New to woodworking and need a table saw but options are very limited!

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Forum topic by TommyTwo posted 01-10-2012 04:55 PM 4653 views 0 times favorited 22 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View TommyTwo's profile


14 posts in 2938 days

01-10-2012 04:55 PM

Hi everyone,

I live in Japan and and have been restoring old cars for years and now I want to venture into woodworking. Finding good quality furniture here is tough and very, very expensive. Most of it is particle board junk. Even that is pricey. I am starting with small projects such as boxes and plan to one day build a nice table. Nothing too fancy until I build up my skills over they next several years. My first project is a small 4X4 mahogany box with mitered corners. Sounds simple but I know how tough getting good miters can be. I have built a nice modest collection of simple woodworking tools. I also have a friend who is responsible for importing American hardwoods to Japan so I can get my hands on some good material once I build some skills. One thing I need is a good small table saw. But they just are not popular here. We have home centers but nothing like the nice ones back in the US. Options are extremely limited and many things just are not sold to the public. Even the models from Japanese brands that sell in the US are not available here. I was finally able to find something that may work, a Makita 2703. Price with stand is about $500. I would like to use this for cutting miters and ripping boards and the like. Might this be a good choice, and if so, what accessories or blades should I buy? Maybe a router table should be in my future as well?

I was very lucky to get my hands on a Dewalt DWP611 PK and I can’t wait to use it…..if I can ever find router bits!

Have a great day!

22 replies so far

View richgreer's profile


4541 posts in 3683 days

#1 posted 01-10-2012 05:37 PM

First of all, welcome to LJs. I’ve spent time in Japan both on business trips and on a personal vacation. Except for the prices, I really like Japan. (For those who have not been to Japan, a taxi ride from Narita airport into Toyko costs over $200).

My sure other LJs will give you good advice on a conventional table saw, but I want to make you aware of what may be a better option for you. Bridge City makes a manual tool called the Jointmaker in 2 versions: the Jointmaker and the Jointmaker Pro.

Here is the Jointmaker – make sure to watch the video. You may also want to go to the Jointmaker Pro and watch that video.

It is expensive and you may have to wait a while to get it. However, it may be a good option for your situation.

I’m certainly not telling you this is what you should do. I am only saying this is an option you should consider.

Best Wishes and good luck.

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

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5242 posts in 4569 days

#2 posted 01-10-2012 06:01 PM

Welcome Tommy, and I applaud your first project. You can’t make a good quality big box if you can” build a good quality small one. You didn’t say where ya are in Japan.
Google Stu Ablett. He’s a very good WWer in Tokyo, has lot’s of stuff on the Tube. He could be a good source of info in your area if you’re close (or not close).


-- [email protected]

View ward63's profile


363 posts in 3696 days

#3 posted 01-13-2012 04:37 AM

Hi Tommy, welcome LJ’s. I’ve been living in Nara, Japan for about 20 years. My first tablesaw was the Makita 2711 and was very disappointed with it. Luckily I able to sell it to friend and got a Ryobi BT3000 from the states for $500+$500 shipping. I’m now looking for another tablesaw. Here’s a few links….
I just got a gallon of Titebond 3 from them for $50, lowest price I’ve found.
These are all used professional tools. They are $$$ but most are top of of the line.

If your in Tokyo (kanto area) then you should have a lot of options.
You can also try Yahoo auctions (if you can read Japanese).
If your in Kansai (Osaka/Nara/Kobe area) your options will be limited.
I’ve bought most of my tools stateside, and with the dollar so low, you only have to worry about shipping.


View TommyTwo's profile


14 posts in 2938 days

#4 posted 01-14-2012 05:54 AM

Hi Ward,

You would think there were a lot of options around here but it’s tough. Of course I may just be looking in the wrong places! Thank you for your recommendation. I actually just ordered a Bosch GTS 1031 and stand from Amazon US. I wanted the 4100 but they would not ship to Japan, although I am certain I could have found someone that would have. Shipping was only $140 with customs so I hope it works out. Total price with stand was 47,000 yen. One thing I could not get were extra blades-no shipping on those.

Thanks for the link to the used tools. Amazing how the used stuff here is still so expensive! I guess we have it pretty good back home, but I kind of understand that there are more home ‘woodworkers’ back in the US so supply and demand work into that.

While I am no pro, or even an amateur, I am handy with a table saw and hand tools from a couple of years building houses back in college. I’ll let you know about the 1031 if you are interested.


View ward63's profile


363 posts in 3696 days

#5 posted 01-14-2012 09:01 AM

Hi Tommy, this morning I was looking around for sub ¥50,000 tablesaw and was pretty bummed that most of the saws were Chinese made junk. Nice score on the Bosch GTS 1031. I didn’t know that Amazon US would ship to Japan, and $140 for shipping…Wow! That’s a deal. I’m most definitely interested in hearing about the saw, Thanks

If your ever in Nara, lets hook up.

View TommyTwo's profile


14 posts in 2938 days

#6 posted 01-15-2012 05:22 AM

Hi Ward,

Went to Viva Home Center this morning and when I got home the saw (and Wixley digital angle gauge) was waiting, no additional fees. There are certain items they will ship and it’s usually annotated in the specs. Sometimes it says the item is only available for shipping in the lower 48. A while back I ordered the 12V Bosch Lion cordless drill. It was around 8,000 yen shipped. Same model here (listed at 10.8V) is around 20,000. Now for saw blades…..

