What to look for when buying a table saw?

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Kennedy
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What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Kennedy » Fri May 22, 2020 12:15 am

I do not have any experience in wood-working projects, but there are a few things I would like to try. For example, I've watched some youtube videos on simple upper cabinet making, and I think it's something I could do.

I've thought about just having Home Depot make the cuts for me. Alternatively, I'm considering buying a table saw so I can pursue other projects as well.

Anything in particular a beginning work-worker (no experience) should look for when buying a table saw with regard to safety, easy to work with, etc? I don't know what I don't know.

I see a few used table saws available on my local craigslist, but I'm not sure I know how to tell if I'm getting ripped off or not by buying someone else's lemon. Any thoughts?

tev9876
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by tev9876 » Fri May 22, 2020 2:26 am

I bought a Dewalt DWE749 jobsite saw last year to start building outdoor furniture when I couldn't find anything I liked and decided to make my own. First project was an outdoor TV cabinet to hold a 55" LCD that came out great using basic dimensional lumber. This week I put together an end table from scrap 2x6s and a dolly to roll my patio fire column around. I'm also working on a patio table.

Your choice will come down to the space and money you have, not to mention what you want to accomplish. Since my shop is my garage and I want my truck parked there in the winter, I wanted something with an integrated stand that can be folded away into a corner, but that won't collapse when you try to rip a 4x8 sheet of plywood. If you have $$$$ and tons of space to make a dedicated shop and plan on making high end stuff you may want a professional cabinet saw. If you are making bird houses a cheaper bench model will probably work. I went middle of the road and am very happy with it, and have all 10 fingers.

The table saw has improved my skills considerably. It is much more capable and accurate than a miter and circular saw. Ripping boards to the exact size you need is a breeze. The ability to create lap joints, rabbits, dados and tenons gives you much more flexibility in design.

As with most hobbies one purchase leads to more. You will probably want to create dados at some point, so make sure your saw has an arbor large enough for a dado blade set. You will need a large shop vac for dust/chip collection. You might also want a router for doing mortises and such. Then you will want a planer to flatten wood, and on and on and on...

There are many good videos on YouTube - Wood Working for Mere Mortals and the Wood Wisperer are a couple channels I have found that are good for beginners and will give much better advice than I can give. Be sure to watch the videos on how to use the saw and more importantly what not to do. Push sticks, safety glasses and hearing protection are a must. Kickback is not fun so learn how to avoid it.

Barcelonasteve
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Barcelonasteve » Fri May 22, 2020 3:31 am

Sawstop. They’re pricey, but come in a contractor model, a light cabinet model, and an industrial cabinet model. The models made in the last few years have good dust collection as a safety feature. The biggest safety feature, though, is a brake that engages if skin touches the blade. An aluminum block will slam into the blade and the momentum from the blade causes it to swing below the table in a matter of milliseconds. There are 30,000 table saw injuries in the US each year. Many involving serious injury to tendons and bones. A former coworker of mine was a woodworker for decades. He came in with a hand heavily wrapped in bandages. “Table saw?” I asked. He said it was and shook his head saying he had been doing something he’d done many time before. It may be that he should have been using push sticks and feather boards for what he was doing, but wasn’t, but saws have a knack for grabbing a workpiece and your hand with it. Anyway, he finally decided to get a Sawstop.

Practicing safe work habits is the most important thing you can do. Take your rings off, no dangling sleeves, push sticks, feather boards, sleds and other devices all help (and making sure others don’t sneak up on you and startle you helps, too). Getting a saw with safety features that work is up there, too. Crappy blade guards that are so annoying people remove them are common to cheap saws. I look at the Sawstop brake system like a car’s seat belt. It works when other precautions have failed and you’re glad you have it. The last recession, they kept popping up for sale as cabinet shops closed.

lazydavid
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by lazydavid » Fri May 22, 2020 5:30 am

I was going to suggest Sawstop as well. I've known too many people who have had accidents or close calls with rotary saws of all types (table, radial, handheld circular) to ever skimp on safety features. A high quality saw that will not remove your fingers if you make a mistake is a great investment.

Yooper
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Yooper » Fri May 22, 2020 5:58 am

A roller stand (https://www.harborfreight.com/132-lb-ca ... 68898.html). Didn't have one for years and when I got one it was a game changer. Kicked myself for not having one earlier.

linuxizer
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by linuxizer » Fri May 22, 2020 6:15 am

The only remotely safe options are:
1. Buy a Hammer slider
2. Buy a SawStop and use it meticulously. SawStop will save your fingers but not your torso from blunt trauma after kickback.
3. Don't buy a table saw. Use Festool/Dewalt/Makita track saw in combination with any number of guides that make square cuts on big plywood sheets easier than a table saw. Kreg/FestoolMFT/Woodpecker.
2. Don't buy a table saw. Look up Paul Sellers, Matt Estlea, Woodworking for Mortals, etc. on YouTube. Use hand tools + bandsaw + drill press + miter saw. This is a Hybrid Woodworking strategy. Slower for cabinets but works, and often faster for anything resembling furniture.

Your friendly neighborhood woodworker and emergency doc.

crefwatch
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by crefwatch » Fri May 22, 2020 6:28 am

While I don’t feel as strongly as linuxizer, I do question “teaching yourself to use a table saw.” I don’t think YouTube is an adequate substitute either. When I was learning, it was weeks before I was allowed to rip from a full sheet of plywood. In those weeks I did things like ripping thousands of feet of 1x3, and small plywood cuts from partial sheets. You learn what the work feels like under your hands. And you see near-accidents by others in the shop.

Because I don’t have a tablesaw at home, I cut plywood with a Skilsaw. (5 1/4”? I forget. ) But even that has dangers. I know you can’t build cabinets that way!

Target2019
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Target2019 » Fri May 22, 2020 6:31 am

I've built cabinets several times in the past, aided by my Craftsman 10" table saw (40 years old). It is on a stand, and easily moved. Knowing how much labor is involved, I'd now choose to purchase cabinets. It's very difficult to achieve quality cuts and build. You also need dust control and then have a lot of cleanup too.

Maneuvering sheet goods through a table say is not so easy for a newb. I have used an adjustable rail similar to that mentioned. It was a cheaper aluminum model with end clamps. It did the job.

Also important is to match the saw blade to sheet goods material.

