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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

I’m a very novice woodworker. I work on various small projects like frames, boxes, plant stands, as well as some larger things like a pergola, outdoor chair etc. I’ll post some of the projects I’ve done for reference.

My dilemma is, whether or not I’d be better served owning a table saw, or is my setup is fine for the DIY nature of what I do? This came about when I was making another frame. I have a portable palm router that I use to make my rabbet cuts. I end up needing to make 3 to 4 passes to cut deep enough for a frame, each pass taking up about 50% of my battery. Then I use my sliding compound mitre saw for cuts before glueing. Oh, and for the detailed joints, I use a pull saw.

I was considering purchasing a corded router to make my rabbet cuts easier, though maybe a table saw is the way to go? Is that excessive? Maybe I can step up my joinery game (Finger? Dovetail?). Would it be easy to fit in my garage workshop?

If this is a good option, which models/types should I consider?

Here are some recent projects:



















Thanks!
 

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I think that most people find that a table saw is the heart and soul of most woodworking. Even just extensive do it yourself projects around your house.

Recently had to put covering over the toe kick under my kitchen cabinets. Had to rip the purchased material to size. Could not purchase exact size.

George
 

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I can't imagine not having a table saw at my disposal. A decent quality job saw would work well for what you are doing. They generally fold up into a compact piece that doesn't take up a ;ot of space when not needed. I have a Ryobi that does the job for me. As a bonus I made a router table that sits in the gap where the side table slides out. Before this saw I had a Craftsman with a cast iron table and belt drive. l sold it because I wasn't using it anymore.
As with a lot of things, once you have it you will wonder how you ever got along without it.
 

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The job site saws have improved a lot over the years, for occasional work they are adequate with a decent blade and will tuck away under a bench when not in use. I am now a 40 minute ferry ride and one hour drive to a fully equipped shop so find my Ryobi saw very handy for any projects that come up.
 

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Your skills will definitely Improve with a table saw. There are ton's of jigs you can build to make your work easier. If all you can afford is a table top model then get one. I would recommend a free standing saw if you have the room, Check out the pics on this site and see how others have set theirs up and find one that works for you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Thanks guys, I think I will take the plunge soon then, and purchase a table saw. I'm doing research now and need to figure out what will be adequate. I love the idea of a table top, something I can tuck away, however that may be too small, as for the table and the motor? Can I use a dado blade with them? And do I need to use a dado blade?

I think a smaller contractor saw might be doable, as far as size in my space. As for cost, I'd love to find something in the $300 rage, however if I knew I was getting something that performs MUCH better and I'll be happier in the long run, I'd go to $600 or so. Sometimes you can get a lot done with less, then there are those times when you realize you should've spent more and went with the tool you really needed, and maybe end up purchasing it in the end anyway.

I'll keep with the research, it's a category I know little about. Oh and Hank, I love the idea of adding a router, I'll have to see how that's done.

Thanks!
 

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The Nut in the Cellar
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I did woodworking for perhaps ten years with hand and handheld power tools in a 10'x10' basement shop. We moved to a house that had a 12'x12' basement shop and I bought a good quality benchtop 10" tablesaw. It changed my woodworking immeasurably and opened up new project opportunities that I never could have done before. Spend the time to learn what a quality table saw can do and carefully search for the right saw for you.
 

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Budget will dictate what you can do.

Serious about woodworking and have the budget? 3HP Sawstop.

Speaking from 30 years of experience and starting out with a POJ (very dangerous) Craftsman, you're not going to get much for $300.

But, then again, any table saw is better than no table saw .......maybe. Because safety is a HUGE factor and safety relates not only to human mistakes, but the machine. Underpowered table saws with lousy fences get people hurt.

Minimum entry level - 1 1/2HP induction (not universal) motor, Beisemeyer type front clamping fence, cast iron top. That eliminates job site saws and several other cheap consumer type saws.
 

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where's my table saw?
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I own one or more of every type of table saw there is, job site, contractor, hybrid and cabinet type.
The cabinet saw is way more powerful than I need at 5 HP' ($3500)
The contractor saws are about 3 HP, just right. (used about $500, new about $700)
The hybrid at 1.75 HP will do 99.5% of everything I need in a home shop. (used about $500 and up)
The job site, a Bosch 09-4000, is one of the better ones and would do 90% of all my operations and does have dado set capability. (cost new $600)

Space/footprint, budget, HP, fence design are all important. Here's what may determine your application. Ripping thick hardwood stock 2" and more requires a lot more HP than cutting 3/4" plywood to make cabinets. So, your projects will often determine what size saw you need. A bigger, more powerful saw will do it all, but a smaller, lighter saw may be underpowered.
 

