Table saw (buy/fix)

Okay, we need to have a chat about the table saws in the woodshop. As far as I’m aware, the nice solid one has some issues and the other one is just about as useful.

Should we:
a) vote to get a new one
b) vote to get a second hand one
c) fix current one

I believe we’ve already tried fixing the current one, with no dice.

There’s currently one (solid looking) floating around on Gumtree ($1200):

There’s also a jointer on Gumtree for $1200

New gives us options such as Machinery House items: ($1485) ($2035)

or Carbatech options such as: ($1499) ($2199)

Any thoughts or suggestions? I’m not the best woodworker around so if there are any other saws that look decent feel free to mention them, those are all just a “somewhat reasonable price and look alright”.

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Table Saw

I have a few strong opinions about table saws:

  • We should have a sawstop
  • We should buy the biggest, strongest one possible.

Why? Well sawstop is a no brainer, safety. The latter is because a table saw is like your kitchen stovetop, its absolutely central to how you work in a woodshop. We are hard on these tools and they need to stand up to all kinds of 200lb gorillas. So it needs to be capable and strong. But why big? Because the space is best when its providing tools that are bigger and better than what you could otherwise access.

Having said all that, I think the ideal tool for us is this:

I am aware of its astronomical price, I still think its the right tool.

Jointer / Thicknesser

The one we have currently just simply cant keep up, its too much load on a hobbyist level tool. Its literally weeks from new blades to not working.

I think we should buy a combination thicknesser / planer because we need both tools and the combo’s work well. Desktop ones are less rigid, take up workspace, and are harder to plumb in to any kind of dust collection (and a thicknesser is absolutely the biggest dust maker).

So any thickenesser/planer we buy should be free standing, should have modern safety features, and should utilise a spiral cutter to hold up to the heavy levels of use it will experience.

The first is the super quality tool, the second will probably do us ok.

Final thoughts

Not necessarily advocating buying those machines, new. (it would be awesome, but expensive). They are, at the very least, good benchmarks for the quality points we should be looking for.

I’m just going to propose an opposite opinion here… it’s a 250mm blade, and a 3HP motor, and a 2 year warranty… and it costs as much as the GDP of a small country ( ok, $5800 ).

You could buy nearly TWELVE of these for the same price: ( ) … it’s a ~300mm blade, and a 3HP motor, and a 2 year warranty. so it’s basically the same spec of powertrain, so yes, I’m comparing apples to apples. it’s only $495.00.

You could buy every member of the wood-shop cause their own personal tablesaw instead of buying that $$$$ expensive one. yes it’s stupid idea, but so is spending ~6k on a table saw.

… for the record, I’d suggest maybe we could spend a bit more than ~$500 ( even double it ) for a “sturdier one”, but $6k, no way. :slight_smile:

@buzz, I don’t disagree, as such.

I think a saw stop is important. I don’t think we should be looking at anything that is not a saw stop.

I think the saw itself needs to be a freestanding, heavy, solid piece of machinery with a large bed and very solid fence. I don’t think any of the H&F machines meet that criteria unfortunately. They mostly look like i could knock them over with a good push, flimsy. This is why I linked the ‘industrial’ version of the saw stop, its made from thicker, heavier materials all round as opposed to the normal/professional models.

So absolutely, lets find a cheaper source, but the machine needs to be solid. Theres absolutely no point spending money on something with a crappy fence, might as well burn your cash. No point spending money on something that literally moves while you’re pushing material across it.

It’s not about the specs on paper (although you’re not wrong there re blade size and power), its about all the other factors that make it a good tool. To draw a parallel, you wouldn’t think much of a mill that you could literally flex with your bare hands, would you.

FWIW, here is an alternate retailer for sawstop, the pricing is the same it seems, but they do offer a 3 phase 5hp motor option.

I think that what sawstop offers is an excuse to let you get your fingers too close to the saw blade when a proper safe distance from an operating table-saw achieves the same. If you fear the repercussions ( most do ), then don’t go near the saw while it’s running, it’s not hard, just don’t do it. If you find yourself doing it, stop. If you find anyone else doing it, chastise them heavily.

Also, “near” can be defined a few ways, but I personally describe it as “if you are so close that your fingers could touch the saw blade if your arm was out-stretched, then you re too close”. ( approx 0.5m ) Others might feel that a safe distance is roughly how tall you are (2m), so if you trip over while operating the saw you aren’t within falling distance of the blade. Yet others feel that it’s safe to operate in-and-around and arbitrarily close to the spinning blade so long as you don’t touch it ( not me ) ( ~1cm ) . It’s only the last group of people who will "need’ the sawstop, as everyone else should have adequate fear of it that they don’t need it.

So, what I’m saying is that this is a matter of each individual being made aware of the risks, and made aware of how to minimise or avoid them, and deciding for themselves if they are comfortable using the machinery.

It’s the same as everything else we use here. people get inducted, they get shown what to/not-to do, they make their own call.

