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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Ok, I'm always thinking of a new table saw. It's very clear to me that my budget won't be more than about $300-$500. That's ok though because I also will need to get one that can be moved in and out of the house for use. I just don't want dust in the house, and also, if I could spring for dust collection then a budget saw wouldn't be an issue. Not only that, I will need to take it out on jobs at times. So the saws I'll be looking at I guess will be considered jobsite saws. I don't want absolute junk though so I'll be looking at models like the Bosch 4100-09. I also really like the new Kobalt table saw that Lowe's has. Seems very well made for $280.

Anyway, looking at saws at Lowe's tonight I'm seeing the guards on them look flimsy. Seems it would be easy to push it into the spinning blade. Are all saws made like this now? These are that way because the guards have to be supported on top of the riving knife and it flexes under pressure a good bit. Also, why is the guard a two piece design? I'm not sure how else it could be done but it seems to me the two piece design helps contribute to the flimsiness of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
I was considering a contractor saw, something like the Ridgid R4512, but I think now it's best if I just stick with something I can move in and out of the house easily. I was all set to just get the Ridgid based on reviews here but once I decided to get a portable then I realized I don't know enough about the different ones so I went to Lowe's to look at a few. I've read Knotscott's tutorials once but it could be worth reading again. My question here is mostly about safety. Before when I looked at saws I didn't even consider the guards because I already knew I'd remove it anyway, but after reading the injuries thread, that's not going to happen now. So the guard is important to me. The saws I looked at all had flimsy guards.
 

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I haven't seen a saw that the guard didn't look a bit flimsy on.....its just how they are now. But that said...i'd put my hands on whatever saw your considering and make sure you feel comfortable with it before paying out the cash....
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
How well do they cut? Say with a Freud Diablo 1024 rip blade? Is it bad to leave saw marks?
 

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How well do they cut? Say with a Freud Diablo 1024 rip blade? Is it bad to leave saw marks?
I think you'll find that the better examples of a portable jobsite saw (Bosch, Ridgid, DW) won't have significantly more runout than a good stationary saw. The saw marks should largely be a function of the blade....a 24T ripper will cut faster with less resistance but will leave more saw marks than a comparable 40T, 50T, or 60T blade.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
Well I looked at the Kobalt table saw again tonight and decided this is the one for me. I think my wife is planning to get it for me, maybe for my birthday in late April.

What sold me on it? First of all it's very affordable. At $279.00, I really like this about it, but that's not the main reason I like it. But I'm all about value for my dollar and this saw seems to be a lot better made than some others in its price range.

It has a nice broad aluminum table surface, extendable out to the right for a very broad cut to the right of the blade. I didn't measure but it looks like about 24 inches or more. The slide on it is smooth also. The miter slots in the table are standard 3/4 with no weird features so that aftermarket accessories will work with it. The insert is shallower than I'd like, but at least 1/8 inch depth, so I "might" be able to make an insert, but this one is ok. It has five leveling screws, adjustable from above. The fence locks in front and in behind, separately, and since I always set my blade to fence distance measuring from both front and rear of the blade using a tape or ruler then this is just fine with me, actually preferred. This way I know it won't move. The saw comes with a nice large push stick that stores in the fence so it's always handy to use. The adjustment knobs are robust and feel nice in hand and operate easily. It has onboard storage for blades, blade changing tools, miter gauge, and push stick. It has a roll away stand that folds up. There's an extendable support from the rear for outfeed. This is only extendable about a foot so it's only helpful for small lengths but it's there none the less.

I turned the saw up on its side to have a look below and noticed it has a vacuum port for a 2 1/2 inch hose. The blade is surrounded with a metal shroud so sawdust is not able to just fall under the table. This is awesome to me, but it means a vacuum would need to be used every time or dust will build up in this and might become a problem. Using a vacuum however I think this will be excellent. The gears below the table for tilting and raising the blade are solid, robust metal parts. My current Craftsman saw has plastic gear teeth for tilting the blade. This is definitely an improvement.

