View Full Version : First Cabinet Saw Purchase

Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 12:18 PM
I am looking for my first cabinet saw, and hopefully last one to purchase. Many candidates exist including he Powermatic PM20003 HP 10" Single Phase Left Tilt Table Saw with 50 Accu-Fence, Rout-R-Lift and Riving Knife ($2804), a Jet Deluxe Xacta, JTAS-10XL50-1DX ($2039), or the Delta 36L352 3 HP Unisaw with 52 Inch Biesemeyer Fence ($2699 after rebate). Less expensive alternatives will be the Grizzly G1023RLX 10" 3 HP 220V Cabinet Left-Tilting Table Saw ($1600) or the General International 50-260R M1 10" Left Tilt 3HP Table Saw ($1639).

The Powermatic and Jet are both on sale for a few days. If memory serves me well the Grizzly saws will go on sale some time late spring but last year they only offered a $50 discount.

I had sent an e-mail to a woodworking forum member with an older Unisaw (2000ish) but no response came. Perhaps I will give that a few more days. Based on some very poor experiences on Craigslist, I don't really want to do business there. I do like old iron though but it seems many of the folks who own it want nearly as much for the older stuff as the newer stuff costs. I do think some of the advances such as a riving knife with table saws are an improvement.

So based on my options, any ideas?

Van Huskey
03-15-2012, 12:24 PM
You will get replies all over the place, most of us will recommend what we have or what we lust after. For me if you have decided on a cabinet saw and have the budget to get the top shelf versions the PM2000, New Unisaw and Sawstop PCS/ICS are the only places I would look, maybe adding the General Candadian built 650R.

Me I bought the PM2000 and I am 100% happy with it but likely would have been just as happy with any of the others I mentioned.

Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 12:33 PM
The PM2000 being considered has a router table in the extension. It seemed prudent to get that instead of a separate router table. Any thoughts on that?

carl zietz
03-15-2012, 12:35 PM
As Van said, you will have many opinions, I have the jet left tilt xacta with router lift, have had it for 10 yrs and still love it.

Van Huskey
03-15-2012, 12:47 PM
The PM2000 being considered has a router table in the extension. It seemed prudent to get that instead of a separate router table. Any thoughts on that?

I like the idea and have one in my extension wing. I opted for using an Incra fence and put a Woodpecker router lift in. Point being you can add this (as many do) without buying a package deal allowing you to pick exactly what you want. The all in one solution that PM offers is a good one though.

Paul McGaha
03-15-2012, 12:50 PM
Hi Rich,

I understand you being uneasy with craigslist. It can work for you though. You can buy a lightly used, well maintained tool at about half the cost of a new one from people that are ok to deal with. Just a couple of pointers I used is I like ad's with pictures of the tool, It's proof of the condition of the tool. I like the pricing on the tool to be in line from the start rather than a seller that sets the price at twice what it should go far and then hagggles downward. Last item is I only buy used tools from the original owners rather than a tool reseller.

It's not that I have a lot of craigslist experience but all of them so far have been ok. I think I've sold a couple of things and bought 1 thing and there were no adjustments in price on any of the transactions.

Comes to used tools keep an eye on the classified ads here at the creek aslo. I've made a few transactions with creekers and all were positive.

As far as new saws the brands mentioned are good ones. Probably Grizzly also. If you can budget a little more go all out and get a Hammer or equal Slider.

I have a 2002 (Or so) Unisaw I bought new and love it.

Good luck with it.


Jack Vines
03-15-2012, 1:02 PM
Yes, another opinion. With the plethora of good pre-owned cabinet saws afloat in the system today, I can't imagine paying retail for a new one.
Based on some very poor experiences on Craigslist, I don't really want to do business thereYour money, your machine, your decision. There are good, bad and ugly people selling on craigslist, just the same as with machine tool dealers.

A physician of my acquaintance doesn't do any heavy lifting or craigslist either, so he bought a $3500 + 8.1% sales tax + $100 delivery = $3880 new Delta off the floor at a retail dealer. First, they weren't there with the delivery on the day they promised. Then, when it came, the bumper of the big delivery truck dug a gouge in his steep driveway, the cabinet was dented and the fence and arbor were out of alignment and it had the wrong plug for his 220V outlet. For paying top retail dollar, he also got quite a bit of frustration before he got it up and running.

Because I have a different outlook and situation, for $100 I bought a used Unisaw with surface rust on the table and hauled it home myself. I spent four hours cleaning the table top and rails, aligning the rip fence and table extensions. Our cabinet saws now have similar utility and number of hours invested. I have $3700 with which to buy wood and other tools.