So, looks like we’re currently on a seesaw between $500 options and $6000 options for the table saw. How about we compromise and say $2000-$2500 max. Do any of the saws I linked look promising for the price point?

As much as I’d love to go for a $6000 saw, it throws us under the bus if we want to get any other decent tools in the distant future. For comparison, our bank balance went up by say $4500 in the past year.

I’m with Josh in that we need something solid, I doubt a cheap saw will last in our environment, and would almost certainly not be sturdy enough to cut true for long.

how long did our current table saw last? a year, or, longer? … why not just set a (say) $500/yr budget that lets you replace it every year with a shiny new one? If the woodship really does “challenge” the tablesaw, and replacing it when a motor is burned out or the bearing are flogged, seems easy. especiually if the budget is pre-approved and ready to spend. Maybe even better… we buy 2 of them now, and keep the 2nd one on “hot standby” for when the first one gives up the ghost. ( they also have a 2yr warrnaty, so why not take advantage of that ? )

My reasoning for more than a $500 saw is simple. We’re a place you’d come to use tools you would otherwise not have. A $500 saw is flimsy and something you’d have in a home workshop, whereas a $2000 saw will be more solidly built, and something that people wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

We want to have equipment that people want to use, and is sturdy. A cheap little home gamer saw being replaced every year goes against that, making us not much more than a home gamer.


Didn’t we have an extremely heavy table saw that used to make a horrible noise as well as the flimsy lightweight one that’s in current use? Surely for $500-$1000 of parts (and even labour possibly) the heavy one could be restored to as-new condition? Perhaps if we contact a tool repair shop they may be able to quote less for a complete overhaul than buying a new unit. Just a thought.

The extremely heavy table saw has somehow moved the blade out of alignment with the table. We have no idea how it managed this as there is absolutely nothing to allow for adjustment, a number of people have had a look.

As for service, that’s also possible. I’ll have a look around for pricing. Perks of a new saw - made for dust extraction. Old heavy one isn’t as fancy. The other flimsy saw is pretty much unsuitable for us as it’s not sturdy enough for our uses (or so I’ve been told).

I used the flimsy saw on Tuesday and it was perfect for cutting A2 sized 12mm MDF boards. I guess for bigger heavier jobs it might be too flexible, but I haven’t done anything like that myself.

OK my turn to chime in.

I have been singing the song of a new saw for a little while.
i have been eyeing up a few i’ll get to that in a min.

first off. aside from the mechanical issues with the current one, the fence is buggered making any decent rip cut near impossible and the channels in the top are not the current spec meaning we can’t use modern slides or any bolt on accessories.

SawStop: Love the idea, too damned expensive, coupled with it only takes 1 person to try and cut ali or wet wood and it’s busted until such time as we can get a new break ($200-300) and a new blade ($150-200).

my thoughts: table saw with a sliding bench and a decent fence.

there are a few available.
H&F also have a slightly cheaper one available but it on’y has a 610 capacity.

i really like this one, it’s near identical to the H&F one but has a 305mm blade. and can do a 1200 cut.

and one from another supplier.

these are the guys that sell saws to bunnings.

I dont disagree, its bloody expensive but just want to clarify some points:

  • If you’re cutting aluminium, you should be changing to the right blade, and in that process disabling the brake
  • Sawstop state green/wet wood is fine, so long as its not so wet as to spray mist during cutting. You can test the material in bypass mode and the indicator will let you know
  • A new brake from carbatec is $99, the most expensive blade from carbatec is like $150. (short of someone ruining a whole dado stack)

I think that inductions and maybe bonds or something might mitigate the issues. An interlock would too.

AAaaaannny who, having just said all that,

I really like the look of that sliding bench saw, I have to admit. I like how it keeps you well away from the blade during rips, seems to keep everything very controllable. Controllable == safety.

I think, just on a cursory look at specs, that the leda or the carbatec are pretty equivalent and either would probably be a good decision.

The minimum litmus test for any saw is how easy/hard it makes it to accurately, easily and quickly tear down a standard full sheet. Any of the <$1k, or even <$2k saws dont pass that. Our current saw certainly doesnt, it has a cut size of like 15cm.

hence the leda and carbatec ones i suggested have a 1220 cut. if you can get it in half you can do anything.

EDIT: in order to prevent accidental leaving of the saw in bypass mode the keys for bypass would probably be left offsite atleast at first. (not with me, i’m not there enough at the moment)

It apparently doesn’t do that, once you turn the saw off it goes back into safety mode. So you can’t leave it on in bypass.

What if i want it to 2/3 and 1/3rd? :stuck_out_tongue:

then you cut 1/3rd off and you have 2/3rd and 1/3rd -3.2mm

sigh. its no fun if you dont play.

Jokes aside, i think its probably the right choice short of a whole sawstop splurge.

+1 for saw stop

If we are going to spend the money let’s fork out a bit more for the better tool.