Could you live without a table saw?


Could you live without a table saw?  

151 members have voted

  1. 1. could you live without a table saw?

    • Absolutely
    • I like the idea, but having separation anxiety
    • Only if it was a last resort
    • no way, you can have my TS when you pry it from my cold, dead hands

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I have to say, I don't think I could.

I just spent the weekend cutting mdf sheets down into 3, 4 and 4.5" boards. setting the fence one time running them all and having everything perfectly straight and the same width through out was a life saver.

could I have done it with a track saw? sure, could i have done it with a straight edge and circular saw? sure but it would have taken forever.

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Of course you can run a shop without a table saw. People have been working wood without them for years. And those people who enjoy working wood entirely by hand wouldn't need one.

BUT those who make boxes (i.e., cabinet work) & other furniture out of wood professionally wouldn't want to live without a table saw. Time is money for them & they can get a lot more work done in a given amount of time with the table saw than without it. And if you could ask any of the masters from the 19th century & earlier if they would have used a table saw if it was available, they'd tell you "Hell yeah!".

Now, as a hobbyist, I can certainly live without a table saw. I don't want to and I won't. You can take it from my cold dead hands, and not a minute before. I work slowly enough with it; I'd never finish anything without it!


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I'm lucky enough to have a USA made, Powermatic 66 that was my father's before he passed away. I'm in the process of making an entertainment center, and it is comprised of roughly 80 plus pieces (birch ply and poplar faced - will be painted), 99% of the cuts were done with the PM 66. I suppose I could live without a TS, but it's a special piece in my shop. I must say I'm very intriged by all the bandsaw talk on this thread, I've got a 14" delta that I'm trying to tune up, blades, blocks, new tires, I'm looking forward to getting to know the tool better, but for know it is kind of a mystery.

Great topic!

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Hmm...very interesting indeed. I'm very much a new woodworker and I've never owned a TS. The thought of setting setup with a nice router table and bandsaw is very inviting! I might look into the Festool line of tools if I can use a track saw instead of a TS. I'm sure I can perform joinery cuts with my router...there's always more than one way of getting your cuts done...and I'm just a hobbyist.

Some day I'll have a nice sized shop and fill it with very nice toys, but I'm kinda learning the ropes with mix of hand and power tools to get a job done. Space is an issue for me at the moment.

Keep the thread going...there's a lot of great advice here!


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Having come from BT3100 land, I highly recommend craigslist and or one the search engines related to it. I honestly see no reason to pay for a brand new saw if one can patiently look through the ads. There are lots of good saws out there. There are also lots of unisaws at auctions that need new homes and plenty of gentle love (read lots lots of rust removal).

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Nope notta gonna happen, I love my TS too much. It could be done but not to happily. When I was getting started I had Ryobi BT saw and hated it but it was a Lincon over my first saw!! That being said even with those saws I still wouldn't give it up and now with my 3hp cabinet saw that is my baby the thought of not having it is just wrong!!


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  • 1 year later...

I started woodworking without a table saw, so yes, I can live without it. BUT not going to happen. I love it too much and it is far too versitle for me do without. I also have a radial arm saw and can remember he hue and cry about how dangerous they were and everyone should go to a miter saw instead because it was far safer. Now, look at that safe miter saw....what does it do? I slides just like a radial arm saw...direction may vary, but I can cut from front to back with my radial too.....just sayin'


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I can easily live with out a Table Saw. I started buying festools and they are wonderful.

Since I have gotten to learn the to use to the "system" I havent really turned my table saw on but a few times. I just completed a closet org and I think turned the TS on once.

I have been considering selling my TS and buying a band saw just for ripping thin strips for edging and 2" strips for face frames.

I can rip accurately with the festool parallel guides.

I use the edge guide or track w/ router for dados.

For what I do most of my joinery is done with biscuits or pocket holes or a dove tail jig.

Plus I really like the dust extraction and mobility of te festool system.

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  • 2 weeks later...

great topic, though I have to disagree with one thing that muddlermike is saying about "gotta spend $1000" to get something decent. All I gotta say is in a down economy, Craigslist is your friend. I've seen AMAZING table saws go in the 300 to 500 range, with FWWII blades. Cabinet saws in particular go for cheap because at 500 to 700 lbs, not everyone can just pick them up and haul away, and you aren't competing with the guys who use contractor saws for their day jobs.

My own personal stash includes a beautiful, nearly unused, Craftsman "zip code" cabinet saw - the one with the Beismeyer fence, big cast iron wings, and a 220/110 switchable motor. I got mine off craigslist with a FWWII blade, the original factory blade, a new freud professional dado set (one step down from the top ones) all for about $450. Heck the 3 blades alone are worth half the price of the saw, and the fence would be $400 by itself aftermarket.

So take your time, set up craigslist reminders, and be willing to beg borrow or rent a truck and some strong friends. THere are amazing saws out there if you look.

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