Table Saw Hunt
Been deciding on a table saw for my shop for a few months now
Iíve got it narrowed down to a contractor style or cabinet, as the fiancťe insists on a place to park in the garage :smile2:
Lots of research, but as with anything on the internet you never know whose poster a paid or unpaid review of a product.
Recently I was browsing Menards site and noticed they are starting to close out their MasterForce Contractor Saw with base
From the image it looks solid, and I havenít had any issues with the MasterForce brand tools I currently have, and for under 550 seems like a deal
I had consider the Ridgid (due to all my power tools are Ridgid) but reviews seem really skewed on that one plus from what Iíve been able to find the MasterForce is the ridged just in hunter green and not depot orange
The delta 36-725 has also been on my radar after trying to find some info on the MasterForce saw
And of course SawStop is on the list, and has permission from the fiancťe to actually buy that one, and while it does seem to be a great overall tool, the arguably awesome ground shaking safety feature doubles the price for what the rest of the saw actually is
Budget wise Iíd like to stay under 700 and keep flip flopping between a contractor and a high end job site, but cast iron wings are just too appealing
No plans for more than 3/4 sheet goods, sticking with desks, tables, basic sewing cabinets, etc.
Looking for any input/review of the MasterForce or if thereís another direction on the table saw bunny trail I should embark on (Maybe SawStop is the way):smile2:
Thanks in advance
On your list of what to look for in a good contractor or cabinet saw should be:
Accurately sized standard 3/4 X 3/8" miter slots. Some newer small saws don't have this and add-on options like box joint and tenon jigs won't work on saws without the 3/4 X 3/8" miter slots.
5/8" arbor long enough for a full with DADO stack.
An induction type motor of 2 hp or larger. The new Delta and the Mennards saws use universal (drill) type motors and they are screamers. An induction type motor will hold blade speed and be much quieter. It will last longer too. Older Delta Contractor saws of the 34-4** series had special motors that produced 1.5 hp on 120 volt power, but a full 2 hp on 240 volt power. The lower hp output on 120 volt power was so it could be used on standard 15 amp household power. These Delta saws are good saws if cleaned up and calibrated correctly. They are also available used in the $100-300 range. A good used Delta Unisaw in running condition will cost $300-800, if you can find a good one. A Powermatic 66 would be a good alternative to a Unisaw, but usually seems to sell for more money. I've used both and to me it's a Ford / Chevy thing. They are both good.
A good fence that locks down easily and repeats it's parallel to blade and miter slot setting.
10" saw blade capability.
Rust on an older cast iron saw isn't that hard to remove, as long as there is no rust pitting of the surface. A Skotch Brite pad and some WD40 or CRC will remove surface rust relatively easily. If it's heavily rusted with pitting, keep looking for a better one.
for the price, you can't beat a belt drive craftsman 10" table saw
they're available used on craigslist for $100 to $175 and will run circles around that menards saw
many of the craigslist saws come with everything the previous owner had with the saw at no extra cost
i've had my belt drive craftsman since new in 1982 and have built a lot of stuff with it
i would say that is the most used saw on this forum since they made millions of them
stay away from direct drive saws as they typically don't have much power or use of a dado head
I really like @CharlieL's list of what to look for. He nailed it.
I have a SawStop cabinet saw. It recently replaced my Bosch REAXX jobsite saw, which also has a safety mechanism like SawStop. The Bosch REAXX is available elsewhere, but not in the US for now, due to patent entanglements with SawStop.
As most people here know, I like the extra insurance that comes with a safety saw like a SawStop. Table saw injuries are so expensive and so horrific that is it worth the additional cost to me.
In fairness, not everyone agrees with my point of view. Many experienced woodworkers disagree and would rather save the money. They feel that due care is sufficient to prevent serious injury. I follow the same safety practices of course, but I feel that unexpected accidents can happen. I know many woodworkers who have all their body parts intact and never used a SawStop. Sadly, I know enough woodworkers with missing parts, too. I hope I never trigger the SawStop, but it is comforting to know that the feature is there.
In my opinion, the biggest drawbacks of a jobsite saw are the short lead-in distance and the aluminum table. You can do fine woodworking on a well-calibrated, quality jobsite saw, but not all jobsite saws are up to the task. In fact, not all jobsite saws will meet all of Charlie's criteria. Many do not support dados, a few have non-standard miter slots (or none), etc.
