Table saw advice: Grizzly vs. Powermatic - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum

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post #1 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 10:47 PM Thread Starter
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Opinions, Please: Grizzly vs. Powermatic Table Saw; Router Table Extension?

Id appreciate advice on two questions: (1) Grizzly 1023 or Powermatic PM2000 cabinet sawor maybe the Steel City hybrid saw, and (2) is mounting a router on the wing of a table saw a good idea?

I have done a modest amount of woodworking over the years, mostly with Craftsman power tools that I bought at yard sales or auctions. Im now a couple of years from retirement and plan to get more serious in my shop. I have in mind to make furniture for myself and family but not as a business. I have purchased a Grizzly jointer and band saw and have been pleased with both. The next step is to upgrade my table saw which is an old Craftsman.

So to question #1. I am leaning toward either the Grizzly 1023 partly because of my luck with their machines so far, or the PM2000 because of the high reviews I have read. I have enough saved for the Powermatic, but wonder whether its worth the extra $1000. A third choice Im considering is the Steel City hybrid, which is in the same price range as the Grizzly. (BTW: my shop is already wired with 240V service, so the cabinet saws wont be a problem in that regard.)

Now to question #2. Grizzly packages their 1023 with a cast iron router table extension for only about $100 more than the basic 1023. This leads me to wonder whether a router table as part of a table saw is a good idea (or not!).

Any comments or advice on either question would be appreciated.

Last edited by WGTucker; 05-23-2008 at 01:24 PM. Reason: Title change might get more responses.
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post #2 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 10:53 PM
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I have a Grizzly G1023SL - very good saw at a good price. I have a shaper so no reason for a router table.

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post #3 of 9 Old 05-21-2008, 11:39 PM
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For a hobbyist, I think the 1023 is a heck of a saw. The PM2000 is a heck of a saw too, but so is a SawStop, Felder, Martin, Altendorf,'ve gotta draw the line somewhere, and that's a location you get to decide depending on what $1k means to you. Personally, I'd use the extra cash a nice dinner out with my bride and some wood....maybe even both in the same night!

Steel City has a nice hybrid, and while the better hybrids are very capable hobbyist saws, they're not in the same league as an industrial cabinet saw. I'd consider the Steel City industrial cab saw but wouldn't choose a hybrid over of a cab saw unless 220v or money were the determining factors. Let us know what you decide on.
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-01-2008, 09:54 AM Thread Starter
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I Went with the Grizzly

Paul and Knotscott- thanks for the inputs. And Knotscott: I might take my bride to dinner with some of the cost difference, but wouldn't buy wood on the same night for fear she'd hit me with a piece of it! Dinner dates call for undivided attention says she....

I went ahead and ordered the Grizzly with the router table extension (just under $1200 with shipping). Boy, did I agonize over it. Went back and forth among the Grizzly, Powermatic, and the Steel City "hybrid" with riving knife. Talked with folks at Grizzly, Steel City, and Woodcraft (about the PM2000). I really wanted a riving knife for safety, but the only Grizzly model that has one has a 52" ripping capacity and side and rear extension tables. I don't have room for all that. The Powermatic and Steel City both have riving knives and the router extension table. However, the PM is about $2800 with shipping, and the SC is about $1400 and lighter duty than the Grizzly. So I forewent the riving knife and hope to train myself to use the blade guard (or at least the splitter part).

Got my fingers crossed. It will be delivered to a local trucking terminal in a few days and I'll bring it home in my pickup. Will report my experience after I've used it a bit. Thanks again for your input; it was very helpful. WGT
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-01-2008, 11:42 AM
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Thanks for the update...always nice to know the outcome. The vast majority of 1023 owners are extremely pleased with both performance and value. You might be able to find an aftermarket splitter that's easy for you to use.

Good luck and get a good blade or 3!
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-01-2008, 12:34 PM Thread Starter
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Splitter and Good Blades...

Originally Posted by knotscott View Post
You might be able to find an aftermarket splitter that's easy for you to use.

Good luck and get a good blade or 3!
Roger that. I expect I'll be looking into splitters.

As for blades: I have a new Forrest WWII ready and waiting. Also, just yesterday I went to an estate auction of a retired maker of fine clocks and furniture. Bought 10 used blades for $5. [No such luck bidding on the 20-plus lots of mahogany, rosewood, walnut, and cherry...some of the 8/4 mahogany boards were 24" wide and 12' long.]

