Pros and Cons of Jobsite Table Saws for Serious Woodworking - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:26 AM Thread Starter
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Pros and Cons of Jobsite Table Saws for Serious Woodworking

@woodgeekess is shopping for a table saw, and is considering whether a jobsite table saw is a good choice for starting out in woodworking. (This thread is NOT about SawStop and Bosch's table saw safety mechanisms, but rather the compromises and benefits of owning a jobsite table saw.)

SawStop just released their new Jobsite Pro model. The added features benefit everyone, but I think they are being marketed to serious woodworkers and not just construction workers. The new features include a two inch longer lead-in distance in front of the blade, and an improved T-style fence, plus additional features. I saw the movie and the boxes are in the store, but I haven't touched one yet or seen it out of the box.

I have owned and used both jobsite and cabinet saws. I will add my observations and experiences in another post later, but I wanted to get this thread started.

I encourage you to post your experiences using jobsite saws for serious woodworking, good and bad.
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post #2 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:35 AM
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When I think of a jobsite saw I think small table. I've used a couple portable saws and had trouble keeping anything of any size flat/square on the table. For me, that is the main reason to not have one.
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post #3 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:45 AM Thread Starter
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I wrote the following in a different thread:

"A jobsite saw is to a cabinet saw, as a laptop is to a desktop computer. Laptops are designed to be small, light, and portable. Everything on a laptop is a compromise - the keyboard, the "mouse", the display, etc. You can do pretty much anything on a laptop that a desktop computer can do, but it may not be as quick, easy, or convenient.

"Likewise, a jobsite saw is a small, light, portable version of a standard 10 inch table saw. It is set of compromises to allow you to transport the saw from jobsite to jobsite. Can you do fine woodworking on a jobsite saw? Yes. Is it easy? Not necessarily."
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post #4 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:54 AM
where's my table saw?
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Serious woodworking?

The typical limitations of a jobsite saw are:
It light enough to move around, and therefore it WILL move around unless secure in a wide footprint base.
There's not much "lead in" in front of the blade, so crosscuts greater than 7"to 8" will be an issue.
The table size and stands do not led themselves to working with larger panels easily without supports or a helper.
The fences are typically lightweight and do not lock securely or parallel to the miter sites, a must for accuracy.
Some miter slots are not the standard 3/8" X 3/4" wide, so accuracy will suffer.
Jigs and fixture will be difficult to make for the most accurate cuts because of the poor fence and miter gauge quality.
Power of the universal AC/DC brush type motors will be OK, just not for long operating sequences under heavy loads.
My job site saw does not have a gear drive bevel adjustment, just a pivot and a lock, so making precise bevel/angle cuts is "finicky".
The blade elevation control is precise, however.
My Bosch has a right side table extension and a rear outfeed extension, great accessories.

Having said that, I have owned a Bosch 4100-09 "high end" jobsite table saw for about 12 years now. It is a great saw for it's intended purpose, powerful, stable and a good fence and miter gauge. I could do serious woodworking with it, but I have other choices. If it were my only choice, I could get by with it for most operations. A crosscut sled would be the first accessory I would make.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)

Last edited by woodnthings; 09-20-2019 at 09:59 AM.
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post #5 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:56 AM
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I have a friend who used to have a full compliment of large woodworking tools. Now he only has a jobsite saw because of space limitations. He continues to make beautiful projects.

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post #6 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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@woodnthings did a great job of summarizing the drawbacks of owning a jobsite saw. I had a Bosch REAXX, almost identical to the Bosch 4100-09 and the current 4100-10. In case anyone cares, the difference between the 4100-09 and 4100-10 is that the -10 has a lighter weight gravity rise stand. The 4100 saws are identical.

To his jobsite saw drawbacks, I would add:

* Aluminum top.
You can't use magnetic accessories with it. It is easily scratched or dented, and not as smooth as a cast iron top. Waxing the top helps reduce friction for smoother cuts. (Johnson's Paste Wax is popular.)

* Miter slot distance to blade.
For reasons that I cannot figure out, the left miter slot on some jobsite saws is farther from the blade than cast iron table saws. Assuming the miter slot on your jobsite saw is the standard size, most miter-slot based accessories will work fine on a jobsite saw, but a few may not work. I suspect it is because the manufacturers do not test their accessories on jobsite saws.

I discovered this issue with Rockler's thin rip jig. It was about ~3/8 inch short on my Bosch REAXX. I know that the same issue exists for the older SawStop jobsite saw, too. I do not know about other saws, but would not be surprised if the Bosch 4100 and maybe the new SawStop Jobsite Pro have the same issue.

In addition, I would like to add these comments:

Lead-in distance - Already mentioned by woodnthings. This was the biggest drawback for me with the jobsite saw. It made it much harder to line up larger pieces of wood for rip cuts. Infeed support and extending the rip fence with a long auxiliary fence would help. The new SawStop Jobsite Pro saw is longer by 2 inches, and that would have been better for me. Having said that, it is still less than the lead-in distance of most cast iron table saws.

