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Thread: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

  1. #1
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    Default First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Hello All,

    I am a new member and have really enjoyed reviewing the threads on the various topics. Looks like a good group to interact with.

    As a young boy I did some very basic WWing on the farm. All my dad had available was a table saw, circular saw, jig saw and a hand planer. Plywood and 2x4s were about all we ever had. I really enjoyed it, making rudimentary furniture, but fell away from it for many years with kids, job and all. Recently my boys have indicated some interest as well as my wife (yes that is true) and she encouraged me to get a few things. That kind of started this after forty renewed interest. I would love to get into it again with my family.

    I have been doing tons of research and visiting places like a kid in a toy store. The internet is a great tool and I have learnt and caught up a great deal just by sitting on the computer.

    After talking to alot of people and looking at magazines I have begun to assemble a small arsenal. One thing I have always dreamed of doing is to reclaim wood from old farm buildings and make some character furniture pieces, starting with a chest/trunk for the foot of a bed.

    Here is what I have got so far:

    - Triton router (new)
    - cordless drill (new makita)
    - drill press (1/2 hp used 10" Craftsman)
    - 14" Bandsaw (used King)
    - 6" Delta Jointer JT-360 ('used' but still in the box and never assembled)
    - jig saw (used Skil)
    - pipe clamps and C clamps
    - Delta 1hp dust collection (new, discontinued model) saved$$
    - Bosch ROS (new)
    - combination square, carpenters squares and other rules
    - Mitre Saw (Old cast iron Makita -from Dad's garage sale buys)
    - hearing protection, eye protection
    - chisels, drill bits (cheap Pioneer Brad point)
    - couple of books from LV

    Sorry, I'm probably boring you all, but I wanted someone else to share my excitment

    Anyway, this is all paving the way for the crowning glory, a decent table saw. The centre piece!

    I know most of the differences between the contractor, hybrid and cabinet style saws and have looked at many from Delta, GI, King, Ridgid, and Pioneer. My budget is about $1000-1500 tops, prefering to stay about $1000. The research I have done says that you should get more saw than you need now (smart), get good dealer support, a good fence and something that will stay straight and true for the long term. I have 220V available. I would classify myself as a novice, but hey they say old dogs can learn new tricks

    I guess my main question(s) is; I have my eye on a number of models, but need some people with 'real life' experience to give me personal feedback on the models in question. I have looked alot on the internet and this forum to narrow it down to these options. What experience do you guys have or heard about these saws? Where would you start if you were in my situation?

    1. If I go contractor style - GI 50-185 ($900) So far everyone says
    2. Hybrid - King KC-10CCX ($900) What is the Accu-Rip like?
    - GI 50-220 ($1500) has riving knife, but pricey
    3. Cabinet - King KC-11FX ($1400) again, how is the fence and Customer Support?
    - GI 350 used ($1300) from schools. Can you convert these from 3 phase to single phase and how pricey?
    4. Totally blow the budget - GI 50-260 ($1750 to $1900 depending on dealer)
    - Pioneer PNR 16-457 ($1750) Saw looks great, has riving knife, seems solid, but can't get any 3rd party feedback? Anyone?
    5. Get a cheap used contractor saw for now and wait it out until I know more about what I am building now and in the future.

    Will look at Steel City next week, but other than that, I don't know if I have any other options locally with customer support. So far the GI dealer has been super helpful and very informative, gives me all the time I want to ask questions and seems very knowledgable and honest. King dealer seems helpful, willing to listen, but doesn't seem to know his machines that well without factory support.

    Last questions,

    - where do I need 3hp or is 2 really enough?
    - how much do you really use 50" rip capacity?
    - everyone seems to love left tilt, any thoughts?

    I've spent so much time looking and my wife is getting a little tired of my indecision, so hopefully you guys can help.

    Thanks for listening to my long winded message. Its been a journey!

