How much table saw do I really need?


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Unfortunately Chris, most of those questions can only be answered by you.  If you're going to stay in this for the long haul then it makes sense to save and buy your "dream saw" and use it the rest of

Ugh, not this again.  Nothing personal, Chris, but the "which saw" question is the deadest horse around.  Scour some old threads, go lay on some hands, take pics of your purchase and start a gloat thr

Need not say any more than this. Look at your max budget, and say, "yes" I'm not even to say what I have or what I recommend in terms of brand or size. I recommend you spend the full $1000 - $2000

A table saw CAN be the only power tool in your shop, and you can still crank out tons of projects. My ranking of importance for power tools goes like this:

1- tablesaw

2- dust collector

3- thickness planer

4- jointer

After that it gets fuzzy, and depends more on the type of work you like to do. This also assumes you buy S4S lumber or have bench plane for basic milling.

With a tablesaw and some plywood jigs, one can easily rip, crosscut, cut tenons, make toungue & groove joints, mill rabbets and dadoes ( with a dado stack or even a single blade ), mill coves of various curvatures, make raised panels, cut box joints or dovetails, and even cut circles. Check out Izzy Swan on youtube for even more advanced jigs that let you make spindles, bowls or even spheres with the tablesaw.

 

I would suggest a drill press up in that list.

Because most everything gets a handle, and a tilted bolt hole is not a nice feature on an otherwise quality wood product.

Any bench unit will do for 99% of most people's work.  Only a couple of times have I wanted to drill into an item which would require a floor-mount press.  And there are ways around that.

Now, if one prefers not to have a drill press there are hole-drilling tools that will serve this purpose.  But 2 or 3 of them will cost as much as a nice bench press.

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==>Ugh, not this again
+99… This topic has been so thoroughly covered on every woodworking site that more commentary is probably counterproductive… But... might as well dip an ore in...

 

First, you don’t NEED a TS – folks were building furniture for several thousand years prior to its inventon...

 

Second, many experienced craftsman recommend a bandsaw prior to a TS. The reasoning is quite compelling – I'm not going to cover it here --- you can Google it yourself… Note: For about 80% of noobs, I’m firmly in the bandsaw-first camp… A lot depends on the first few projects planned and any prior woodworking experience. One point: the argument hinges on the new woodworker adopting some hand tools and following a ‘hybrid’ workflow (this point tends to be omitted from the debate). And as a total aside: it’s fun to watch the pendulum swing back/forth – how many dedicated normites on WTO have embraced at least some hand tool use? I bet most… Except Don… :)

 

Third, if you intend on building full-sized furniture, then a Planer/Jointer comes before either of the two saws… All but the most ardent neanders draw the line at rough milling stock… Even Saint Schwarz power-mills his stock prior to hitting the record button... Some of the better Euro combo machines are worth looking at… On no account should you even consider an Asian-sourced combo machine.

 

==>Casadei

Casadei? Really? I'd take an Altendorf, Martin and/or Felder any day of the week over Casadeni...

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So much just depends on your work flow. Ive moved to the bandsaw for ripping stick since I only have a 5hp table saw in the little shop the bandsaw cuts much faster and is safer at a quick pace. I rely heavily on the jointer and its usually the first to be powered on.

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In terms of bandsaw before table saw, there is some logic there.... I have about $2500 into my tablesaw. For that much I could have gotten a really really nice bandsaw that i could use for rips and joinery. I just bought some tracks for my festool router.... that will be great for dados. I already use my miter saw for cross cuts. my tablesaw takes up a huge footprint.... I don't work with sheet goods.... there is some appeal to building my shop around a bandsaw.

 

 

Sound like a good thead topic. Whats you work flow?

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IMO, the biggest downside for pursuing a BS first is the roughness of the cut....especially for newbies who don't own a really top flight BS.  The surface from a BS generally requires more smoothing work, whether from a hand plane, sander, jointer, planer, etc.  Most TS cuts are glue ready right from the saw.  

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IMO, the biggest downside for pursuing a BS first is the roughness of the cut....especially for newbies who don't own a really top flight BS.  The surface from a BS generally requires more smoothing work, whether from a hand plane, sander, jointer, planer, etc.  Most TS cuts are glue ready right from the saw.  

Could be looked at as a good opportunity to improve the hand tool skills.

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It would have been a tough sell for me when I started out.... but for the $2500 or so I have into my table saw, I could get a really rock solid bandsaw.... I work in a one car garage (well in one stall of a 3 car garage) and the footprint of my table saw annoys me.  Out of habit I run all edges over my jointer even if they are glue ready of the table saw....  in my situation it does make some sense.  

 

For me there are lots of times I can do without a tablesaw until the crosscuts. Even with a miter saw unless you spend bank on a miter saw its next to impossible to get one that is truly accurate not even the Festoon.

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For me there are lots of times I can do without a tablesaw until the crosscuts. Even with a miter saw unless you spend bank on a miter saw its next to impossible to get one that is truly accurate not even the Festoon.

 

I don't know what you did to your "Festoon," but mine is dead nuts every time, even through 12/4.

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For me there are lots of times I can do without a tablesaw until the crosscuts. Even with a miter saw unless you spend bank on a miter saw its next to impossible to get one that is truly accurate not even the Festoon.

 

This is exactly why I am not in a hurry to upgrade my miter saw.  I pretty much do all my crosscuts at the table saw.