Jobsite saw stands - I really like the "gravity" stands used by Bosch, SawStop, Delta, and others. The saw's own weight helps you open and fold it in a very clever way. They are easy to roll and maneuver around. My small spouse had no problems moving it when she needed access to a cabinet.

In contrast, the DeWalt looks more challenging with its folding leg style stand. Am I right in assuming that you must lift the saw to unfold the legs under it? (One side at a time, right?)

Jobsite saw market - I think we may be seeing the start of a market trend, where manufacturers are targeting two different markets for jobsite saws:
* Construction Trades - This is the traditional use. Low end jobsite saws replaced the larger, heavier contractor's saws for many construction workers.
* Homeowners and Woodworkers with small shops - Many woodworkers are aging, and they are downsizing their shops. They still want a quality table saw for fine woodworking, but don't have the space. People are discovering the make-it-yourself trend, but they are not ready for a full size table saw. I think that is the market for the SawStop Jobsite Pro.
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post #7 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 07:46 PM
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All I can say is that when I got into woodworking to build kitchen cabinets, I:

>Started with the DeWalt jobsite saw
>Cut one plywood panel
>Scared the living beejeesus out of me as it almost tipped off the table during the cut
>Realized that I needed to make a slightly bigger investment in a solid saw that could hold up to what I was going to put it through and allow me to keep all of my limbs and fingers intact.

Got a Laguna Fusion and haven't looked back. Best choice I made.

As for the space needs, the integrated wheels allow me to position the saw in the most advantageous, safe way to make the cut I need to make. One Car Garage ftw. I have lots of time to reposition the saw and other equipment for the task at hand. I'm not on a production schedule, which would destroy the fun of the process for me.

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post #8 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 08:43 PM
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I have a Unisaw 3hp and a Dewalt jobsite saw DWE7491RS that we just bought. I have used the Dewalt in the past and decided this is the saw I want to replace my Unisaw I hope to sell soon. I can do everything on the smaller saw that I can on the cabinet saw except for the width of the rip. The Unisaw has a 54 inch rip where the smaller saw does not have that much.

If a person is ripping long stock they will need some type of support on either saw so it doesn't pose a problem for me. I can't handle a full sheet of plywood any more so I have a track saw I made that I use to size the sheets of plywood and the use the table saw after that.
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post #9 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:07 PM
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I really will only be using the table saw for small cuts, dados, box joints etc.. For large rips and cross cuts I'll just use a track saw along with PARF MFT workbench. I figured out a way to do really nice thin rips (say 1/32" even) with a jig using track saw.
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post #10 of 21 Old 09-20-2019, 09:13 PM
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I think I'd be perfectly satisfied with only a 30" rip capacity. Even 24".
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post #11 of 21 Old 09-24-2019, 11:25 PM
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I preface this comment with the the assumption that you don't need to transport your table saw to job sites. If that is the case, take the following for shop based woodworking. For what it is worth, if you have the space, save your money for a while and get a cabinet saw or a slider with a good amount a heft to it and as much power as you can get. Nothing worse than trying to rip an 8' sheet of ply and having to keep the saw from tipping over while you so. I used a contractor saw for many years and it worked fine for small pieces, sheet goods were nearly impossible. I wish I had the thousands of dollars back that I spent on budget tools over the years, only to replace them with quality tools that will now out live me. I know quality tools are expensive, but in the end you will actually save money if you stay in woodworking.
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post #12 of 21 Old 09-25-2019, 12:15 AM
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I bought the dewalt 745 because i could not afford a full size table saw and also have limited workshop space. It has been a very good investment.
Any flat sheet up to 2ft wide or plank up to 8 ft long is fine. I have just ripped an 8 ft long x 2" thick plank of bubinga on it, and thats about as hard a wood as you will find.
Its not for cutting 8 x 4 sheets, even with a helper.

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post #13 of 21 Old 09-25-2019, 10:34 AM
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Generally speaking, not a good choice. Most will not accept a dado blade. Like any direct drive power is an issue. Fence is also an issue.

That said, I've seen guys use them, make beautiful furniture, but in the long run, the failings will become an issue.

I suggest things you want in a ww'ing table saw:
1) Cast iron top
2) Cast iron trunnion mounted to top, not frame.
3) Beismeyer type rail mounted fence
4) Induction (not direct drive) motor.
My suggestion is a contractor saw with a belt driven motor, 1 1/2HP at a minimum.
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post #14 of 21 Old 09-25-2019, 12:02 PM
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The title of this thread could be compared to, "The pros and cons of running the Boston Marathon in flip-flops".
Lots can be said about it but not much would mean much.

Wise men speak because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something -Plato

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post #15 of 21 Old 09-26-2019, 09:11 AM
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My late father-in-law built several pieces of furniture with a Craftsman jobsite TS.

A diamond is how coal reacts under pressure.
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post #16 of 21 Old 09-26-2019, 01:30 PM
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I like the laptop vs. PC comparison @Tool Agnostic made earlier in this thread. With a smaller saw, you're giving up a few things for the sake of portability and a lower price.

