Author Topic: contractor table saw - good price?  (Read 887 times)

nereo

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contractor table saw - good price?
« on: September 08, 2018, 03:14:29 PM »
Looking at getting a better table saw for my woodworking hobby.  My current existence as a renter makes getting a full-blown cabinet saw unpractical, so I'm concentrating on contractor saws with 110v motors and rip capacities of at least 30".  The following caught my eye - would like feedback before i pull the trigger

Dewalt 'model 10' contractor saw $300 (though probably can get down to $250)

The good
  • Cast-iron top
  • UniFence (which I gather is about as good as the Biesemeyer)
  • 36" wing on right side, 12" wing left side (61" total surface
  • belt-driven 15 amp motor
  • comes with decent miter gauge
  • nearby & fits my minimum requirements - not a lot come up in my area within an hour's drive

The bad:
  • Blade lift is less fluid than I'd like (maybe needs cleaning?)
  • no riving knife or blade guard (would need to find aftermarket solution)
  • not sold with blade (though I have my own)/li]
    • wings are aluminum, not cast-iron

    Other than the aforementioned sticky blade lift, the saw seems to operate very well - no blade wobble, cast-iron is completely flat and it doesn't look abused.  The fence alone seems to make this a good deal as aftermarket options are >$200.

    what say you, woodworkers?

Goldielocks

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 03:55:03 PM »
Keep looking!

nereo

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 04:50:16 PM »
Keep looking!
why do you recommend that?

Goldielocks

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 05:02:20 PM »
The price for what you are getting.   A garage shop version, used, should go for $50 to $80 and if you buy a rail kit and aren't building fine furniture, many people like them.

Nicer / newer used ones (dewalt, etc) go for $200 to $250.   (prices per Craigslist for vancouver just now)

We own a very heavy, fixed, 220V table saw (made in QC, too!).  These newer (nice) portable ones that contractors use today are terrific and nearly as good, but portable to the jobsite!  I have been pretty impressed by them.

Also watch out for something that was used by contractors versus a home hobbiest.  At 110V the contractor ones on craigslist may have been put under a lot of stain and will not likely come with 4-5 free sawblades. The home hobbiest one (from someone moving) will definitely come with free sawblades if you ask.  Sawblades cost a lot of money.

Maybe there is something special about the one you showed, but it doesn't look like it.   If you can get it for $150 or less, with many free sawblades and you really like it...?   

Do you need one that folds and stores or is the table top type in the photo you gave ok for you to be on the bench all the time?
« Last Edit: September 08, 2018, 05:03:55 PM by Goldielocks »

nereo

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2018, 07:15:00 AM »
interesting.
The things that you pointed out were not areas I had been overly concerened with, while the things I had been concerned with you didn't mention. 
As for the saw itself, it's an older-model contractor saw but it was owned by a hobbiest, not a contractor. 

What I don't like about the jobsite Dewalt-style saws is their light-weight, their rack-and-pinion fence and their small table top size, all of which were design choices to make them lightweight and portable - neither of which I particularly need in a home setup.  All of these lack cast-iron tops (and lack even ferrous tops) which eliminates any of the magnetic featherborads etc available.

A larger top (with feed & fence) and heavier overall is two reasons  i'm looking at contractor saws vs jobsite.

Saw-blades or course are nice, but as I already have a half-dozen blades of various types; this wouldn't come in useful until later on, assuming they were good blades to begin with.

Still, your responses have be thinking of aspects I hadn't given as much thought to, so thanks for your feedback.



BudgetSlasher

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #5 on: September 09, 2018, 08:34:54 AM »
I glanced at that exact CL posting (or at least one using the same exact picture) recently in my occasional search for good tool deals. But unlike you my location is not "la belle province", nor is it even the same country.

I thought to my self that it was overpriced based on what I see come up from time to time in this state. The unifence is a nice touch and perhaps the roller base if you want/need that, but other than that it is basic Delta model 10 with a stamped side wing and a scrap piece of countertop/torsion box fitted between the rails as an extension (how well/square/level depends on the owner).

In the same state you can find a " Rockwell/Delta Table Saw with Stand" which appears to be the same design without the counter top, rolling stand, or fence "upgrade" for $100. It is older an might need a little steel wool for rust.