I wanted to replace the jobsite saw with a table saw that has a longer lead-in and a true cast iron top. In the US, if you want a table saw with a safety retraction feature, SawStop is your only choice. I found this to be very helpful when choosing between SawStop's contractor and cabinet saws:
Contractor table saws often require a larger footprint for storage than a cabinet saw. The reason is the motor that hangs off the back. I noticed that none of the photos of the MasterForce contractor saw show the back, and I wonder if there is a motor with a belt hanging off like the SawStop contractor saw.
I store my tools in the garage, but wheel them outside to work. Storage space in the garage is at a premium. The smaller footprint and superior base (SawStop's Industrial Mobile Base) made the cabinet saw an easy choice for me over the contractor saw. The superior features of a cabinet saw were merely a bonus. ;-)
CharleyL - thanks for the tips though the recommended saws are getting a little too big for ym current and planned shop
Thatís why Iíve been going back and forth on a contractor (if cost/ features work out) vs a good job site
With my RAS, 12 inch sliding mightier, router table, sandblaster and paint booth, Iím already wanting more space, and I dread to find out what the fiancťe with all her sewing machines will need in terms of storage
_Ogre - I was look at used and a few caught my eye, and it may sound silly but I would like to make sure I could get a Riving Knife and blade guard, Iíve never have had any issues or accidents but some small safety features, even if itís not SawStop witchery is nice to have
Tool Agnostic Ė I wonít lie that extra insurance sure does sound good, and it was a super easy sell to the fiancťe :)
I honestly didnít know that some cabinet saws are actually smaller than contractor, thatís good to keep an eye out for
Typically I try to do all my woodworking outside, but mcihgan Winterís arenít the most conducive for that, so Iím trying to plan for a setup that can give me all year round uptime
Iím with you on the aluminum vs. cast iron which is why in the past month I keep leaving the shallow end of the saw pool with jobsites and heading to deeper water with contractor sawsÖfiancťe would kill me if I ended up with a monster professional cabinet saw though compared to some of her sewing machines that may still be a cheaper option lol
Another odd duck out that keeps noodling around in the back of my mind is a hybrid but the only one I saw that didnít reach SawStop pricing (if I cross that threshold Iíd just get a SawStop) is the Shop Fox W1837 but I keep swatting that idea away because Iíve never been able to see one in the wilds or much info on it
Caveat here- Are parts still available for Craftsman? Craftsman and the OEM parts don't always interchange. This from a Craftsman contractor.
What is from a Craftsman "contractor" .... a contractor saw or a building contractor? Last sentence is confusing.
Anyway, I've owned the entire range of table saws, from a 1960 Craftsman 100 contractor, belt driven 1 HP, several 3 HP 12" Craftsman direct drive induction saws (my present setup called Sawzilla), a 5 HP 12" Powermatic cabinet saw, a Bosch 4000-09 Job Site saw, and finally a Craftsman 22124 10" hybrid cabinet saw.
Starting out in woodworking with the contractor saw, I used it successfully for 40 years. The 1 HP motor was powerful enough for all but the thickest hardwood, but back then I only has HSS blades, not the thin kerf carbide blades of today.
Next in line were the direct drive induction 12" Craftsman saws which were on sale, so I bought two of them after liking the first one so much and that's when I bolted those two together with and spare table between them and an extension on the ends:
The big Powermatic was actually way too much saw for me and my shop... scary powerful! While it was the "dream saw" of a life time, it was more than I needed:
Then came the Bosch job site because I needed a lighter weigh table to carry around to home repair work sites. It is a remarkably accurate and powerful saw for around $600.00.
A used 12" appeared on Craig's list, so I got it for a "parts saw" but realized I had no place to store except on the left end of Sawzilla, so that's where it remains and is used for ripping with a dedicated Diablo 24 tooth rip blade.
Finally, the 10 Craftsman Hybrid came along also on sale for 2/3 off the list price, a close out floor model.... $500.00 or so.:smile2:
Excuse the mess on the top, it is a "table" saw after all ..... :sad2:
You may have trouble finding a contractor saw with a 2 HP induction motor, I donno? A 1 HP motor will work OK with the thin kerf blades by Diablo. For thicker material, I use a bandsaw for ripping and resawing instead of a tablesaw.
The Masterforce weighs 297 pounds, the Delta 36-725 weighs 205, and the Rigid R4512 comes in at 267. Just a little more to consider.
