Is a 5/8" arbor safe, or too weak?

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Forum topic by DennisA posted 05-22-2014 06:46 PM 2481 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 1854 days

05-22-2014 06:46 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question tablesaw

I’ve had more than one european woodworker tell me I shouldn’t get an american style table saw (I am in finland) because the arbor is 5/8” and that’s just too weak for any serious stuff (such as ripping long rough sawn lumber).

I figured I should ask the americans what you think. Seems to me even more serious machines use the 5/8s arbor and it seems to work okay? Is it the 5/8” arbor a weak point in a table saw you think, would you prefer a 25mm or 1” arbor? Or doesn’t it make a difference?

I like this american contractor style saw I found, it can even take dado blades, also has a 1phase 3HP induction motor and cast iron top. It would bring the total to 1k euros to bring it home from the UK though. He has pointed out some old machine by a company called Griggio instead, a combined saw and spindle molder, for 600 euros, but it’s in pieces and need some parts replaced, says the total to get it running will probably come to the same as the UK saw.

So I am at a bit of a loss, I am new to woodworking and somewhat lost.

49 replies so far

View MrUnix's profile


7387 posts in 2588 days

#1 posted 05-22-2014 07:47 PM

The Delta Unisaw (and PM66, Grizzly G1023, etc..) has a 5/8” arbor and I have never ever heard anybody complain about it or claim it is a ‘weak point’..


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3360 days

#2 posted 05-22-2014 08:10 PM

It would take over 30,000 lbs of force to break the 5/8” arbor shaft.
Europeans are always speculating how much better their designs are than ours.
That’s why they invented the electric light, the phone, space travel, computers, the internet. . . oh wait.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

5545 posts in 2882 days

#3 posted 05-22-2014 08:13 PM

If you look at the millions of hours logged on those saws with 5/8” arbors and could figure out the failure rate (I’m sure there have been a few, though it’s so low it would be considered insignificant) I think you would find it to be just as good as whatever the standard is in Europe. While I think the European tools have some advances over those here in the states, I can’t imagine that being one of them.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View TheJBitt's profile


34 posts in 2347 days

#4 posted 05-22-2014 08:18 PM

AS an engineer, I 2nd what Crank said about ridiculous forces necessary to break the arbor.

As a cheapskate, I would like to point out that you say the Griggio is a saw AND a spindle shaper. I don’t know anything about Griggio, but if it is a decent quality machine, why would you not jump on it and get double the functionality for the same price?

-- I make great sawdust. -Jon in Warsaw, IN

View BinghamtonEd's profile


2298 posts in 2759 days

#5 posted 05-22-2014 08:27 PM

As an engineer as well, I would turn back to you friend and ask for the supporting data to that argument. My guess is that there is none, just a bunch of hearsay. If you’re going to state something as fact, you’d better be able to back it up. If he can’t back that up, I’d question the credibility of anything else that comes out of his mouth. I’m not saying you shouldn’t be friends with him, but all advice, as well as the advice from an internet forum, should be taken with a grain of salt.

-- - The mightiest oak in the forest is just a little nut that held its ground.

View SCOTSMAN's profile


5849 posts in 3974 days

#6 posted 05-22-2014 08:58 PM

It seems that the arbour is quite strong enough, at five eighth’s of an inch.Please don’t worry there is plenty out there which will get you first.Like Perpetual constipation for example.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View Mike Throckmorton's profile

Mike Throckmorton

124 posts in 2054 days

#7 posted 05-22-2014 09:19 PM

The 15.875mm arbors are much much stronger.

-- You are never complete, you just draw a line where done is and stop at that line.

View Underdog's profile


1328 posts in 2425 days

#8 posted 05-22-2014 09:25 PM

Yeah, because 15.875 is a bigger number than .625.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Underdog's profile


1328 posts in 2425 days

#9 posted 05-22-2014 09:28 PM

We used a PM table saw with a 5/8” arbor w/ a 3 HP motor for years to rip down long lengths of lumber in the cabinet shop. Now we’re using a SawStop with a 5 HP motor and a 5/8” arbor to rip down long lengths of lumber…

Never. Been. An. Issue.

Buy whichever one you want.

-- Jim, Georgia, USA

View Mike67's profile


97 posts in 3725 days

#10 posted 05-22-2014 09:32 PM

Wait, do you rip rough lumber? That’s not safe. You need to joint an edge and face first.
Are blades for use with 5/8 arbors easily available there? That could be a factor.

View InstantSiv's profile


262 posts in 1984 days

#11 posted 05-22-2014 09:37 PM

I would disregard their advice…

Instead I would look at what saw blades, arbor wise, are readily available in your area. If 1” or whatever seems to be the most common, cheapest, available locally,... I would base my decision to get or not get that saw on that.

View Matt Rogers's profile

Matt Rogers

110 posts in 2359 days

#12 posted 05-22-2014 09:49 PM

I know this is off topic, but Mike67 – do you really think that it is that unsafe to rip rough lumber? If so, then how would anybody make battens from rough cut lumber for board and batten siding? Nobody is going to take a 16’ long board to the jointer and a lot of rough cut siding comes from a guys with a mill, but no molder to S4S or even S1S a long board.

I do agree that sending really gnarly boards through the table saw could be a hazard – like a 2” thick warped and twisted slab of hard maple with tension wood, but I and many others have safely ripped thousands of feet of rough 1x pine boards for siding on many different table saws without any serious kickback or danger. A splitter is certainly recommended

Rough lumber is commonly ripped to a width that is close to the size of piece that you will be using before jointing as you can take a cupped 8” wide board and cut it into two 4” blanks for cabinet door parts, then joint each piece individually and get flatter wood more quickly and with less waste than if you tried to joint the wide 8” board first.

Not trying to bust your balls, but it is not true that is is always unsafe to cut rough lumber on a table saw.

-- Matt Rogers, and

View unbob's profile


810 posts in 2292 days

#13 posted 05-22-2014 09:54 PM

Many European woodworkers think dado stacks are completely dangerous, and they are not allowed anyway as the blade guard must be removed for use. Those operations are done on other machines.
They tend to have a lot more government rules. It seems the saws sold there have only a short arbor, for ones own good.
Ripping rough sawed wood on a table saw, seems a little bit of a hazard to me, perhaps more so on short lengths.
Matt made some good points above, I am glad he posted that.

View bbc557ci's profile


596 posts in 2463 days

#14 posted 05-22-2014 10:32 PM

Bull. When was the last time anyone heard of an arbor breaking. And if so, what led to the failure. No one in their right mind, or with some common sense and or experience would shove a twisted piece POS wood through a table saw. At least I wouldn’t think they would.

-- Bill, central where near the "big apple"

View Yonak's profile


986 posts in 1910 days

#15 posted 05-23-2014 02:58 AM

Re : “and they are not allowed anyway as the blade guard must be removed for use.”

unbob, is it illegal to remove the blade guard in the privacy of one’s personal shop in Europe ? Our OSHA in the US goes overboard at times, but at least they don’t pester the home woodworker.

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