Good luck with your project!

gutterman
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by gutterman » Fri May 22, 2020 7:16 am

I have build furniture for over twenty years. Consider a band saw, it is much safer than a table saw. I don't have a table saw in my shop anymore as the band saw can do what the table saw does and more. Changing and setting up a band saw blade can be intimidating at first but with practice it is easy

My neighbor lost his hand in a table saw accident. A table saw needs to be operated with a healthy fear of what it can do to you

gronkman
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by gronkman » Fri May 22, 2020 7:59 am

Barcelonasteve wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:31 am
Sawstop. They’re pricey, but come in a contractor model, a light cabinet model, and an industrial cabinet model. The models made in the last few years have good dust collection as a safety feature. The biggest safety feature, though, is a brake that engages if skin touches the blade. An aluminum block will slam into the blade and the momentum from the blade causes it to swing below the table in a matter of milliseconds. There are 30,000 table saw injuries in the US each year. Many involving serious injury to tendons and bones. A former coworker of mine was a woodworker for decades. He came in with a hand heavily wrapped in bandages. “Table saw?” I asked. He said it was and shook his head saying he had been doing something he’d done many time before. It may be that he should have been using push sticks and feather boards for what he was doing, but wasn’t, but saws have a knack for grabbing a workpiece and your hand with it. Anyway, he finally decided to get a Sawstop.

Practicing safe work habits is the most important thing you can do. Take your rings off, no dangling sleeves, push sticks, feather boards, sleds and other devices all help (and making sure others don’t sneak up on you and startle you helps, too). Getting a saw with safety features that work is up there, too. Crappy blade guards that are so annoying people remove them are common to cheap saws. I look at the Sawstop brake system like a car’s seat belt. It works when other precautions have failed and you’re glad you have it. The last recession, they kept popping up for sale as cabinet shops closed.
It also comes in a ‘jobsite’ model which has an integrated rolling stand and can be stored on its side in the garage if you don’t have a lot of space (when stowed, I measured it at about 25” deep). It still has a decent sized table top, the only significant drawback is its high cost of $1400.

I did the research, it’s just not worth taking a chance with your fingers - I read somewhere that there are over 60,000 table saw accidents a year. Even among pros and experienced woodworkers. The only question is whether you can afford the premium.

I examined and then ordered this exact model. The shop told me they’ve sold a ton of these to people stuck at home (my back order gets filled next week).

Edit: I looked on the NEISS web site (cpsc.gov), looks like 32,445 estimated table saw-related accidents in 2019.
Last edited by gronkman on Fri May 22, 2020 8:15 am, edited 1 time in total.

ddurrett896
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by ddurrett896 » Fri May 22, 2020 8:07 am

Kennedy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:15 am
I see a few used table saws available on my local craigslist, but I'm not sure I know how to tell if I'm getting ripped off or not by buying someone else's lemon. Any thoughts?
Another recommendation for the Dewalt Jobsite table saw. Small and gets the job done.

I'm guessing you have a miter saw too? I always disliked storing my table saw and miter saw since they are heavy and can't really go high and take up a lot of space.

I build something similar to the below and it's awesome! Cost maybe $25 in Lumber and I used nicer 3/4 oak plywood that was like $40 a sheet, so maybe $100 all in. Gives me...
- A table saw table when ripping long pieces of material.
- Support on both sides of the material I miter.
- Miter saw can be flipped upside down when not in use, giving you a usable work bench.
- It's mobile, so you can push it into your driveway while cutting, keeping your garage clean--er.

https://www.instructables.com/id/Mobile ... iter-Saws/

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lthenderson
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by lthenderson » Fri May 22, 2020 8:20 am

Kennedy wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 12:15 am
I do not have any experience in wood-working projects, but there are a few things I would like to try. For example, I've watched some youtube videos on simple upper cabinet making, and I think it's something I could do.

I've thought about just having Home Depot make the cuts for me. Alternatively, I'm considering buying a table saw so I can pursue other projects as well.

Anything in particular a beginning work-worker (no experience) should look for when buying a table saw with regard to safety, easy to work with, etc? I don't know what I don't know.

I see a few used table saws available on my local craigslist, but I'm not sure I know how to tell if I'm getting ripped off or not by buying someone else's lemon. Any thoughts?
I've built lots of cabinets and prefer not to use my tablesaw except when it comes to making face frames for the cabinets. For large sheet goods, it is much safer, easier and you get better cuts using a circular saw with a straight edge jig that is easily made or a track saw which cost lots of money because they are all the rage these days.

Really nobody can answer your question on ta tablesaw with more accurate information from you. Sizing a tablesaw depends a lot on what you plan to build and what space you have to work with. Since I use my tablesaw for furniture building and need a large table on it but yet work out of my garage so I need something mobile that I can easily move around, I bought a hybrid saw by Rigid which at the time, was the only saw that had all the features of a cabinet style saw but casters that could raise it up and easily move it across the garage. A few others have since copied that. If you are mostly going to be doing smaller projects, you can definitely get by with a smaller type job site saw. If you have a large dedicated shop and won't be moving it around, by all means invest in a top quality cabinet saw with sliding tables and the works.

I dislike when people blindly recommend something like a Sawstop table saw without giving the bad and ugly part of the equation. Yes, it does have a patented technology that can stop the blade when it senses moisture preventing it from cutting off a finger. It does that by an expensive cartridge that much be replaced every single time that it happens and sometimes you must replace the blade as well though I have seen some that have survived and were able to be reused. But what they don't say that since it senses moisture, it can be set off by just trying to cut some green lumber, or lumber that you accidentally spilled some water on, or some lumber that you applied some moisture too to raise the grain to get a smoother finish. Yes they definitely can save some major damage to your digits but they also have a significant additional cost and mental thought process you have to go through in order to use them. I have a buddy that builds cabinets for a living and he literally has a tub full of shucked out sawstop cartridges and blades he has had to replace and not a single time was a part of his body involved in causing it.

At the end of the day, it isn't so much the tablesaw you buy but the jigs and accessories you make and use with the tablesaw that make your life easier and safer. The one I use the most is my crosscut sled and it would work just as well on any tablesaw out there if adapted to fit their particular miter slot and spacing. I have a spline jig, box joint jig, tapered leg jig, tenoning jig, etc, all would work just as well on any tablesaw out there but dramatically improve safety by holding the piece firmly and not trying to freehand it. So my advice to you is to ignore advice trying to get you to buy a very expensive tablesaw out when you are new to the hobby and instead buy a tablesaw that fits your space and budget and invest your money building/buying jigs to make using it much safer. Sawstops have their place in cabinet shops where repetitive jobs are done on a daily basis but I wouldn't recommend one for someone just starting out as a hobby woodworker.

stan1
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by stan1 » Fri May 22, 2020 8:30 am

lthenderson wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:20 am
At the end of the day, it isn't so much the tablesaw you buy but the jigs and accessories you make and use with the tablesaw that make your life easier and safer.
Highlighting a very important point about the jigs and accessories to be safe and efficient (along with the space you need to set up jigs and accessories).