Your results may vary.

Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 1:12 PM

Glad this thread offered you an opportunity to vent. As stated in the original post, a riving knife (a real one) is one of the reasons for my decision to purchase new. All the manufacturers listed sell through online companies, so no shipping fees (except Grizzly) and no tax are included with the deals. Delivered to the door.

Feel free to tell the next person the errors of his logic as well. Now back on the topic of which of the options offered seems the best choice.

Prashun Patel
03-15-2012, 1:24 PM
The PM, Unisaw, and Sawstop tend to be the most recommended cabinet saws. I have an SS and am pleased.

That being said, the Grizzlies and Generals get good reviews too. At $500-1000 less than the above, you can EASILY upgrade the fence and dust collection.

I have not used the others, but I will say the single thing I like best about my Sawstop's PERFORMANCE (I'll stay away from safety) is that the riving knife and guard pop in and out with the flick of a lever. That ease of switching makes me more inclined to use them.

All this is to say, I don't believe you can go wrong.

I WILL say that in terms of aftermarket saleability, I see very few newer Uni's, PM's, or SS's. There are several Jets and Grizzlies for sale around me. This *might* tell you something.

Van Huskey
03-15-2012, 1:46 PM
I have not used the others, but I will say the single thing I like best about my Sawstop's PERFORMANCE (I'll stay away from safety) is that the riving knife and guard pop in and out with the flick of a lever. That ease of switching makes me more inclined to use them.


Of note FWW tested the guard/riving knife issue on all the usual suspects and the new Uni was the best in those areas. The rest of the saws did pretty well except the Grizzly G0651 compared to the others. I have no idea how the G0561 compares to the 690/1 and 1023 but it is more expensive and one would think it would be at least as good as the cheaper models from Grizzly but I just don't know.

Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 1:51 PM
I WILL say that in terms of aftermarket saleability, I see very few newer Uni's, PM's, or SS's. There are several Jets and Grizzlies for sale around me. This *might* tell you something.
Well it makes me infer that many people are unloading the lesser priced table saws. That might be because more people purchase them because of their price points or because they aren't living up to expectations. I did a random search of all Craigslist through "For Sale Alert" and found exactly what you state. Lots and lots of Jet products and some Grizzly products. Extremely few Powermatics, a few Delta Unisaw models, and almost no Saw Stop units for sale used. Most people want near retail for a new saw with the late model offers. Some want more than current sales and rebates. If I go with Powermatic or Jet, the move will need to come by Saturday. The sale ends then. Thank you for your insights.

Don Jarvie
03-15-2012, 2:58 PM
Unless you have already you should hit Woodcraft or Rockler and check out the saws. Which one has the best features you like? The Unisaw has been redesigned so maybe having the tilt and height wheel on the front of the saw is more to your liking.

Rod Sheridan
03-15-2012, 3:11 PM
I would also look at the small sliding saws such as Hammer and MiniMax.

Far greater capabilities/function/capacities in the same size package as a cabinet saw........Rod.

Steve Meliza
03-15-2012, 4:10 PM
The May 2010 issue of Wood has a review on 3HP cabinet saws that has some of the models you mentioned or similar. Top rating was shared between the Delta 36-L352 and SawStop Professional while the Grizzly G0691 earned best value.

The review also includes the Powermatic PM2000, Jet JTAS-10XL50-1PK, General International 50-300 M1, and a few others. You might find the $4 price tag to download the PDF version (http://www.woodstore.net/shte3ta.html) a good investment.

Andrew Pitonyak
03-15-2012, 4:33 PM
The PM2000 being considered has a router table in the extension. It seemed prudent to get that instead of a separate router table. Any thoughts on that?

I built my own and it works great... In the grand scheme of things, it was actually pretty easy to do. I suppose it must be if someone of my modest skills was able to produce one that works pretty well. Of course, I have still not bothered to add t-track to the table, but it is on my list of things to do..... I created my own router fence out of plywood and if I want it to be parallel with my normal fence, I simply move my saw fence over against the fence and clamp to it! :-)

jonathan eagle
03-15-2012, 4:47 PM
Here's a link to a review on riving knives on various saws. It's worth thinking through how you will be using the saw and what the ratings mean. So take them with a grain of salt!


Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 7:07 PM
I would also look at the small sliding saws such as Hammer and MiniMax.

Far greater capabilities/function/capacities in the same size package as a cabinet saw........Rod.
Rod, that proved interesting reading but to decently set one up it looks like you're spending about 5K up to 10K.

Will Blick
03-15-2012, 8:32 PM
Rich, u sure are doing the right thing, get as many opinions as you can...big decision, you will prob. live with it for MANY years...