I've traveled over an hour for tools here. I've found that the larger cities have good deals, but you have to jump on them and out in the sticks you can talk people down more after it has been on CL for a while because few people want to go that far for a tool.

Don't get caught up on the unifence. If you are just upgrading, a well adjusted standard fence can be pretty darn accurate.

Also what are you going to do with it? MY FIL made all of his kitchen cabinet carcasses are drawers using a good job site saw and some shop built out feed tables and side tables. The plus is it all packs away neater than a contractor saw (which is what I used to build my cabinets) for more floor space in a smaller shop. His cabinets came out a little better than mine, the difference is in the skill of the woodworker. Both of us used the the stock fence and a decent quality blade, along with spending some time tuning and adjusting the saw for good blade/fence alignment and blade runout.
« Last Edit: September 09, 2018, 08:37:34 AM by BudgetSlasher »

nereo

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #6 on: September 09, 2018, 09:26:05 AM »
@BudgetSlasher - yes, I moved a couple hundred miles to the south (but haven't updated my profile, clearly) - so that was most likely the same saw you viewed.
Good feedback.  I actually stopped by to take a look and based on feedback here and from RL friends I've decided to pass.  As you said in this area listings are few and few between and you can drive an hour+ to see something.

I think what attracted me the most to it was the Unifence (plus that it was a listing nearby).

As for my uses - I've been gradually expanding my hobby as a woodworker.  My most recent project is building a crib, but previously I've build some bookcases and a bed, and sometime in the near future I'll be making a large farmhouse table.  I've been frustrated on the table size of my jobsite saw - its akward and dangerous to cut larger sheets of ply. But you of course have made the excellent point that the skill of hte woodworker trumps the quality of his/her tools. 
Mostly I've just noticed how much easier and faster it is to do simple things on my employer's saw that's permanently set up with outfeed table and a nice, long fence. So I've been trending in the direction of setting up my own (small) woodworking space rather than having to bring out my tools and set them up every time I want to make a few quick cuts.

thanks for the feedback.

BudgetSlasher

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #7 on: September 09, 2018, 12:22:57 PM »
@BudgetSlasher - yes, I moved a couple hundred miles to the south (but haven't updated my profile, clearly) - so that was most likely the same saw you viewed.
Good feedback.  I actually stopped by to take a look and based on feedback here and from RL friends I've decided to pass.  As you said in this area listings are few and few between and you can drive an hour+ to see something.

I think what attracted me the most to it was the Unifence (plus that it was a listing nearby).

As for my uses - I've been gradually expanding my hobby as a woodworker.  My most recent project is building a crib, but previously I've build some bookcases and a bed, and sometime in the near future I'll be making a large farmhouse table.  I've been frustrated on the table size of my jobsite saw - its akward and dangerous to cut larger sheets of ply. But you of course have made the excellent point that the skill of hte woodworker trumps the quality of his/her tools. 
Mostly I've just noticed how much easier and faster it is to do simple things on my employer's saw that's permanently set up with outfeed table and a nice, long fence. So I've been trending in the direction of setting up my own (small) woodworking space rather than having to bring out my tools and set them up every time I want to make a few quick cuts.

thanks for the feedback.

I almost always rough cut (1-2cm oversized) sheet goods with a circular saw with guide/fence (poor man's track saw) on top of a sheet of rigid foam before processing to final size on the table saw. Its less awkward and less dangerous.

There is a $50 against the wall kit built panel saw on the same CL that uses a corded circular saw that you might want to look at if you process a lot of sheet goods.

Goldielocks

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #8 on: September 09, 2018, 01:05:35 PM »
interesting.
The things that you pointed out were not areas I had been overly concerened with, while the things I had been concerned with you didn't mention. 
As for the saw itself, it's an older-model contractor saw but it was owned by a hobbiest, not a contractor. 

What I don't like about the jobsite Dewalt-style saws is their light-weight, their rack-and-pinion fence and their small table top size, all of which were design choices to make them lightweight and portable - neither of which I particularly need in a home setup.  All of these lack cast-iron tops (and lack even ferrous tops) which eliminates any of the magnetic featherborads etc available.