My woodworking needs are met by going to my neighbor who has at least $25,000 worth of equipment filling a two car garage. He loves helping us as it gives him an excuse to fire up his equipment, but even in an oversized two car garage moving the equipment around or onto the driveway for spacing can take a lot of time. My point is another solution for you is to find a nearby friend who already has the equipment and large workshop.

Sun88
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sun88 » Fri May 22, 2020 8:36 am

Do you have a maker space with a wood shop nearby? Our local Makerworks in Ann Arbor has a Sawstop cabinet model and offers training on that and a host of other woodworking tools as well. It's a good way to get into woodworking without investing a lot and coming up with space for the tools.

The Sawstop is awesome - along with the confidence the blade brake inspires, it is a very smooth operating saw. My experience with low end saws is they're more likely to bind and fight you when making a cut.

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Sandtrap
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 22, 2020 9:00 am

Perhaps, see what you can do on a variety of types of projects with a set of quality hand power tools and guides, jigs, and tables.
For example: using a quality panel saw, and a good set of saw horses, construct a workshop table and cutting table. Use a quality drill or drill press and guides to make a variety of types of joints for the workshop table. And so forth.

Why?

Because you mention cabinetry which is a bit on the high end side of woodworking with a large investment in time, skill, money, and shop space for tools dedicated to making cabinetry well. For example: while a Dewalt portable table saw with extensions and roller guides, etc, can do a large number of projects, it will soon be limited in the quality needed for cabinet work.

Are you only going to make one cabinet, or do it often over the years to craftsman level?

See?

So. . . . step by step. . . because a table saw that will do fine cabinetry (with auto brake and shutoff per voltage sensing safety feature) is what you may end up with and either use it for decades or not so much.

Of course, responses from cabinet and experienced woodworkers will address the quality and type of table saw.
This is more about the steps toward developing wood shop and woodworking skills safetly and economically.
First, do a variety of things to find out what your passion is: lathe work, turning, cabinetry, etc.

Why?
Because I've known more folks with garages and shops of expensive and extensive woodworking tools and equipment that go largely unused with time than those that have pursued it enough to make the investment worthwhile.

Lastly: fingers, toes, hands, legs, feet. Be safe. Lot's of missing pieces out there. Respect the equipment. YouTube makes it look effortless and sometimes mind less. Different equipment has different safety features but the ultimate safety is between the ears and having safety protocols learned while working with seasoned professionals in the woodworking trades (some with missing fingers) :shock: :shock: .

Actionably: try something like this first as it will make a wide variety of things, be fun, and doesn't take much space. And, is easy to sell if you get tired of it as most tradesman will have it in the back of a truck or jobsite.
https://www.homedepot.com/p/DEWALT-15-A ... gIouPD_BwE You can develop high skill levels with it. Then move on if needed.

FWIW:
One woodworking friend has a $5k + Industrial grade "SawStop" with all the goodies in his full size shop. It is an incredible machine.

j :happy
Last edited by Sandtrap on Fri May 22, 2020 11:33 am, edited 1 time in total.
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terran
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by terran » Fri May 22, 2020 9:23 am

I haven't read all the replies, but just wanted to mention that the table saw is probably the most dangerous tool in the woodworking shop. My dad just about cut off his finger (it was able to be reattached) and lots of people do even worse. I've never had any real close calls, but I've been working with these things since I was teenager and I'm an overly cautious person who keeps my hands well clear of the blade. I would highly encourage you to get some kind of training through a power tool woodworking class or at the very least from an experienced woodworker. As mentioned, Sawstop can be a great option from a safety standpoint.

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Sandtrap
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 22, 2020 9:31 am

terran wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:23 am
I haven't read all the replies, but just wanted to mention that the table saw is probably the most dangerous tool in the woodworking shop. My dad just about cut off his finger (it was able to be reattached) and lots of people do even worse. I've never had any real close calls, but I've been working with these things since I was teenager and I'm an overly cautious person who keeps my hands well clear of the blade. I would highly encourage you to get some kind of training through a power tool woodworking class or at the very least from an experienced woodworker. As mentioned, Sawstop can be a great option from a safety standpoint.
+1
Radial arm table saws, sliding mitre saws, chop saws, band saws😬, = spinning blades.
Lots of experienced woodworkers with missing parts out there.

Be safe
Have fun

Used to tease one guy on a jobsite with a “Ninja Turtle High Three”. “Gimme Three!!”😬😬

j👍
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Luke Duke
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Luke Duke » Fri May 22, 2020 9:34 am

You won't be happy with a cheap table saw if you intend to make cabinets. The surface area of the table is too small to safely deal with sheets of 3/4" plywood. You can do a lot with an inexpensive table saw if you also get a track saw to go with it. You can save some money on the track saw and get a good circular saw (with a good blade) and a straight edge.

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Watty
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Watty » Fri May 22, 2020 9:50 am

There are safety issues that you need to take seriously but things like chain saws, lawnmowers, and ladders are also dangerous.

With any of these a lot of injuries are likely caused by;

1) Someone who does not know how to use it right.

2) Someone who makes an absent minded mistake when they just need to make one quick cut and they do not set it up right.

3) Trying to do things that the tool is not meant for, like cutting something that is too small or too big.

That is not to say that you can't be using it right and still run into a problem but mistakes are the reason for a lot of injuries.

On safety there are a couple of things to add to your list of things to learn about table saws;

1) They can "kick back" and send the piece of wood you are working on flying or shooting out like a spear at high speed.

2) You need to make sure that it is secured so kids can not start it up.

3) Cutting a full sheet of plywood or a long board is best done with two people. Some things are too small to cut on a table saw.

4) Safety guards may need to be removed for some cuts but leave them there otherwise.

One thing I have gotten in a habit of doing whenever I am using power-tools is to make sure that I have my cell phone on me in case I need help. Even if my wife is home she may not be able to hear me. That is not foolproof since you would need to be able to dial the phone but it could really help in some situations.

I have always used table saws that were the size of a dining room table. A lot of the small ones are no bigger than a place mat I would suspect that the small ones are a lot more dangerous. I would rather use a hand held circle saw than one of those. If you are going to get one get a large one or make a table extension yourself.

adamthesmythe
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by adamthesmythe » Fri May 22, 2020 10:03 am

I have used many different machine tools but table saws give me the willies. A nextdoor neighbor lost a finger in a table saw accident...

So if you get one without the safety stop- spend plenty of time and thought learning how to use it safely. Even if you do have the safety feature...work deliberately and safely.

snowman
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by snowman » Fri May 22, 2020 10:05 am

I watched my grandfather and my father working with wood. Table saw was an essential piece of equipment that I was never allowed to use or even try to use it. I agree with others - it is the most dangerous piece of equipment in the shop, and needs to be treated with utmost respect. No loose clothing, no alcohol prior to using it, nothing loose on the floor, etc.

