Is bigger necessary?

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Forum topic by SFDCapt posted 10-10-2013 04:58 PM 1880 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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82 posts in 2712 days

10-10-2013 04:58 PM

Topic tags/keywords: tablesaw question

I have been spending a lot of time looking at various table saws for a new shop. Mind you I am not going to be purchasing anytime soon but am planning layout. All the saws I have been looking at are 3HP single phase cabinet saws. What I would like to ask the community is why buy 50-52” rails over 30-36” rails? The saw will be used to build furniture and cabinetry. There is plenty of room in the shop for the larger rails and the price difference is generally $100, a small fraction of the cost of these saws. I just can’t imagine needing that much space between blade and fence. As I am fairly new to this, surely I am missing something. Thanks in advance for everyone’s thoughts on this.


-- Making dust and taking names!

31 replies so far

View RobWoodCutter's profile


117 posts in 4241 days

#1 posted 10-10-2013 05:13 PM

I have the PM2000 with 50” rails. The advantage for me is being able to push the fence completely out of the way when using a sled or miter guage as oppose to taking it on/off.

I don’t need the actually capacity for ripping down full sheets of plywood because I have other safer methods (panelsaw and tracksaw).


-- Rob-Yorktown "Shop's still not done, Tools are bought, Wood is bought, need to find time to start a project.."

View Loren's profile


11023 posts in 4659 days

#2 posted 10-10-2013 05:16 PM

+1 what Rob said. If you get 72” rails you can crosscut pantry
sides using the fence.

Footprint is an issue in some shops. I have a European saw
and I’m temped to cut the fence down from 50” to 32” or
something to have a little more maneuverability in the shop.

View bigblockyeti's profile


7092 posts in 2731 days

#3 posted 10-10-2013 05:30 PM

As soon as you need the extra capacity, it’ll be too late, go big!

-- "Lack of effort will result in failure with amazing predictability" - Me

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3897 days

#4 posted 10-10-2013 06:20 PM

+1 on what Rob said. I have had both the 52 and the 32. The extra space is really nice. I mean really nice. If you go 32 you won’t know what you are missing so it won’t be a big deal but once you go 52 there is no going back.

View SFDCapt's profile


82 posts in 2712 days

#5 posted 10-10-2013 06:46 PM

I probably should have put in the new shop is 19×35. I was thinking the 50” rails would be worth the extra $100. If I build an outfeed table it will give me additional assembly space.

-- Making dust and taking names!

View agallant's profile


551 posts in 3897 days

#6 posted 10-10-2013 07:01 PM

19X35, then I would 100% go with the larger rails. My shop is 18X16 and I have the larger rails.

View sixstring's profile


296 posts in 3254 days

#7 posted 10-10-2013 07:26 PM

Go big and build an extension and outfeed table. Then you can also build in a router table along the side which can also use the saw’s fence (double duty means more use so get the best fence you can.) I have a Vega Pro 50 and havent had any problems. Stays true, the micro-adjust is useful but not by any means necessary. And it was super easy to install and true to the blade.

If space isnt an issue… go big and make future projects a breeze to tackle. The extra work/assembly space is very useful and other stations (mitresaw, planer, jointer, routing rigs, can always be built in to the table. I find myself at one end jointing and planing then sliding the material across to be cut on the tablesaw. Then across to the router and back again as necessary. Then I use the table for staining/finishing and assembly.

One useful thing I’ve done is routing a mitre/t-track slot to extend from the table saw onto the outfeed table so crosscut sleds and other jigs can continue sliding across as necessary… Or, use the same tracks for other jigs on the other side. I’ve found that my sleds make great 90deg stops/guides for assembling cabinets. The possibilities are endless so again… Go Big!

-- JC Garcia, Concord, CA : "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission..."

View Earlextech's profile


1163 posts in 3701 days

#8 posted 10-10-2013 07:52 PM

Spend the $100 –
The first time you need to cut a sheet of ply to 46” you will be happy you did.

-- Sam Hamory - The project is never finished until its "Finished"!

View BArnold's profile


175 posts in 2843 days

#9 posted 10-10-2013 08:16 PM

What Earlextech said.

My first table saw was a contractor type with 30” rails. When I upgraded a couple of years later, I got the 52” rails and realized what I had been missing. Of course, that upgrade was a 3hp cabinet saw with the power to handle 8/4 and 10/4 rough cut lumber, too!

-- Bill, Thomasville, GA

View MrRon's profile


5994 posts in 4254 days

#10 posted 10-10-2013 08:52 PM

Not necessary, but nice to have. My 3 horse has 52” rails and I am perfectly happy with that. Have been for 30 years.

View AandCstyle's profile


3294 posts in 3268 days

#11 posted 10-10-2013 11:26 PM

Here is a pic of my TS and outfeed table shortly after I moved into the shop. Subsequently, I covered the plywood with melamine and use it for glue ups and smaller assemblies. I have the 52” rails and I can handle sheets of 3/4” ply with no difficulty or safety concerns.

-- Art

View SFDCapt's profile


82 posts in 2712 days

#12 posted 10-10-2013 11:44 PM

Art, that looks great. Very similar set up to what I was thinking of doing, except my dust control will be below the floor.

-- Making dust and taking names!

View AandCstyle's profile


3294 posts in 3268 days

#13 posted 10-11-2013 12:36 AM

The sheet of ply on the back is a full 4’x8’ and the small piece was sized to make the rectangle. I use the lower shelf to store cut offs, jigs, glue, etc.

-- Art

View gfadvm's profile


14940 posts in 3701 days

#14 posted 10-11-2013 01:25 AM

Art, That is a great set up!

-- " I'll try to be nicer, if you'll try to be smarter" gfadvm

View Shawn Masterson's profile

Shawn Masterson

1325 posts in 2959 days

#15 posted 10-11-2013 03:12 AM

I can cut 52” to the right of my pm66 and I wouldn’t ever dream of going shorter. Imho if you don’t have the room then your shop needs more shop.

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