I have a Bosch 4100 jobsite saw. The biggest issue for me is the size of the table top. There's not a lot of lead-in to the blade, so you really have to mentally plan and prep for your cuts in order to work safely. When you're working with plywood panels, you almost always have to cut pieces down to a more manageable size when working with a jobsite saw - so keep that in mind also. Need extra space for that. I put a 4x8 sheet of foamboard insulation on top of my bench and use a circular saw.

A lot of jobsite saws come with a crappy fence, so be sure to read user reviews. There are bolt-on upgrades available for most models, but they can be pretty expensive. I can testify that the Bosch 4100 has a good fence and the saw has been a joy to use.
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post #17 of 21 Old 09-26-2019, 09:52 PM
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Been watching more video reviews of the brand new Sawstop Jobsite Pro saw. It came out this month I believe.

As stated before it has a whopping two extra inches of lead in before the blade -- compared to the previous version. I see these large men in the videos standing next to the saw and well the table size really looks huge next to them.. unlike the cheap Dewalt DW745 I've been considering.

Also it has a T-Glide fence which I assume is very accurate and square. Also dust collection blade guard is now standard.

This saw really looks like it will do everything I need and I am sure since due to its table size and accurate fence, it will make fine enough cuts for furniture & cabinet making and the like.

I just need a table saw for small things. For large things I'll use circular saw and a plunge router or what not.

There aren't many Jobsite saws with this large of table and accurate fence right? Sawstop differentiates itself from other jobsite saws it seems, beyond flesh detection -- which I really want btw.

I think I am going to buy it at Woodcraft tomorrow. It's brand new and they don't even have it on display yet.. I think they are probably trying to get rid of their old stock first.

EDIT: Also, I really do like the idea of it being portable and able to tuck it away in the corner of the garage.. right now both my boyfriend's and my car are both in the garage.. 400 square ft. garage.

Last edited by woodgeekess; 09-26-2019 at 09:57 PM.
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post #18 of 21 Old 09-28-2019, 12:06 PM
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I called Woodcraft and they have one of the new SawStop JobSite Pro's in the back. They don't have any on the floor because -- he admitted -- they are trying to sell all the old ones first. He seemed almost disappointed that I wasn't going to buy the old model!
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post #19 of 21 Old 09-29-2019, 12:12 AM
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In the same boat as some of you. I had a nice delta tilt arbor contrators saw cast iron top belt driven with the motor out the back. I twas awesome. I got rid of it when I got into using track saws. I can do everything with a track saw that I could with a table saw. But its time , takes time to set up the track saw even with some of the accessories to rip small dia hard woods and debth of cut even with the larger track saw is less then a table saw. I bought the Festool CMS which if you can get the module use it as a table saw. I got one using the larger TS 75 and have the accessory side table which gives me a ice ripping capacity.

But its the quality of cut I miss. The CMS leaves saw marks on the edge of the hard wood being cut. I have to run it through the jointer in order to clean the cut up.

So with that being said I do enjoy the portability of the CMS. So doing some research I had a look at the Mafell Erica 85 saw. It gives the same quality cut as a cabinet saw and is totally portable. The problem is the hefty price of the saw and the accessories. For the saw and the accessories Id like will run me about $5K.

So now do I want to spend $5K on a new saw (after i sell the festool CMS for about $1500) subtract that from the total cost of the saw. That gives me a cost of $3500 for the saw. Or just keep what I got and use it or buy a larger saw and have to wheel it about my small shop.

decisions , decsions....
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post #20 of 21 Old 09-29-2019, 02:12 AM
where's my table saw?
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It's hard to give advice ....

Each person has to decide what's best for them selves. I have a very wide table saw which allows me to crosscut a 4 X 8 panel in half. I can set up my fence to rip 1/4" wide strips in just a few seconds, unlike a track saw which would be tedious ... at best. You can NOT do everything with a track saw that you can on a table saw, unless you have more time on your hands and patience than common sense.

I did own a Festool &S 75 the biggest track saw out there and a 120" guide. I never used it once because I had other, better methods, think table saw, AND I wasn't going around on job sites making cabinets.

For some shops a vertical panel saw is the answer for breaking down large panels. I made my own 2 axis version because it takes less "run" to rip a 4 X 8 panel, under 10 ft. The saw carriage is supported on a rail above and will slide the full length of an 8 ft panel. Cross cuts are done vertically, the same as a single axis saw.

For other shops, a sliding table panel saw is best. A woodworker friend recently acquire one and loves it so much, he sleeps with/on it. They are fairly expensive and take a large amount of space, but work very well in a cabinet shop. Cross cutting large panels is a challenge if you have a small table saw. I can appreciate anyone who struggles to get accurate cuts in those circumstances. This is exactly why I bolted several table saws together making a wider support and allowing my fence to slide to the right more than 48".
Ironically, I don't do much cabinetry or large panel work any longer.

The answer to your question will only be as detailed and specific as the question is detailed and specific. Good questions also include a sketch or a photo that illustrates your issue. (:< D)
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