Having said that, as I built my shop over time based on projects I was working on, there came the need for a table saw. I knew it would mostly sit unused in my garage, so I did not want to spend thousands to use it on one project and maybe never use it again. I quickly eliminated really cheap ones ($200-$400) by reading reviews, and by pretending to use it in the store. I looked at quality of materials used, workmanship, ease of adjustment, precision, etc.

In the end, for me personally, it came down to Bosch and DeWalt jobsite models - they were the best bang for the buck for home projects. I decided on the Bosch, found it much better overall than DeWalt, and have not been disappointed. It's the model I would recommend.

If you do end up buying one, you will quickly discover the need for jigs and accessories. You will either buy them or make your own, or the combination of the 2. You will also need flat and stable working table (you probably have one) that will be used as a rest when working with large pieces of wood (4x8 plywood being most common). You will find it intimidating at first, not sure how you learn to cut it safely without someone experienced showing you and helping you along the way.

Also, keep in mind that the saw will throw around huge amount of dust! It can be mitigated by either working outside, or connecting it to shop vac, or ventilation system. Obviously, the last one is the best, but it costs additional money and takes up space. I did not think I would use the saw enough to justify option 3, so option 2 is a good compromise for me. Option 1 is very difficult if you want to make precise cuts (sun, wind etc.); I tried it once and that was it.

I ended up using my table saw 3 times in the last 15 years, about as expected. There are people using it less than that. You will need to decide if it's worth it to you.

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Chicken lady
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Chicken lady » Fri May 22, 2020 10:09 am

+1 Sawstop

It's worth the money. With a woodworker in the family I know (some of these have already be stated, but are worthy of restatement):

*Table saws are very dangerous.
*It's not easy to set them and get exactly straight cuts without understanding the machine. The less precision in creation of the machine, the less precision in getting the cuts you want and need.
*Pushers and other tools that guide the wood are critical to keeping your fingers
*This is not a tool to assume you can watch a few you-tube videos and master. Take a class or get in-person instruction (more than 15 minutes) from a live woodworker until you can demonstrate competence. Thinking you're competent and being able to demonstrate competence are two different things.
*Remember, there are numerous experienced woodworkers who have lost fingers by taking their eye off the blade for a second OR losing their concentration for just a moment. That's all it takes.
*Table saws are especially helpful when cutting large sheets of wood - plywood, etc. The droop of the wood due to weight shifting introduces an additional possibility of something going wrong - wood gets jammed by the blade and kicks wood out back to you (or elsewhere), etc. This tends to be a 2 person job - do you have a helper?

Be careful and please do in-depth homework before purchasing a machine.

Linda

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marti038
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by marti038 » Fri May 22, 2020 10:12 am

You need a little HP to cut 3/4 plywood in my opinion. I wouldn't buy anything under 1.5HP and the wider the table, the better. A narrow top really limits the range of cuts you can make and makes it difficult to feed large pieces of wood through the saw without binding the material on the blade.

Also, get a good quality combination blade for cutting plywood. It will make nice clean cuts in grain running opposite directions in the laminated layers of the boards. The blades that come with new machines are usually pretty poor quality.

I have bought several tools on craigslist locally from guys who thought they'd get into woodworking as a retirement hobby and quickly became bored with it. My planer, joiner, mortiser, and bandsaw were all bought used and they work great.

If you decide to buy from someone else, carry a straight edge with you. You can tune a lot of issues in a tablesaw, but if the table is warped for some reason or the blade shaft isn't square you don't want to touch it.

I hope you get into the hobby. It's a lot of fun to me, but it gets more and more expensive the deeper you get into it.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by WoodSpinner » Fri May 22, 2020 11:02 am

terran wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:23 am
I haven't read all the replies, but just wanted to mention that the table saw is probably the most dangerous tool in the woodworking shop. My dad just about cut off his finger (it was able to be reattached) and lots of people do even worse. I've never had any real close calls, but I've been working with these things since I was teenager and I'm an overly cautious person who keeps my hands well clear of the blade. I would highly encourage you to get some kind of training through a power tool woodworking class or at the very least from an experienced woodworker. As mentioned, Sawstop can be a great option from a safety standpoint.
+1000

If all you want is to make a few cabinets then I would simply go to a local shop and have them made. Much more cost effective and safer.

If you want to see if you like Woodworking (it’s a great hobby), I would highly recommend a series of classes to get you familiar with the tools, how to use them and how to think about building out a project. Our Adult Ed has a fantastic shop, lots of classes and an amazing array of woodworkers to network with.

Are there any local clubs you can join?

As Sandtrap suggested above, start with simpler projects (a workbench is great) and focus on using basic power tools, straight edges, clamps to make clean cuts. As a beginner you might find a Pocket Hole joinery system (like Kreg) to be especially useful. It really helps make strong joints using basic materials and approaches.

My $.02 FWIW

WoodSpinner

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by apex84 » Fri May 22, 2020 11:24 am

Thanks for posting. I haven't used a table saw in years, but this is great to know about. We had a table saw in the basement along with other tools when I was in high school. We never had an accident with the blade and flesh, but it is not hard to imagine. Even with feather boards, push sticks, and the guard, sometimes a small sliver would come flying out when making a thin rip to take off a little width.
Barcelonasteve wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 3:31 am
Sawstop. They’re pricey, but come in a contractor model, a light cabinet model, and an industrial cabinet model. The models made in the last few years have good dust collection as a safety feature. The biggest safety feature, though, is a brake that engages if skin touches the blade. An aluminum block will slam into the blade and the momentum from the blade causes it to swing below the table in a matter of milliseconds. There are 30,000 table saw injuries in the US each year. Many involving serious injury to tendons and bones. A former coworker of mine was a woodworker for decades. He came in with a hand heavily wrapped in bandages. “Table saw?” I asked. He said it was and shook his head saying he had been doing something he’d done many time before. It may be that he should have been using push sticks and feather boards for what he was doing, but wasn’t, but saws have a knack for grabbing a workpiece and your hand with it. Anyway, he finally decided to get a Sawstop.

Practicing safe work habits is the most important thing you can do. Take your rings off, no dangling sleeves, push sticks, feather boards, sleds and other devices all help (and making sure others don’t sneak up on you and startle you helps, too). Getting a saw with safety features that work is up there, too. Crappy blade guards that are so annoying people remove them are common to cheap saws. I look at the Sawstop brake system like a car’s seat belt. It works when other precautions have failed and you’re glad you have it. The last recession, they kept popping up for sale as cabinet shops closed.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by pshonore » Fri May 22, 2020 2:49 pm

Luke Duke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:34 am
You won't be happy with a cheap table saw if you intend to make cabinets. The surface area of the table is too small to safely deal with sheets of 3/4" plywood. You can do a lot with an inexpensive table saw if you also get a track saw to go with it. You can save some money on the track saw and get a good circular saw (with a good blade) and a straight edge.
If you're going to stick with the hobby, spend the bucks and a good quality cabinet saw with an ample motor (3HP or more). A good cabinet saw has a lot of mass and is a pleasure to use. I like the Grizzly line myself. I'm having a hard time imagining ripping boards with a track saw or a bandsaw. And forget cutting 8/4 stock as well. Table saws are dangerous - no question. Be sure and use the safety equipment (like the blade guard) that comes with it.

