Should it be this hard to pick a Table Saw

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Forum topic by jaykerz posted 01-06-2009 03:53 AM 6345 views 0 times favorited 81 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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26 posts in 3984 days

01-06-2009 03:53 AM

So I actually tried to talk myself out of a new TS this afternoon by trying to tune-up the OOOOOOOLD Craftsman contractors saw. Ha! The joke was on me. This thing is a POS… Now here I am again reading every review on the web until my brain starts to hurt. I need some serious help here people. Ebay, C-list and Google search just aren’t driving me to a desicion. I would like 3hp, awesome fence and dust collection in a package for under $1000.00. Is that really this difficult? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

-- Jaykerz----I refuse to waste anymore talent...

81 replies so far

View Woodchuck1957's profile


944 posts in 4297 days

#1 posted 01-06-2009 04:44 AM

I don’t know what the answer is that your looking for, and I don’t know why you think you need an industrial table saw. I’ve had a Contractor’s saw since 1995 and still have no reason to buy anything else.

View jaykerz's profile


26 posts in 3984 days

#2 posted 01-06-2009 04:47 AM

What type of saw do you use woodchuck?

-- Jaykerz----I refuse to waste anymore talent...

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 4427 days

#3 posted 01-06-2009 05:03 AM

I’ve owned and used an very old 8” Beaver, a 12” Craftsman, A Makita Bench top, A General Cabinet Saw, A very old Poitras, SCM, Griggio…............and the list goes on.

I guess that age has tempered me as I rarely purchase anything in haste and even more rare… I ever buy “BIG TOYS” I can understand the thrill of shinny metal, a warranty. I watch the auctions via the internet and when the right “toy” is on the block thats on my wish list….....I attend.
Giving an example, I bought a stroke sander, mint condition for 1,300 that sells new for 5,000.

Guessing that if money were no object I’ld jump in my Dodge 1/2 tonne Porsche and zoom down for a brand new 12’ slider, but for me its not an option. I would rather have a nice cabinet saw that will last me the rest of life, that probably wont depreciate then buy a brand new saw thats in my budget onlyto regret it down the road.

Festool makes a nice contractors saw.

Good Luck

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

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944 posts in 4297 days

#4 posted 01-06-2009 05:07 AM

It’s a 34-445X Delta Contractor’s saw with a 30” unifence and mobile base. The last of the American made Delta Contractor saws. I’ve added a Fenner Drives PowerTwist link belt, a Penn State Industries dust hood ( that I designed for them ), a Delta 50-390 rear extension table, replaced the tiny toggle power switch that was mounted in the cabinet with a paddle switch that is now under the fence rail, and wired the motor for 230V.

View jaykerz's profile


26 posts in 3984 days

#5 posted 01-06-2009 05:16 AM

Very nice sir. The thing looks like the hope diamond compared to what I’m working with. Thanks for the advice.

-- Jaykerz----I refuse to waste anymore talent...

View woodworm's profile


14475 posts in 4124 days

#6 posted 01-06-2009 05:23 AM

It’s very very hard if you have so many options. In my case, there are about only two in the market (in my country ie Malaysia) 1. shop built (custom built) and 2. Scheppach (imported). No headache of choosing!

With your $1K budget, I would pick Grizzly1023 as mentioned by Jarrod.

-- masrol, kuala lumpur, MY.

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944 posts in 4297 days

#7 posted 01-06-2009 05:37 AM

Once in awhile I see one of these saws in good to great condition popup in Craigslist or ebay, etc. very reasonably. A 34-445X in practically new condition just sold last month locally for $600. The saw is actually a 34-444, what makes it a 34-445X is the Unifence and the mobile base. A plain 34-444 will go for $250 – $300 depending on condition. A cabinet saw is a good saw if you have the extra money, but I don’t think they are really a neccessity unless your running a fulltime shop. Save your money for other machinery, like a dust collector, drill press, thickness planer, miter saw, mortiseing machine, bandsaw, disc sander, router table, lathe, etc. the list goes on and on, it’s not a cheap hobby to get into. After 28 years I’m finally pretty close to all that I want and need as a hobbyist. Spend your money wisely.

