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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #1
hi all,

i currently have a job site Ryobi 10" table saw. great little saw that i've used for a couple homeowner projects; however, i'd like to try some real woodworking, not just cutting 2x4's and the occasional 1x oak board. :smile: i recently purchased some 5/4 Hard Maple and 6/4 Walnut to make butcher blocks for Christmas gifts. my little Ryobi struggled to rip a 4' Maple board and left burn marks along the edge, even with a new ripping blade. :icon_sad:

as stated above, i'd like to start some real woodworking, building projects, furniture, maybe cabinets. so i'm looking to upgrade from my portable, job site saw to something 'a bit nicer' ;)

my father has a 10" Rigid Contractors saw which works great. 1.5 HP i believe and it was able to rip my Maple and Walnut without any problems. i've also been fortunate enough to use the top of the line Saw Stop table saw in a table saw class i took at Woodcraft. awesome piece of equipment , but a little out of my price range unfortunately.

before i limit myself $$$wise, i'd like to know the pros/cons of the various types of table saws: Contractors, Hybrid, Cabinet. i've used a couple Contractor style saws and one (awesome) Cabinet saw.
i understand the mass of the Cabinet saws is a big plus, not to mention the added HP, but i'm not quite convinced that i should jump in quite that deep being a woodworking n00b for the most part. but i also don't want to make a choice i'll regret for such an important purchase shopwise.

my shop is currently my garage, so i'm pretty tight on space. the garage floor is also pretty uneven (cracked, buckled), so moving machinery around will be rather difficult, but i won't have much choice.
projects i would like to work on range from butcher blocks to cabinets and pretty much anything in between. i'd really like to get into woodworking so to speak, and get quite excited by reading some of the posts here in the forum. :icon_smile: now i just need to get a couple tools, some good wood, oh, and maybe a project or two...

:thumbup1:
 

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I got a great deal on my saw through Craigslist. I would search that on a regular basis. Lots of great deals to be found there.

I found my current saw for under $200 and have been very happy with it. I put a nice blade it on it this week and it cuts like a dream now. Now if I could find a removable splitter that would work on my saw, I'd be set!
 

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...before i limit myself $$$wise, i'd like to know the pros/cons of the various types of table saws: Contractors, Hybrid, Cabinet. i've used a couple Contractor style saws and one (awesome) Cabinet saw. i understand the mass of the Cabinet saws is a big plus, not to mention the added HP, but i'm not quite convinced that i should jump in quite that deep being a woodworking n00b for the most part. but i also don't want to make a choice i'll regret for such an important purchase shopwise. my shop is currently my garage, so i'm pretty tight on space.
I like your approach. Once you understand the differences between the basic categories, the decision will be alot easier and more informed to suit your needs.

Contractor saws and hybrids have much in common, and a hybrid is essentially an updated contractor saw with the benefit of having the motor mounted inside the cabinet. They have similar power, power requirements, table size, price, duty ratings, etc. Fence and wing options are about the same between both types. The original contractor saws were designed close to 60 years ago with an external motor intended for easy removal to make them more transportable to jobsites....a 250# portable. :eek: With the invention of the true portable jobsite saw, the contractor saw has primarily been relegated to use in home shops as a stationary saw. The benefit of the outboard motor is a liability as stationary saw and poses several issues....they take up additional space at the back of the saw, they require openings to the enclosure which make dust collection problematic, they require a longer drive belt which decreases power transfer and increases vibration, and perhaps most importantly they create leverage against the trunnion carriage because of the way they're cantilevered off the back, which in turn poses more difficulty holding alignment....especially if the motor hits something while being tilted.

Hybrids address most of the issues with the traditional contractor saw design. The motor is tucked inside and out of the way, which offers a smaller footprint, better DC, shorter drive belt, less leverage on the carriage, usually more mass, and no "lifting" hazard. Hybrids offer many of the advantages of a full cabinet saw, but with a lower duty rating, less power, and will run on 110v cirucits. Some even offer cabinet mounted trunnions which are easier to align. There are several advantages and literally no downside to this design relative to a contractor saw in most cases.

An industrial grade cabinet saw trumps them all. Smaller footprint, better DC, massive underpinnings, big motor, etc. The downside is typically a higher price tag and higher electrical power requirements. If you've got 220v and a budget of at least $1k, this is the best route IMO. If $1k is too steep, a good used cabinet saw is a good option. If you don't have 220v, or can't find a good used cabinet saw, a hybrid is the next logical step IMO.

- The Grizzly 1023SL is on sale for $895/$989 shipped - full 3hp industrial grade cabinet saw that'll suit all of your cutting needs for a lifetime or more. Usually considered the "King of value" for full industrial cabinet saws, though their related Shop Fox brand has good offerings too. Grizzly also has a 2hp hybrid...the G0478 for $725/$819 shipped. Check the links and look at the pics for the differences under the hood.

- The new Jet ProShop (708480 or 708482k) are looking pretty impressive to me...very nicely thought out design, and priced in the $600-$700 range. They also have a more entry level 708100 for $400-$500. Both feature a one-piece cast blade shroud as part of the carriage...the Griz G0478 has a similar design. Jet also has a "Supersaw", but I see no advantages to that design over their newer offerings, unless you get a killer price break.

