KnotWoodworking

recommendations on Table saw

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First off, thanks anyone who takes the time to read this and give me their opinion. So i am an aspiring wood worker with little experience but a lot of passion for working with wood. I have recently purchased a home and am looking forward to making most of the remaining pieces of furniture myself. Issue i have is deciding on a table saw. I have always bought the best possible tools as i want things to last as long as possible. My concerns are of course price, Quality and precision.  My other concern is safety. I have a 4 year old that loves working with me and i want it to be as safe as possible. So naturally i have leaned towards the saw stops. Being what they are, they are of course pricey, but has some piece of mind with my son being around. 

What i really need is some perspective. Am i over thinking this and saving for a saw that i do not need in my current wood working skill? Will a smaller Delta or rigid do a good enough job until i gain some experience and time, then upgrade to the big boy saws?? wanted to know from some more experienced wood workers that are happy with other brands and some feedback. 

Also quickly i am mostly looking to be building tables, and furniture with the hopes of eventually selling some pieces. 

Again thanks for your time an opinions. Please ask any questions you may have and i would be happy to answer. 

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IMO, if you can afford the SawStop, go for it. From all reports they are good quality saws, on par with Powermatic, plus they have the safety feature. I can't speak from experience, as they are outside my current hobby budget, and I'm comfortable enough without the blade brake. I'm sure you'll get good opinions from other members who DO own one.

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I would agree with @wtnhighlander above. You can't go wrong with the SawStop if you're going to be in this hobby for the long haul. If you have the budget for it, it seems like an excellent saw, and the resale value on them is pretty good if you end up changing your mind. All that being said, when I went to make the jump from a junky jobsite saw, I went with the Ridgid R4512. This is their cast iron hybrid saw, which isn't a cabinet saw but it does enclose the base for better dust collection than a typical contractor saw. In Canada the SawStop was going to be at least a couple thousand, even going with a contractor version, and I wasn't 100% sure how far I'd get into the hobby. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone that route, but I figured worst case I'd have this saw for a few years and sell it used to trade up. I suspect I may revisit this in a couple of years when my daughter is getting to an age where she might be using it.

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+1 on what @wtnhighlander said. I've owned several tablesaws over the years and my favorite by far has been my SS PCS. It was spot on right out of the box, it's performed flawlessly since then and hasn't given me any trouble in the 5 years I've had it. The safety feature is a bonus, IMO. I don't take it for granted by slacking on good work habits, but it's there if I need it. The company has a very good reputation for customer support, something that's sometimes lacking in the tool industry.

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Unisaw,powermatic and saw stop operate the same. If safety is #1 concern and can afford it get the sawstop. Otherwise the other saws are fine....

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I agree with the comments above, too.  The single negative of the SawStop is the higher price, but no one has ever complained about the quality of their saws that I'm aware of.  

If the flesh sensing technology were not important, there are other good saws out there, like that Rigid or a big Powermatic or the old Unisaws.

So it comes down to deciding on the safety feature.  And for a lot of folks that's the way to go.

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Just like you don’t drive recklessly simply because your car has airbags, you don’t make unsafe cuts just because the SS has flesh detection.

SS PCS is first on my list for tool upgrades once we move. I have two kids and hope to introduce them to woodworking in the future, and for that reason the safety features are especially important to me. Plus everyone I have talked to that has owned one loves it even without considering the safety features.

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Like Mick, I feel the SS is priced with other saws of that quality and the safety feature is just a bonus.  People pay more for other colors of paint that are at this quality tier without the tech.

That being said, I bought a used Craftsman/Emerson contractor saw for $80, threw another $200 at it in after-market stuff (PALs, Fence, belt/pulleys) and it served me well for years.  Once my ability improved and the saw became the limiting factor, I upgraded.  I see this as a reasonable path for beginners if the used market is robust in their area.  I would not buy a poor second hand saw as all that will do is frustrate you.

My Craftsman/Orion 22124 hybrid did all I ever needed.   I upgraded to the 3HP Saw Stop as a windfall made that possible with minimal financial impact.  If not for that I might still be using the hybrid.  While the step up to the 3HP cab saw is an eye-opening experience for the home hobbyist, it is not a requirement.

Good luck, ask lots of questions, filter the replies based on what you need and have fun.

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3 hours ago, SawDustB said:

I would agree with @wtnhighlander above. You can't go wrong with the SawStop if you're going to be in this hobby for the long haul. If you have the budget for it, it seems like an excellent saw, and the resale value on them is pretty good if you end up changing your mind. All that being said, when I went to make the jump from a junky jobsite saw, I went with the Ridgid R4512. This is their cast iron hybrid saw, which isn't a cabinet saw but it does enclose the base for better dust collection than a typical contractor saw. In Canada the SawStop was going to be at least a couple thousand, even going with a contractor version, and I wasn't 100% sure how far I'd get into the hobby. In retrospect, maybe I should have gone that route, but I figured worst case I'd have this saw for a few years and sell it used to trade up. I suspect I may revisit this in a couple of years when my daughter is getting to an age where she might be using it.

