table saw selection
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,096

    Question

    Question for the tool geeks out there. I'd like to get a portable table saw (as opposed to the heavier fixed type). Now before the testosterone gets the better of me, this won't be used for serious cabinetmaking, lots of sheet stock, 4X lumber etc. It's for a homemaker and hobbyist who'll use it for projects such as trim, the occasional bit if home repair, various brewing stands and terraria, etc. And of course beekeeping. And the budget is pretty limited.

    That said, I'm looking at the $99 to $160 portables w/ 5/8' arbors, the lighter the better (it'll have to live on a wall between uses). Can these saws acceptably use a dado blade occasionally? Again, I'm not looking to go pro woodworker here. I've seen lots of good used saws, but they're all big ole heavy deals and I don't have a shop for it to live in

    Any tips/ caveats appreciated!
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

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  3. #2

    Post

    Things to watch out for on small, cheaper saws. Most if not all have a short arbor(the treaded bolt the blade mounts on) which means you will be restricted as to the dado blade width you can cut as well as the slot on the cutting table can be a restriction when trying to use molding blades (used to make half moon handhold notch).
    Also if you plan on fine/small cutting the smaller table saws have too much "space" between blade and table deck making oh say frame cutting a pain as you will have to make a "space reducer" out of plywood that you will clamp to table top, for when you work on small stock. If you notice on larger saws the insert plate has this space reduced AMAP already. Not to say small saws can't be used, just require extra effort. Table saw is the one piece of equipment you will want to invest good money in as it will be the heart and soul of just about any project. IMHO better to swallow the big pill on purchase than to live with the heartburn overytime one of the other issues arise.

  4. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,571

    Post

    {It's for a homemaker and hobbyist who'll use it for projects such as trim, the occasional bit if home repair, various brewing stands and terraria, etc.}

    Like any true addict in the denial stage! We know you're (I mean your friend is) buying that saw to make bee equipment Ben, you put it last but we know, you can't hide from us! Dado blade, making cabinets, yea right!

  5. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Thornton Colorado
    Posts
    2,003

    Post

    You need a router. Do you have one?

    Actually, I know some cabinet installers that use a small portable like you are talking about.

    For what you are talking about I would get one of those portable tables that you mount a circular saw upside down in and a portable router table. Both with their respective tools. I would use the small table saw for ripping only pretty much. Maybe rabeting too. Then use the router for the rest. You can build a box joint jig for your router table. This way you have a very flexible set of tools. I don't think I would run a dado on a setup like this. That's what the router is for anyway.

    Then you'll need to get a jointer and a panel sander and scads of clamps, can't have too many clamps... Ahem. Sorry.

    For trim I would use a miter saw, either an electric or get a really good hand miter.

    Oh, and get a workmate. I use mine for everything. Works great for setting up the portable table saw.

    Seriously, whichever route you take, get a good one. If it feels flimsy then it is. There shouldn't be anything flimsy on a tool like this.

    JohnF
    JohnF INTP

  6. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Thornton Colorado
    Posts
    2,003

    Post

    Oh yeah, what you are buying is less the saw and more the table and fence. Ok the miter too but usually these are ok. Don't get a fence that is tough to adjust or that wobbles or can't seem to stay square.

    Play with the fence.

    JohnF
    JohnF INTP

  7. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Berkey, OH, USA
    Posts
    1,486

    Post

    HI Ben
    I agree with the John, If I didn't have room for a table saw, first I would get a good router, small router table, and of course a good miter saw. Also the workmate. Agree that the fence is the critical piece. One of my woodworking mags had a study of what you are looking for but I couldnt find it.

    Checking out the web, I found this site which had some very favorable reviews of the Dewalt

    http://www.epinions.com/hmgd-Tools-B...splay_~reviews

    I really like my Dewalt plunge router and some of their other tools. From what I can see this looks like one you should consider.

    THis sho0uld be posted under Equipment instead of tailgater i think

    good luck and have fun!
    david

  8. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
    Posts
    3,398

    Post

    For sheet stock, I clamp an aluminum I-beam to
    the sheet of stock, and align it with care
    to allow me to run a circular saw along the
    I-beam, and thereby avoid the whole bowing and
    kickback scenario on the table saw.

    For fine work, most fences are utter garbage,
    and need to be triple checked for distance from
    blade and "square". You want a decent fence? I
    have two words for you - "Incra Gauge". Very nice
    stuff, but very expensive.

    When making beekeeping equipment, everything is
    done with jigs, so you are less limited by your
    fence quality/accuracy than you might think.

    The best investment I ever made was in a carbide
    10-inch blade for my table saw. Cuts through
    oak floorboards like they were pine. Cuts
    through pine like it was angel-food cake.

  9. #8
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Knoxville, TN
    Posts
    1,931

    Post

    I have a Delta bench saw. It has a longer table than what looks like is on the Dewalt. The Delta has a table extension on the right that comes in very handy. But, every little piece of the Delta is finding its way to the floor. Now the wheel that raises the blade is slipping and thats really annoying. And there still just isn't enough "table". Fence is OK but you have to watch it to make sure it is secure. I've had mine creep over a few times while cutting.

    Anyway, I think these small tables saws are better than no table saw, (this was my choice) but if you have any inkling or space for a biger one don't waste you $100 or so bucks.

    Also does anyone know if the Delta will take a daddo blade?

  10. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    hidalgo county texas
    Posts
    303

    Post

    does anybody know anything about the Ryobi models sold by home depot?

  11. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,071

    Post

    If it weren't for the lack of space, you should spend the extra $$$ for a good quailty tablesaw. I bought a cheapie Sears 10" and while it's an ok saw, it doesn't have the ability to hold up to cuting sheet stock. So i'm looking for something better.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  12. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Columbia, South Carolina USA
    Posts
    2,596

    Post

    http://www.toolbarn.com/images//bosch/4000-09.jpg

    An awesome and very portable saw. Sadly, it is not cheap.

    Keith
    Bee Sting Honey - So Good, It Hurts!

  13. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Lyons, CO
    Posts
    3,096

    Post

    How about dado accomodation: is it as easy as measuring the gap with the throat plate removed, minus clearance (and what should the clearance be)?
    Bees, brews and fun
    in Lyons, CO

  14. #13
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Trumbull, CT
    Posts
    421

    Post

    The bitterness of poor quality lives on long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.

    This is especially true when it comes to power tools and ski goggles.

  15. #14

    Post

    I got a protable RYobi from HD. I would not try and lift it onto the wall for storage but I can get it up and down stairs. Have not tried a Dado yet. Cuts okay. I suspect a problem with the blade angle, NOT STRAIGHT. Fence moves easily. For the money it is okay to work with but not for furniture grade stuff.

    I am more and more so of the belief that I need to buy the best the first time.

  16. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    havana fl
    Posts
    1,400

    Post

    Peggjam, people don't really cut sheet rock with a table saw do they????
    Use a straight edge. Score deeply the paper on the front side with a utility knife. From the backside, place a knee against the back of the score line. Pull the top part of the sheetrock toward your body with some force [like breaking a stick over your knee] after the plaster breaks cut the paper on the back with a utility knife. For small pieces use a keyhole saw or hand saw.
    Iím really not that serious

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