- The new Craftmsan 22114/22124 and Steel City 35601/35606/35610/35670 offer similar hybrids with the benefit of cabinet mounted trunnions. Orion is owned by Steel City and makes both saws...this is not the often maligned "crapsman" line, but are very nice saws with an excellent track record and a large following that includes me. They range in price on sale from ~ $550 to > $1k.

- General International 50-220, Sunhill Machinery, and Woodtek basically offer the same hybrid design in different colors and accessories. All have a one piece cast blade shroud similar to the Jet and Grizzly, but these features a dual drive stage system said to increase torque (can't comment on that, but the saws are well made).

There are also the Delta 35-715/716/717, DeWalt DW746, Hitachi C10FL.

Most of these companies offer excellent cabinet saws as well as hybrids and contractor saws. Which to get becomes a matter of preference and is your call. Performance boils down to good alignment and blade selection....I'd plan to spend $40-$100 on a good blade (or two). There's not a huge difference between brands of the same class once setup properly. All are capable of excellent performance that should suit your needs for a long time....you should be able to cut 3" without major struggle. All can be placed on a mobile base, some even include one. The retail situations, features, warranties, and current deals very alot and will undoubtedly influence your choice. Keep in mind that a couple hundred dollars price difference over the life of the saw won't mean alot in the long haul. Don't be afraid to go with your gut...the one you like best will likely make you happiest. Good luck and please give us an update!

Here are some pics to help shed some light:
Steel City cabinet saw trunnions:
sccabtrunnion.jpg

Craftsman/Steel City hybrid trunnions:
SChybridtrunnion.jpg

Rear view of a contractor saw motor:
contractorTSmotor.jpg

View of the Ridgid trunnions without the motor:
Ridgid_UnderTheHood_Big.jpg
 

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aclose,

before you dump money into a new tablesaw you may want to try a better blade. I recommend the 40 tooth blade by Ridge Carbide. You won't believe the difference. If you buy it and still don't get the level of performance from your tablesaw that's ok. You'll still want a good blade on any new saw you buy. I have never used the stock blade on any tablesaw I have purchased. They give you a crappy blade to reduce their costs. If you do go to buy a new tablesaw I would recommend the Ridgid Contractors saw. It is a great piece of equipment with two cast iron extension wings, a great fence and a 30" rip capacity. I think Home Depot is offering 12 months same as cash right now too!!!! I love using other peoples money!
 

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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #5
I got a great deal on my saw through Craigslist. I would search that on a regular basis. Lots of great deals to be found there.
Rob, i had searched the forums before posting and followed your saga :smile: i did look at Craigslist in my area and found a 10" Clausing Tablesaw available, but not much else. never heard of this brand but i'm guessing it's solid since it was made old skool. :smile:

Knotscott, thanks for the insight. i looks like the Hybrid is the way to go if i'm to stay on a 'budget' :smile: but a lower end Cabinet saw is still very tempting. i'll keep researching...

Ken, the blade on my saw is a newer blade, not the blade that came with the saw. two problems i had: the table is quite small and working with larger stock is clumsy. being a small table there is no room to use feather boards or other hold downs for assistance. i know they aren't required to be a good woodsmith, but using them in the table saw class made me appreciate how much easier they make working with your stock. the other problem was the power of the saw. i'm not sure what the motor is rated off the top of my head, but it noticeably strained when i attempted to rip a 5/4 thick piece of hard Maple. i was just trying to clean the edge off and wasn't experiencing any pinching or even cutting deeply into the wood.
the 10" Ryobi is a great little job site saw for working with 2x4's and 1x stock if you have the right accessories (outfeed, assistant, etc.), but it's lacking in the woodworkers dept. ;)

i read the recent FineWoodworking Tool Test on 10" Cabinet saws available at the SawStop website as a PDF. Gotta love the SawStop ;) I'll have to look into the Grizzly. i'm a bit more interested in the PowerMatic PM2000 since it has a real riving knife, although it's twice as expensive as the Grizzly. i've also seen good reviews/comments on some of the Steel City saws, although none were tested in this article.

still researching and excepting suggestions, comments, recommendations.

thanks
andy
 

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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #7
still researching...

well, i see that Grizzly has a 2008 10" contractor saw listed on their site with a true riving knife; but none of their other saws have been updated yet. probably just trying to sell off last years models. not too bad for under $900.

SawStop too now has a 10" contractor saw, although it isn't posted on their site. the brochure i have lists the following features:
SawStop award winning blade breaking technology
Improved dust collection system
True European style riving knife
Low profile blade guard
Cast iron table top with powder coated steel extension wings
1-3/4 hp motor

Optional:
Heavy duty mobile base
Professional T-Glide fence system
36" or 52" extension table
Out-feed table

Estimated preliminary retail price starting from $1499.00.

a bit more than i wanted to pay for a contractors saw, especially when there are a couple cabinet saws that should have riving knives soon just outside that price range. that blade brake is awfully convincing when watching the videos on their site though. ;)
 

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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #10
Knottscott, where did you get those picts of the inside of the Griz? i didn't see that on their site... maybe i didn't look hard enough.

yeah, right now the Griz is in the front running. i'm really leaning towards a hybrid over the standard contractor saw. i've also looked at the Craftsman 24214 (?), similar Steel City, Rigid, General International, ShopFox, and a couple others.
i'm still waiting for everyone to list their 2008 models though since more of them should have a riving knife.
and depending on cost, i may step up to one of the lower end cabinet saws by Griz or one of the others instead...
 