I rolled it up looking to see if it was belt drive since I read a rumor here on this site where someone heard it was. It is not. It's just a universal motor. For $280 and all those features I'd be getting I'll live with it. I need portability to use it outside and take it to jobsites.

I still think the guard is loose feeling but every saw they had is like this so apparently this is how they're made. It's made so they can just be popped off quickly. It does have a nice riving knife that raises and lowers with the blade and also tilts with it. With the guard removed it appears the knife is no higher than the blade, making a shallow cut possible with the knife in place. The knife is removable for using a dado blade and the arbor looked long enough to possibly use a 3/4 dado set on it. For sure a 1/2 inch set but I'd expect a 3/4. I did not measure it.

The salesman at Lowe's saw me looking at the saw and using a screwdriver to remove the insert (they had the screws ran down through the holes from the top, dead wrong) and snidely asked me if I was having fun. I blew him off and kept right on removing it using a screwdriver I got off the shelf. I told him he had it installed wrong and not only that but I wanted to see how it was made beneath. He told me they did that to prevent theft of the insert. He was put off with me helping myself to dismantling their display. Imagine how he felt when I flipped it up on its side to look at it from below! I found out what I wanted to know and reassembled it how they had it before.

I know this saw is not going to compete with any contractor saw, the Ridgid R4512 or its Craftsman equivalent, or any other. I know I could probably find an old saw for this much money and maybe have a better saw. For me money is an issue, and portability is equally as important, so a contractor saw of any type is not an option. I've considered getting a $600 saw that never leaves my shop, install dust collection, and keep my old jobsite saw for job site use. This will mean at least a $1000. Or I can sell my current saw for $50 - $75, buy this one, use it for everything and always outside. No dust collection needed. I'll be into it for about $200. For me this makes the most sense right now.
 

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You dont have to spend 1000 bucks or even 600 bucks to have a decent saw. The saw Im getting ready to restore will be 10 times the saw of any portable and Ill have about the same money in it. Have you ever used a table saw that wasnt a portable? I just wonder if you know what your missing? If you need mobility at the house, put wheels on it. If you need portability, keep your current portable. I think your making a mistake investing money in a portable for woodworking uses. If your not carrying it to a jobsite everyday, a stationary unit is soooooo much better!
 

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BassBlaster said:
You dont have to spend 1000 bucks or even 600 bucks to have a decent saw. The saw Im getting ready to restore will be 10 times the saw of any portable and Ill have about the same money in it. Have you ever used a table saw that wasnt a portable? I just wonder if you know what your missing? If you need mobility at the house, put wheels on it. If you need portability, keep your current portable. I think your making a mistake investing money in a portable for woodworking uses. If your not carrying it to a jobsite everyday, a stationary unit is soooooo much better!
Yes, yes, yes. What BassBlaster said.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Doesn't matter. I need to use it outside and a stationary saw is way too hard to get outside. There's a step down coming out the door, not to mention it wouldn't fit out the 32" wide door of my shop anyway. I know dust collection and air cleaners will make a difference inside, but again, that all adds up to be a lot more than I want to pay, or even can pay.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Don't get me wrong, I'd love a stationary saw. At this stage of my woodworking, it's just not in the cards. One day I'll have a shop that's separated from my house and then dust will be less of an issue. Then I'll get that nice table saw and have it be the center of my shop, complete with dust collection and all. But I don't want to be without nice tools in the mean time. This Kobalt saw really seems like a lot of saw for the cost. I think Kobalt could be the next Craftsman in terms of quality, the Craftsman of old I mean. The table saw seems to be well thought out, and I have the 12" miter saw and it absolutely could not be better. I'd love to see what they might do for a router.
 

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I would recomend dw745. I had it for 8 months and it did a good job for me. Also it is pretty accurate for portable saw. I sold it only because I wanted something more stationary and that can accept dado. Otherwise I would keep it.
 

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I have the dw744 with stand now for about 6-7 years and it works great, easy to move , and very stable. The gear driven fence is very accurate once you get it lined up.
 

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