A larger top (with feed & fence) and heavier overall is two reasons  i'm looking at contractor saws vs jobsite.

Saw-blades or course are nice, but as I already have a half-dozen blades of various types; this wouldn't come in useful until later on, assuming they were good blades to begin with.

Still, your responses have be thinking of aspects I hadn't given as much thought to, so thanks for your feedback.
I don't use the saw, myself, very often.  DH does, but most of the things he does, I have seen people do in the past 8 years with the new smaller / lighter versions (see below), e.g., cutting 4x8 sheets to make kitchen cabinets, other items where you want an accurate, stable, saw.

When you set up the saw, you want it with excellent clearance; we have built it into a table and added roll off extensions (fold away ones).   

So, your shop layout either needs to be designed to work with a portable/movable version or have your saw be in the middle of the room all of the time.   The in between - movable on rolling castors is not so great.  Even fabulous castors that you spend $300 for will compromise you a bit, decreasing the incremental benefit versus a portable.  I actually like the increased stability of a portable saw that you lift onto a solid table / surface, then put away after.

FYI - We bought our saw in the 1990's, the alternatives available then were not so great for accurate cuts, so we paid for this 800lb monster... and it cost a lot.

Challenges with full size table saws:
The challenges with the full/ heavy version -- getting it down the stairs to the lower level shop (WINCH, and WINCH SUPPORT needed, unless you are crazy like my DH). Then we moved and needed to get it back up.  Then we moved 2 more times.     We thought the accuracy / stability would be worth it at the time.

It uses 220V circuit, and for one place that we moved to, it was in the garage, and we rented there, so DH had to keep unplugging my dryer to connect it up (I don't recall how he adapted the plug / switched the circuits to make it work).  All the other locations we owned so we created the dedicated circuit from the panel.

In a tight area, the sawdust falls under it, and it is awkward to clean out from under it.

In contrast, my second comment -- my father is a cabinet maker, out of a shop from his home.  I grew up with a quality table saw, I remember the excitement when he bought it in the 1980's and could extend his client services.. he used it to make fine furniture and everything else.  BUT -- For the past 10 years he now takes his portable saw with rails to the job site, and he does a lot of custom kitchen woodwork and finishing on it.  (for very picky, wealthy people).

If we had the new style portables available back in the 1990's I would have 100% told younger me to NOT buy the fixed in place saw, nor a semi-portable version that I would put on a castor table.

lthenderson

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2018, 07:11:37 AM »
Looking at getting a better table saw for my woodworking hobby.  My current existence as a renter makes getting a full-blown cabinet saw unpractical, so I'm concentrating on contractor saws with 110v motors and rip capacities of at least 30".  The following caught my eye - would like feedback before i pull the trigger

Dewalt 'model 10' contractor saw $300 (though probably can get down to $250)

The good
  • Cast-iron top
  • UniFence (which I gather is about as good as the Biesemeyer)
  • 36" wing on right side, 12" wing left side (61" total surface
  • belt-driven 15 amp motor
  • comes with decent miter gauge
  • nearby & fits my minimum requirements - not a lot come up in my area within an hour's drive

The bad:
  • Blade lift is less fluid than I'd like (maybe needs cleaning?)
  • no riving knife or blade guard (would need to find aftermarket solution)
  • not sold with blade (though I have my own)/li]
    • wings are aluminum, not cast-iron

    Other than the aforementioned sticky blade lift, the saw seems to operate very well - no blade wobble, cast-iron is completely flat and it doesn't look abused.  The fence alone seems to make this a good deal as aftermarket options are >$200.

    what say you, woodworkers?
I used a contractor saw for many many years successfully and they are good starter saws but a year ago I went to a hybrid saw. A hybrid essentially has all the advantaged of a cabinet saw but run on 110 and have wheel carriages underneath so they can easily be rolled around for small shops like mine. I went with the Rigid 4512 hybrid table saw and have not regretted it. The blade drive assembly is mounted to the bottom of the table top so blade runout is practically nil. It comes with a really nice fence system, runs extremely quite compared to my contractor saw I had and has a much larger and heavier top than my contractor saw but is easier to move since it can be lifted up on wheels with one push with a foot on the lifter mechanism and rolled easily around.