Thanks SawDustB, I am sort of in the same mindset you are. I usually really like to buy the best if i can afford it, but am having a hard time dropping the $$ on a SS before i really get my woodworking legs. Have you found that your Ridgid has done everything that you need it to and is accurate enough?? I think i am just over thinking it and really want to get going on some projects and deciding on a saw seems to have just halted the train, so to speak. I would be fine picking up a used saw off of Craigs list, but in my area finding anything is a rare case. 

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2 minutes ago, gee-dub said:

Like Mick, I feel the SS is priced with other saws of that quality and the safety feature is just a bonus.  People pay more for other colors of paint that are at this quality tier without the tech.

That being said, I bought a used Craftsman/Emerson contractor saw for $80, threw another $200 at it in after-market stuff (PALs, Fence, belt/pulleys) and it served me well for years.  Once my ability improved and the saw became the limiting factor, I upgraded.  I see this as a reasonable path for beginners if the used market is robust in their area.  I would not buy a poor second hand saw as all that will do is frustrate you.

My Craftsman/Orion 22124 hybrid did all I ever needed.   I upgraded to the 3HP Saw Stop as a windfall made that possible with minimal financial impact.  If not for that I might still be using the hybrid.  While the step up to the 3HP cab saw is an eye-opening experience for the home hobbyist, it is not a requirement.

Good luck, ask lots of questions, filter the replies based on what you need and have fun.

Thanks Gee, i am one of those people that want to know everything about something and make sure i get a good deal, and a good tool. All the main names, SS, Powermatic and such i know i will not go wrong. As i said just a second ago, the used market here is pretty poor. I am half thinking to go drive over to seattle to go pickup something as their craigslist market is much better than over here. 

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The used market can be good some places and a desert in another.  Alas, we are sometimes victims of our geography.  For example, I feel the pain every time someone "back east" posts about a killer deal on some maple or cherry.  In the SoCal desert basin about the only bargain I see consistently is red oak which I don't care to build with.

Jet and Powermatic have 15% off sales with some consistency.  Saw Stop offers a free mobile base or over-arm guard as a recurring sales stimulus as well.  It sounds like you are being diligent in your research.  Once you have a good handle on your short-list of "gotta haves" you will be ready to pounce on the deal that comes along regardless of brand.

For my first upgrade from a contractor saw my short-list was:

  • Cast iron top and wings.
  • Reliable fence.
  • Enough power.

I don't see that you mention having 240volt power or not.  This is generally an easy add if you do not have it and it opens up the larger saw tier to you.  Again, as I said, the 3HP+ tier is not necessary but, fairly common for folks that plan to do a reasonable amount of work at the tablesaw.

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Set up a Craigslist alert in a web browser. I get notification anytime something pops up for whatever I've flagged. I've gotten a few deals simply because I was the first one in and the Craigslist ad was removed within the hour. A lot of stuff might be gone before you even see it.

I'm not going to tell you to not buy a Sawstop but if you think your 4 year old will be using a table anytime soon you're crazy. My 4 year old can use a drill and a hammer but I don't think she can even see above the tablesaw. I don't know what age I will let her use the tablesaw, it obviously depends on maturity of the kids but I imagine I have another 10 years before I have to worry about it.

Also, check out the Home Depot workshops for your kid. Usually on the first Saturday of the month and they're free.

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31 minutes ago, KnotWoodworking said:

Thanks SawDustB, I am sort of in the same mindset you are. I usually really like to buy the best if i can afford it, but am having a hard time dropping the $$ on a SS before i really get my woodworking legs. Have you found that your Ridgid has done everything that you need it to and is accurate enough?? I think i am just over thinking it and really want to get going on some projects and deciding on a saw seems to have just halted the train, so to speak. I would be fine picking up a used saw off of Craigs list, but in my area finding anything is a rare case. 

I really haven't had an issue with the Ridgid. In my mind, it's about the minimum saw you would want to have for doing any amount of serious woodworking. Not everyone likes the fence, although I personally have found it to be fine as long as you check it for square every once in a while. I like the Ridgid for a few reasons:

1. Price - it's hard to find much else in this range with similar features, other than the Delta (although it seems like they're in the process of raising the price)

2. Mobility and footprint - for me this was key. The saw is super easy to move around, and it doesn't take up that much more space than a jobsite saw. I work in a pretty small space, so I constantly need to shuffle my tools to work.

3. Space for router table - it's really easy to add a router table to this saw, and even comes with screws and instructions. Some people have used the Bosch table top router table for this, as apparently it basically just drops in.