Here's a shot of some Kitchen cabinets made on my Grizzly (1/4 sawn White Oak)
http://eastconn.com/kitchen/k4.jpg

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by czeckers » Fri May 22, 2020 2:55 pm

Definitely recommend the Saw Stop saw for a novice woodworker if you're going to buy one.

HOWEVER, when starting out with woodworking, that's pretty far down the road as far as purchases go. I would recommend a good mitersaw and stand first. If you're looking to cut plywood, a circular saw with a track such as the universal track made by Kreg, or a dedicated track saw such as the Makita will actually be a lot easier to use, be safer and cheaper. Plywood sheets on a table saw require a good sized outfeed table to handle safely.

Google "woodshop under $1000" or similar to get an idea how to get started.

Ana White has 100s if not 1000s of plans for projects that can be made with just a few basic tools that are a great place to start (including cabinets).
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 22, 2020 3:06 pm

pshonore wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:49 pm
Luke Duke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:34 am
You won't be happy with a cheap table saw if you intend to make cabinets. The surface area of the table is too small to safely deal with sheets of 3/4" plywood. You can do a lot with an inexpensive table saw if you also get a track saw to go with it. You can save some money on the track saw and get a good circular saw (with a good blade) and a straight edge.
If you're going to stick with the hobby, spend the bucks and a good quality cabinet saw with an ample motor (3HP or more). A good cabinet saw has a lot of mass and is a pleasure to use. I like the Grizzly line myself. I'm having a hard time imagining ripping boards with a track saw or a bandsaw. And forget cutting 8/4 stock as well. Table saws are dangerous - no question. Be sure and use the safety equipment (like the blade guard) that comes with it.

Here's a shot of some Kitchen cabinets made on my Grizzly (1/4 sawn White Oak)
http://eastconn.com/kitchen/k4.jpg
Very nice!
Great skills!
j :happy
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by suemarkp » Fri May 22, 2020 3:59 pm

No one has mentioned the table fence. I have a "contractor saw" with an OK fence. It is a chinese clone of a Delta saw from the 60's. The fence opens to 25". When cutting plywood, I'd like to go bigger than that. Sure, if you need a piece 36" wide, you can set the fence to a foot and cut off the smaller side. But I like to cut a little larger when working with large sheets, because they are easy to twist when feeding them and your cut is a bit off. I'd like to cust to 36 1/4, and then cut again to 36. Can't do that if the fence only opens to 25".

I have used long straight guides and handheld circular saws many time too when dealing with sheet goods. If I had a fence that could open to 49", I wouldn't need to use these other methods.

I've removed most of the safety equipment from mine as it is too difficult to put on and remove. Most guards and splitters need to come off if doing a blind cut (dado, ripping a 2x6 into a 1x6, rabbets), and I seem to do that as often a ripping sheet goods.

Finally, my fence loosens over time. I need to keep turning a screw about every 20 cuts or else the far end of the fence gets loose and won't be straight if there is any pressure against it. I try to push on the fence every time to make sure it is tight. But if I forget, it could be a wasted piece of wood. So a fence that is precise, stays in place, and stays square is ideal.
Mark | Kent, WA

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by linuxizer » Fri May 22, 2020 4:09 pm

crefwatch wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 6:28 am
While I don’t feel as strongly as linuxizer....
Probably fewer people have handed you their fingers in a damp towel and asked you if they can be reattached.

Inevitably the rejoinder to 'table saws are dangerous' starts with, 'not if you use them properly.' Have you *never* made a mistake in your life? The people handing me their fingers are generally very experienced. They seem thoughtful, sober types.

The reply after this (not picking on crefwatch, by the way, it was a good post) talks about near misses. I'm no six sigma disciple, but the core concept is sound - you analyze the near misses to find out how to prevent the times they cross the threshold and an accident occurs. Table saws just have too many different modalities to eliminate them. That's what sliders do - the humans hands are taken well away from the blade, the piece is secured to the slider, and the human is put off to the side out of the kickback path. Unfortunately they're crazy expensive, in part because they have to be imported.

I stand by my view that table saws are inherently unsafe. I don't believe they're allowed in commercial settings in Europe (or increasingly in the US due to insurance). Sliders are inherently safer. You can make a table saw like a slider by only using a crosscut sled. Are you going to commit to that, and never use it to rip?

They're also just not that necessary. Hybrid woodworking is more fun.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by dodgy55 » Fri May 22, 2020 7:01 pm

I have been a hobby wood worker for close to 30 years and I would strongly suggest you research the various sources and make your selection based on proven quality. Price should be the last criteria. I doubt the cheaper table saws can cut a true straight line. When I purchased my table saw back in the 1990's it seemed that Delta & Powermatic were the quality table saws on the retail market. I ended up buying a 10" Delta 3 hp with a Biesemeyer fence. My only regret is that I did not buy the 5 hp model. If you are looking to do serious cabinet work, I would not get anything less than a 3 hp. I'd say the hysteria around safety should not deter you from choosing a table saw. In most wood working establishments the table saw is the workhorse. The operator of the saw is the ultimate determinator of safety. The few times I have had an issue regarding safety was due to the type of wood being ripped.
An under powered saw with a dull blade is ripe for an accident. Get the best saw you can afford, it will serve you well for may years.
Fond memories are the best investment

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Luke Duke » Sat May 23, 2020 8:34 am

pshonore wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:49 pm
Luke Duke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:34 am
You won't be happy with a cheap table saw if you intend to make cabinets. The surface area of the table is too small to safely deal with sheets of 3/4" plywood. You can do a lot with an inexpensive table saw if you also get a track saw to go with it. You can save some money on the track saw and get a good circular saw (with a good blade) and a straight edge.
If you're going to stick with the hobby, spend the bucks and a good quality cabinet saw with an ample motor (3HP or more). A good cabinet saw has a lot of mass and is a pleasure to use. I like the Grizzly line myself. I'm having a hard time imagining ripping boards with a track saw or a bandsaw. And forget cutting 8/4 stock as well. Table saws are dangerous - no question. Be sure and use the safety equipment (like the blade guard) that comes with it.

Here's a shot of some Kitchen cabinets made on my Grizzly (1/4 sawn White Oak)
http://eastconn.com/kitchen/k4.jpg
So you recommend that someone with no woodworking experience buy a cabinet table saw as their first saw?

