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post #1 of 23 Old 02-04-2019, 07:01 PM Thread Starter
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Table Saw

I noticed another thread by someone looking for a used cabinet saw and thought I'm not alone. I've been looking over the years and in the meantime am putting up with my contractor saw. So I was wondering how many others are 'getting by' with just a contractor saw? Did you do any upgrades to yours? My biggest complaint is the fence. I have to measure at the blade the distance from the fence to a miter slot before and after the fence. PITA
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post #2 of 23 Old 02-04-2019, 07:21 PM
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I have contractor's saws BUT ...

After years of redesigning and fiddling with the Craftsman fences, I replaced them with a Delta Unifence. Now, the fence locks up parallel to the slots/blade with no fussin' around.



You have to weigh the cost of a replacement fence like a Delta T2 or other Beisemeyer clone on your contractor saw with poor dust collection vs a new cabinet saw (a life time investment) with a riving knife, a good fence and better dust collection. The fence is the single most used accessory and device on your table saw, so using it should be a pleasure and it should be accurate!


Here's some replacement choices:
https://sawingpros.com/best-table-saw-fence-reviews/


If I were buying one, I like this one:

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; 02-04-2019 at 07:25 PM.
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post #3 of 23 Old 02-04-2019, 07:48 PM
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There are a lot of us out here that have got by just fine with a contractors saw, upgrading the fence will make a world of difference.

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

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post #4 of 23 Old 02-04-2019, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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Wow, didn't know aftermarket fences were that much. Maybe I ought to stay on my quest (with a fence).
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post #5 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 01:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
Wow, didn't know aftermarket fences were that much. Maybe I ought to stay on my quest (with a fence).
While you are looking keep an eye out for a used fence that is an upgrade to what you have, chances are you will get your money back if you do find that cabinet saw and sell the one you have with a good fence on it.

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

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post #6 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 06:13 AM
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I have "gotten by" with my contractors saw for 38 years. Really had no desire for any other saw. This one has done any thing that I asked it to.


For many years adjusting the fence was a pain, but eventually solved that by replacing with a good fence.


I still measure from the blade to the fence each time I change settings for a rip cut. Just habit I guess, but it takes very little time and I know that the cut will be the correct dimension.



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post #7 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 07:31 AM
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I have always gotten by very well with Delta Contractor table saws. My first one had a delta unifence which I thought was incredible. I dont think they even make them any more. After that the other ones came with the T fence and I never had a problem with them. Had been using them in commercial shops for over 30 years.

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Retired woodworker, amongst other things, Sold full time cruising boat and now full time cruising in RV. Currently in Somerville, Tx
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post #8 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 08:44 AM
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If you can afford to buy a more expensive saw then go for it. I have a Craftsman Contractor Table Saw. I upgraded the fence with the Delta T2, added PALS (blade alignment system approximately $20), replaced the pulleys, and added a link belt. It's got a 1 hp (underpowered) motor but can rip 8/4 Red Oak with no problem and can cut glue line rip joints.
Depends where/how you want to spend your $.
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post #9 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 09:04 AM
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I've been using a Ryobi table saw for many years. I think I'm even using the original blade, which has held up surprisingly well. My biggest complaint is also the fence. First of all, the spring that locks it down broke so it's now useless. So what I've been doing is using a straight piece of oak and clamping it to the table. This is certainly not ideal but it gets me by. I've actually been looking for a new table altogether and found a budget one by Skill that comes highly recommended at the $200 price point.
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post #10 of 23 Old 02-05-2019, 12:15 PM
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best portable saw ....?

Quote:
Originally Posted by phaelax View Post
I've been using a Ryobi table saw for many years. I think I'm even using the original blade, which has held up surprisingly well. My biggest complaint is also the fence. First of all, the spring that locks it down broke so it's now useless. So what I've been doing is using a straight piece of oak and clamping it to the table. This is certainly not ideal but it gets me by. I've actually been looking for a new table altogether and found a budget one by Skill that comes highly recommended at the $200 price point.

watch this saw in action as see if you don't agree with the guys who reviewed it:

This is the newer heavy duty version of their worm drive saw.


A good review of the top contenders in the portable saw market:

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; 02-05-2019 at 12:27 PM.
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post #11 of 23 Old 02-06-2019, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
watch this saw in action as see if you don't agree with the guys who reviewed it:
That is a nice saw, but also more than twice the price of what I was looking at.

This is the one I was looking at. As just a hobbyist and general DIY guy, this should be sufficient for myself. I went over 10 years with a cheap Ryobi, and though I've either lost or broken the accessories, the saw itself still works fine.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/Skil-15-...-204504286-_-N

I would prefer the one you showed, but it's just too expensive for me right now. The dust collector would be nice though, as I do most work in my basement.
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post #12 of 23 Old 02-06-2019, 10:11 AM
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I would love to "get by" with a contractors saw. I am still getting by with a jobsite table saw (a Bosch REAXX). Compared with my jobsite table saw, a contractors saw would give me a true cast iron table instead of an aluminum one, and a much longer lead-in from the front of the table to the blade.