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4447 days

#8 posted 01-06-2009 05:42 AM

I’ve been using the same 10” Beaver/Delta contractor TS since 1986 very similar to that 34-44x. I’ve often dreamt of getting a Unisaw but now that I am in New Zealand they aren’t available anyway. As I am preparing to go off-grid, I started thinking why I really need a 3 or 5hp saw anyway and how I would power it and the truth is I have yet to find anything my 1.5hp contractor saw hasn’t been able to do. The fence is a bit persnickety but it hasn’t stopped me from doing anything. I’ve considered just a fence replacement but even they aren’t available here so I’m looking for a home built improvement but it’s not urgent, I’ve waited 20 years already!

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View skycraftsman's profile


12 posts in 3963 days

#9 posted 01-06-2009 05:53 AM I too am in the market for for a new tablesaw.I have been running a Makita job saw dropped into a Rousseau table.I have gone thru three new tops and 3 Makitas over the last 7 years.This set up has traveled around the country with me for two years and has served me well for many of cabinets ,doors, decks and pretty much name it…....but I recently got a shop and it is time to upgrade.So after much deliberation and research I am saving for the Powermatic 66 which I found at CPO for $1900 bucks which is a steel.There are a lot of saws out there and they all will do the job but the pm66 is hands down the sweetest saw I have ever worked on.
let me now what you go with.

-- "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding......."

View Mike Lingenfelter's profile

Mike Lingenfelter

503 posts in 4647 days

#10 posted 01-06-2009 06:07 AM

A 3HP Table Saw for under $1000 will be hard, unless you look at used Table Saws. Although I just received this link from Woodsmith for a 3HP Steel City TS for $750.

View dlux's profile


54 posts in 3967 days

#11 posted 01-06-2009 06:41 AM

I feel your pain, man. I finally thought I had narrowed my TS choices down to two and then I joined this site where I got enough advice to totally change my mind. My budget was about $700-900 so I had to decide between going with some super power machine OR a pay less for a machine that would really meet all my needs and have enough money left over to trick it out a bit.
After taking the information here and talking it over with several guys at the local Rockler I ended up going with the Delta 36-979 for $450 at Lowes. I found a 20% coupon on eBay to drive the price down to $400. I went with the Unifence that I found on eBay for $210, picked up a Wixey digital angle guide for $40, Freud 60 tooth blade for $20, and because I had done so good on the savings, I have enough to pick up a Craftsman Pro Jointer floor model.
For what I need, the Delta 979 will serve me well. I guess it all comes down to this; is the amount of money that you are going to spend on the extra HP worth it to you, or can you do the same jobs for the most part with less HP and get more “toys”....
But, just like when you buy a piece of electronic equipment, once you make your decision don’t read anything else about any other TS. Lock yourself in a place with no access to anything that might make you think that you made the wrong decision.

Good luck!

View propcarver's profile


33 posts in 4363 days

#12 posted 01-06-2009 03:11 PM

Here is a quick fix that can make the older style contractor saws setup true and square. 20 bucks for the Pals Kit might be a stopgap until you get it figured out.

Used one of these on a neighbors saw some years ago and he has been happy ever since.



View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4207 days

#13 posted 01-06-2009 05:48 PM

Did you check the trunion alignment rods when you did your tuneup? What happened with that sub 1000 powermatic?

View jaykerz's profile


26 posts in 3984 days

#14 posted 01-06-2009 06:00 PM

This is what happened with the tune-up: 1. Removed Belt 2. Cleaned off angle and elevation rods (screws)
3. Loosened trunnion bolts 4. Used dial indicator to line up blade with mitre slot 5. Tightened down trunnion bolts paying close attention to the dial indicator so as not to move the trunion. 6. Double checked alignment and then lowered blade to make a test cut. Rechecked with dial indicator and now it is out of alignment. I came to the conclusion that when I adjust the height of the blade, the blade is actually rocking side to side.

As for the Powermatic, the high bid on it is 850. Checked into a phase converter and priced one at 200.00. I am seriously considering driving to pick up that unisaw I was looking at for 1000.00.

-- Jaykerz----I refuse to waste anymore talent...

View marcb's profile


768 posts in 4207 days

#15 posted 01-06-2009 06:06 PM

The rocking sounds like it could be the 2 connecting bars being out of parallel. You should check that.

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