Same if you are in the Chiba area!

View doncutlip's profile


2832 posts in 4165 days

#7 posted 01-15-2012 05:06 PM

I’ve heard good things about the Bosch, you should be very happy

-- Don, Royersford, PA

View ward63's profile


363 posts in 3696 days

#8 posted 01-15-2012 05:15 PM

It’s too bad there’s no Home Depot here and I wished theyed sell internationally….The Ryobi 18+ line is great! I picked up a 5 piece set last time I was home with some extra batteries. I’ve been through 2 Makita’s, and 2 Bosch cordless drills. They really rape you here if you need an extra battery. The Wixley digital angle gauge is next on my list of things to get.

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23770 posts in 3714 days

#9 posted 01-15-2012 06:14 PM

Hi Tommy. Welcome to Lumberjocks!! You found the best woodworking site on the web!!
Good idea to start with a good table saw. After you get one, make a good sliding sled for perfect miters.

I have a Ryobi BT3000 table saw and it works good for me but it does not have miter slots so I made a sled to go over the center section and it works great. I think the Makita would be a good table saw. I have their miter saw and I love it.

It sounds like you could corner the market over there with good hardwood furniture having a good source for wood. Over here we have the wood and the expertise but no one has any money to buy it.

Just a tip on the Wixey. Take the battery out when you are not using it. Mine went dead after a few months, but by taking the battery out it is working for over a year on the same battery now

We look forward to your projects!!!...............Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

View DocSavage45's profile


8882 posts in 3451 days

#10 posted 01-15-2012 06:41 PM


E kaga desu ka? Do you know any Japanese woodworkers? I can’t remember as it was so long ago the 70’s what the power souce voltages are, The Jqapanese carpenters who work in rural areas can be a great souce. Have you considered hand tools?

Keyote skita Tomisan!

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View reggiek's profile


2240 posts in 3879 days

#11 posted 01-15-2012 07:07 PM

Welcome aboard Tommy. Always nice to hear how our fellow woodworkers are faring in different corners of the world. I spent some time in Japan myself – courtesy of the U.S. Military. Loved the country and the people – but defiitely some culture shock at first.

I knew that things are expensive there…but wow….it does make me grateful to live where there is a huge market and many more options to consider. Wonder that Japan is not inudated with cheap Chinese products as bad as the USA, but most of that is probably due to the currency exchange, protectionism and most of the Chinese junk being made for export to the USA. Japan is very protective of it’s industry.

I would agree about checking out the hand tool options – a lot more work that way but then Japan has some of the best tool smiths….believe me when I say I paid through the nose for a set of good Japanese chisels here in the USA – but they were definitely worth the extra money.

Good luck in your endeavors….it will be most interesting to hear your journey through these obstacles.

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

View TommyTwo's profile


14 posts in 2938 days

#12 posted 01-22-2012 01:11 PM

Konichiwa Thomas-san! Unfortunately, I know of no Japanese woodworkers. I would love to apprentice with some to learn the intricate joinery they are famous for. I actually prefer hand tools to power tools and plan to use both. At this point, I think power tools used properly will be more accurate. I do have a couple of boxes of antique American hand tools such as planes and the like. I have been told that the flea markets here are a great source of some nice chisels in need of a bit of TLC but I have not found the time to visit any.

View TommyTwo's profile


14 posts in 2938 days

#13 posted 01-22-2012 01:25 PM

Hi Reggie, thank you! I have been here for a while and it is still a culture shock!

Japan is of course infused with cheap Chiwanese junk, but it is expensive, too. Some Japanese brands are made there as well. The Made In Japan products are outrageous. I miss going to the local Harbor Freight where at least the junk was not that expensive and you could afford to try it.

I have been told that the flea markets are a good place to find old hand tools, but I have yet to go. People here prefer new and old things are just junk (even if they are not). The nice chisels here are crazy expensive and I would argue that they cost more here than abroad. Some of them are supposed to be crafted like samurai swords with multiple layers of steel folded onto itself. They do look like works of art.

My latest purchases from the US are a Triton 2.25 hp router for $277 (about $700 here) and Woodpeckers table insert for $79 (about $300 here) a Freud 10” blade for $80 (about $140 here) and various router bits for about half the price. Incredible!

View DocSavage45's profile


8882 posts in 3451 days

#14 posted 01-22-2012 09:51 PM


E kaga desu ka? Nihongo hamimasuka? Didn’t get where you are living? Northern, middle or Southern Japan? I have a friend who is the Master woodworker of Miasaki (sp?) He takes in a few apprentices and had as many as 10. They all have to be college graduates. Different world than here, as he pays them a stipend. But has told me he is slowing down.

Economics there is also a driver for purchasing custom woodwork.

Don’t remember, is the electricity at same voltage and current level?

-- Cau Haus Designs, Thomas J. Tieffenbacher

View a1Jim's profile


117909 posts in 4186 days

#15 posted 01-22-2012 10:32 PM

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