    Doug in Calgary
    Doug

  2. #2
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    Don

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    I have the King 10CCX with the TRu Rip fence and found it pretty much up to speed right out of the box. Fence is very easy to true up in any event.
    I have the 30" setup. The 50" would be helpful if you plan to cut 4x8 sheets on it or similar widths which would also require some form of in feed support.
    The only negative is the fence guard which is like most standard types. I added the Shark Guard which I love:
    http://www.leestyron.com/default.php

    Good luck
    CHEERS
    Don B

  3. #3

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    At least a 3 hp cabinet saw. My 1st saw I was a contractor saw that stalled cutting hardwood. Moving to a Unisaw was the best improvement I ever made. Seems to be lot's of used for sale, I would go with a good quality used machine.

    hobby woodworking since 1972

  4. #4
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    Port Hawkesbury,Cape Breton
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    Real Name
    Murray

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Hello Doug
    I am glad you started this thread. I will be reading a lotta comments here as by next Christmas I hope to buy a saw either new or used but it would be a cabinet saw. My chioce saw at this point would be the general 350, but I am still only researching as yet. I have yet to see what the king saw is like. I have other king machines and had good luck with them.
    My theory to woodworking machines are the bigger in all resects and the more mass and cast you can find, the better.
    Murray
    Murray

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
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    Ayr Ont
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    Smile Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Doug
    Welcome to the forum.
    I also would vote for waiting for a good used cabinet saw. $1300.00 for a 3 phase seems too high to me. You should find one ready to go for that.
    A 50" is not necessary unless you are planning on making a lot of things that require 1/2 sheet if plywood. In that case I would be looking at a slider. The added space takes up a lot of real estate and for me just a place to pile stuff. Right or left tilt is all what you get used to. If you need to cut something small with a right tilt that would be trapped remember you can always move the fence the other side of the blade.
    Best of luck
    Bob just past Ayr www.thelavenderfarm.ca

  6. #6
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    The design of a true industrial style cabinet saw has several inherent advantages over a hybrid and contractor saw. A hybrid saw has several advantages over the contractor saw design. While the GI machines might have a little nicer fit and finish than the King Industrial, the KI is good nuff that I think you'd be better off with a King cabinet saw or hybrid than a GI 50-185 contractor saw....even though it's a good example of that class of saw. IMHO, the General 350 stands tall among that group if you're willing to invest the time to make it "sea worthy".

    The Aligna-Rip fence is an off the shelf aftermarket steel t-square design that is about identical to the Shop Fox Alumarip Classic found on Shop Fox and Grizzly saws here...it's fairly well regarded, and is quite similar to the Biese Homeshop style fence found on the GI 50-185 and 50-220, but has aluminum faces instead of the laminated ones.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Back again,

    Thanks for all your feedback so far, this is great!

    I think I made an error in calling the King fence an Accu-Rip when it is actually as Don mentioned a Tru-Rip. Don, do you know if it is the same fence on the 10CCX as the 11FX? The king book calls one a 'professional tru-rip' and the other an 'industrial tru-rip' Are my prices in line with what is in the East?

    Say Scott, you gave me some excellent feedback on the Aligna-Rip system, is that essentially different labeling for the Tru-Rip? Maybe it is a Canada/USA thing I don't know.

    Maybe I'm too loyal, but I feel kind of guilty if I would go with the King since since the GI guy has given me so much of his time, but I guess in the end it isn't his money being spent.

    I will maybe do some investigating on getting that 350 ready at a more reasonable price.

    Bryan, the Unisaw, any particulars on models to look out for used? I have to admit I have not investigated the Deltas as thoroughly.

    Thanks a million guys, this is super!

    I can smell the sawdust already

    (The fence on my dad's craftsman was so bad at that time that I never even looked at one again)

    Doug
    Doug

  8. #8
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    Victoria BC
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Hi Doug,

    I just went through all the things that are going through your head. I had a Delta 36-650C Contractor saw and my reasons for parting with it were:

    1) Bloody PITA to adjust the trunions (even with saw PALS I was never able to get the blade perfectly aligned). Never hit the back motor, otherwise, you end up cursing for an hour adjusting the blade alignment.
    2) Fence would deflect when cutting heavy items (e.g., sheet goods)
    3) Not so easy dust extraction (contactor saws have a big opening in the back).
    4) Smallish off switch
    5) No riving knife and the stock blade guard was not a quick disconnect
    6) Harder to butt an outfeed table against the rails since the fence runs along the back edge of the rear rail.
    7) SWMBO said I could get a new saw

    I settled on getting the new Steel City 35900 (the non-granite version).

    http://www.steelcitytoolworks.com/pr...=12&tool=35900

    I'll be posting pictures etc after I receive it this week. I think the price for mine went up to $1599 this week unfortunately for anyone in the market looking at buying new. Seems like all the manufacturers are starting up the year right and increasing the cost of their products by 15% because the dollar tanked :(.

