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Table Saws, Granite vs, Cast iron table tops.

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I am the proud owner of a Ridgid R4511 Tablesaw which has Granite Table top. I am thinking on upgrading to one of the new Sawstop 1.75 HP table saws, "I am limited to 110 Volt in my shop". It has a cast iron table on it. I was just wanting to know the pros and cons of having a saw with a cast iron table because I have never owned a table saw with a cast top before.

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cast top is the industry standard. with the exception that it rusts (jf not maintained properly) it seems to have every advantage over the granite tops - and I have the same 4511 like you do (and it's perfect for me now)

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Well.....speaking as a person who has seen the granite tables but not really interested in owning one the one biggest reason that I wouldn't go to granite is magnetic. Cast iron allows the use of many magnetic jigs and fixtures.

Granite is stronger.

Granite is more temperature stable.

Granite won't warp or rust.

Granite edges can chip if struck HARD.

Cast iron is strong enough for ANY shop use and then some.

Cast iron will SLIGHTLY expand and contract with temps which could lead to slight warping, especially if it is moved over and set upon uneven floors (NO floor is even or flat).

Cast iron will rust if left untreated and to humidity.

Cast iron is magnetic and can use a large variety of magnetic items. BIG plus to me.

LQQK

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Well.....speaking as a person who has seen the granite tables but not really interested in owning one the one biggest reason that I wouldn't go to granite is magnetic. Cast iron allows the use of many magnetic jigs and fixtures.

Granite is stronger.

Granite is more temperature stable.

Granite won't warp or rust.

Granite edges can chip if struck HARD.

Cast iron is strong enough for ANY shop use and then some.

Cast iron will SLIGHTLY expand and contract with temps which could lead to slight warping, especially if it is moved over and set upon uneven floors (NO floor is even or flat).

Cast iron will rust if left untreated and to humidity.

Cast iron is magnetic and can use a large variety of magnetic items. BIG plus to me.

LQQK

Lord, cast iron can shatter if struck hard enough. But, I'm with you. It's got the whole magnetism thing going for it, just like me. :P

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Well.....speaking as a person who has seen the granite tables but not really interested in owning one the one biggest reason that I wouldn't go to granite is magnetic. Cast iron allows the use of many magnetic jigs and fixtures.

Granite is stronger.

Granite is more temperature stable.

Granite won't warp or rust.

Granite edges can chip if struck HARD.

Cast iron is strong enough for ANY shop use and then some.

Cast iron will SLIGHTLY expand and contract with temps which could lead to slight warping, especially if it is moved over and set upon uneven floors (NO floor is even or flat).

Cast iron will rust if left untreated and to humidity.

Cast iron is magnetic and can use a large variety of magnetic items. BIG plus to me.

LQQK

I agree.

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on the other hand, with all the wood surfaces lying around the shop - with the granite top, I ALWAYS have a place to put my soda can ;)

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on the other hand, with all the wood surfaces lying around the shop - with the granite top, I ALWAYS have a place to put my soda can ;)

Nor do you have to worry about party guests checking out your tools and setting their beer cans down. :angry:

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I've also got a 4511, very happy with it.

I get the whole magnetism benefit (my old TS had an aluminum top...ya, we won't go there) and I would have loved to get some things like the magnetic featherboards and these new(ish) magswitch doohickeys look pretty good.

As nice as these magnetic attachments are, if push comes to shove, I don't actually need them...and I've been able to get by without them just fine. I think it sometimes comes down to a 'grass is always greener' moment.

Of course...it's another day of 90+ degrees F with 75%+ humidity...sooner or later it'll cool down and my cast iron tables will be crying for more wax....but not my granite!

Besides, my wife gets to complain than I have more granite countertops in my workshop than she has in the entire rest of the house. :)

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I considered a Steel City granite, but decided against it due to the possibility of chipping. I've been known to drop a tool or two.

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I'm always late to the game but I have a Steel City Granite top TS and I've had a cast iron topped saw too.

