Opinions on contractor table saws

Discussion in 'Newbie' started by Brent Wells, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Messages:
    416
    Location:
    nj
    Oh I forgot something new abut newer saws

    The direct drive saws especially what one can find at the BORG. I've read on other forums where guys wanted fine fine cuts but were consistently unable to get good cut quality that they would put an indicator on their blades and give them a little push with their fingers to try to wobble them a bit to see what was what. These guys were finding that the class bearings on the direct drive less expensive saws was allowing blade wobble and thus were never going to give them a good cut surface.

    The old adage that you get what you pay for seems never more true.
     
  2. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    Andy, I didn't know that Freud had some for less than $30. Maybe I ought to tell the folks at my local Rockler Hardware. They charged me almost Forrest prices for the two Freud blades. I think that I have five Forrest blades if I count the stacked dado set as one. I got it for about half price at a woodworking show in Dallas eons ago. It replaced my Craftsman wobble dado (what a difference). All of my Forrest blades are different types, but I have found that my 40 tooth is what I use for everything. I don't know if it is true, but I remember that the Forrest sales poop back in the early 1990's was that no single other (probably meaning Freud) blade could be used for everything with as good results. Since I am sufficiently stocked in blades, I probably will never need to buy any new ones. I can't really make a direct comparison since the rake, hook, bevel and all that sort of stuff is different between the blades for the SCMS and table saw. I also have a whole pile of the ones that I had in mind when I mentioned "cheap" (meaning quality of cut) like Craftsman, Black and Decker, etc. I wasn't particularly thinking about price although on average there is somewhat of a correlation. I have no idea about today's prices. Other than the Freud blades that I got for my SCMS, I probably haven't bought a blade in at least twelve years. I think that I paid somewhere around $80 back then for a Forrest blade and maybe $20 for a Craftsman blade. I don't know what offerings Freud had back then since I had found the blade that went way beyond what I had previously experienced using Craftsman blades on my Craftsman radial arm saw. With the Forrest blades, it was a really fine saw although the exposed blade was a bit scary - really scary for rip cuts.

    Oh, I would be willing to save your Forrest blade from neglect. I have heard, and believe that it is true, that they will get tooth decay from just lying unused on a shelf or hanging on a peg. At the cost of crowns these days, you wouldn't want that to happen, would you? :rolleyes:
     
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2014
  3. Raul McCai

    Raul McCai

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2014
    Messages:
    416
    Location:
    nj
    My blades include Guhdo, Ridge carbide, Tenru, Felder and some no name industrial NFM blades I bought better than 40 years ago. I've disposed of Freuds and Oldhams that ended up disappointing me too much to keep Wheee frisbees~!!

    My favorite blade by any stretch are the Felder Silent Power blades. There is just nothing that comes close that I've used. The Guhdos and Tenru are great, but they kill my ears.
    The Felder blades cut great and keep the silent power promise.

    The down side to Felder saw blades is that it appears that Felder doesn't know any good grinders because they come from the factory with a really poor grind on them. After going to the grinder they are perfect.
     
  4. Michelle Rich

    Michelle Rich

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    42
    Location:
    usa
    I can't advise on new saws, mine is 30 yr old Delta contractor. I make many many segmentations and furniture, and have never needed anything more. My suggestion for segmenting is: a good quality contactor saw with an incra sled, and a good quality blade. I use a Freud combo. The saw must be capable of turning the blade without flutter & run true. That's about it. I have heard nothing but good about the Grizzly 10" hybrid. the price is amazing. Good luck and have FUN!:D
     
  5. TerryAnderson

    TerryAnderson

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    US
    DEWALT DW744XRS Job-site table saw is best one known to me so far.. Its rack and pinion fence rails make fence adjustments fast, smooth, and accurate. It is well-built and very sturdy. I would highly recommend this saw for anyone wanting a portable tough saw
     
    Last edited: Jan 15, 2016
  6. Paul A Andrews

    Paul A Andrews

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    Very interesting discussion

    I've been turning for three years and am now setting up a workshop at home, so I'm in the market for a saw. I will be making bowls and urns and doing a lot of segmenting. I OD'd on reading saw reviews and for everybody who thought he had a great saw there was somebody who would tell you not to touch it or who had to make so many tweaks and adjustments that it frightened me away. While I gagged on the SawStop prices I'm beginning to get to the conclusion that money spent on a great saw is money well spent, and easier to recover in the used marketplace. I'm going to reconsider the strategy.
     
