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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
Sorry, that last reply was a mistake. Thanks for all the great info, it's really a big help!

So I think I have an idea of what to look for. I'll be searching for a used contractor saw but keeping my mind open to a quality table top saw. I'm upping my budget to around 500-600, and I will definitely purchase a good fence if needed.

The things I'm looking for/need are - a quality fence, decent size work space (hopefully steel), a splitter, on/off switch I can activate with my knee.

As for the dado, yes, I can make two passes so no need for it to be large. About that, B Coll, you still prefer a router? Interesting. I imagine you have a table router, if that's what it's called, not a portable like mine?

The photos didn't load in my OP? Maybe you can just access the album here?



One issue I've been having when searching used is, whether some saws are considered contractor or table top. I'm in Los Angeles btw, N. Hollywood.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
One thought I'm having as I search - whether I'm knowledgable enough to purchase used/old and fix it up, or even judge it on the spot. Adding a fence seems easy, but what else would I be worrying about? The motor? That the top is flat?

It would depend on the price of the saw. A new fence is around $200, no? Purchasing new might end up at a similar price, as long as the fence is good. I saw a positive review of this saw:


Some of the used options I've seen:



As for compact/tabletop options, this is the type I see:


The plus with something new is obviously the warranty.
 

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Sorry, that last reply was a mistake. Thanks for all the great info, it's really a big help!

So I think I have an idea of what to look for. I'll be searching for a used contractor saw but keeping my mind open to a quality table top saw. I'm upping my budget to around 500-600, and I will definitely purchase a good fence if needed.

The things I'm looking for/need are - a quality fence, decent size work space (hopefully steel), a splitter, on/off switch I can activate with my knee.

As for the dado, yes, I can make two passes so no need for it to be large. About that, B Coll, you still prefer a router? Interesting. I imagine you have a table router, if that's what it's called, not a portable like mine?

The photos didn't load in my OP? Maybe you can just access the album here?

(photo link here)

One issue I've been having when searching used is, whether some saws are considered contractor or table top. I'm in Los Angeles btw, N. Hollywood.
I can see a 4x4 grid of photo preview, but when I click on it, it says that I don't have the privilege to see your photo album. I bet that your photo album is set to "private" or something like that. This link is rejected for me, but I do not know how to enable permissions:

I think of benchtop table saws as the same as jobsite table saws, but without a portable stand. They have short lead-in distance from the front of the table to the blade, and aluminum tables.

The table around the blade on contractor and cabinet table saws are usually cast iron, not steel. To the left and right of the table around the blade, some table saws have cast iron wings (nicer), some have steel or other material for the wings (not as nice, but lighter and less expensive).

Regarding dados, I have found that different woodworkers have different preferences. I prefer to use a dado stack on the table saw in most cases, but there are instances where it won't work. When I had to cut parallel dados across the width of a long skinny board, I used a router and a jig to guide it. The board was too long to control safely on a table saw. The long board might have twisted while cutting, and then kicked back. Another example is making stopped dados, which are also easier with a router, and don't leave a stopped end that matches the curve of the blade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 ·
Sorry bout that, I just changed the privacy settings.

The short lead sounds like a problem for sure. A contractor saw seems like the way I'm going for sure. While I don't have endless space, I should have enough to make a contractor work. And I'm sure I can use the space for more than just cutting, when I'm not using the saw.

Yes that makes sense, about when a router is preferable. I love having options. Even the smallest things, when you have the right tool for the job, it's very satisfying!
 

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where's my table saw?
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Sorry bout that, I just changed the privacy settings.

The short lead sounds like a problem for sure. A contractor saw seems like the way I'm going for sure. While I don't have endless space, I should have enough to make a contractor work. And I'm sure I can use the space for more than just cutting, when I'm not using the saw.

Yes that makes sense, about when a router is preferable. I love having options. Even the smallest things, when you have the right tool for the job, it's very satisfying!

When I was short on floor space and my table saw took up a great deal, I made a plywood top for it turning it into a work table.... table saw becomes a table... DUH!
 
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And there is space under the saw.

Looking at your photos, you are already doing projects that are best with more than a jobsite saw, I think.

Where are you buying your wood? If you get away from the chain stores there are lumber yards and mills where the cost is far less and the wood more interesting. What area of the country are you in? That can make a big difference.
 

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Thinking about table saws I thought I broke or somehow damaged my saw whilst cutting dados just a few minutes ago.. Checked the information from SS.. Nothing listed in the codes.. NOW WHAT? Turns out I just leaned into the paddle switch and turned the saw off during the cut.. I even called to leave a message.. Never mind..it's fixed! Thanks for the voice mail thingy..
I'm still not used to this paddle switch..I'm still reaching for my old craftsman switch.. Who knows? Maybe in 5 or 6 years I'll stop doing that..
I still reach for the blade angle adjustment on the other side of the saw and it still ain't there..
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
And there is space under the saw.