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Normchad » Sat May 23, 2020 8:57 am

I’ve owned a couple of table saws in the past to do hobbyist level wood working and furniture making.

The first was a small craftsman model. A lot of other brands make similar, it probably cost under $200. It was absolutely, 100% dangerous. I have no idea how you could even use it safely. And since it was so cheap, it wasn’t really possible to make a “true” cut with it either.

My next saw was my beloved Ryobi BT3000. I used that one a lot. I think it cost about $700 or so. It was a much much safer saw. I never felt unsafe using it. But as with all table saws, you could still maim yourself with it. If you’re inexperience, there is a lot you don’t know. And some of the ways that a natural product like wood react when you cut it can be very surprising, and dangerous. But it was a good saw, and probably the cheapest thing you could buy that could cut decently.

If I were starting today, I’d get a track saw first, and maybe a radial arm saw. (The DeWalt mitre saw is my favorite tool, and indispensable).

The tool that scares me the most, honestly, is the router. If one those big stile bits breaks and comes flying out, there’s just o stopping it.

But truth be told, the only tool I have actually cut myself with are my chisels. To be fair though, it would be very tough to sever a limb with a chisel.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Sat May 23, 2020 9:26 am

Normchad wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:57 am
I’ve owned a couple of table saws in the past to do hobbyist level wood working and furniture making.

The first was a small craftsman model. A lot of other brands make similar, it probably cost under $200. It was absolutely, 100% dangerous. I have no idea how you could even use it safely. And since it was so cheap, it wasn’t really possible to make a “true” cut with it either.

My next saw was my beloved Ryobi BT3000. I used that one a lot. I think it cost about $700 or so. It was a much much safer saw. I never felt unsafe using it. But as with all table saws, you could still maim yourself with it. If you’re inexperience, there is a lot you don’t know. And some of the ways that a natural product like wood react when you cut it can be very surprising, and dangerous. But it was a good saw, and probably the cheapest thing you could buy that could cut decently.

If I were starting today, I’d get a track saw first, and maybe a radial arm saw. (The DeWalt mitre saw is my favorite tool, and indispensable).

The tool that scares me the most, honestly, is the router. If one those big stile bits breaks and comes flying out, there’s just o stopping it.

But truth be told, the only tool I have actually cut myself with are my chisels. To be fair though, it would be very tough to sever a limb with a chisel.
+1
A quality sliding mitre able to do compound angles is a must have for all around use.

OP: there’s also wood carving with razor sharp chisels, angle grinders with special blades, and tiny and large chainsaws, for carving tabletop size whales and sea turtles or fuzzy bears as large as refrigerators. Chain saw Chaps and protection a must. Jus sayin’.😬😬. Try wood carving.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by 3CT_Paddler » Sat May 23, 2020 10:30 am

Another word of advice... aim small miss small when constructing cabinets. Get a good quality tape measure that has metric (mm) and US units.

Sawstops are a good investment in safety. The Sawstop inventor originally tried to sell it to table saw manufacturers, but none of them wanted anything to do with it. A table saw is a big investment for a weekend woodworker. I agree with others that plywood is not fun to cut on a normal table saw.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat May 23, 2020 10:47 am

Get a track saw. Festool if you are not price sensitive

I have a sawstop cabinet saw and it’s great for many things. However I have the 36” one and so cannot cross cut a full sheet of plywood safely on it. And I wouldn’t want to. Even without a track saw I break sheet goods down by laying them on the floor on a piece of foam insulation and use a circular saw and a straight edge.

The track saw will give you finish quality cuts.

The table saw is important when I rip stock, but my bandsaw works as well as others have said.

It’s also useful for precise repetitive crossfire and handles longer stock than the bandsaw.

Dados can be made on the table saw though I often do them at the router table.

Saw stop is amazing for saving fingers. It does nothing for kickback and that can kill you if you don’t position your body correctly. Take a class. All of the schools near me have sawstop btw.

Last do not buy a miter saw. They are inaccurate. I used to use mine to break down hardwood, but it takes up a lot of space just for that. So I mastered the Japanese hand saw and can get clean straight cuts with that. I have a 2x10x8 that i throw on saw horses outside and cut there. Again, take a class if you can. Japanese hand tools are a marvel. I use them for all of my joinery and planing. The planes work so well that I rarely need to sand.

I don’t agree about making cabinets being hard. Making NICE cabinets with frame and panel doors that are perfectly aligned is a challenge and perhaps beyond a first project. Shop cabinets, sure. But unless this is going to be a serious hobby the tool cost is significant. A class is a great way to decide.

WOOD magazine has a nice series on fitting a shop on a budget over the course of a year - what to buy first. Track saws aren’t on their list but for sheet goods it’s the way to go.

You must have dust collection with power tools. Your health is important!!

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat May 23, 2020 10:52 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 9:26 am


OP: there’s also wood carving with razor sharp chisels, angle grinders with special blades, and tiny and large chainsaws, for carving tabletop size whales and sea turtles or fuzzy bears as large as refrigerators. Chain saw Chaps and protection a must. Jus sayin’.😬😬. Try wood carving.

j🌺
Razor sharp chisels require skill at sharpening. Especially if you learn to do it freehand. Take a class :-)

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat May 23, 2020 10:54 am

Oh - I think George of Woodworker’s guild has a series on making cabinets. You have to pay to see his content but it is well done higher quality than YouTube. Marc Spagnolo is a good YouTuber though.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by leftcoaster » Sat May 23, 2020 10:56 am

Luke Duke wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 8:34 am
pshonore wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:49 pm
Luke Duke wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 9:34 am
You won't be happy with a cheap table saw if you intend to make cabinets. The surface area of the table is too small to safely deal with sheets of 3/4" plywood. You can do a lot with an inexpensive table saw if you also get a track saw to go with it. You can save some money on the track saw and get a good circular saw (with a good blade) and a straight edge.
If you're going to stick with the hobby, spend the bucks and a good quality cabinet saw with an ample motor (3HP or more). A good cabinet saw has a lot of mass and is a pleasure to use. I like the Grizzly line myself. I'm having a hard time imagining ripping boards with a track saw or a bandsaw. And forget cutting 8/4 stock as well. Table saws are dangerous - no question. Be sure and use the safety equipment (like the blade guard) that comes with it.

Here's a shot of some Kitchen cabinets made on my Grizzly (1/4 sawn White Oak)
http://eastconn.com/kitchen/k4.jpg
So you recommend that someone with no woodworking experience buy a cabinet table saw as their first saw?
Agree. A cabinet saw with 3hp requires 220 voltage. Investment!