The one feature the jobsite saw gives me is the ability to store it folded in the garage, and roll it to my outside workspace when I want to use it.
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post #13 of 23 Old 02-06-2019, 10:30 AM
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I have a ridgid jobsite saw, antique atlas tablesaw, ridgid contactor saw, powermatic contactor saw, jet contractor saw, and delta unisaw...

I use the ridgid jobsite saw the most, powermatic second...I get the others out when I don't feel like adjusting fences between cuts. I only notice a power difference when cutting 1.5" or thicker material which isn't very often. I love the portability of the jobsite saw because I can cut in my driveway and get rid of the mess with a leafblower. All of them have fences that are accurate but the powermatic probably wins with their copy of the bessy fence. The big thing that the unisaw has on the others is dust collection and power for thicker hardwoods. My contactor saws are ok with dust collection after many modifications but the jobsite saw and atlas saw have no dust collection whatsoever. They all cut cleanly because I inspect and adjust them on a regular basis.

I don't think a cabinet saw is a necessity for a woodworker, just tune up the one you have and keep a sharp blade on it. The main reason to upgrade IMO would be cutting thicker lumber on a regular basis or dust collection.
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post #14 of 23 Old 02-06-2019, 07:18 PM
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I have a craftsman contractor saw that I put an Incra LS fence and a forrest blade that turned that cheap saw into a pretty good machine .Geez the fence and the blade are worth 3-4 times what I paid for that old used saw . BUT I still want to upgrade , with that old contractor saw tilting the blade doesnt work smooth and dust collection isnt great ..... I am in the market for a good used 3 hp cabinet saw or if I dont find a decent used one by spring I plan to make a trip to Grizzly to purchase a new saw
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post #15 of 23 Old 02-06-2019, 07:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djg View Post
I noticed another thread by someone looking for a used cabinet saw and thought I'm not alone. I've been looking over the years and in the meantime am putting up with my contractor saw. So I was wondering how many others are 'getting by' with just a contractor saw? Did you do any upgrades to yours? My biggest complaint is the fence. I have to measure at the blade the distance from the fence to a miter slot before and after the fence. PITA
I bought a sears 12" contractors saw when I was doing woodworking for a hobby. Then when I went into business I used it there for a number of years. At that time I enlarged the table to the right so I could easily cut 4x8 sheets but other than that left the saw as is. I would probably still be using the saw but the motor went out and the motor shop I took it to didn't want to work on it because they thought it was glued together. Not having the time to deal with it I stopped at a tool company and bought a cabinet saw on my way home from the motor shop. By the time I found out the sears saw was repairable I didn't have the need or space for a second saw so it was turned into a router table.

In your case if the contractor saw has enough HP for your needs I would just replace the fence system and perhaps enlarge the table extension. The factory table extension that came with the cabinet saw I bought is just made of wood with formica on the top. The homemade extension I made for the sears saw was much better. I welded together some angle iron and inserted a piece of plywood from the back side. Then covered the top surface with formica.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-28-2019, 10:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tool Agnostic View Post
I would love to "get by" with a contractors saw. I am still getting by with a jobsite table saw (a Bosch REAXX). Compared with my jobsite table saw, a contractors saw would give me a true cast iron table instead of an aluminum one, and a much longer lead-in from the front of the table to the blade.

The one feature the jobsite saw gives me is the ability to store it folded in the garage, and roll it to my outside workspace when I want to use it.
Yeah, I know a spammer reactivated the thread.

Update:
I replaced my Bosch REAXX jobsite saw with a SawStop cabinet saw. It is nice to have a table saw with a large cast iron top, a longer lead-in distance, and a superb fence. It is on SawStop's industrial mobile base so I can easily roll it outside for use, but it doesn't fold up and store as neatly in the garage as the old Bosch REAXX. I will miss the REAXX jobsite saw in many ways, but there is no doubt that the SawStop cabinet saw is an upgrade overall. :-(

I do not know who gives out awards for assembly guides and parts packaging, but SawStop deserves one. They are exceptional. The parts are embedded in large cards, with color-coded sections that match up to sections in the assembly guide. Each part has a finger pull and a pre-perforated compartment that make parts removal easy. Everything is well labeled and matched up. The same part may appear in multiple sections, because you open them as you need them. Following the assembly process takes a lot of time, patience, and attention to detail, but it is hard to imagine how they could improve on it.
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post #17 of 23 Old 07-28-2019, 11:25 AM
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Craftsman contractor saws ......

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I bought a sears 12" contractors saw when I was doing woodworking for a hobby. Then when I went into business I used it there for a number of years. At that time I enlarged the table to the right so I could easily cut 4x8 sheets but other than that left the saw as is. I would probably still be using the saw but the motor went out and the motor shop I took it to didn't want to work on it because they thought it was glued together. Not having the time to deal with it I stopped at a tool company and bought a cabinet saw on my way home from the motor shop. By the time I found out the sears saw was repairable I didn't have the need or space for a second saw so it was turned into a router table.
.........