If that Delta saw is still available, you should buy it and use it for a while. If it isn't right for you, find something that appeals to you more and sell or part out the Delta. You certainly won't loose any money. Like I said, the Unifence is worth more than the saw is selling for.
Charley - Can't seem to find any delta saw's like your describing with a unifence and special motor
I did find this one but not sure if that's what you were talking about
The other delta unisaw i saw are way above my price point, reaching high 2000s to start
The goal is to keep the saw price around 700 or less then if i needed an after market fence or something i had some little wiggle room down the line
gj13us- in terms of weight, what should one consider, heavier the better?
woodnthings - that is one slick looking collection, though seeing a craftsmen without the trademark balck and red is as odd as a green dewalt :)
The MasterForce and Ridgid R4512 are the same saw. There is another Craftsman version in Red and I've seen a Dayton in black on Walmart.com.(They are all made by Dayton I think) I got the R4512 after discount for the least. The only real difference is the fence on the R4512. I replaced mine eventually with a VerySuperCoolTools fence. There is a Delta Hybrid at Lowes that is very comparable to these but the fence is a bit better design (T style fence) I've never actully used one though..
I had the Ridgid R4512 for several years and was overall pretty happy with it. I really liked the built-in mobile base. For some of the work I did with it, I felt it was underpowered, but I was cutting some thick and hard stuff. I have since sold it and will be getting a 3HP (240V) cabinet saw soon (found a used ShopFox W1819, unless it falls thru for some reason).
Heavier would mean less vibration but on the other hand, once you reach a certain weight it might not make a lot of difference. I was thinking more of how hard it would be to move it if you needed to.
I wasn't talking about new saws. My suggestions for Delta Contractor Saws apply to Their Contractor Saws made mostly in the 1980's. Models 34-4** with the * numbers that seemed to indicate the year of manufacture more than new model. ie - 34-444, 34-445, 34-446, etc. There is almost no visible difference between them, and Delta sold a bunch of them, so craigslist and other swap boards usually have one or more of them listed at any given time. Find a clean one that is priced right (in the $200-300 range usually, at least in this area of the US), clean it up and tune it for accuracy, install a descent blade, and you will have a reliable and accurate table saw at a very reasonable price. Avoid the ones that look like they were under water or those that look like a truck hit them. A little rust on the cast iron table can be removed with Skotch brite pads, WD-40, and elbow grease in a few hours, but avoid heavy rust and pitted cast iron. These saws were never designed to manage saw dust well, but they are accurate, have enough power, and are very reliable.
A unifence is gravy and alone it's worth the price of the saw, if it's in good condition. Most of these saws came with a stock fence that rode on round rails front and back. They are OK and work well, but a better fence like the Unifence is a huge step up from it.
I know several woodworkers who make Queen Anne style period reproduction furniture on these Delta Contractor Saws. A full cabinet saw is better, but not more accurate. I found a Delta 34-444 saw for my son who is remodeling his house, and in cleaning it up and calibrating it I was very pleased to see that once adjusted it was every bit as accurate as my mid 80's three hp Unisaw. It's only real drawback is that it doesn't have any saw dust control. The bottom and back of these saws is wide open so the saw dust either falls on the floor, or if light enough, goes everywhere.
Don't confuse these older Delta saws with the new one being sold now. The new Delta Company and their products are the same in name only. Everything that is being sold new today is coming from a different company with the old Delta name on their products. If you want a good saw at a low price, find a used old Delta Contractor Saw and clean it up, or a Unisaw of the 70's to 90's vintage in good shape and do the same. One of my children will inherit my mid 80's Delta Unisaw. I've not seen anything out there old or brand new that I think is better than the one that I have.
Just to be clear ...
A Unifence is extinct these days. I own 3 of them like the one in the center of this dual Craftsman saw setup. You can only find them used and they run about $500.00 with the extruded aluminum rails:
A Biesemeyer fence is like this one the Powermatic, also about $500.00 or so with the rails, but still available:
You'll be very lucky to find any saw that includes a Unifence and if you do, buy it ...... especially if it's $1,000 and a cabinet saw with a 3 HP motor ... called a Unisaw! They will be more than 1 K as a rule.
In your $700 range you can get a good contractor saw with stamped or cast iron grid wings for around $300 or so. A decent saw and will work for 99% of your projects, except for ripping 2 1/2" hardwood.
The only new 10" saw I'm aware of near that range is a hybrid by Grizzly like this:
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