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Table Saw Classifications - Making Sense Of All The Choices (Part 3 of 3):

(Continued from parts 1 & 2)
Industrial Style Cabinet Saws:
Industrial cabinet saws are at the top of the food chain in this article, though there are high volume modern specialty saws available commercially that won’t be covered here. Industrial cabinet saws are the true workhorses found in many cabinet shops, factory shops, commercial shops, schools, and serious hobby shops across the country. The vast majority retain the same standard table dimensions mentioned for other full size stationary saws, so from the top, they can look a great deal like a contractor saw or a hybrid saw. Most can even accept many of the same standard accessories, but aside from that, the similarities under the hood end there. The underpinnings of an industrial cabinet saw are much heavier duty than those of any other type of table saw mentioned here, making them very accurate, heavy, stable, and durable. The mechanisms and adjustments tend to operate as they should, making them a pleasure to use. They also tend to have more horsepower, with most falling into the 3hp to 5hp range, and requiring 240v electrical circuits. There are some exceptions that actually have smaller motors and will run on standard 120v residential circuits, as well as some larger 3 phase motors that won't run on any single phase residential circuits without the help of a converter of some sort.

There are few standard cuts that these saws struggle with. Most come with a high quality fence, and solid cast iron wings...steel wings are rarely found on this level of saw. All of the modern designs that I’m aware of feature cabinet mounted trunnions, which are easier to align than table mounted trunnions. Most have the large yoke style trunnions that span from corner to corner of the cabinet. Weighing in excess of 500# makes these saws very stable, but not very portable. However, when placed on a good mobile base, most can be easily wheeled around the shop. The venerable Delta Unisaw was one of the earliest, most popular, and most copied of this type of saw. There are now excellent examples from Delta, Powermatic, Grizzly, Shop Fox, Jet, Saw Stop, Rikon, Laguna, Woodtek, General, General International, Craftsman, and Steel City, among others. Starting prices tend to be in the $1300 range, topping out over $4000. Some would consider a saw of this caliber overkill for a hobbyist, but they can be fairly affordable considering what you get for $1300.








(The following is a revision that is too large to add to any other segment of the article, so here is!)
Riving knife vs traditional splitter
All modern table saws are required by law to have some sort of a blade guard that includes a splitter or riving knife. A splitter is a safety device that's mounted just behind the blade, that's intended to keep the kerf of the board from closing in on the back of the blade and causing kickback. In order to achieve UL 987 approval, new saws designed and manufactured after Jan 1, 2008 are required to offer a riving knife as part of the blade guard system. Models marketed prior to that date can still sold through 2014.

A riving knife and a splitter perform the same task, but have distinct differences. A riving knife is fixed just behind the blade and moves in unison with the blade when raised and lowered, and also when tilted. A traditional splitter stays at a fixed height...some are capable of tilting with the blade, some are not, but none of them raise and lower with the blade. A riving knife has some advantages...for starters they tend to be located in closer proximity to the blade, which aids in their main function of keeping the kerf from closing in. Since a riving knife can raise and lower with the blade, they're less likely to interfere with the operation of the saw, so are more likely to be left in place to perform it's job. Traditional splitters are more likely to get in the way of non-through cuts, so need to be removed for those operations, which makes them inherently easier to forget to replace. It's my opinion that a riving knife is a more elegant solution overall, but there are excellent and poor examples of each device available.

There is currently only one retrofittable aftermarket riving knife device available for existing older saws that weren't originally designed with a true riving knife. It's called the Bolt On Ripping Knife (BORK), and is available at the BORKstore.com from Walnutacres Woodworking. Their website has a list of saws that the BORK and BORK Blade Guard will fit.

Bonus link - Some basics of buying a saw
 

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Nice write up, Knotscott.
The only thing I might add, is that some older Cabinet saws (Unisaw comes to mind) were available with 110 volt motors, and are a great saw for the 110 volt limited shop. I run mine on a 110V/15 amp circuit.
Again, nice write up!
 

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TheShadeTreeWW
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Thanks Scott,
It's informative articles (correctly informative) such as these that keeps people from hurting themselves, as well as being teaching moments, that people such as I read the forums for. I noted you as one of those I would follow several years ago. Thank you.
Smokey
 

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Mr.20C
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What are they..........:blink:

Here is a prime example of an incredible piece of American made machinery, it's birth date-1944.Oliver 260D-16" 2 - 5hp/3ph direct drive motors,sliding table,fence & miter accessories....


http://vintagemachinery.org/photoindex/detail.aspx?id=14004

I am biased, and admit that......;)


If you ever get the chance to try a saw like this you won't believe how nice they truly are.....



B,
 

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Hey!!!
That saw at the top is the one that is in my shop!!!

I just read every word of this and even though I knew most (some) of the info, I learned alot from the read, thank you for your time.
 

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Brand new to wood working as well as the forum. Very nice & complete write up of a lot of info I had found by poking around various other spots online. Makes me feel good about my 1st purchase (used Unisaw, 3hp). Eager to get up & running as soon as my blade guard gets here from ebay :) Thank you Scott!
 

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Great job!