4. Riving knife - to me this is more important than the SawStop technology, and is the reason I didn't go with a used saw (although there was a used Powermatic contractor at the time, so I thought about it). The riving knife helps with preventing kickback on the saw, and was only common as of about 10 years ago. I personally wouldn't even look at a saw without it.

At the end of the day, I'm happy with having bought it. Would I rather have a cabinet saw? Sure, if I had the room for it, but this one fits my needs better.

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I'll just add this, I have the PCS SawStop with the 1 3/4 HP motor that runs on 110 and it has served me well the only time it struggles is with 8/4 stock of some of the harder woods like maple, wedge or sapele.  But by simply slowing down my feed rate it does fine with the cut and no burning.  A good blade helps this too.

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Gee, that was another path that i have thought about, power and HP. I know everyone has their own opinion on that, but from what i have read i think i only need a 1.75 HP for now. I do plan on working with some harder woods but have seen that if you have a decently slow feed rate, and use a thin kerf blade i should be fine for most of what i would want to do. I also do plan on adding additional power as i only have 110 currently. 

 

Legend, thanks for the hint. I have never done that but will keep an eye on it. Also i have no plans on my 4 year old using any power tools for a while, let alone the table saw. I just know that he is very interested in what i am doing, so having something that is a backup for a horrible accident i cannot argue with to much. In our house we have a rule that if i am using a large power tool, no kids, and any conversations or anything that would grab my attention needs to wait till i am finished with what i am doing. Safe shop practices are a necessity with kids around. 

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5 minutes ago, Chet said:

I'll just add this, I have the PCS SawStop with the 1 3/4 HP motor that runs on 110 and it has served me well the only time it struggles is with 8/4 stock of some of the harder woods like maple, wedge or sapele.  But by simply slowing down my feed rate it does fine with the cut and no burning.  A good blade helps this too.

Thanks Chet, 

 

That makes me feel better, as when you are spending that much money you want to make sure the saw will fill your needs. that makes me feel alittle better about possibly going with the lower 1.75 PCS model. 

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9 minutes ago, KnotWoodworking said:

Thanks Chet, 

 

That makes me feel better, as when you are spending that much money you want to make sure the saw will fill your needs. that makes me feel alittle better about possibly going with the lower 1.75 PCS model. 

I have had the saw for about 7 years now with no regrets.

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31 minutes ago, SawDustB said:

1. Price - it's hard to find much else in this range with similar features, other than the Delta (although it seems like they're in the process of raising the price)

The Ridgid has increased in price a lot the last couple of years. I think it used to be $550 but now it's showing $749 or $649 depending on the location at Home Depot.

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Budget is 2-2500. So puts me in the middle of the road for some of the models talked about. I was thinking about doing the SS contractors table but a lot of people have pushed me away from that to move up to the PCS model.

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My take would be this. If you can afford a Sawstop get one if you can't save until you can. Not becuase of the safety feature but becuase its an amazing machine of the highest quality that just so happens to have addl safety features.

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2 hours ago, KnotWoodworking said:

Budget is 2-2500. So puts me in the middle of the road for some of the models talked about. I was thinking about doing the SS contractors table but a lot of people have pushed me away from that to move up to the PCS model.

The PCS seems more worth it to me if you're getting the sawstop. On the contractor saw and especially the jobsite, it seems like a larger percentage of the price is just for the safety feature. Nothing wrong with that, but it creates a larger price discrepancy from the comparable models.

3 hours ago, legenddc said:

The Ridgid has increased in price a lot the last couple of years. I think it used to be $550 but now it's showing $749 or $649 depending on the location at Home Depot.

That's true. I saw the latest price increase and it's quite a bit more than when I bought. I paid $599 + tax Canadian during their annual sale, but that was a few years ago now. It seems like the tariffs have had a large impact on the price, along with normal inflation.

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3 hours ago, pkinneb said:

My take would be this. If you can afford a Sawstop get one if you can't save until you can. Not becuase of the safety feature but becuase its an amazing machine of the highest quality that just so happens to have addl safety features.

I think I would start with a smaller saw like a bosch and see if I like woodworking that much. Maybe try a  sheet breakdown tool.

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I usually want the best I can afford. The saw stop is a gem. A lifetime tool. If you are young you will have time to build out your shop with excellent tools. In my world the table saw needs a companion. The jointer. Then after that a thickness planer. If you get the sliding sled for the saw stop you will have an answer for cross cutting. Later a chop saw or a radial saw. And finally a router table and a band saw.

There are a few more things to consider, but the above tools will be a good start. Good luck.

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+1 on the sawstop, and all the comments above.  

Keep your eye on your local Craigslist to see if you can get into a sawstop thats in your budget.  If needed, stretch your budget :)  I just did a quick CL search and there are some available...

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