  7. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    Well I didn't look at contractors saws (well maybe just a little) but spent the last month looking at top of the line saws with a friend who is going to buy one. We tried to compare all features and played with quite a few. The Saw Stop Professional came out on top. It is pricey. Now while we were looking they also had the contractors saw and I was pretty impressed but didn't really spend much time with it. I was looking at all the other features besides the most familiar which is the saw stop function. So to put it briefly they have done the research and created an excellent saw even if you don't consider the safety feature.
     
  8. Zach LaPerriere

    Zach LaPerriere

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2015
    Messages:
    388
    Location:
    Sitka, Alaska, United States
    Home Page:
    a Saw Stop caveat

    I've known two shop teachers who were forced to use a Saw Stop. Overall they said it's a good saw, but both have had issues when ripping green wood. The higher moisture content causes the safety mechanism to switch.

    This of course doesn't apply to segment turners—but we all use our saws for lots of different things.
     
  9. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    In the beginning that may have been true, but you have a couple options with wet wood. One is that the sensor can be calibrated to the wetness of the wood up to a point. The other option is that the trip mechanism can be turned off when the sensor tells you that the wood is too wet. Finally, Any smart woodworker knows better than to rip wet wood unless they like wood that is bowed and twisted after it dries. If building a deck and you screw the wet wood down where it can't move, then that should be OK. Anyway, I would say that there are two shop teachers who didn't read the manual. What did Norm Abrams say about reading the manual?
     
  10. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    At our school they also bought one. It tripped once with dry wood. The instructor will not let them touch that saw with any sort of wet or treated wood. Fortunately the brake mechanism is much less expensive now than it was back then. Still ruined a $100 blade however. I don't think they have had a problem since then and it's been 5 or 6 years of constant student use.
     
  11. Jamie Straw

    Jamie Straw

    Joined:
    May 28, 2015
    Messages:
    1,440
    Location:
    Bainbridge Island, WA
    Yep to the bolded statement. Evaluating reviews is difficult. IMHO, people who've spent a few to several thousand dollars on a tool are inclined to expound on its many virtues, but there's also the group of vociferous posters who've had one troublesome experience that they may or may not have tried to resolve with a respected company and they way over-blow the problem or situation.

    If I had the money, I'd get a SawStop, no hesitation whatsoever (my current saw is a Delta Unisaw, used from a cabinet shop). The smaller the pieces I'd be sawing, the more I'd want the SS. That being said, a high-quality saw (Powermatic, etc.) and a highly accurate sled or other fixture, with safe design and operation, should do the trick. IMHO (again), no contractor saw falls into the "high-quality" category. Been there, done that, exercise in frustration for anything that's cut at angles (mostly the bevels) and needs to be supremely accurate.
     
  12. Jon Minerich

    Jon Minerich

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Biloxi, Mississippi
    Contractor's Saw

    Hi Everyone,

    I purchased a SawStop Contractor's Saw 6 months ago and love it. It was easy to set up and fine tune. It is accurate and the dust collection works great when I hook it up to my vacuum.

    About 4 months ago, my neighbor bought the Bosch Contractor Saw from Lowe's. I like it as much as mine. While it won't protect my fingers like the SawStop, it cost about 1/3 as much.

    In my opinion either saw is great. Both fold up for easy storage and come with the wheels and carriage as part of the deal. Both are very stable. So either one would be a good choice.

    Jon
     
  13. Paul A Andrews

    Paul A Andrews

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2013
    Messages:
    35
    Location:
    London, Ontario, Canada
    A friend of mine just sustained an injury and took a bunch of stitches in his thumb. This event has elevated his focus on safety and he has discovered SawStop. He has also discovered a technology which ostensibly has the same safety feature, although it operates somewhat differently, called Whirlwind. This stops the saw blade by anticipating the contact rather than detecting it. All the information he has appears to be quite dated, at least five years old. Is anybody familiar with Whirlwind? Did it get any traction in the market? Is it a genuine alternative to SawStop. Any help with this much appreciated.
     
  14. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    This sounds too much like a spoof "invention" at work that the engineers named the "Anticipatory Regretter". It was supposed to enable a development team to preemptively regret a bad decision and prevent questions like, "why didn't you anticipate that" from the customer. Regretfully, the device didn't perform to expectations. I suppose that we should have anticipated that.
     
