Table saws…..again (but this time it's different)

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Forum topic by SparkyWood posted 02-03-2014 11:59 AM 2662 views 0 times favorited 54 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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21 posts in 2137 days

02-03-2014 11:59 AM

Topic tags/keywords: table saw grizzly ridgid craftsman shop fox cabinet saw

What’s up handy fellows,

So, Im new here. New to woodworking. I’m an electrician in the chicagoland area thats always wanted to set up some form of woodworking shop as a hobby. I already have lots of tools just from being handy, finishing basements, side jobs, etc. I know there is years of experience here, and appreciate your advice/input in advance.

My question is as follows:

I want a GOOD table saw… I know, I know this topic has been beat to death. I’ve read tons of these threads before I even joined LJ. It seems that most threads go off on tangents about “cabinet pushers” and people that think thier personal saws are the only saws to own (because they own it). Now, most of you are going to tell me to get a entry level saw such as a Ridgid or Craftsman. Being an Electrician I know that RIDGID makes some of the best tools on earth when it comes to pipe threaders, and even shop vac’s. I’ve also always been a HUGE Craftsman fan when it comes to socket sets and wrenches. But when it comes to saws, I just don’t think they are the ones to own. I don’t have any reason to think this, I just do. The only saws I own are DeWalt. I think they are all very good saws for what I use them for. What I’m looking for is the saw that is the Ridgid of pipethreaders, the craftsman of socket sets. BUT, at the same time I want good value.

I’m looking to spend $800-1300 on an excellent saw. I look at Grizzly as a popular saw on these threads. But, they seem to require a lot of tweeking to get perfect. I want to purchase a saw way beyond my current needs, to keep forever.

Thanks again guys for your input. I will check in and comment later…

-- Anything worth doing, is worth over-doing.

54 replies so far

View jterry's profile


23 posts in 3390 days

#1 posted 02-03-2014 01:14 PM

I don’t ever post here, just lurk. Over the years I have seen that the best general purpose saws are unisaws and Power Matic. I can’t speak to the fit and finish or if they need set up from the factory, but I do know they are much more powerful than the $300 home owner saws and are more likely to hurt someone who is not experienced. That said, I have always had a craftsman table saw. It does all that I need, but . . . . I have to have patience. It has to be set up so it will work correctly. One has to know what blades and accessories to use. I have modified the stock fence guides so the fence works on both sides of the blade and rip capacity is 48 inches. I also have roll around modifications to it. It has been my experience that all people abuse equipment until they learn how to take care of it. Young people abuse cars so don’t get them a new one. A new chainsaw will be destroyed quickly so start with a cheap one. get a cheap motorcycle because you will drop it. The list goes on and on so it is the same with wood working equipment. If I were you I would get on Craigslist and get an inexpensive saw and start making something. In six months you will have a better idea of what you really want. FWIW all saws have to be set up when they are doing something wrong. They need periodic maintenance. Good luck on your quest.

View Crank50's profile


173 posts in 2139 days

#2 posted 02-03-2014 01:50 PM

double post, sorry.

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3533 days

#3 posted 02-03-2014 01:53 PM

If you are looking for a saw that is the Ridgid of pipethreaders and the Craftsman of socket sets (although Snap-on folks might argue that analogy) then you will need to triple your budget. The Delta Unisaw would be that saw.

Having said that, I would say a Grizzly would be the best bang for the buck and a saw with a huge user base that should be around for a long while. The 690 and 1023 series saws are very good saws and not too far from your budget and they are built like tanks.

View UpstateNYdude's profile


934 posts in 2545 days

#4 posted 02-03-2014 01:54 PM

For that budget I agree with Crank you won’t find a better saw then the 690 or 1023 from Grizzly. I’m going to be ordering the 1023 this summer.

-- Nick, “I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it.” – Vincent Van Gogh

View RobS888's profile


2618 posts in 2407 days

#5 posted 02-03-2014 02:04 PM

Can you stretch your budget for a sawstop? They are supposed to be great?

-- I always knew gun nuts where afraid of something, just never thought popcorn was on the list.

View punk's profile


181 posts in 2978 days

#6 posted 02-03-2014 02:06 PM

if it was me i would get on ebay or craigslist and look for a good older delta cabnet saw and go from there,a lot of your older saws nomatter what brand but a good heavy one,i bought a sears top of line cabinet saw with a granit top very diapointed, got my old one out of storage rebuilt it repainted it tuned it all up now im happy .but thats just myopinion i think the older tools are better. good day and good luck. norm

-- Punk in PA

View TheGermanJoiner's profile


847 posts in 2200 days

#7 posted 02-03-2014 02:11 PM

I agree with everyone. For 1300 you can get a very nice used unisaw. I bought one new and have loved it since I bought it. It’s a bit of a love affair. (Don’t tell my wife) ;)

-- Greg - Ferdinand and Son Construction: Do it right the first time. Like us on Facebook

View knotscott's profile


8346 posts in 3938 days

#8 posted 02-03-2014 02:14 PM

It’s difficult to accurately generalize about any brand, but near your budget, IMO the best saws available would be the Grizzly G1023RL or the G0690 if you’re willing to forego dealer support (which is where the bulk of the savings come from). Those are both very well proven saws, with very few issues that I’ve read about, if any. A new cabinet saw is just beyond the upper range of your budget, but there’s enough of a jump in the construction to merit the extra $100 or so (but it’s not my money!). You might find a Shop Fox equivalent of the G0690 with dealer support on sale. A used cabinet saw should be within budget, but are harder to find, and may not have all the latest features. Otherwise you’re looking at a hybrid, which is capable, but doesn’t offer as much saw for the buck IMO. I assume 220v isn’t an obstacle.