I'll take the blades to my trusty sharpening guy and get his input on the best-quality ones of the lot, and have maybe 2 or 3 of them cleaned and sharpened. WGT
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-02-2008, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by knotscott View Post
Thanks for the update...always nice to know the outcome. The vast majority of 1023 owners are extremely pleased with both performance and value. You might be able to find an aftermarket splitter that's easy for you to use.

Good luck and get a good blade or 3!
I've had a Grizzly 1023SL for five years and love it. Honestly, I don't much care for the guard and splitter so I don't use it - OK I know, I'll probably get kicked out of the forum now. But before you shun a non-guard-using idiot, I find that if I keep the fence in proper alignment, I rarely have need for the splitter.

I think you'll be pleased with the Grizzly 1023
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-02-2008, 12:28 PM
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I don't use a splitter on either of my saws, (uni and pm 66) But what I do use in my one man shop is power feeders when I can, or barring that, and much cheaper, are those things called "roller buddies" or some such thing. For ripping, they do provide a lot of safety I think. They roll one way, so prevent kick back, and keep the work pressed to the table, and pull the piece against the fence. So when ripping anything big, or when shoving lots of wood thru the saw, I usually set it up with such.
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post #9 of 9 Old 07-24-2008, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Update on My 1023 Tablesaw

I compiled a detailed post yesterday of my experiences and impressions of my Grizzly 1023 SLW table saw (with router table extension), then screwed up when I posted it so it was lost to hyperspace. So here's a shorter version:
It took me several hours (maybe 6, total) to set it up. That is partly because I did it all myself and I'm slow and picky. Included unloading from my pickup, mounting on a mobile base, 1-2 hours cleaning off the cosmoline, lining up the heavy extension wing, etc.
All parts were there, undamaged, and fit nicely together.
Table, including extension wing, was acceptably flat as far as I'm concerned: a couple of spots were 0.005" low.
Arbor flange runout was low: a bit less than 0.001"
I used the splitter/blade guard for a week. Then decided to use a pair of Lee Valley 3-1/2" bladed stiffeners, which moved the blade...which required moving the mounting for the splitter/guard...which led me to relegate this piece of safety equipment to a hook on the wall. I have never had trouble with kickback, and frequently check my blade and fence alignment. Furthermore, I took the hint from Paul about Board Buddies and mounted a track on my rip fence so I can use them when ripping. At this point I have put off looking for an aftermarket riving knife, but may reconsider after some more experience with this saw. After all, it does have a 3 HP motor...
The miter gauge is nice except for one mysterious design flaw: no provision for attaching a sacrificial board. I drilled two holes in it to attach one.
I had read good reviews of the HTC 2000 mobile base, so I got one for this saw. I don't like it nearly as well as the heavy duty Shop Fox base that I have under my band saw.
Although I haven't used the router table extension much yet, I think I'm going to like it. Per recommendation of the Grizzly salesman I dealt with at the Muncy showroom, I bought a 3-1/2 HP Milwaukee router that I am happy with so far. The router table extension comes with clips to hold the router to the underside of the table. Time will tell whether they are strong enough. If they aren't, it will be simple to make ones that are beefier.
Since the router has a key for through-the-base height adjustment, it can be adjusted from above. I went ahead and drilled a hole in the table for the key, but wouldn't advise someone else doing that, at least right away. With this table and this particular router, adjustment from underneath the table is very easy and in my experience preferable to using the key from above the table.
The router table extension has legs with adjustable feet. Before moving the saw, I raise the feet and then lower them to the floor in the new position. I considered the mobile base extension that Shop Fox makes, but decided it's not a good idea. If the floor is very uneven or if the rollers of the extension go over something, the upward force on the extension might damage it. I figure the support from the rip fence rails is sufficient to support the extension and router for the short time it's being moved.
The on/off switch is easy to turn off with a shift of the hip, which is nice. The "on" switch is hard to find, though. I built a paddle out of thin plywood and mounted it in front of the switch. I have a round hole in the paddle over the "on" button so it's easy to find it by feel, without having to look. The bigger paddle makes it even easier to turn the saw off.
The only concern I have with this saw is that it is noisier than I expected for a cabinet saw. If this is because of the relatively flimsy mobile base...OK. I'm just hoping it's not because of some internal looseness or mis-alignment. I'll pay some attention to the noise level of other cabinet saws as I have the chance, to see if my expectations are unrealistic.
Bottom line: so far, I am very pleased with this saw. Compared to my old contractor-style saw, it's a dream. The Shop Fox fence was on the money out of the box. The cuts I'm getting are outstanding. I consider it very good value. If someone stole it, I'd buy another one without hesitating. WGT

Last edited by WGTucker; 07-24-2008 at 12:24 PM.
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