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Keep your eyes open for a used jobsaw. If you decide later to upgrade you will probably get back all you paid when you re-sell it, if you are careful not to buy some body elses junk
 

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The Nut in the Cellar
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I just checked the local craigslist and found the exact saw I have. Probably not close enough to you but it gives you an idea of what is out there.

Ryobi table saw 10" - tools - by owner - sale (craigslist.org)
I have a Ryobi BT3000 from 1993 and it is still in use. It will do everything my BIL's 3 hp PM66 saw will do and more. It is an extremely capable saw. It is long out of production and parts are getting a bit hard to find. I also have an early production BT3100 that I keep for parts if needed. There are pictures of it in my tools album here.
 

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If you are just puttering around, a job site saw is more than adequate. If you are doing this to make money, you should consider at the very least, a good contractors saw. If you are looking for bargain basement prices, you will be doing bargain basement work. Nothing worse than spending good money on a used saw for a bargain price and find that it is worn out.
 

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Egg Spurt
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If you're getting a table saw just make sure it can handle at least a 3/4" wide dado stack..You may never need the full 3/4" but better to have it and not need it than need it and not have it..and get one with the best possible fence you can lay your hands on. A table saw with a crappy fence is a crappy table saw..
Right now in my area table saws are very easy to come come by. Last time I checked CL there were 114 listings for table saws alone. I should mention that my search area is pretty wide, about 200 miles, but that gives you lots of options..
 

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I would not worry about dado width on a handyman saw, wider dados can be cut in two passes and you may actually find it quicker and easier than setting the dado up with shims to get the exact width you need. Bigger is usually better when circumstances allow, but not always necessary to get a job done. You may be better off with a less expensive saw and put the extra money toward a better router.
 

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Nine Thumbs
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A good contractor saw is plenty and perfect for 99.99% of what I do. The saw snobs might lead you to believe that if you don't have a Super Saw Stop or 100 horsepower you're going to cut all your fingers off, but you will not. A decent used contractors saw will have sufficient horses, probably cast iron wings and a fairly good fence (fence can always be upgraded at your leisure). It will have a large enough table to be comfortable with all but the longest pieces, and the footprint isn't out of whack.

427117

This is exactly what I have and this picture is just about the condition I found mine in. I got it for about a hundred bucks, took it home and gave it some TLC (the table can look brand new again) and put a nice fence on it. So for about 350 smackers that's what I have. It's been doing everything I want for many years now and I use it constantly. It works to the point that I simply can't justify an upgrade.

Keep a sharp blade on any of them and they will serve you well, but a dull blade on any of them can get you hurt fast.
 

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Sorry, but I can't see your recent projects. They don't display.

When I got back into woodworking a few years ago, I started with a Bosch jobsite table saw, a good one. The jobsite saw was a space saver. It was light and easy to fold up and move around.

Jobsite saws have a few issues compared with contractor and cabinet saws:
  • The short distance between the front of the table and the blade made it hard and somewhat scary to cut larger pieces. Clamping a long auxiliary fence helped.
  • The aluminum top. Magnets don't stick to it. Aluminum is soft, so it dents and scratches easily. It will never be as flat as a cast iron time.
  • The fence will be okay at best, really bad at worst. The fence on my Bosch was better than most.
  • Less massive, less power, less precision for settings, and more vibration result in limitations.
A jobsite saw is to a contractor/cabinet saw as a laptop is to a full size desktop computer. Both can do the same jobs, but a laptop has limitations due to a smaller keyboard, less memory and storage, etc. It is more challenging to work on a laptop.

I replaced the jobsite saw with a cabinet saw. The improved ease of use and stability were instantly apparent. The quality of my projects improved as a result, too.

You can achieve good projects with a jobsite saw, but it takes more time and effort, and a few extra jigs, tables, etc. to compensate for its limitations.

Sometimes a jobsite saw is the best choice for many reasons. We don't know enough about your requirements to help you decide that.
 

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I have a Ryobi BT3000 from 1993 and it is still in use. It will do everything my BIL's 3 hp PM66 saw will do and more. It is an extremely capable saw. It is long out of production and parts are getting a bit hard to find. I also have an early production BT3100 that I keep for parts if needed. There are pictures of it in my tools album here.
Seriously? In an alternate universe maybe LOL.
 