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by JumpsuitJ » Sat May 23, 2020 9:26 pm

Hi,
I'd like to agree with most of everyone has said so far. Except I don't like those small jobsite saws. I know people who like them ok. I do agree that it may be most efficient to look at festool's systems. Geared towards serious hobbiests as well as professionals, much can be done with these tools.
Getting into tablesaw work (power tool woodworking in general) requires a LOT of time spent setting up the tool, and you may need tools like a dial indicator, to set up the tool. If you're doing sheet goods alone you'll need onfeed, offeed, and side tables too, and you'll probably have to build them!
For any non-sheet good work, you MUST (in my opinion as well as textbooks) first dress the board using a jointer and planer. (This is so your workpiece marries flat to the fence and the table or jig). So you actually need those two stationary tools too. And you need a bandsaw to do cuts that are unwise to do on a tablesaw. The jointer, planer, and bandsaw all take a lot of time to properly set up too.
That being said, if you're really serious I'd recommend a used cabinet saw if you have any mechanical leanings. You can get something fairly heavy duty for a few hundred or less. Delta, Powermatic, Walker Turner, Oliver, Jet are some brands. It's important in my opinion that the saw has some heft because you don't want to lack faith in the ability the machine to stay dead sturdy while you're feeding stock into it. But, there are "contractor" type saws that are secure enough.
If mney is no object of then get a Martin!
Understanding the mechanics of how gruesome injuries happen on the tablesaw can help a lot in avoiding them. As can following strict rules on when you can use it. Never work TIRED!! Never rush!!
Google MDF push stick.
Thanks for posting and reminding me how much I like to do woodworking. :happy

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by LifeIsGood » Sun May 24, 2020 6:51 am

I have to disagree about ""It does nothing for kickback" regarding the Sawstop. It has a riving knife which doesn't eliminate kickbacks but greatly reduces them.
leftcoaster wrote:
Sat May 23, 2020 10:47 am
Get a track saw. Festool if you are not price sensitive

I have a sawstop cabinet saw and it’s great for many things. However I have the 36” one and so cannot cross cut a full sheet of plywood safely on it. And I wouldn’t want to. Even without a track saw I break sheet goods down by laying them on the floor on a piece of foam insulation and use a circular saw and a straight edge.

The track saw will give you finish quality cuts.

The table saw is important when I rip stock, but my bandsaw works as well as others have said.

It’s also useful for precise repetitive crossfire and handles longer stock than the bandsaw.

Dados can be made on the table saw though I often do them at the router table.

Saw stop is amazing for saving fingers. It does nothing for kickback and that can kill you if you don’t position your body correctly. Take a class. All of the schools near me have sawstop btw.

Last do not buy a miter saw. They are inaccurate. I used to use mine to break down hardwood, but it takes up a lot of space just for that. So I mastered the Japanese hand saw and can get clean straight cuts with that. I have a 2x10x8 that i throw on saw horses outside and cut there. Again, take a class if you can. Japanese hand tools are a marvel. I use them for all of my joinery and planing. The planes work so well that I rarely need to sand.

I don’t agree about making cabinets being hard. Making NICE cabinets with frame and panel doors that are perfectly aligned is a challenge and perhaps beyond a first project. Shop cabinets, sure. But unless this is going to be a serious hobby the tool cost is significant. A class is a great way to decide.

WOOD magazine has a nice series on fitting a shop on a budget over the course of a year - what to buy first. Track saws aren’t on their list but for sheet goods it’s the way to go.

You must have dust collection with power tools. Your health is important!!

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Tubes
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Tubes » Sun May 24, 2020 7:31 am

Don't do what I did and buy a $100 no name brand on a super sale at Lowes/Home Depot. Piece of junk.

The biggest concern is the fence. It doesn't hold well, nor does it automatically align correctly in parallel with the blade. This can easily lead to binding, which can lead to kickback, etc.

I find the tool to be very useful for the rough work I do, things like making ad hoc railing spokes. I don't make cabinets. If I ever get that urge, I'd build a shop and have a permanently mounted table saw with wide on-load and off-load areas.

Anyway, the "jobsite" types are what I'm looking for, and I wish I had gotten the Dewalt mentioned above. I've used it on some disaster relief projects and it was a joy to use compared to my P.O.C.

As for safety. Well, anything spinning can mangle you. My good shop instructor friend lost the tip of two fingers with a planer. His focus was always the table saw, and he just got careless one day with a "safer" tool.

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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun May 24, 2020 7:50 am

Suggestion for handling sheet material and not having a table saw that will precision cut large sheets.

Have the supply house or lumber yard cut up your needed sheet material into sections (slightly larger) that you will need for the project. Layout carefully so as not to waste material.

IE: (simplistic example): You need various pieces 23 inches wide and no more than 44 inches long. Have the lumber yard cut your 4' x 8' sheet into quarters. Do the final cuts in your shop.

Many ways to do these things depending on tools at hand, skill, and experience.
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun May 24, 2020 7:55 am

Tubes wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 7:31 am
Don't do what I did and buy a $100 no name brand on a super sale at Lowes/Home Depot. Piece of junk.

The biggest concern is the fence. It doesn't hold well, nor does it automatically align correctly in parallel with the blade. This can easily lead to binding, which can lead to kickback, etc.

I find the tool to be very useful for the rough work I do, things like making ad hoc railing spokes. I don't make cabinets. If I ever get that urge, I'd build a shop and have a permanently mounted table saw with wide on-load and off-load areas.

Anyway, the "jobsite" types are what I'm looking for, and I wish I had gotten the Dewalt mentioned above. I've used it on some disaster relief projects and it was a joy to use compared to my P.O.C.

As for safety. Well, anything spinning can mangle you. My good shop instructor friend lost the tip of two fingers with a planer. His focus was always the table saw, and he just got careless one day with a "safer" tool.
The planer is easy to underestimate given that the blade does not protrude by much, and is underneath, not visible, if a hand tool. But, it is amazing how much it can remove in a split second with just the tip of the spinning blade!!!!
Ouch!!!!

Have used laminate routers and fine power and hand planes on a daily basis on commerical interior renovations. There are jagged toothed saw blades, and then there are high spinning other blades as well! :shock:

Regarding table saw kickback: is it any coincidence that the table saw is often at groin height? :oops:

Safety first!
j :happy
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Sandtrap » Sun May 24, 2020 8:07 am

tev9876 wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 2:26 am
I bought a Dewalt DWE749 jobsite saw last year to start building outdoor furniture when I couldn't find anything I liked and decided to make my own. First project was an outdoor TV cabinet to hold a 55" LCD that came out great using basic dimensional lumber. This week I put together an end table from scrap 2x6s and a dolly to roll my patio fire column around. I'm also working on a patio table.