My first table saw was a 1960's Craftsman 10" contractor model 100 that I bought with my high school graduation gift money. I don't think it was much more than $200.00 including extensions and the stand. It had a "monster" for the day, 1 HP motor with plenty of power. I used that saw for about 40 years. It didn't die, but I used/needed the table for my current Sawzilla which is made from 3 Craftsman direct drive induction 220 V only saws with spare tables spacing them apart. I love this saw.

What did learn in all those years of using a table saw was that the fence is the heart of the saw! Motors are important, but even with a slightly underpowered one, they can be made to work. However, a lousy fence that can't be adjust to lock parallel to the miter slots is a total pain to use. The fence is the one accessory you are always moving about for different widths, so it needs to be accurate and easily adjusted when locked down.... no double measuring!

The second most important accessory is a large support on the outfeed end and on the sides. The outfeed in vital for ripping whether the work is planks or large plywood. The side supports distribute the weight of plywood when cutting it down to size. The "ideal" table surround would be 8 ft X 8 ft with the saw centered at the front. Of course for most home workshops, this is impossible. The least safe table saw is one that is tippy, moves around under feeding pressure and has too small of a table.

The third most important safety accessory is the splitter plate or riving knife which will all but prevent both types of kickbacks. The most common kickback occurs when the work is not maintained against the fence all through the pass, come away, rotates up and is driven back toward the operator at roughly 100 MPH. The other type of kickback occurs when the saw kerf begins to close up behind the blade, pinching it and jamming the saw or drives the work back towards the operator.

Finally, all my table saw and router tables have a "safety paddle" ON/OFF switch mounted at hip height so I can turn the machine off by just bumping it with my hip. I can keep both hands and both eyes on the blade and the work by having this easy access switch.

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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; 07-28-2019 at 11:30 AM.
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post #18 of 23 Old 07-28-2019, 12:28 PM
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Read @woodnthings' post above. It is the heart of table saw wisdom. Thank you!
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post #19 of 23 Old 07-28-2019, 12:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by woodnthings View Post
My first table saw was a 1960's Craftsman 10" contractor model 100 that I bought with my high school graduation gift money. I don't think it was much more than $200.00 including extensions and the stand. It had a "monster" for the day, 1 HP motor with plenty of power. I used that saw for about 40 years. It didn't die, but I used/needed the table for my current Sawzilla which is made from 3 Craftsman direct drive induction 220 V only saws with spare tables spacing them apart. I love this saw.

What did learn in all those years of using a table saw was that the fence is the heart of the saw! Motors are important, but even with a slightly underpowered one, they can be made to work. However, a lousy fence that can't be adjust to lock parallel to the miter slots is a total pain to use. The fence is the one accessory you are always moving about for different widths, so it needs to be accurate and easily adjusted when locked down.... no double measuring!

The second most important accessory is a large support on the outfeed end and on the sides. The outfeed in vital for ripping whether the work is planks or large plywood. The side supports distribute the weight of plywood when cutting it down to size. The "ideal" table surround would be 8 ft X 8 ft with the saw centered at the front. Of course for most home workshops, this is impossible. The least safe table saw is one that is tippy, moves around under feeding pressure and has too small of a table.

The third most important safety accessory is the splitter plate or riving knife which will all but prevent both types of kickbacks. The most common kickback occurs when the work is not maintained against the fence all through the pass, come away, rotates up and is driven back toward the operator at roughly 100 MPH. The other type of kickback occurs when the saw kerf begins to close up behind the blade, pinching it and jamming the saw or drives the work back towards the operator.

Finally, all my table saw and router tables have a "safety paddle" ON/OFF switch mounted at hip height so I can turn the machine off by just bumping it with my hip. I can keep both hands and both eyes on the blade and the work by having this easy access switch.

I would probably still be using that craftsman saw I had but the motor shop refused to work on it because the case was said to be glued together. I didn't have time to work on it myself and it was at a time before I had internet so a replacement motor was unavailable. I bought a unisaw on the way home from the motor shop. I ended up converting the table saw into a router table for tongue and groove.
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post #20 of 23 Old 07-28-2019, 01:43 PM
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That was my experience also!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Neul View Post
I bought a sears 12" contractors saw when I was doing woodworking for a hobby. Then when I went into business I used it there for a number of years. At that time I enlarged the table to the right so I could easily cut 4x8 sheets but other than that left the saw as is. I would probably still be using the saw but the motor went out and the motor shop I took it to didn't want to work on it because they thought it was glued together. Not having the time to deal with it I stopped at a tool company and bought a cabinet saw on my way home from the motor shop. By the time I found out the sears saw was repairable I didn't have the need or space for a second saw so it was turned into a router table.........
The motor repair shop I took it to was capable of wiring a 100 HP motor, but they refused to open it up just like Steve said.
Emerson was pretty smart to make the RAS motors and the 12" table saw motors pretty much identical. The 12" table saws had induction motors unlike most of the 10" light weight aluminum top saws. The radial arm saws were also induction motors and they were epoxied together. I used a Dremel to saw all the way around the seam, breaking the epoxy bond as shown in this thread:

https://www.woodworkingtalk.com/f12/...rebuild-35737/

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; 07-28-2019 at 01:51 PM.
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