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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a jobsite porter cable table saw from lowes (PCB220TS) and have used it for one small project so far. Obviously a table saw has its benefits, but a jobsite/bench top saw just never feels the same as a big cabinet saw. It's only been 10 days so I do have the option to return it. My question is, should I keep the jobsite table saw? Or should I return it and put the money towards a decent router for a set up where I'd use my circular saw for the main cuts and then a router to square up and straighten edges? Any other alternatives?

Right now I have a 10 hour drive to college and still have 3 years left, then who knows how long until I land permanently at a location. Eventually, I will probably get a bigger cabinet saw, but for right now, I need a somewhat portable solution.

I'd love to hear some opinions! Thanks
 

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I recently bought a jobsite porter cable table saw from lowes (PCB220TS) and have used it for one small project so far. Obviously a table saw has its benefits, but a jobsite/bench top saw just never feels the same as a big cabinet saw. It's only been 10 days so I do have the option to return it. My question is, should I keep the jobsite table saw? Or should I return it and put the money towards a decent router for a set up where I'd use my circular saw for the main cuts and then a router to square up and straighten edges? Any other alternatives?

Right now I have a 10 hour drive to college and still have 3 years left, then who knows how long until I land permanently at a location. Eventually, I will probably get a bigger cabinet saw, but for right now, I need a somewhat portable solution.

I'd love to hear some opinions! Thanks
"Right now I have a 10 hour drive to college and still have 3 years left, then who knows how long until I land permanently at a location. Eventually, I will probably get a bigger cabinet saw, but for right now, I need a somewhat portable solution."

Really do not know what that pp has to do with your question.

Since you have used the saw I would keep it. If it had not been used then I guess it would be debatable about keeping it or not. I am of the school that it is not ethical to returned something that has been used.

Regardless, I would keep the saw. No, it is not a full sized table saw, but over the next few years I am sure that you will do many projects that will need even a smaller table saw.

George
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
"Right now I have a 10 hour drive to college and still have 3 years left, then who knows how long until I land permanently at a location. Eventually, I will probably get a bigger cabinet saw, but for right now, I need a somewhat portable solution."

Really do not know what that pp has to do with your question.

George
That was mainly in there to prevent the "if you can't stand portable table saws, just get a used cabinet saw on CL" because I cannot transport a big cabinet saw.

Anyway, thanks for the input. I hate returning used products as well, but in this case if I could get a $100 router + some bits to use with my circular saw and accomplish many of the same tasks as a $300 table saw, I would consider it. It seems as though it is worth it to keep.
 

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John
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Hi - Welcome to the forum. I guess that's a question only you can answer. Personally, I think the router is the more flexible way to go because of it's versatility. Storage and transport also seems to be a consideration and one that also gives the nod to the router/circular saw option.
Good Luck:smile:
 

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A TS is a pretty darn handy tool to have, and it does many things more precisely than a circular saw. Even though portables have their limitations, they also have their place, and it sounds like a portable suits your situation best. I'd opt to keep it and optimize it until you're in a more permanent space. A decent blade and good alignment will help the saw perform at it's best. It's hard to beat the Freud Diablo or Irwin Marples series for really good performance at an affordable price. A TS workstation can help a lot too.



My suggestion is to skip the phone upgrade (I have college age kids ;)), pull an extra shift, and save your birthday/Christmas $ for a router. Even the lowly HF router gets fairly decent reviews for < $50, and there are many good routers for </= $100 (Hitachi, Craftsman, PC, or a good used one). A 15 pc set of MLCS bits will get you started with decent bits for ~ $40. Go with 1/2" shanks...
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Hi - Welcome to the forum.
Thanks! Been browsing awhile and finally decided to register haha.

Anyway, I appreciate all of the points everyone has made. I guess I really knew it in the back of my mind, but just needed to hear it from other people for it to really click. The table saw is definitely an awesome tool (even portable ones), especially when additional outfeed and extension tables are made. Additionally, a good point was made that routers at HF are cheap and they constantly have coupons like 20% off. I think my best option is to keep the table saw since I already have it, but also pick up a router considering how inexpensive they are. Best of both worlds!

By the way that looks like a pretty nice extension table setup for your saw knotscott
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
knotscott said:
I can't take credit for that....I just borrowed the pic for illustration purposes! :thumbsup:
Oh! Either way it's a good example lol

Any advice on choosing a router? I do a lot of speaker cutouts so I'm thinking definitely a plunge router and then make a circle jig for that. I'd also be looking to do edge work as well, which fixed base seem to be better for. Is it easy to get away doing edge work with a plunge router? Or should I invest more money and get one with an interchangeable base?
 