My input.... first the obvious...if safety is of primary concern, the SS is tops the list in quality an obviously safety...you can get whatever version suits your need and budget.... another case of priorities here.

If sheet goods, or even just larger pieces of hardwood are what you will cut the most, I would opt for a mini slider, they really are the best of all worlds, yes, you do pay more, but the added versatility is incredible.... I know that would be the ONLY TS I would ever buy again.

OTOH, if you don't cut large pieces, a cabinet saw might be the ideal size for most of your needs, which is nice, as those saws hit the sweet spot of price vs. quality.
I have the PM2000 you are considering.... yeah, its a very good cabinet saw, but at this level, all the ones you mention are excellent, heck, they have been making them for 100 years. My issues with the pm 2000 are, the riving knife QR is very cheeesy... disappointing with the low quality that went into the QR. The blade guard is, OK, at best.... good vision, but large, and must be removed often, as it keeps hitting the fence for thin cuts. Its also very "shaky". And no hope for dust collection on top... which is where a lot of the dust exits..

I much rather have the Unisaw blade guard...although I never handled the QR on a Uni.
The PM2k casters.... Its a great concept, but poorly executed.... wheel diameters are just too small and often get stuck in the smallest concrete cracks. An accessory base would suffice prob. much better if you want a saw to be moved often. So I would not put much weight in that part of your decision.

Rich Riddle
03-15-2012, 10:01 PM

Thank you for your considered statements and explanations. You offered plenty of things to think about to say the least and are one of the few members who offered unbiased criticisms of the PM2000. It's doubtful those things would be seen even when looking one of them over in a store.

In regards to the mini slider, most don't even bother to tell you the initial costs associated with them. Do you know a way of finding the costs? I saw the Hammer 31 x 48 was on sale for $3249 but that likely doesn't include shipping or any accessories. I could easily see that going over 5K without blinking. It would make sense that you wouldn't be using a sled on a saw like that. Do you currently own a slider? Is the Grizzly slider out of the question because of quality control? It appears as though their saws are at that price point yet include all the accessories.

Thank you again.

Van Huskey
03-15-2012, 10:09 PM
Since we are talking about a healthy budget and Will brought it up, I would recommend an overhead guard for any of these saws if nothing else for added dust control. I use the Excaliber, SS has their own and there are 5 or 6 others on the market. Grizzly, Brett, Penn State, Delta/Biesemeyer and Exactor are some I can think of.

Will Blick
03-15-2012, 10:53 PM
Yeah, you can only tell so much from store visits, but sometimes thats the best you can do, hence the value of these forums....

I hear ya on the Mini Sliders, when you get into the German made machines, its not like buying from Amazon :-) Its a whole different animal. I do NOT own a slider, but hopefully others who have bought those machines will tell you what they felt about the value of their purchases. It might pay to wait for a Hammer sale. If space is a consideration, I love the small foot print of the mini sliders. In essence the mini slider is stepped-up version of a nice cabinet saw with a BIG sled, however, there is some significant differences.....

the slider does NOT eat up blade height like a crosscut-sled does... sometimes that is an issue. An option is moving to a 12" table saw to gain back the extra inch lost with a crosscut sled. But now you have a 12" blade saw, vs. the what the market caters to, which is 10", tons of selection, great deals, etc. 12" or larger is quite uncommon.

The slider offers NO friction between the workpiece and the table....the moving parts are below the table... would you rather push wood over metal, or keep the wood fixed and slide on ball bearing shafts? This IMO, is what makes these small sliders so special vs. a conventional cabinet saw. These small sliders are sort of "new kids on the block" and in the last 10 yrs have finally earned their market share. The concept is rock solid... its a real luxury IMO.

You ask a great question regarding the Grizz sliders, I have never used them. But as with all things Griz, you can get anything from HF quality, to PM quality, all based on which quality of product they offer in a given range. For example, my 12" Griz Extreme jointer, is an incredible value at $3300, quality is superb, very reliable, and the tables were dead flat with a 6ft Starrett precision straight edge...not easy at that price range, specially with long beds. If the price difference is significant enough, and your work volume is not "mass production", I would not rule out Griz if they have a unit you like. My thought is, find a slider that fits your space and work style, determine if it fits your budget. If so, see how many people have used that model...or if you live near a Griz store, maybe make a trip to try one, if possible....its a big enough investment where it might be worth it... as you know, you buy it, you own it.

I agree with Van, overheard dust collection is a nice feature, I have a jury rigged set up, but I would prefer a more permanent solution. The fence is also critical, be sure to get one that fits your style.... I prefer digital these days, with a BIG read out.

