12" Direct Drive vs 10" Belt Drive table saws (Craftsman)
I'm trying to cobble together a decent table saw from a collection of Craftsman parts.
The main question at this juncture is should I build upon a 12" direct drive saw foundation, or on a 10" belt drive saw foundation.
I have, over the years, acquired seven (7) table saws for either cheap (less than $100) or free (the majority), none of which are set up and working, and all of which have some reason why they cannot be used as is. Whether it is a missing fence, a poorly functioning fence, too small of a blade (two of my saws are 8"), no wheels/mobility, no extensions... each has it's problems.
I joined the Woodworking Talk forum today, because I found that much of the online links I've read while combining virtues and eliminating sins of the saws I have... has pointed me to forum posts on this website.
So far, I've been putting all the best parts on my 12" direct drive... because I read somewhere that 12" direct has more cutting capacity than 10" belt, which has more cutting capacity than 10" direct, which has more cutting capacity than 8" belt. I'm not aware of any 8" direct drive saws.
However, the more reading I have done, the more concerned I have become of the safety, or lack thereof, with direct drive saws compared to belt drive saws in general. From this general idea, I am inferring that 12" direct drive saws, with more powerful 220V motors and 2 more inches of blade throw, are perhaps more dangerous (prone to kickback and the hazards thereon) than 10" direct drives.
Furthermore, I have read that the actual difference in cutting capacity between 12" direct and 10" belt may not be as large as one might imagine. At no time did I imagine the difference to be 2", but I really don't know what the actual difference is. If the difference were say, 1/2", I might consider that less worth the risk than if the difference were say, 1".
My purpose for the saw would be primarily ripping 2x dimensional stock lengthwise. For example, ripping a 2x6 redwood rough into two 2x3 nominal boards, where I am unable to buy 2x2 rough and have it be the more or less 1.75" by 2.75" size I really want, where the majority of milled 2x2 is actually now LESS than 1.5"x 1.5". Occasionally, I might need to make a 2x6 rough thinner on the wide side, and would want to do a two pass rip on the table saw, to get both halves of the wide side shaved, with some overlap. That's where I thought the 12" blade might be handy. But is it worth the risk?
On the other hand, I very much dislike the motor hanging out the back of the 10" belt drive that I would build up instead. I have two ancient ('40's & '50's) 8 inch table saws with the motors hanging off the back, and the room they take up is greater than the 12" direct drive, from front to back, due to the overhanging motor. I will still keep the 8" TS because they have sentimental value (inherited), but don't plan on using them for the work described in the paragraph immediately preceding.
I am intrigued by Bill's triumvirate set up of 12" table saws (Woodnthings). I believe the saw I have is likely a near exact copy of one of Bill's. I like the all metal crank arms and the cast iron trunion. Most of my other saws have cast aluminum trunions. Anyways, I'm beginning to ramble, so at this point I invite input on whether or not I'm starting out on the right foot (12" DD), or if I instead should start on the left foot (10" BD), if all other things are equal (cast iron trunions, cast iron tables, cast iron wings, metal crank handles, etc). In any configuration, the fence will be substituted, but that is a wholly separate topic.
Thanks in advance for any input.
(And yes, I truly am Mad at this point of my reading and rebuilding)