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More Table Saw Advice
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Still wondering which table saw to buy?  Below, two experts offer their opinions on buying a home-shop saw to a Woodworker's Journal eZine reader:

Q. I am new to woodworking (less than a year). Looking back over my first major project for our home (a king-size bed), I realized that I spent an inordinate amount of time adjusting for the poor quality of cuts I got out of the old Craftsman table saw I inherited. Having discussed this with my wife and considering the future projects we both would like to see in the house, I have a budget not to exceed $1,000.00. Any recommendations for an accurate table saw for that amount or under?

A. Michael Dresdner: "There are several top-notch contractor's saws that are very accurate, excellent machines for under $1,000. Two of my favorites are JET and DeWalt, but they are by no means the only ones.

A. Rob Johnstone: "I hesistate to recommend specific brands of tools for several reasons, but allow me to complicate your buying decision before I attempt to simplify it. With a $1,000.00 to spend, you could buy a good quality new contractor's saw and then spruce it up with after-market options. Why go through this extra rigamarole? It would allow you to create the machine that most suits your needs and shop. For example, you could add an after-market fence and a table extension. The table extension could have a place to mount your router. Add to that a mobile base, and you are really cooking. With all that said, most of the major bands of contractor's saws are of pretty good quality. I always recommend that you look at which product has the best warranty and how close the service centers are. Another good thing to do is to go to a woodworking show (if there are any close to you) and put your hands on the machine. A show would also let you look at the after-market options if you choose to go that rout."

From the Woodworker's Journal eZine archives

If you're in the market for a home-shop saw, and you're looking at contractor saws, consider also looking into hybrid saws, like the relatively new "Supersaws" from Jet.  They are generally a little more of an investment than a contractor model, but the extra expense is easy to swallow when you consider the number of features they share with cabinet saws costing nearly twice as much. To name a few: All hybrid saws have a fully enclosed base, making dust collection a much simpler matter; they usually have a more advanced drive belt system to transfer power to the blade more reliably and efficiently; and they have more overall mass, which means that they absorb vibration more effectively.

On the other hand, there's nothing wrong with a contractor saw. They're the most portable and affordable, and a good contractor saw comes with all the equipment necessary for them to qualify as a respectable woodworking tool, like an accurate fence system and enough power to cut all but exceptionally thick hardwood stock.  It’s a personal decision, and the only wrong answer is buying a poor quality saw.  When you're ready to get serious, remember that Rockler offers a table saw to suit every woodworking style and budget from Jet and Powermatic – two of the most respected names in the business. And if your still on the fence about which one to get, Rockler's article "The Right Table Saw for Your Shop" will help you sort out all the table saw facts and features, so you'll end up with the best fit and the most saw for the money.


posted on November 1, 2006 by Rockler
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6 thoughts on “More Table Saw Advice”

  • Brian

    I own one of the Jet cabinet saws and while it costs a little more than $1000, I consider it a lifetime investment. The fence is great, the motor smooth and powerful and the saw base is rock solid.

  • Dave

    HI,<br />I'm still a fairly new woodworker (3 years), and I'm slowly building up a shop full of tools. I'm really interested in a shaper, but after reading about the safety concerns they raise, I'm really thinking about a small powerfeeder for it. I'm having a hard time finding any advice or even a picture to go by.<br /><br />Help?

  • Campbell

    I have read the responses to the question of what table saw to get for your home improvement uses. Having gone through the very concerns you are dealing with I strongly suggest you simply step up to a cabinet saw with a besemeyer type fence. <br /><br />I too started out with a top of the line contractors saw. But the inaccuracies caused many frustrations and time. I could have improved the saw by buying a more accurate, after market, fence, more pwerful motor, better miter gauge, but the bottom line is I would have spent more on improving my contractor's table saw than just buying a cabinet saw. I spent $1500 on a delta unisaw that came with a mobile base, and have been satified completely. It was well worth the extra $500 for the accuracy, time saved, and ease of use. <br /><br />Cory<br />

  • John Dickinson
    John Dickinson March 26, 2007 at 2:44 pm

    OK, you guys, maybe you'll think I'm a wuss, but here's my table saw saga. I started out with a Bosch 4000 with the folding stand and the outfeed and leftside extensions, added an HTC rolling base and had an ideal saw for my garage shop. <br /><br />When I recently moved, I decided that my new and larger garage shop deserved a new and larger saw, so I bought a large-scale Powermatic cast-iron table contractor saw with a mobile Jet base. It was a nice setup, but it turned out that I hated it because of difficulty reaching over the huge table and because it was heavy and difficult to move around, even with the mobile base.<br /><br />So I put it up for sale on Craigslist, and when a local fellow offered to trade me his nearly-new Bosch 4000 (I had sold my original saw) with the extensions and a gravity rise stand, I went for it. I am SO happy to be back to a Bosch.

  • Rick Johnson

    I have only been in the woodworking thing for a very short time. I have a table saw that is not very good. I have asked some of my co-workers, who are into woodworking, their opinion. There recommedation is to look into a cabinet saw. So I have been examining those saws. I have found that both Grizzly and Steel City put out a very good saw for around $1000. My next purchase is one of those.

  • Weldon Kuhn

    Been doing woodworking for years, and I feel the same as others in previous posts
    about contractor's saws. I really like the Ridgid TS 3650A that I purchased at Home Depot
    It has a really nice fence system too. Some of the other brands are lacking in this area.

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