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Oh! Either way it's a good example lol

Any advice on choosing a router? I do a lot of speaker cutouts so I'm thinking definitely a plunge router and then make a circle jig for that. I'd also be looking to do edge work as well, which fixed base seem to be better for. Is it easy to get away doing edge work with a plunge router? Or should I invest more money and get one with an interchangeable base?
The advice regularly given is to buy the highest quality that you can afford for tools that you intend to get a lot of use out of. It sounds like you would benefit from having both a fixed and plunge base. Specific deals will vary, but usually it is more cost effective to buy a kit with the router and both bases as opposed to buying one and looking for an accessory base later. That said, how much do you want to spend?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Phaedrus said:
The advice regularly given is to buy the highest quality that you can afford for tools that you intend to get a lot of use out of. It sounds like you would benefit from having both a fixed and plunge base. Specific deals will vary, but usually it is more cost effective to buy a kit with the router and both bases as opposed to buying one and looking for an accessory base later. That said, how much do you want to spend?
I'm not really sure because I don't know what to look for in a router and what I need and what I can get away with. Realistically, the only things I can see myself using it for are cutting circular speaker holes and rounding edges. Choice of material is almost always 3/4in MDF or 1/2in or 3/4in sandeply or similar plywood, so I'm assuming I don't need a crazy good router to fulfill that. That being said, I'm not familiar with the price attached to a router that can do those things.
 

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where's my table saw?
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you will want a router combo

Search Amazon "router combo kit" and you will find many like this one. Makita, Dewalt, Bosch are good brands.
DEWALT DW618PK 12-AMP 2-1/4 HP Plunge and Fixed-Base Variable-Speed Router Kit - Amazon.com

Ploughing through 3/4 particle board will require at least 2 HP and 1/2" shaft bits. Most new routers come with both 1/4" and 1/2" collets except the palm or mini routers. With particle board good dust collection is a must. Look for a shop vac port on the base to collect the fine dust.

For only $40 more you get a "D" handle base which allows one handed control, a very good deal and a great convenience:
DEWALT DW618B3 12 Amp 2-1/4 Horsepower Plunge Base and Fixed Base - Amazon.com
 

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Hmm those seem really nice, but also a good chunk of change for a level of quality I probably don't need.

From a couple searches, this seems like a decent one I could try out, any info on this?

http://www.lowes.com/pd_337922-353-1830_4294857952_4294937087_

Also, even though a fixed base would be preferable, can I get away with doing edge work with a plunge router?
The Skil would probably work, but I think you can do better. For about the same money, the Hitachi M12VC is quite a nice router.....light, quiet, well balanced, has variable speed, and is well proven. A refurbished one puts at $89 shipped...Big Sky is a reputable supplier.

It's subjective, but I'd opt for one of the newer Craftsman routers over the Skil if you don't pursue the Hitachi.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
That hitachi does seem nice, but it's also only fixed base (unless I'm missing something here). I think a plunge for circle cutting would rank over edge work for me. With around a $110 price range, it seems like interchangeable bases I'm limited to the craftsman or skil router combos. Another alternative would be going just a plunge and just locking it down when I need to do any little edge work.
 

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Woodnthings and Knotscott are giving some sound advice. Something with dust collection ports built in or available as an accessory is pretty important. MDF and particle board make unholy amounts of fine dust and it is definitely not what you want in your lungs! CPO Outlet might be another good seller to look at for refurbished deals. They have an online store as well as an eBay store.

Sent from my DROID RAZR MAXX using Woodworking Talk
 

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I spent bit of time with a router and guide, and I've had very poor results. Trying to make consistent, square cuts with a router and guide is not a good idea at all. A table saw set up where you're doing multiple cuts of the same width by keeping the rip fence in the same place, and using stopblocks is the only way to go to get multiple cuts that are EXACTLY the same, ensuring the project will go together smoothly and quickly. I've heard good things about tracksaws, however.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Thanks for everyone's advice. You all made good points. I'm going to keep the table saw but wait for a decent router to go on sale because I don't need it right now anyway.
 

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John
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Thanks for everyone's advice. You all made good points. I'm going to keep the table saw but wait for a decent router to go on sale because I don't need it right now anyway.
knotscott is right, the Hitachi is a nice little router and you are also correct that the sub $100 deals on them are strictly fixed base. The KM12VC is the two base kit version and is currently $169 on Amazon.
I have both the Hitachi KM12VC and this Craftsman:
http://www.sears.com/craftsman-12-a...p-00927683000P?prdNo=2&blockNo=2&blockType=G2
and would be hard pressed to tell you which I like better. The Craftsman has the edge in dust collection (no provisions at all on the Hitachi) and visibility with the LED worklights. Both are light weight, strong machines. The Hitachi does have a 5 year warranty and I haven't had any grief from mine in the 4 years I've had it.
While I like my Hitachi a lot, I have to say the Craftsman, IMO, is about the best value for the money on todays market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I see on a bunch of reviews that the craftsman router has issues with larger bits fitting in the base plate? Has anyone heard of this/should I shy away from the craftsman and just put more money towards something like the hitachi?
 
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