Granite tops vs traditional Cast iron tops on WW machines

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Forum topic by Bob #2 posted 02-17-2009 02:18 AM 5875 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bob #2

3810 posts in 5363 days

02-17-2009 02:18 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

I want to ask some tough questions about the new granite machine tops.
It’s pretty obvious that they are very stabile .
I have no fear of putting and ice cold can of “pop” on them and leaving it there til Sunday.

Here’s what bothers me:

I am used to attaching things to the table with a metal drill and a few judiciously placed bolts.

I have attached tool holders, outfeed tables, fences etc with a small hand full of tools and great results.

How can I do this with the granite tops?

Is there way to drill and tap this new material?

I am getting more interested in magnetic stops,feather boards, and guides for my table saw.
What is there similar in versitility to make me want to get granite in lieu of cast iron?

Am I restricted to using the miter slot to attach hold downs on my table saw?

I am given understand that granite might be more accurate than cast iron re the tolerance figure but in reality would this increased accuracy result in better joints?

I sound like I am “dissing” granite tops but realistically, these obstacles are not being addressed in the advertising.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

40 replies so far

View FEDSAWDAVE's profile


293 posts in 4773 days

#1 posted 02-17-2009 04:05 AM

Bob, as I own, where is this being advertised? This, has passed me by and at first I thought you were kidding. Who has “granite machine tops?”


-- David,

View Sean's profile


156 posts in 4956 days

#2 posted 02-17-2009 04:25 AM

steel city has produced a tablesaw and jointer with granite tops instead of iron, I think thats what he’s talking about.

-- "Democracy is by far the worst system of government. Except all the others that have been tried." ~ Winston Churchill

View FEDSAWDAVE's profile


293 posts in 4773 days

#3 posted 02-17-2009 04:33 AM

Thanks Sean but I have no idea what the advantage would be…

-- David,

View pickles's profile


68 posts in 4754 days

#4 posted 02-17-2009 04:39 AM

Fedsaw, Steel City has an entire line of granite tabled tools, Rigid also sells a tablesaw and maybe a jointer.

Bob, I have a Steel City table saw with granite top. Your right it does lend itself well to magnetic devices. I built a standalone outfeed table for it. I appears that all the nuts are epoxied in, so i don’t see anyway to tap it.

I’ve only used the miter guage featherboards so it works well for me.

View FEDSAWDAVE's profile


293 posts in 4773 days

#5 posted 02-17-2009 04:40 AM

Steel City so they’re referring to Pittsburgh…right?

-- David,

View dlux's profile


54 posts in 4774 days

#6 posted 02-17-2009 04:46 AM

Ridgid also has produced a granite TS (R4511) which I own. Obviously, you are correct in observing that you loose the advantage of magnetic add-ons and being able to drill into the material (although I’m sure you can, but I don’t think you’d want to). That said, the advantage of the table not rusting (I live in a very humid climate) and not warping over time is a good enough payoff for me. In addition, the weight of the table is great, but with the herculift that Ridgid includes in order to make the saw mobile makes this perfect for somebody in my situation.

Both granite and iron have their advantages and disadvantages, but just like every other tool, I think it comes down to which one works best for your particular situation.

View pickles's profile


68 posts in 4754 days

#7 posted 02-17-2009 04:47 AM

Yeah a bit ironic I suppose

View pitchnsplinters's profile


263 posts in 4779 days

#8 posted 02-17-2009 04:49 AM

There are certainly ways to drill into stone. From my experience I would be concerned about drilling into the edge of such a relatively thin top. If you were successful, there are incredible epoxy adhesives that could be used to glue in threaded inserts. if it were my money I would leave it alone. Mount more stuff to the cabinet sheetmetal rather than utilizing the top. Good luck.

-- Just 'cause a cat has kittens in the oven, it don't make 'em biscuits.

View pickles's profile


68 posts in 4754 days

#9 posted 02-17-2009 04:54 AM

Ive never seen anyone actually mount things to the table other than a fence. I added some hangers on the cabinet for my osbourne miter gauge

View Bureaucrat's profile


18341 posts in 4993 days

#10 posted 02-17-2009 05:44 AM

I occasionally beat the heck out of something with a hammer on my good ole craftsman. Some would say that’s not all that bright but if it’s top were granite I think I’d need a new top!

-- Gary D.

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5623 posts in 5054 days

#11 posted 02-17-2009 05:50 AM

I was just looking at a granite top Steel City bandsaw and many questions ran through my head about this versus steel or cast. I think the dimensional stability is outweighed by being able to use magnetic clamps, tap it for fences or even just accidental (or in Bureaucrat’s case deliberate) :-) impact. When I finally have the scratch together I will probably go metal.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View Karson's profile


35295 posts in 5742 days

#12 posted 02-17-2009 07:22 AM

Thats a question I was asking myself also. It’s a great discussion item

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6879 posts in 5321 days

#13 posted 02-17-2009 01:15 PM

Hi Bob;

Like you, and Karson, I personally can’t see any advantage to this. I think it’s a marketing thing more than anything else.

From the time they were first introduced, I considered them to be a novel idea, not much to gain, and a fair amount to lose.

As you pointed out, other than being able to leave a can of pop on the saw table for a week, (without a coaster), LOL and not having a problem really doesn’t do much for me. I have a rule that no food or beverages be put on machine tops.

As far as warping, none of my machines seem to have a problem in that regard either. I don’t recall ever putting off a project until the top flattened back out.

While there are only limited times when you need to drill a machine top, like setting up a power feeder, and of course you can drill granite and epoxy a nut into it, but I wouldn’t do it.

The magnetic feather boards could be replaced with vacuum clamps, but that’s not very convenient.

So, I’m thinking unless I start preparing meals on my table saw, I’ll stick with metal.


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View scarpenter002's profile


619 posts in 5246 days

#14 posted 02-17-2009 02:41 PM

I have been seriously looking at the Steel City Granite TS. I live in a very humid climate and look to the granite to solve my rust problems. As others have stated, my biggest fear would be cracking the top. I had not considered the magnet issue, but must now as I do have several magnetic feather boards.

Well, since I am still constructing my shop, and my next major tool purchase is a Dust Collection system, I have some time to let others test these granite topped tools out for me.

-- Scott in Texas

View Loren's profile


11375 posts in 4989 days

#15 posted 02-17-2009 05:43 PM

I think a big selling point is greater perceived precision. I’ve owned
some really nice machines with cast-iron tables and they were
always warped and dished to some degree. It generally didn’t
affect performance much.

The premise is that the granite tops are always dead-flat and that
having a dead-flat top will make your craftsmanship better.

Attractive premise. Not correct, but attractive.

Obviously a really badly warped top is a problem.

I used to live in a rustic house in Malibu and I didn’t have covered space
for all my machines. I dealt with rusting tops on a regular basis. Many
of us here might think it is crazy to store a nice table saw outside, but
I did it for years and just put up with the rust. Of course I covered the
machines but a little moisture always got in.

For me, just from that peculiar situation, a granite topped table saw
is an intriguing idea. You can just move a saw outside where infeed
and outfeed room is unlimited and not be too concerned about the
saw being damaged by exposure.

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