Woodworking Talk banner

1 - 7 of 7 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hello All,
I am relatively new to woodworking and would like to graduate from my $150 aluminum top Sears table saw to something more appropriate for serious woodworking. Since most of you have been very generous with sharing your wisdom and experience, I was going to ask you what I should do to upgrade to a serious saw.

My table saw has the following issues:

  • It's throat plate was not designed to build zero clearance inserts. There's 1/8" between the notches and tables, meaning that the plates I was able to build are fragile and prone to getting knocked out by the blade on startup.
  • There's only like 8" of table before the blade, making it very difficult to make most cuts safely
  • The fence doesn't really line up too consistently.
My assumption is that these issues will go away when I buy a nicer saw.

I've had a difficult time making good cuts with the saw, especially due to the lack of space on the table and fence before the blade, I really haven't been able to make perfectly straight cuts in plywood.

I'd like to go with the least expensive table saw I could safely use. This is in a basement, so I obviously could not go with a full-sized cabinet saw as it would never get in the door.

Sears sells a bunch in the $500-$800 range that look like they'll do the trick. However, I have a hunch I should look at other places as well.

So...

Where should I look for saws? Right now, I can afford something around $600 (before shipping/tax). Should I save up my money and get a more expensive saw? Are they worth it? (as opposed to spending the money on wood, clamps, etc).

I assume I should go with something that:

  • is designed for zero clearance plates
  • has a cast iron top
  • where the fence seems stable/high-quality
  • has dust collection
Should I consider other aspects?

Grizzly appears to start around 800k. Most saws at Rockler and Woodcraft are above 1k. I'm not brave enough to trust Harbor Freight. Lowes/HomeDepot seem to stop at $400 saws that are only modest improvements over my current cheapo saw.

Are there brands I should seriously consider over others? I kind of assumed I'd have to look at each saw individually and not favor say Delta over Craftsman or Jet.

Thanks!
Steven
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,524 Posts
With the budget you list, you could fetch a pretty nice older Unisaw on the used market....
Yeah, I second what DB says. Keep an eye on Craig's List. They pop up here (Chicago area) quite a bit. I imagine it's the same for Boston. As far as getting a Uni down into the basement, you would definately want to do it in pieces. Take the top off in the garage and take it down separately, maybe the motor too. This would give you a chance to check and replace any bearings that might me worn and give it a good clean up too. If you do go with a used Unisaw make sure it's single phase otherwise you'll need a converter. Good luck Steve. Let us know what you end up with.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
191 Posts
There is a nice $600

Unisaw on Boston Craigslist right now. I would strongly recommend buying this saw used. I did so a long time ago and it is a great saw. If you pick carefully, you can get a good saw.

I've had mine about 15 yrs and have gone thru it piece by piece. I've put in a new arbor bearing, Motor, belts, fence, paint and re-wired. I like working with it and on it. It is a 1948 model and over the years was worth the upgrades. If you need parts or help the Saw Shop in Springfield have been excellent, and they know it all! Next year I'm moving from MA to CA and I'm taking it with me as I won't be able to replace it for what I can get for it. It's worth moving.

With my saw, when I step up to it, I know I've got about as good as there is for a saw. I spend my time trying to work up to the quality that the tools are capable of. Still working!:smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,532 Posts
I look at Sears tools when I am in the store. The saws that they have for your price range look pretty good to me. Just stay away from the one with the granite top. I also do not like the fence on that one.

George
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,446 Posts
Steven - A good used saw might offer the best bang for the buck. A standard full size saw will have more operating space than your current saw. A cabinet saw has the same standard size table as a hybrid and contractor saw (27" deep), but note that a contractor saw with the motor hanging out the back will actually take up more space than a hybrid or cabinet saw. You can break the cabinet saw down into manageable pieces...nothing else will beat the construction quality or power of a good cabinet saw, but the better contractor saws and hybrids will do good work once setup properly and fitted with a good blade.

I'd take a look at the Grizzly G0661 contractor style hybrid saw with the inboard motor, and the new G0715P hybrid, Craftsman 22116 hybrid (all have riving knives), and the Jet Proshop, and Delta 36-715 (no riving knives). I'd prefer cast iron to granite, but wouldn't rule out a granite top saw strictly because of the granite top...lots of folks love them, and there are advantages. Sale prices should get some of those into range for you. I'd also at least take a peak at the new Porter Cable PCB270TS at Lowe's but compare the wings, fence, and overall build quality closely.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,391 Posts
I'd also at least take a peak at the new Porter Cable PCB270TS at Lowe's but compare the wings, fence, and overall build quality closely.
Take a careful peak at that saw. It looks like it wants to be a Ridgid 3660 when it grows up. I played around with this saw at my local Lowes and wasn't impressed. The fence seems very chincy. It looks like a slightly larger version of their portable jobsite saw. The wings also seemed chincy. Just a thought. I like their new drill press and bandsaw features and am planning on buying the drill press eventually, but the TS seems like it wasn't made for the long haul. JMO though.
 
1 - 7 of 7 Posts
Top