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Knottscott, where did you get those picts of the inside of the Griz? i didn't see that on their site... maybe i didn't look hard enough.

yeah, right now the Griz is in the front running. i'm really leaning towards a hybrid over the standard contractor saw. i've also looked at the Craftsman 24214 (?), similar Steel City, Rigid, General International, ShopFox, and a couple others.
i'm still waiting for everyone to list their 2008 models though since more of them should have a riving knife.
and depending on cost, i may step up to one of the lower end cabinet saws by Griz or one of the others instead...
...Look just below the main pic on their website.
 

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knotscott - great helpful info and explanations of the various style saws. The whole thread is excellent and thanks to all who contirbuted to it.

I am gonna 5 star this thread so newbies will hopefully notice it and come get some good, unbiased, accurate information about basic table saw options.

aclose let us know what you get, and please give it a write-up in the Tool Review section after you have used it enough to know what you do and don't like about it.
 

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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #13
aclose let us know what you get, and please give it a write-up in the Tool Review section after you have used it enough to know what you do and don't like about it.

that's the plan TT :thumbsup:
i'm starting to compile my research info on a spreadsheet. i'll post that here as well...
 

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If space is a major consideration and you find that you do have to move it around a bit to accomodate other pieces of shop equipment, you may want to look at the portable contractor saws, i.e. DeWalt, Hitachi, Porter Cable, Ridgid, Bosch, Makita, etc. They're 10" and have fairly generous-sized tables, some even have pull-out feed extensions. Granted, not as nice, not as stable and with smaller capacity but they may just be enough for the projects you're looking to undertake. I agree that if you can, buy a terrific blade for whatever saw you decide to buy.
 

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- "The Grizzly 1023SL is on sale for $895/$989 shipped - full 3hp industrial grade cabinet saw that'll suit all of your cutting needs for a lifetime or more. '

knottscott, where did you fin this price. when i look at this saw it is $995, $1089 shipped.
 

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Clausing is an excelent saw. I researched and bought an 8" Atlas-Clausing made in 1948 to use as my secondary table saw (for on site work) DeWalt 10" table saws made in the 1960's were manufactured by Clausing (which I also own) are very substantial and as true today as it was new. If you go to "Old Woodworking Machines" online you can get the full scoop.
 

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Knotscott did a great job of answering your question. I agree with what he said, and I might add a point or two. We all are seduced by "power" and we probaby question what is necessary and what is not.
Depends on what you are cutting. If you cut hardwoods, like maple, and are ripping 1 1/2" or bigger stock, you probably will really appreciate 3 hp over the 1 1/2 hp. I don't think any of us really need 5 hp, unless you are using 12" or larger blades, and are cutting big hard stock. Another point, is the fence you are going to get. Since the advent of the Beisemeyer fence a couple of decades ago, fences have gotten MUCH better. There did used to be good fences, on industrial machines, but not on commercial machines. Even the old unisaw, IMO, had a fence that was annoying to use. The Bies is now not the only good fence. The unifence is good, excalibur, and others. But what you get on cabinet saw and some others, is a great fence that makes cutting accurately much easier. If you find an old used saw, without a good fence, that is an easy fix. Dusty mentions OWWM, a great site, and you can always find old saw information there if you want
 

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Andrew Close
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Discussion Starter #19
still looking...

well, i'm still looking for a saw. the riving knife is still the main feature/requirement, so that limits my choices. i've put together a spreadsheet of most of the saws i've looked at. i'm now leaning more towards a full 3HP Cabinet saw rather than the contractor or hybrid even though they are more expensive. i'm still on the fence regarding the Grizzly. i've read some great reviews online and in magazines about it. and have read some great reviews from owners of Grizzly tablesaws. but not being able to 'see' one before purchasing bothers me. How the Jet Deluxe Xacta is currently in the lead and has a considerable price cut and rebate going on right now. $1599 w/ $100 rebate and two 31" Jet Parallel Clamps. it's worth it just for the clamps, right? :thumbsup: this deal is available until the end of April '08.

so here's a list of most of the saws i've checked out:
View attachment TableSaws.zip

hopefully this will help someone else get started on their research, although the pricing may be out of date :smile:

i'm still hoping to get some 'hands on' with the Jet, Steel City, & Grizzly if i can find someone in the area with one. i'll post back, and if i actually purchase something i'll write it up in the reviews section.
 

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aclose, I was looking to replace an older contractor saw a few years ago. I went with the dewalt 746. It has to be able to go to the job once in a while. And this logo on the saw still matters to me. Outweighing even the riving knife........ Don
 
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