> the cheap-o from Craigslist has allowed me to get an awful lot done that I wouldn't have been able to do otherwise.
In many cases, the difference between a cheap-o saw and a high end tablesaw is the quality and accuracy of the fence. Since beekeeping woodenware often involves lots of pieces of the same dimensions, its possible to build wooden jigs that ride in the saw's miter slot to provide very good accuracy and eliminate setup time. These jigs don't need to use the fence at all.
Building jigs is free, and can go a long way towards making a cheap saw perform as well as an expensive saw.