    Why did I select the Steel City?

    In no particular order,

    - This thing is almost 450 lbs, which is a good 150 more than my old saw! Yes, bigger is better LOL.
    - I only need 1.75 HP because I only trim hardwood to size with a TS and do most of my heavy ripping on the bandsaw first. I also have run out of space in my breaker panel and didn't feel that I could justify adding a subpanel for the odd 3 inch piece of hardwood. The cost difference between these models is little ($100 when I bought) so that wasn't a factor in my decision.
    - Riving knife and quick release blade guard (much safer and easier to install than a normal blade guard)
    - Cabinet mounted trunions (I think that this is the only hybrid that doesn't have table mounted trunions). Hence, this thing is really an entry level cabinet saw. The 3 hp model only differs in the beefier trunions, 3 belts, and 3 hp motor.
    - Fence and rails are heavy steel (not aluminum). I was able to push this thing with one finger in the showroom and it locked really nicely.
    - Better dust collection than a contractor saw.
    - Free Forrest Blade and Empire Blade protector (the jury is still out on this one since I managed to hit the 2 week period that they stopped the promotion. Yes, it is back again, five days after I bought).
    - 5 Year Warranty (10 year on the granite top)

    Why did I not get the granite top even though the company says that it is flatter and maintence free (the extra cost is only $50)?

    - I wasn't sure if the mitre slots would wear larger with usage. What's harder, granite or steel?
    - The top is mostly one piece so adding a slider on the left wing is not really possible (according to the salesman). I want to get a Jessem Master Slide sometime so this was a major factor in my decision.
    - I wasn't sure how much abuse the top could take (It probably can take a lot of abuse, but since the product is new, I'm still heasitant about purchasing it). The salesman also said others had the same reservation, but did point out that the granite they use is a "Black" granite, which is apparently harder than the stuff they use for counters.
    - Do you need to seal and maintain it? I know that you do for granite countertops even though nobody may tell you this. Not really an issue, but nobody is going to tell you to reseal it every year or two. Again, since it is a new product, we haven't heard all the issues from the typical user.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    415

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    They're close enough in design that they should function similarly. It's the same fence that was on the old Bridgewood contractor saw, Grizzly contractor saw, Canwood contractor saw, and was available once upon a time through Harbor Freight. Did Canwood become Pioneer? Edit: Upon closer inspection, it looks like the King has larger tubing on the front rail...

    Here it is as the Shop Fox Aluma Classic sold through Grizzly:
    h5743.jpg

    Here it is as the King Tru-Rip:
    true_rip_HR.jpg

    Again as the Pioneer Aligna Rip:
    CWD_16_30546.jpg

    FYI....Ridgid has a new R4511 hybrid saw coming out that uses technology licensed from Steel City. It has a granite top, true riving knife, cabinet mounted trunnions, large handwheels, and a Herculift mobile base for $599 (USD). There are a few out now, and should be in stores by the end of February. Looks promising to me. Discussion
    Last edited by scott in rochester; 01-18-2009 at 01:40 PM.

  10. #10

    Angry Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Doug,

    IMHO, I would go with #5 for now and save up for a SawStop.

    I have a GI 50-185 right now and it is a very good contractor-style saw. The fence is top-of-the-line. I do have some issues with the trunnion slipping, but is supposedly fixed in newer models.

    Still, I'm saving for a SawStop for my next saw. I've got all ten fingers, and I want it to stay that way, and especially as my sons get more interested in using it, (right now they're not allowed to touch it) then the safety features just becomes more and more important to me.

    At the very least, do not buy a saw without a proper Riving Knife.
    (ie: goes up and down with the saw blade. Tilts with the saw blade, and stays a consistent distance from the saw blade. And is just a hair shorter than the saw blade to allow keeping it installed for non-through cuts.)
    It's not about you.

  11. #11
    Join Date
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    1,090

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    I started out with a GI 50-220 and few months ago I replaced it with a used 3HP Rockwell Unisaw. If does not have all the fancy bells whistles of some of the newer saws but it is a solid accurate saw. If you keep an eye out on the used market you can find some deals. Here is one but a 3PH...you can replace the motor with a new 3HP single phase within your budget.

    http://calgary.kijiji.ca/c-buy-and-s...QAdIdZ98350906

  12. #12

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    I am surprised I had to get all the way down to Art's comment before I saw the SawStop Contractors saw mentioned. It would be a little above the budget you stated, but not by enough to make any other choice logical. I have both a 2 year old unisaw and a 6 month old SS Contractor saw, and if anyone ever needs to cut anything in my shop, it is the SS they use. I hosted a demo (which we filmed) where we set off the brake, and the comments of all the people there were that you would be crazy not to make this your first choice.