Your choice will come down to the space and money you have, not to mention what you want to accomplish. Since my shop is my garage and I want my truck parked there in the winter, I wanted something with an integrated stand that can be folded away into a corner, but that won't collapse when you try to rip a 4x8 sheet of plywood. If you have $$$$ and tons of space to make a dedicated shop and plan on making high end stuff you may want a professional cabinet saw. If you are making bird houses a cheaper bench model will probably work. I went middle of the road and am very happy with it, and have all 10 fingers.

The table saw has improved my skills considerably. It is much more capable and accurate than a miter and circular saw. Ripping boards to the exact size you need is a breeze. The ability to create lap joints, rabbits, dados and tenons gives you much more flexibility in design.

As with most hobbies one purchase leads to more. You will probably want to create dados at some point, so make sure your saw has an arbor large enough for a dado blade set. You will need a large shop vac for dust/chip collection. You might also want a router for doing mortises and such. Then you will want a planer to flatten wood, and on and on and on...

There are many good videos on YouTube - Wood Working for Mere Mortals and the Wood Wisperer are a couple channels I have found that are good for beginners and will give much better advice than I can give. Be sure to watch the videos on how to use the saw and more importantly what not to do. Push sticks, safety glasses and hearing protection are a must. Kickback is not fun so learn how to avoid it.
+1
Nice saw. Great advice.

A short history of jobsite woodworking:

When I apprenticed as a finish carpenter in the 60's, finish carpenters would get into a new home after it was framed or at some point and make everything, from the screen doors and windows to the cabinetry. Raw materials were all fine wood, raw stock, usually stacked in the garage. Workmanship level for many homes were "stain grade" because not all homes had plaster or drywall but were all fine wood (interior walls and trim). Cabinetry was stain grade or laminated on site. Also countertops.
We set up a wood shop in the garage and finished everything out. As time passed, more things were premade such as prehung doors, cabinetry, etc. Slowly, finish carpenters spent more time installing than creating.
Point of the matter: a lot can be accomplished with different levels of tools depending on the skills and experience of the craftsman. Work within your budget and means.

j :happy
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pshonore
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by pshonore » Sun May 24, 2020 9:56 am

Sandtrap wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 7:55 am
Tubes wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 7:31 am
Don't do what I did and buy a $100 no name brand on a super sale at Lowes/Home Depot. Piece of junk.

The biggest concern is the fence. It doesn't hold well, nor does it automatically align correctly in parallel with the blade. This can easily lead to binding, which can lead to kickback, etc.

I find the tool to be very useful for the rough work I do, things like making ad hoc railing spokes. I don't make cabinets. If I ever get that urge, I'd build a shop and have a permanently mounted table saw with wide on-load and off-load areas.

Anyway, the "jobsite" types are what I'm looking for, and I wish I had gotten the Dewalt mentioned above. I've used it on some disaster relief projects and it was a joy to use compared to my P.O.C.

As for safety. Well, anything spinning can mangle you. My good shop instructor friend lost the tip of two fingers with a planer. His focus was always the table saw, and he just got careless one day with a "safer" tool.
The planer is easy to underestimate given that the blade does not protrude by much, and is underneath, not visible, if a hand tool. But, it is amazing how much it can remove in a split second with just the tip of the spinning blade!!!!
Ouch!!!!

Have used laminate routers and fine power and hand planes on a daily basis on commerical interior renovations. There are jagged toothed saw blades, and then there are high spinning other blades as well! :shock:

Regarding table saw kickback: is it any coincidence that the table saw is often at groin height? :oops:

Safety first!
j :happy
I doubt many folks use the planer function of the so called jointer/planer. If you're gluing up stock to make a table top or a cabinet panel, the j/p will create a true straight edge which is what you want. That means you're running the edge of the board over the blade (and using the jointer fence to support the board. You can also run the face of the board over the blades to reduce thickness and/or eliminate warp, etc. Around thirty years ago, thickness planers were marketed to home workshops. Prior to that that, they were found in commercial woodworking establishments. Remember hardwood lumber is sold as rough stock (the way it came from the sawmill). No serious cabinet maker buys cabinet stock at HD. Way too expensive and limited selection. Thickness planers are easy to use and I think much safer than a jointer/planer.

Now for my kickback story. Quality furniture generally uses mortise and tenon joints. You can cut a mortise with hand chisels of with a special square bit on a drill press. (Thats the hole). A tenon (the stub that goes into the hole) can be cut by hand with a tenon saw (a smaller version of a regular hand saw. I like to make Mission style furniture with lots of tenons.

This picture shows the structure of a table - most of the slats with tenons are decorative but if you look closely in the second picture, you can see the end of the bottom rail extends through the leg by about 1/4".
Image
Image

So I cut tenons (reduce the thickness of the end of rail) by running the end through a table saw while standing it upright. I do have a tenoning jig which is big piece of cast iron with clamps and runs in one of the mitre slots on the saw. I though I had clamped the tenon quite tight in the jig but did not. As soon as the blade contacted the tenon, it threw it out of the saw toward me. It hit me about 8" above the knee and then (still full of energy) did a 90 degree turn and slapped my thigh. Wound up with a bruise about 2" wide and 8" long on my thigh. Could have been worse.

tev9876
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by tev9876 » Sun May 24, 2020 10:34 am

A roller stand or two like these is quite useful when ripping longer pieces for those of us with portable saws and limited space. https://www.harborfreight.com/132-lb-ca ... 68898.html I just throw a long level on the table saw to get the height right. They are not that great for sheet goods that have a lot of flex, but for ripping a 8' board they keep things from falling off the back of the table. My next project will probably be a folding outfeed table though to avoid height adjustments when I move them to the planer. That goes on the Keter collapsible bench which is also good for temporary setups. https://www.amazon.com/Keter-Folding-Wo ... B001CWX26Y

leftcoaster
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by leftcoaster » Sun May 24, 2020 11:24 am

LifeIsGood wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 6:51 am
I have to disagree about ""It does nothing for kickback" regarding the Sawstop. It has a riving knife which doesn't eliminate kickbacks but greatly reduces them.
That knife is sized for full kerf blades. Doesn’t work well with thinner kerf.

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Tubes
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Tubes » Sun May 24, 2020 11:39 am

tev9876 wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:34 am
A roller stand or two like these is quite useful when ripping longer pieces for those of us with portable saws and limited space. https://www.harborfreight.com/132-lb-ca ... 68898.html
Looks like I'm going to spend some money. I haven't seen one of these and I love the idea.

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: What to look for when buying a table saw?

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Sun May 24, 2020 12:34 pm

tev9876 wrote:
Sun May 24, 2020 10:34 am
That goes on the Keter collapsible bench which is also good for temporary setups. https://www.amazon.com/Keter-Folding-Wo ... B001CWX26Y
I have one of those Keter workbenches. Excellent product.

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