  15. Bill Boehme

    Bill Boehme Administrator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2005
    Messages:
    8,136
    Location:
    Dalworthington Gardens, TX
    Home Page:
    My Forrest blades are all well over 20 years old and have been sharpened several times. I haven't bought a new saw blade for my Unisaw since the early 1990's. I always bought my saw blades when the woodworking show would come to town and I think that I paid somewhere in the neighborhood of $80 back then. I don't know what if any Freud blades were available back then, bur I'm pretty sure that there weren't any Diablo blades. I think that money-wise I'm better off than the throwaway blade route. I haven't kept up with developments blade technology I might give the Diablo a try if I ever wear our my stash of Forrest blades.
     
  16. Barry Crowder

    Barry Crowder

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2016
    Messages:
    74
    Location:
    DFW, TX, USA
    I've had my 10" Diablo blades resharpened and they come back incredibly sharp. Depending on the number of teeth (the place I use charges more for more teeth), they're not quite throwaway.

    Might not be able to sharpen as much as a Forrest blade, but still cheaper to resharpen than to buy new. Having said that, they're inexpensive enough that you can have multiples and use one while the other is getting sharpened.
     
  17. Mark Hepburn

    Mark Hepburn

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2014
    Messages:
    1,170
    Location:
    Houma, Louisiana
    Brent,

    There's a lot of good advice here and so I may not be adding much (but that's never stopped me before):

    I agree with you and the others; the money you spend on a quality saw is money well-spent.

    I've been through several saws including radial arm, portable TS, hybrid and so on. If you have the footprint, the budget and really plan on using the saw for more than segmented work then a cabinet saw would be what I'd get in your position. Yes, you'll probably spend a loooong day getting it into your basement :)

    This is especially true if your work includes more flat work, which is what I've mostly been doing the past 40ish years. It's hard to beat the precision of a heavy, quality table saw with a good fence, dust collection, and miter gauge. Also, a riving knife is something I'd never be without again.

    Also, I never buy a tool with resale value in mind but that's just me. On the other hand, if you buy a really good tool for its own merit, generally you won't want to sell it (but when you do, you can get a pretty good price. I just sold a Bosch Axial glide for close to what I paid).

    I don't have an opinion on SawStop personally and am on the fence (pardon the pun). My slider, properly used, is inherently safer than most of what's out there. But lots of people here on this forum that I respect recommend them and that's well worth considering.

    And there's not a saw I've ever bought that shipped with a blade worth using for fine work. I have a couple of the Ridge Carbide blades that I prefer to the Forrest blades for smooth cut and this will be important for cross grain cutting for segmented work. Also, you might consider an aftermarket miter gauge like the Incras or others. Dial in to a high tolerance and you're set.

    Having said all that, if you know that you don't want to do large scale work and don't need a table saw for lots of different applications, perhaps you could spend on a Kapex instead? I don't own one but plan to. I've tried one and it is superb in virtually every aspect. I know that Malcolm Tibbetts says he uses one. Benefits are a pretty wide cross cut capability as it is a slider (as Bill mentioned). Also, it's very precise, has a small footprint and you could build a wall-mount station perhaps that would minimize its space requirements in your shop.

    So, there's my .02 and remember that my thoughts are probably worth what you paid for them. :)
     
  18. Jon Minerich

    Jon Minerich

    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2011
    Messages:
    28
    Location:
    Biloxi, Mississippi
    I am an owner of the Sawstop contractor saw and I love it. The quality, size, stability, and safety make this one heck of a saw. Having said all that, about 6 months ago my neighbor bought a Bosch contractors saw from Lowes. Except for the safety feature I believe the quality and features of his saw are every bit as good as mine. I was fortunate that I could afford the Sawstop, but if my budget was an issue, I believe the Bosch would be a very good contender.
     
  19. john lucas

    john lucas

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2004
    Messages:
    5,829
    Location:
    Cookeville TN USA
    I had to help a friend look for a high end saw a year ago. We checked out all the top end. While we were at it I looked at a lot of the contractors saws because sooner or later I will be downsizing. As near as I could tell without actually cutting on one the Saw Stop had a lot of good features and was extremely well built. I did not take into account the actual saw stop function while looking at the saws. I wanted to compare the fence, miter gauges, and how everything else worked. It still came out on top.
     
  20. Fadi Zeidan

    Fadi Zeidan

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2016
    Messages:
    187
    Haven't read all the thread, but when I was thinking into getting into woodworking, I was waiting for REAXX job site bandsaw. It was not out yet, and haven't followed up on it. Sawstop was suing to block it from entering the market.

    It is same as sawstop, but does not damage the blade and you get two fires per carterage. It also does better job at detecting wet wood from the demos.
     

Share This Page