    If your family will be using this saw, from a safety and piece of mind point of view, then it would be the only choice in my opinion. Go to their site and check out the video, or catch a demo at the woodshow in toronto next month. I suspect that since you already have your wifes support in this hobby, once she sees this saw in action she will probably MAKE you choose it.

    There is nothing I can do on the unisaw that I can't do on the SS contrator saw. - at least I haven't found anything yet, and I use my saws a lot.

    Cheers

    Michael

  13. #13
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Well, the plot thickens before the conclusion

    Thanks for the advice on the Saw Stop, safety is super important and probably got overlooked a bit by myself in all of this. Does the rest of the saw stack up? Like the fence, vibration etc? (Michael)

    Safety topics:

    Can a person add an aftermarket riving knife?
    As well, what features mitigate kick back besides feeding stock properly?

    Thanks Scott for all the info. That makes me alot more comfortable with the Tru-Rip fence on the King. Great pics on the new Ridgid.

    Darin, my Steel City dealer is in Austria for another week Do you have a link to any promotions/prices?

    Thought I had seen all the used ads here. Guess that one flew under the radar. Thx

    Got a busy family week ahead, so I don't know how much research I'll get done but I'll keep you posted.

    Thanks a million to all of you......

    Doug
    Doug

  14. #14
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    I have a Unisaw, so there's my bias. As yourself, and welcome to the forum by the way, I struggled with the options myself. There was one thing that kept nagging me though...it was all the comments about getting one Cabinet Saw vs multiple other saws over the years.

    Now there was a comment about you can do anything on the contractor's or hybrid that you can do on the cabinet saw. That's true, but it depends on what you're doing vs another person. If you foresee ripping long boards hours at a time, doing lots of rabbeting/dadoing, making molding via that method where you feed it thru the blade at a 45 degree angle (what the heck is this called again), then with a cabinet saw you run little risk of frying your motor and/or being able to not be bogged down in speed of aplication. Motors do fry and usually give little or no warning of their failure.

    Some may even say for some applications, you can get better performance using thin kerf blades. I don't agree at the expense of the blade warping easier, getting hotter easier, and also throwing off where zero is cutting on the outside arbor side vs where you may have set up equipment to measure your cuts based on a full kerf blade.

    I love the concept of the SawStop. Do I wish I had one? If I was just re-starting out on using a table saw, I would have likely opted for this, for fear of otherwise cutting/hurting myself thru inexperience. I did go and get rid of the factory blade guard/splitter and opted for a Merlin splitter instead, and the Excalibur overhead guard. I also love my digits so much that I just can't bring myself to perform any manoeuvre that brings my fingers/hands close to the blade unprotected, or that if the wood would suddenly disappear at a moments notice, my body parts would be thrust toward the blade in itself. I'm a real chicken-poop when it comes to this. I'm pretty comfortable now with UNDERSTANDING MY SAW AND HOW IT WORKS that I can KINDA say that I wouldn't want the SawStop so as to not have accidental engagements costing me a new cartridge and blade.

    You can also go read our New Shop Safety sub-forum, for tips along these lines.
    Kevin

  15. #15

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    The SawStop comes with a riving knife, a very nice one at that. Super easy in and out.

    At the entry level, the saw comes with a set of stamped steel wings and an aluminum fence. I can''t speak to those two items as I prefer cast iron wings and a biesemeyer style fence (Like my Unisaw has) so I upgraded those two options. I also added the mobile base as my shop is rather small and things need to move around a bit. It works incredibly well making it a breeze to move the saw, but I would cut this option if budgetary concerns are an issue. The saw is just as stable as my unisaw allowing for the difference in weight. (SS is 450lbs and the Uni is 595lbs)

    The build quality on the saw is top notch and the quality of their instructional manual is on par with the leigh manuals with the exception that the SS manual uses colour photos inside.

    Personally I think the upgraded fence and wings are worth it. I have a 52" fence on both saws.