Hi!
Knotscott, wife and I have been following you for years on this forum, you never seem to disappiont!
As for Bweick 7, that old arn Oliver (circa 1944), is a jewel to behold!
I (Vinny) had the honor to use it for 4 years! Thank you, Brooklyn Technical H.S. ! Yes, in the late '60s, they also taught patternmaking in addition to all the math and science one could swallow!
Thanks for the memories :smile:!
Best,
Marena and Vinny
 

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In appreciation!

For Knotscott,
Your research and willingness to share your knowledge with all, shows why this forum is the best :smile:!
A belated Happy Easter to you and yours! Thank you again. and you're very welcome :yes:!
Best,
Marena and Vinny
 

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Unfortunately many, serious, hobbyists never get to try quality tools. IWF2014 is being held in Atlanta Aug 20-24. Everything from hand tools to industrial, hardware, software, finishes. If you are passionate about woodworking make the trip. Google it. It is a big show so wear good sneakers. It is almost a PHD in woodworking.
 

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I think table saws can be summed up easily by your budget.

Less than $300, don't bother unless you want to deal with head aches and your not serious about making anything nice like wood frames or square cabinets and you plan on replacing it within a few years. Of course I had a craftsman that ran for 10 yrs, motor finally burned up, but I delt with sub-par quality and a sanding out burn marks all the time :(

$300- $500 plan on low accuracy, crappy table and fence requiring adjustment manually each time the fence is adjusted, not very stable, thin metal stand or table top, not able to cut 4x8 sheet, very mobile. Decent for a mobile job table saw for quick cuts where the cut edge won't be finish.

Between $500-800, bigger base, heavier as most have solid metal or cast iron table, good fence where you have confidence after setting it, it will be cutting within 1/32, lets hope :), maybe a better motor with heat dissipation features, can cut sheets of plywood and ripping up to 30" wide or more with no table extension, mobility on the saw if needed. Good dust collection.

$800-$1500 - for hobbiest that want full accuracy and good quality but does not want to spend more, this range of saw would be great. Great fence, very heavy table and stationary saw.

$1500 - $3500, great if you have that money to spend on a saw, which means you are probably a contractor that makes a living working with wood and need high quality craftsman ship.

$3500 +, I think its fair to say this price range you are getting into industrial shop quality, every day use, cabinet shop etc...

I've been looking at the Delta Model #: 36-725, in the $500-$800 range which seems to be pretty good. Sturdy table with a decent fence and it can be moved around on the shop floor. The next one up is a 15 Amp compared to 13 Amp, not much difference in HP from what I understand, maybe 1/4 horse.

This delta can do 110 or 220 v which I'm not totally sure about the benefits, maybe it will run lower amps, less resistance and last longer possibly.
 

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Any chance of updating this post so there are images? It's just over 4 years old and I'm sure all of the information is still relevant but it would be nice to see some images instead of the "blanks". Thank you.
 

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I think table saws can be summed up easily by your budget.

I think table saws can be summed up easily by your budget.

Less than $300, don't bother unless you want to deal with head aches and your not serious about making anything nice like wood frames or square cabinets and you plan on replacing it within a few years. Of course I had a craftsman that ran for 10 yrs, motor finally burned up, but I delt with sub-par quality and a sanding out burn marks all the time :(

$300- $500 plan on low accuracy, crappy table and fence requiring adjustment manually each time the fence is adjusted, not very stable, thin metal stand or table top, not able to cut 4x8 sheet, very mobile. Decent for a mobile job table saw for quick cuts where the cut edge won't be finish.

Between $500-800, bigger base, heavier as most have solid metal or cast iron table, good fence where you have confidence after setting it, it will be cutting within 1/32, lets hope :), maybe a better motor with heat dissipation features, can cut sheets of plywood and ripping up to 30" wide or more with no table extension, mobility on the saw if needed. Good dust collection.

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$800-$1500 - for hobbiest that want full accuracy and good quality but does not want to spend more, this range of saw would be great. Great fence, very heavy table and stationary saw.

$1500 - $3500, great if you have that money to spend on a saw, which means you are probably a contractor that makes a living working with wood and need high quality craftsman ship.

$3500 +, I think its fair to say this price range you are getting into industrial shop quality, every day use, cabinet shop etc...

I've been looking at the Delta Model #: 36-725, in the $500-$800 range which seems to be pretty good. Sturdy table with a decent fence and it can be moved around on the shop floor. The next one up is a 15 Amp compared to 13 Amp, not much difference in HP from what I understand, maybe 1/4 horse.

This delta can do 110 or 220 v which I'm not totally sure about the benefits, maybe it will run lower amps, less resistance and last longer possibly.
 

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Been reading all these three parts of Table Saw Classifications and I'm thankful for all the guides and pointers given by the experts in this forum. All these threads have been very helpful to me. Thanks a lot.

I'm fairly new to this and I've been doing a lot of research in different websites and even other forums. I find this one extremely detailed and knowledge packed. However, some of these helpful comments were posted from years ago. Although I know the principles of choosing and buying are still the same, I am of course inclined to seek for purchasing tips with more current data and options. Came across a table saw review and guide for this year and I'm quite impressed with the BOSCH REAXX. Of course I'm looking into more detailed reviews and possibly suggestions from you guys? Anybody here with the same saw?

I'd appreciate your help as I target to buy one ASAP. Thanks.
 
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