Since I'm good at reiterating what's out there already I have to agree the only downside to the granite is no magnetic ability. BUT one thing that wasn't mentioned, and it's small, but I think there's just a slight bit more sound dampening with granite. And in turn it also doesn't vibrate nearly as much as other saws.

I've seen the rigid version and it appears to be similar in thickness to my own so I imagine it runs about as quiet too. Of course whether the saw style is cabinet or contractor can make a huge difference too.

I've thought about the fear of it shattering from one of my errors, but even with accidentally dropping one of the wings during installation (I screamed like my inner girl at a Jonahs Bro concert) I saw no chips or cracks.

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Another reason for the granite that everyone seems to have overlooked: if you get bored with your woodworking, you can always grab one of your chisels and a mallet and carve some figurines in the surface :P

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As for magnetic featherboards - It's nice if you have it, and very useful, but I have a featherboard that locks in the miter slot ,and works just fine. for stops etc. I can clamp a block of wood anywhere on the granite top as it's a solid thick block of granite - not cast like the iron where the center is thinner and rigged and impossible to clamp things to.

It really boils down to what works for you, and more important -what's your personal preference, both saws will cut wood the same way if you tune it properly

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While WTOR was rollin' live, I got to thinking with a friend that a granite topped TS could be pretty easy to enlarge as long as you could move your fence rails. Take the existing top to a granite fabricator with a water jet and they'll get you a 1.5" thick top if you want it, with rebar. But make it bigger... 12-14" in front of the blade, maybe 12" wider to the left, maybe a continuous piece out to the right wing. Heck, the router insert wouldn't be difficult. At least mine could; all those cuts were done on a slab for a vanity counter. Plus you could get it in a lovely pattern that goes with the patina of your hand plane totes.

Cracks n chips are easily repaired with epoxy; if you have patterned granite, keep the chips and some care you can make it look great.

Naturally a granite-for-granite swap should be pretty easy; if you have cast iron right now, might take more effort on your part if you wanted granite.

BTW, the water jet can etch the surface... have your shop logo put on the left wing.

Just a cool thought, I thought B)

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I really like the idea of being able to swap the top for something even larger...if I had the space and need for such a thing lol. Although having the router table area built in and not simply attached via another material would be nice.

As I was reading your description of maybe swapping out and choosing colors made me think of a whole new industry similar to the kitchen counter makeovers with the granite wrap vs removing and replacing lol!

It would nibble a little bit off the max blade height but damn it would look good lol!

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I considered a Steel City granite, but decided against it due to the possibility of chipping. I've been known to drop a tool or two.

I have a granite top and have dropped several tools and clamps on it, and nothing has happened to it yet. (knock on wood)

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Everybody else has already added valid observations and opinions on the cast vs granite front.

But.....

Are you SURE your current electrical setup can support 1.75HP on 110V?

I'd check that motor plate very carefully to get a good handle on what that motor needs in the way of amps at machine startup vs max amps on the circuit you're planning to use for your TS.

My 2C.

Howard

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Everybody else has already added valid observations and opinions on the cast vs granite front.

But.....

Are you SURE your current electrical setup can support 1.75HP on 110V?

I'd check that motor plate very carefully to get a good handle on what that motor needs in the way of amps at machine startup vs max amps on the circuit you're planning to use for your TS.

My 2C.

Howard

I had that very issue with my DC that has a 1.5HP motor on 110V. The circuit constantly tripped as the motor started up.

I got around this by replacing the breakers in my circuit board with a different version that allows for the initial current inrush from a starting motor. These were Square D breakers, and their terminology was "High Magnetic" circuit breakers for these particular models. I had to go to an electrical supply house to get these -- the borg doesn't carry them.

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I have a 30 amp 110 volt circuit that runs through an 8/2 wire that my saw runs on, Overkill mabey but I've never tripped a breaker. :D

Holy crap! I'd be concerned if you ever did trip a breaker! 8/2 wire; in some countries, that's basically copper ore and lots of it.

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