    Cheers

    Michael

  16. #16

    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Rempel View Post
    Can a person add an aftermarket riving knife?
    As well, what features mitigate kick back besides feeding stock properly
    Doug,

    As far as I know, you can add an aftermarket splitter to most brands of TS, but you cannot add an aftermarket riving knife.

    Mitigating kick back is another good one to research. You might check out some of Kelly Mehler's books, or other "using the TS" type of books.

    For one thing, make sure your fence is parallel to the blade. Make sure the face you run against the fence is truly flat, and ditto for the face on the table. Use featherboards or something like the Grripper, or Board Buddies. Use proper stance. And probably other things I'm missing.
    It's not about you.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Thanks again guys.....

    That safety forum is timely, have to make sure I go through that as well.

    Any other feedback is welcome

    Have a great week
    Doug

  18. #18
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Here's the PDF for Canada off the Steel City Website.

    http://www.steelcitytoolworks.com/ho...ncements_b.pdf

    The 35920 is lower priced at $899 and comes with the granite top. Don't know why it is $750 cheaper than the 35900G other than it has some plastic parts and the fence may not be the same. It does make it easier to get started at that price and the Forrest blade is worth $130.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug Rempel View Post
    ...Can a person add an aftermarket riving knife?
    ...
    There is currently one aftermarket riving knife that I know of that fits just a handful of saws. The Bolt On Ripping Knife (BORK) is handmade by a fellow woodworker/inventor named Bob Ross. It'll fit the Grizzly and Shop Fox cabinet saws, the Craftsman hybrids, the older style Steel City hybrids, and possibly some Unisaws...it might even fit the newer Steel City hybrids but I don't know. I've had one on my Shop Fox since August...once setup it works very nicely.

    http://www.walnutacrewoodworking.com/Online_Store.php

  20. #20
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    Default Re: First time here - Specific table saw purchase questions

    My only disagreement with Sawstops are their price. I don't feel the price of a contractor saw should approach $2000. I also don't like the idea of everything being an "add-on". It gives the illusion to the buyer that the saw is cheaper than it really is.

    When I read posts from people stating the "cost" of a blade and brake as a deterrent to purchasing one of these saws, I find their argument interesting. Interesting, because the majority also post how they would never put themselves in a position to trigger this brake in the first place. How can you trigger the brake, if you never touch the blade?

    It's true that the brake can be activated through wet wood, or metal. That's why you can place your material beside the blade (before start-up) and it will let you know. At this point, you can turn the by-pass key and turn off the safety mechanism.





    Quote Originally Posted by Lost in the Woods View Post
    I have a Unisaw, so there's my bias. As yourself, and welcome to the forum by the way, I struggled with the options myself. There was one thing that kept nagging me though...it was all the comments about getting one Cabinet Saw vs multiple other saws over the years.

    Now there was a comment about you can do anything on the contractor's or hybrid that you can do on the cabinet saw. That's true, but it depends on what you're doing vs another person. If you foresee ripping long boards hours at a time, doing lots of rabbeting/dadoing, making molding via that method where you feed it thru the blade at a 45 degree angle (what the heck is this called again), then with a cabinet saw you run little risk of frying your motor and/or being able to not be bogged down in speed of aplication. Motors do fry and usually give little or no warning of their failure.

    Some may even say for some applications, you can get better performance using thin kerf blades. I don't agree at the expense of the blade warping easier, getting hotter easier, and also throwing off where zero is cutting on the outside arbor side vs where you may have set up equipment to measure your cuts based on a full kerf blade.

    I love the concept of the SawStop. Do I wish I had one? If I was just re-starting out on using a table saw, I would have likely opted for this, for fear of otherwise cutting/hurting myself thru inexperience. I did go and get rid of the factory blade guard/splitter and opted for a Merlin splitter instead, and the Excalibur overhead guard. I also love my digits so much that I just can't bring myself to perform any manoeuvre that brings my fingers/hands close to the blade unprotected, or that if the wood would suddenly disappear at a moments notice, my body parts would be thrust toward the blade in itself. I'm a real chicken-poop when it comes to this. I'm pretty comfortable now with UNDERSTANDING MY SAW AND HOW IT WORKS that I can KINDA say that I wouldn't want the SawStop so as to not have accidental engagements costing me a new cartridge and blade.

    You can also go read our New Shop Safety sub-forum, for tips along these lines.

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