Just letting you know that the choice isn't either/or anymore when it comes to contractor versus cabinet table saws. There is a new niche that is the best of both worlds.[/list]

nereo

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2018, 07:49:44 AM »
I appreciate the feedback, and I'm going to stick with what I have for now while keeping my eye out for other opportunities.

- lthenderson; good to know about the Rigid. That saw had caught my eye earlier but then fell off my radar.  One of the things I hate is how friggen loud most jobsite saws are, made even worse in my setup (a modified garage) due to its enclosed nature. 

- goldielocks; thanks for sharing your experiences. After a lot of reflection I'll admit that I've gotten myself into that trap where I really *want* a dedicated wood shop where my table saw is permanently mounted and ready to go, even if my temporary existence doesn't allow this.  I need to accept that and realize this might be my future but it isn't my present.  in the mean time there are things I can do to mitigate the long list of frustratings I have working with a small jobsite saw (like what Budgetslasher recommended about rough-cutting sheet goods before ripping them on the saw).

FWIW I spent Sunday sketching out some plans on how I can put my jobsite saw on a mobile cart which will create a larger top and small outfeed table while keeping it at a better wokring height.  Nothing ground-breaking, and I should ahve googled it before because many before me have tackled these same problems.  I'm leaning towards doing something like this, which would also solve my problem of where to put my router top (currently I just suspend it between two sawhorses when needed, which works but isn't ideal.
Don't re-invent the wheel, Nereo - just diagnose the problem and find solution(s) for that.


BudgetSlasher

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2018, 05:17:47 PM »
Looking at getting a better table saw for my woodworking hobby.  My current existence as a renter makes getting a full-blown cabinet saw unpractical, so I'm concentrating on contractor saws with 110v motors and rip capacities of at least 30".  The following caught my eye - would like feedback before i pull the trigger

Dewalt 'model 10' contractor saw $300 (though probably can get down to $250)

The good
  • Cast-iron top
  • UniFence (which I gather is about as good as the Biesemeyer)
  • 36" wing on right side, 12" wing left side (61" total surface
  • belt-driven 15 amp motor
  • comes with decent miter gauge
  • nearby & fits my minimum requirements - not a lot come up in my area within an hour's drive

The bad:
  • Blade lift is less fluid than I'd like (maybe needs cleaning?)
  • no riving knife or blade guard (would need to find aftermarket solution)
  • not sold with blade (though I have my own)/li]
    • wings are aluminum, not cast-iron

    Other than the aforementioned sticky blade lift, the saw seems to operate very well - no blade wobble, cast-iron is completely flat and it doesn't look abused.  The fence alone seems to make this a good deal as aftermarket options are >$200.

    what say you, woodworkers?
I used a contractor saw for many many years successfully and they are good starter saws but a year ago I went to a hybrid saw. A hybrid essentially has all the advantaged of a cabinet saw but run on 110 and have wheel carriages underneath so they can easily be rolled around for small shops like mine. I went with the Rigid 4512 hybrid table saw and have not regretted it. The blade drive assembly is mounted to the bottom of the table top so blade runout is practically nil. It comes with a really nice fence system, runs extremely quite compared to my contractor saw I had and has a much larger and heavier top than my contractor saw but is easier to move since it can be lifted up on wheels with one push with a foot on the lifter mechanism and rolled easily around.

Just letting you know that the choice isn't either/or anymore when it comes to contractor versus cabinet table saws. There is a new niche that is the best of both worlds.[/list]

I have setup with another hybrid saw the Delta 36-725 and also have had very good luck with it. Out of the box these was a little tuning to be done (beyond what you can find in the manual).

The Delta has a similar foot roller mechanism, which is great in a smaller shop. It can also be wired either 120 or 240, but I have left it at 120 so that I can use any outlet in the shop and not be tethered to a single 240.

Goldielocks

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Re: contractor table saw - good price?
« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2018, 06:18:53 PM »
Dedicated run-off, table top extension makes a HUGE difference in a hobby shop set up.   I think you are on the right track.  When you are eventually ready for a different saw, that table design can still be used long term (with small mods) for something nearby.