My TS blog

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

View TheWoodenOyster's profile


1332 posts in 2497 days

#9 posted 02-03-2014 04:12 PM

I was in your exact position a year ago. I had been hobby woodworking for about 2 years and was loving it. I read up as much as I could and came to the same conclusion as you: why go thru 3 or 4 saws and spend more money and be more frustrated when you can just buy the big boy first? I think that is a smart thing to do if funds allow and you’ll likely find there is a decent crowd of LJ’s who agree.

So, here’s what I did. I had a very similar budget to yours, about $1100 was my max. I watched craigslist for a month or so and was really getting impatient. I saw lots of delta unisaws come and go without getting on top of them quickly enough. Finally, I saw one for $1050 in a small town about 2 hours outside of any metropolitan area, so I knew it might last. The saw was in great shape. It is a 3 hp 220 v unisaw from the early 90’s. Made in the USA. It came with an excalibur fence, extension table, and a 3 hp router to boot. I drove out there the next weekend I could and snatched it up. I love that saw and I never regret the purchase for a second. I also bought it from an elderly gentleman who was glad to see it going to a young and zealous woodworker, so that was the cherry on top for me. Make a veteran woodworker smile and get an awesome saw, what could be better? All I had to to do was reassemble at home and I was off to the races.

So that is my experience with buying used. Craigslist can be very frustrating and my advice is that if you go used, you should buy a saw that is in very good condition, even if it isn’t the best deal. I worried for a few weeks that I had gotten taken on the deal, but in the end I got a decent deal on an incredible saw. I am a lot more concerned about the saw being incredible than the deal. The saw is going to sit in my garage for the next 40 years, the deal is long gone. If you are going big time on this saw, I’d stick with 3 hp and 220 v, especially since you are an electrician and can easily provide yourself with 220 power. The 3 hp saw isn’t a must, but I think you’ll find that you were glad you purchased it in the long run.

Hope that helps.

-- The Wood Is Your Oyster

View Scomel Basses's profile

Scomel Basses

169 posts in 2559 days

#10 posted 02-03-2014 04:56 PM

I think this is an easy decision for your price range. I owned the Grizzly 1023RLW for a year before replacing it with a SawStop. The SS is an incredible machine, and yes the initial allure was the safety feature but it is an awesome tool without it. That said, the 1023 is a very capable saw and will do everything you need it to and do it as well as anything else. I bought it new and it arrived in perfect condition and I was able to get it dialed in with ease. I loved the saw and have no problem recommending it to anyone looking for a saw in that price range. I actually owned the Ridgid 4512 before the Grizzly, too. There was no comparison, the grizzly was WAY better in every way.

View CharlesA's profile


3387 posts in 2360 days

#11 posted 02-03-2014 05:16 PM

What’s different?

-- "Man is the only animal which devours his own, for I can apply no milder term to the general prey of the rich on the poor." ~Thomas Jefferson

View Woodknack's profile


12945 posts in 2942 days

#12 posted 02-03-2014 06:02 PM

Hey Charles, this thread is waaaaaay different than all the other threads this month asking which saw to buy as demonstrated by the completely same answers as all those other threads. Uh, wait a minute!! ;)
This is one topic where I support Joe’s suggestion of a sticky thread.

-- Rick M,

View SparkyWood's profile


21 posts in 2137 days

#13 posted 02-03-2014 10:00 PM

Thanks everyone. I appreciate those of you with useful advice. Obviously I was being Facetious with the title of this thread.

It seems like we have quite a few guys familiar with Grizzly. Is the 0690 the old 1023 model? I thought I saw somewhere that the riving knife wasn’t good on the 0690, like it was a retrofit or something. Is the fence any better on the 0690 vs 1023? Trying to nail down the differences in the two models.

Knotscott: I know you have the ShopFox version of the 0690 and are happy it seems.

I will take everyones advice and keep an eye on CL. Haven’t seen much lately but maybe with time.

-- Anything worth doing, is worth over-doing.

View SparkyWood's profile


21 posts in 2137 days

#14 posted 02-03-2014 11:09 PM

Just found this…

only problem is its 3 phase…

-- Anything worth doing, is worth over-doing.

View Robey's profile


14 posts in 2142 days

#15 posted 02-03-2014 11:19 PM

I just picked up a 1985 Powermatic 66 w/Biesemeyer fence. After complete restoration (new motor, bearings, belts, switch, etc) I will have less than $800 in it. So this is something to consider also. If I was to buy a new saw it would be a Sawstop, but they are pricey

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