Looking at your photos, you are already doing projects that are best with more than a jobsite saw, I think.

Where are you buying your wood? If you get away from the chain stores there are lumber yards and mills where the cost is far less and the wood more interesting. What area of the country are you in? That can make a big difference.
Good question. Yes, I'm mostly purchasing wood at the chain stores. Except for a couple times I purchased some small pieces from someone online, just big enough to make frames. Cherry, Osage Orange, and other. I do need to figure out how to get some nicer wood and at a better price. I just always thought that the only way to do that would be to mill it yourself, meaning, rough pieces where I'd need to use a planer, joiner, etc. But if I had a table saw, I can probably break it down, that's a great point.

I'm in Los Angeles. I need to figure that out, I'm bored of the available wood I've been working with.
 

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Its very hard to advise on a particular machine. I would consider it a minimal entry level machine. 75% of a table saw is the fence, the rest is trunnion assembly 7 power.

Bob brings up a good point - you need milling machines. Every piece of wood I use gets jointed & surfaced no matter how flat or straight it looks, no matter where it came from.

This is all done prior to ever running it through a table saw. You should have a flat face on the table and a straight edge against the fence, otherwise your table saw is subject to binding and safety issues.

Personally, I use a band saw for ripping rough stock to width.

Retail lumber is quite expensive. I recommend you visit some local hardwood suppliers. They will often sell OTC to the public.
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
I'm going to have to look into the fences on the Delta machines. I keep seeing good reviews for that and similar saws. At $600 new, I probably wouldn't get the used one at $400. I'd rather have the warranty, as long as I don't have to add a $200+ fence at some point!

As for wood and milling, I'm definitely going to look into other wood options. I'm only familiar with retail, I'll look into other. However I don't think I'll be purchasing a planer and/or a jointer anytime soon. I don't sell any of the pieces I do, and I mostly do this work on weekends.

Though who knows, we'll see...
 

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Fences are preferences. I've used them all.

75% of a saw is the fence?
 

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Discussion Starter · #34 ·
Another saw I came across, much closer to me so it's a real option. Is the unifence on this one quality, or what seems like quality (I know the limitations of judging from photos)?

 

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Another saw I came across, much closer to me so it's a real option. Is the unifence on this one quality, or what seems like quality (I know the limitations of judging from photos)?

I own 3 Unifences and they are great! They are the only fence I know of that allows it to easily slide fore and aft and has both a high and low position relative to the table surface. It is the most versatile fence I've seen.
 

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They are the only fence I know of that allows it to easily slide fore and aft and has both a high and low position relative to the table surface.
Wow, I'd heard a lot of good comments about the Unifence but your words and the photos of the Delta for sale are the first time I realized what great features it has. In the overhead photo the way the large casting tapers seems odd, but then in the photo from the right end of the fence rail I see it is for a foot that glides on the table to support the far end of the fence, cool. Part of being able to adjust the fence fore/aft and it doesn't require the rear rail that so many fences need, so easier fitting an out feed table.

@RVC1 it includes some nice extras too. Whether you go for this one or a different saw, before you go to pick it up see if you can find the manual online, it should have assembly instructions for when it was new, familiarize yourself with them and if the hardcopy isn't with the saw take the online ones with you somehow. Will be a big help for taking the saw apart to move it. The downside of taking it apart is you have to put it back together, the upside is lighter pieces, I feel it is easier not to knock things around etc. Take old blankets, towels etc to protect the pieces.
 

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I hate the unifence. Hated it on every saw that had it. After being hurt in 1985 I always run my lil pinky on the top of the Beisemeyer. Too high on the unifence and too short the other way. Only thing good about it is its ability to move it back and forth. The Altendorf fence does the same but is more like tge Beisemeyer. Luckily I only ran across one shop that had one saw and only a unifence, Alco Cabinets..
 

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Yep, the fence topic is almost like politics! Everyone has a preference. I have an "Align-A-Rip" on my craftsman saw and love it. It looks close to the Craftsman you pictured with the "Exacta-Rip". The Align-A-Rip isn't made any more so that's off the table. The Biesemeyer fence is the standard that most all other fences are compared with. I don't have one because they are 400 and change bucks. I don't have that in my entire saw AND fence.

When you are looking, slide the fence back and forth. If it is smooth in both directions and doesn't rack front to back during it's travel, and if it will lock tight, it's probably just fine- at least to start with.
 
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