawStop. But, used safely, the 66 was a great saw (I can’t speak for the ones made today, but I suspect still a very solid saw). Are you sure that it is a 3 phase and not just a 220 single phase.

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