tolerable starter portable table saw? - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
 
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post #1 of 9 Old 01-15-2011, 12:59 PM Thread Starter
jrr
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tolerable starter portable table saw?

First of all, hello! I'm brand new to both woodworking and this forum.

I'm looking for my first table saw, and was hoping to use some sears gift cards leftover from my wedding. (about $700 of 'em!) I've read through some of the other table saw advice threads and I realize that a low-end portable won't keep a woodworker happy for very long.. but I also don't have much workshop room! I have a small two car garage that I'd like to keep the cars in; no basement or shed.

I'm planning to build some furniture, mostly shelves and drawers, all very simple and square. The designs in my head call for ripping plywood and edge-glued stain-grade panels, as well as a some 3/4" dado cuts. Would I be better off starting with hand tools? Trying my darnedest to rip straight with my circular saw, and buying a router(+table) for dados?

From what I've read, many low-end table saws suffer from non-standard fittings for various accessories and blades, as well as inaccurate guides. It also seems that few low-end saws will take 3/4" dado blades. If portables from other manufacturers/stores are a lot better, I'd be willing to buy elsewhere and save the sears cards for later - it's not like I won't be buying craftsman hand tools for the rest of my life =]

In short, "what's the most tolerable portable table saw for a beginner?" Thanks in advance.
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post #2 of 9 Old 01-15-2011, 01:38 PM
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I don't care for craftsman power tools personally. I have owned the rigid 10"" tablesaw for over 6 years now and it hasn't let me down. I have used it tons with no problems and it is still as accurate as the day I set it up. It comes with a mobile base so you could move it around your small garage. Here is a link to the saw I recommend.
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post #3 of 9 Old 01-15-2011, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice, Julian! That's a beautiful tool. It appears to be discontinued - do you expect that the current version (R4512) is as good? At first glance, the new one has a lesser rip capacity (30" vs 36") and won't take 220v power.

To save even more space, I'm also interested in their folding model - the R4510 - this guy seems to like it. (his router attachment looks pretty sweet, too!)
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post #4 of 9 Old 01-15-2011, 04:32 PM
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Before getting too caught up in brand names, I'll point out that the Ridgid 3650 is a descendant of the Emerson made Craftsman contractor saws made prior to 1997, which became the TTI/Ryobi made Craftsman contractor saws until 2003. Also in 1997, the former Emerson made Craftsman contractor saw became the Ridgid TS2412, then the TS2424, then the TS3612, successively. In 2003 Emerson contracted with TTI/Ryobi to make the Ridgid TS3650, which later became the TS3660. All very similar saws with many interchangeable parts. AFAIK, the new R4512 is made by Dayton, who also makes what appears to be the identical Craftsman 21833.

As far as Craftsman portables go that can be purchased with Sears cards, TTI/Ryobi makes the Craftsman 21828, which looks to be identical to the Ridgid R4516. I can't vouch for either saw...I'm just saying don't overlook something because of the nameplate. because things change rapidly and without doing some research, ya just never know who's making it or at what quality level...buy the saw, not the logo.

Craftsman 21828:


Ridgid R4516:


You might also consider the Cman 21829, which is a revision of the popular Ryobi BT3100. Not everyone's cup of tea, but there's an army of people making good furniture with them.

With that said, I think you'd be getting a better saw if you went with something full size (27" deep), cast iron or granite, with a belt drive induction motor. The hybrids, and new "contractor saw hybrids" have the inside the enclosure which saves some space. Put them on a mobile base, and move it around your garage or driveway.

Last edited by knotscott; 01-15-2011 at 08:42 PM.
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post #5 of 9 Old 01-15-2011, 09:26 PM
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i would stay away from anything ryobi. its all junk.
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post #6 of 9 Old 01-16-2011, 01:16 PM
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JRR,
Welcome to the forum. I am not crazy about sears power tools anymore either. I have for a jobsite table saw a dewalt 745. It cuts very accurately, has a table top that is very slick. The key feature for a small saw is the fence. Dewalt has a rack and pinion setup that makes the fence a breeze to use and is able to stay parallel with no effort on your part. I would highly recommend it. Watch for them on sale sometimes at the big box stores.
Here's a utube link on it:
Mike Hawkins

Last edited by firehawkmph; 01-16-2011 at 01:16 PM. Reason: forgot the link
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post #7 of 9 Old 01-16-2011, 07:43 PM
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I too have the same shop space issue and had to go with the Bosch 4000 jobsite saw. They now make the 4100 which has much better blade guard and digital fence readout. Comes with the Gravity Rise stand which is very easy to move around. I think it is still has the largest table in the portable catagory. Even if I did buy a cabinet saw, I do not have enough room or muscle to safely handle large material in my small area. There are limitations to these type of saws concerning larger sheet goods and long planks. I simply rough cut sheet goods to size with circular saw then fine cut on the table saw. It handles up to 5/8 Dado stack and get a 3/4 Dado by making a second pass. Accuracy is plenty good for making everything I want to. Just my 2 cents.
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post #8 of 9 Old 01-16-2011, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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Now that I've asked about table saws, I'm going to completely change the subject - I think using my circular saw with a track system from these guys might better serve my needs:

http://www.eurekazone.com/

For dadoes, I could get a router and their router track system.. it won't be as good as a real dado stack, but I think it'll be fine for my purposes (hidden shelf slots, not visible joints).

It seems safer, cheaper, and will take up a lot less space.
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post #9 of 9 Old 01-16-2011, 08:09 PM
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track saw

Quote:
Originally Posted by jrr View Post
Now that I've asked about table saws, I'm going to completely change the subject - I think using my circular saw with a track system from these guys might better serve my needs:

http://www.eurekazone.com/

For dadoes, I could get a router and their router track system.. it won't be as good as a real dado stack, but I think it'll be fine for my purposes (hidden shelf slots, not visible joints).

It seems safer, cheaper, and will take up a lot less space.
jrr I use the eurekazone system and thier router guide is great for dadoes. It would also give you a way to size plywood accurately and easily. I have been using thier system for 2 years and it has made my small interior and exterior trim business more profitable. Check out some of thier videos with the system from thier website. In the last year I have sold two of my dewalt portable table saws and now ony have one table saw left Thier system is very versatile and well supported andif you have a problem you can talk to the inventor. Another big bonus is it is made in the us. I love my system and you would have to pry it from my dead bleeding fingers.
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