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Hi all,

I’m a very novice woodworker. I work on various small projects like frames, boxes, plant stands, as well as some larger things like a pergola, outdoor chair etc. I’ll post some of the projects I’ve done for reference.

My dilemma is, whether or not I’d be better served owning a table saw, or is my setup is fine for the DIY nature of what I do? This came about when I was making another frame. I have a portable palm router that I use to make my rabbet cuts. I end up needing to make 3 to 4 passes to cut deep enough for a frame, each pass taking up about 50% of my battery. Then I use my sliding compound mitre saw for cuts before glueing. Oh, and for the detailed joints, I use a pull saw.

I was considering purchasing a corded router to make my rabbet cuts easier, though maybe a table saw is the way to go? Is that excessive? Maybe I can step up my joinery game (Finger? Dovetail?). Would it be easy to fit in my garage workshop?

If this is a good option, which models/types should I consider?

Here are some recent projects:



















Thanks!
I have a cabinet saw and still prefer to cut rabbets with a router, or on a spindle shaper, over a stacked dado. That being said I would look for a saw with enough of a work surface, and miter grooves, to support good sized sleds. You stated you make frames. Miters cut on a well designed and made sled should yield superior results to those made on a miter saw.
 

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where's my table saw?
Joined
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28,754 Posts
Hi all,

I’m a very novice woodworker. I work on various small projects like frames, boxes, plant stands, as well as some larger things like a pergola, outdoor chair etc. I’ll post some of the projects I’ve done for reference.

My dilemma is, whether or not I’d be better served owning a table saw, or is my setup is fine for the DIY nature of what I do? This came about when I was making another frame. I have a portable palm router that I use to make my rabbet cuts. I end up needing to make 3 to 4 passes to cut deep enough for a frame, each pass taking up about 50% of my battery. Then I use my sliding compound mitre saw for cuts before glueing. Oh, and for the detailed joints, I use a pull saw.

I was considering purchasing a corded router to make my rabbet cuts easier, though maybe a table saw is the way to go? Is that excessive? Maybe I can step up my joinery game (Finger? Dovetail?). Would it be easy to fit in my garage workshop?

If this is a good option, which models/types should I consider?

Here are some recent projects:
Thanks!
Here's a "rule of thumb" for determining what tool to use for the wood working operation:
For large, heavy, long work, bring the tool (in this case a circular saw) to the work.
For smaller, lighter, more complex cuts, bring the work to the tool, (in this case a table saw.)

OK, what type of table saw?
That depends on how thick your workpiece is. You won't get very far cutting 2.5" thick hardwood on a portable/jobsite saw, but it may work and it will be slower. WHY?
Because the AC/DC motor doesn't develop as much power for as long a period as an induction motor on a stationary table saw, especially a 3 HP 240 volt motor.
The jobsite saw is light enough to carry around, but also light enough that it will tip over easily unless in a very proper stand with wide a support. A heavy cast iron top saw will rarely tip over when in a proper base, even with a mobile base with casters.
So, what else matters? THE FENCE! A table's fence is the most used accessory on the saw, excluding the ON/OFF switch of course. It needs to be rigid, accurate, self-aligning to the miter slot and stay put where you lock it. Most light weight aluminum fences are rickety and won;t self align and won't stay put when locked down, not all but it's rare to find a really good one on a cheap, lightweight saw.
The "industry standard" of table saw fences and the most immitated one is a Biesemeyer. It's super rigid, heavy and locks down parallel to the miter slot ...every time!
Various clones of this are the Delta T2, Grizzly, Vega, Shop Fox and others:
You also want and need an ON/OFF switch that's large, and easy to bump OFF with your hip or upper leg in an emergency when you can't take your eyes or hands off the workpiece for safety reasons! All my saws are equipped with a safety paddle ON/OFF switch and I often will use my leg rather than my hand to turn the saw off.

Finally, a splitter or riving knife is THE most misunderstood accessory out there. It will prevent a kickback in all but the rarest of circumstances by keeping the work registered lightly against the fence for the entire length of the cut. IF... the workpiece comes away from the fence, it will ride up and over the rear of the blade and be driven back at the operator with extreme force and velocity! It may even take your pushing hand and fingers along for the ride and you will get injured severely. That's why a splitter in combination with a good and proper push shoe is almost fool proof, at least it's kept me from making a fool of myself and I have all 10 fingers after 50 years of table saw use.
:)
 
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