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I do miters on my Kapex...has to be dead nuts for that.  And you have to be square when using Domino joinery.  The headboard and footboard I'm currently working on are perfect examples.  There are tons of reasons you need accurate crosscuts.  Everyone has a different workflow, but in my shop it's important to get dead nuts angles on the miter saw, and my Kapex does it.  My old Dewalt chop saw?  No, not so much.  Deflection City and it wouldn't hold a position.

 

There are times when I prefer to do crosscuts on the table saw, but it's almost always when I have a piece that's too small to safely do it at the SCMS, or when I need to do a really goofy cut...in both cases using the crosscut sled.  For long boards there's no debate...the SCMS is easier and safer.

 

I think the SCMS naysayers are usually people who have a crappy SCMS or no SCMS at all.  Which is fine but they don't really know what they're talking about.  And the allegation that you can't get accurate cuts on a Kapex is ridiculous.

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I think the SCMS naysayers are usually people who have a crappy SCMS or no SCMS at all.  Which is fine but they don't really know what they're talking about.  And the allegation that you can't get accurate cuts on a Kapex is ridiculous.

 

I think this statement could not be further from the truth and sort of offensive. Every small cabinet shop in town would be happy jump up and down happy if the inexpensive Kapex could cut miter doors accurately. The Omga's namely the Mec 300 is about the least expensive option out there for this sort of work with very low volumes, a set of doors here and there. Many of us have tried the Kapex, like myself dedicated right and left cut Kapex saws which is a much smaller investment than Omga's. There is a difference between accurate and good enough for YOU. NO we are not talking high volume production work just limited run custom stuff that does not pay to outsource. For production stuff a miter saw of any caliber is out of the question period.

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There is a difference between accurate and good enough for YOU.

 

Have you ever seen a gap in any of my projects?  No, I don't think so.  When I say accurate, I mean ACCURATE.  I know what accurate means.  So unless every square I have in my shop is wrong or I'm completely blind, my Kapex produces ACCURATE cuts.  So I'll try not to be offended by your implication that I must produce sloppy work because I get square cuts on the same saw that you couldn't.  I'm sorry that both your left and your right saws were apparently lemons, but don't project your inadequacies upon everyone else.  I'm not stupid and I know what square is.

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Have you ever seen a gap in any of my projects?  No, I don't think so.  When I say accurate, I mean ACCURATE.  I know what accurate means.  So unless every square I have in my shop is wrong or I'm completely blind, my Kapex produces ACCURATE cuts.  So I'll try not to be offended by your implication that I must produce sloppy work because I get square cuts on the same saw that you couldn't.  I'm sorry that both your left and your right saws were apparently lemons, but don't project your inadequacies upon everyone else.  I'm not stupid and I know what square is.

 

:)

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Off the kapex, I find that 99.99% of my 90s are AOK – well acceptable for furniture-grade work. I rarely need to clean up the 90s at the table saw…

However, the 45s are less reliable – how much varies by circumstance. If I’m using straight grained stock, I rarely need to clean up miters after the Kapex. When the miters need a bit of help, I use one of two workflows:

For larger stock, I clean up the 45s on the disk sander (built a nice little miter jig).

For small stock (think decorative boxes), I shoot the edges at the bench. I go this extra mile because folks tend to pick up decorative boxes and really scrutinize the joinery… Many times I’ll add a shim to ever-so-slightly undercut the joint so the corners are tack-sharp.

From these two ‘clean-up’ workflows, you see where the Kapex is dead-on and where it’s not. The issue is almost always deflection… When setup, my Kapex is dead-nuts at 90* and 45*, but things change during the cut… The stock’s tension/stress/whatever causes some deflection of the saw's frame and/or blade plate --- how much depends on many factors. I’ve found my Kapex performs better with the Forrest blade – I think the plate is thicker, but never bothered to check…

Again, I rarely need to cleanup Kapex cuts when I use nice straight-grained stock…

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The Kapex is fine for single sided joints and the like. It won't however do miter cabinet doors especially with a full profile. The glue lines stick out like a sore thumb. Most joints can be open on the back in fact you want them to be you don't want completely closed joints on anything that will not be seen from the back. The small opening adds more glue interface to the end grain joint. With cabinet doors they have to be closed with no visible glue line front or back the only thing that is acceptable to be visible is the grain direction change. The issue with the Kapex is the same as it is with any saw. Blade deflection takes the blade off of vertical or moves the position of the final cut either way when the door frame is assembled flat and square the glue line sticks out. The joint may be perfect across its face but may tip in across the end grain or is cut long or short due to deflection. The bigger saws overcome this by shear HP and good blades has nothing to do with the saw angle setting. Any saw that can be locked at 45 without slop will cut 45 but the blade slows as it enters the cut causing the operator to apply force. This is why cabinet shops use 2+ hp induction saws with big blades that are made more rigid than smaller saw blades and the HP does not allow the blade to slow down, its all about the effort used to make the cut..

I did not mean to offend anyone that is in love with a piece of machinery. Im just stating facts that the industry as a whole has known for far to long to be disputed. This has nothing to do with the operator or the saw itself as long as there is no slop of course. Any saw like a table saw will make what appears to be a tight 45. Its not until the frame is assembled with four sides that the flaws show up. The wider the frame the more it is apparent a picture frame is easy to hide an off joint but a cabinet door frame will show it every time on one side of one joint or another. Even with very expensive jump type saws this happens it the nature of the blade. This is why the industry has moved away from blades and moved to spindle driven cutters. 

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==>This whole table saw / band saw interchangeability thing got me wondering...Why don't you see more folks putting out-feed tables on their bandsaws?

Take a look at david mark's show... He outfitted one of his bandsaws with a very large side/out feed table...

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