Of course, most of this comes down to budget.... the mini sliders sit atop the heap of high end TS's IMO....(whereas the full size sliders are way out of the cabinet saw category). Sliders are a joy to use, I am surprised the concept of mini slider did not surface 30 yrs ago. Will I sell my PM2k for one, maybe some day, if I move my shop, or someone wants my PM...but if I were buying new today, I would surely buy a small slider, the selection and price are really incredible today...if not the Hammer, maybe another high end model... if that brand exceeded what I wanted to spend, I too would end up in a Grizz retail store evaluating if I would go Green on this purchase....

Doug Colombo
03-16-2012, 12:30 AM
I agree with Van - the PM2000, New Unisaw and Sawstop ICS are all great saws and you will be happy with any of them. I looked at these three (and a Grizzly) and went with the New Unisaw. I liked the up front controls on the Delta for both hieght and tilt, along with the riving knife adjustment (to lower it for non-through cuts). I also liked the fact that it was built in the US (although some parts are from overseas) and that all of the major castings were cast and machined here. So far I have been very pleased with the saw (I have had it a bit over a year).

Clint Olver
03-16-2012, 1:00 AM
A new saw! So exciting, but the decisions can be overwhelming. I went through this a few years ago. My budget was less, but here is what I learned and did.

1. Sliders are great, if you can afford one, go for it! The scoring blade, the crosscut capacity, and the ability to easily square up panels - they are just awesome. A lot of guys in your spot are buying this slider from Grizzly:http://www.grizzly.com/products/10-Sliding-Table-Saw/G0623X Capacity, quality, footprint and price seems to make sense for a lot of guys. It is probably what I'd do If I had your $. If you can't afford a slider, factor in a sliding table attachment to your purchase.
2. You will want table top DC eventually, factor that in too.
3. Grizzly saws may not the best, but they are probably the best $ value out there in new saws.
4. Go cast iron for your router extension. No sag, flat, and not as costly as you'd expect.

Here is what I bought:
Grizzly 1023 with router extension
Grizzly sliding table attachment
Excalibur over arm DC (used for $100)
General International router fence

David Kumm
03-16-2012, 1:24 AM
Don't forget to look at used. There are several short stroke sliders on ebay and CL. I quickly found a SCMI si12, Grizzly, and new unused Hammer all in the 2-3K range. The SCMI is an industrial saw and won't lose its setting very easily. Dave

Will Blick
03-16-2012, 11:02 AM
I agree with David as well, assuming you live in area where there is a good population, and such saws might appear for re sale. Not always easy. But I would prefer a lightly used higher end mini slider vs. a new standard cabinet saw. My bias is obvious by now :-)
much depends on how much time you have to ride out the decision process.....

Consider this as well....when you add up the cost of the accessory bolt-on side sliders to cabinet saws, added sleds, etc, you start to close the price gap a bit, not too mention, the mini slider will always be a much more capable machine. The other slider benefit which I did not mention, but is obvious once you use them, is the added support of the work piece past the blade. All types of contraptions are built on to TS's for this, as you really can't support a very wide crosscut (safely) on a TS top without added support. The side-board slider accessories for TS's still require the wood to slide on the saw top. IMO, its simply price that has kept Delta and PM away from mini sliders, as prob. a bulk of sales are to very pirce concious hobbiest / small shop type shops. The last I looked Hammer seems to dominate this Cabinet saw footprint in the form of a slider.

While I like the Griz slider linked above, this is a BIG footprint slider.... I was under the impression Rich was after a smaller footprint, such as a cabinet saw footprint. If so, Hammer makes several sizes of their Cabinet saw size sliders, which is what I was referring to:


I see this priced on the Hammer site for $3k. Rich, another suggestion, if you space is an issue, consider the lower priced smaller slider combined with Festool Rail system to reduce sheets down to sizes that are now manageable on slider. Of course, if most of your work is with sheets, the added cost of the larger slider with no Festool system might be more feasible for you. I tend to cut down sheets very fast with rail system, and would hate to have such a huge footprint slider. Of course, I am certainly no high production shop...

Mark Qualizza
03-16-2012, 5:54 PM
The first saw I purchased was a Saw Stop 5hp industrial, fantastic saw. Solid, cuts everything easily and very reliable. I purchased the saw in 2007 and have not had one issue with it. Next to my cyclone it is the most used tool in my shop.

scott spencer
03-16-2012, 7:21 PM
If I were looking in your price range, I'd at least consider a Canadian made General 350/650....old school build quality with some modern feature updates, dealer support, etc. I think the question becomes whether or not a saw like the PM2000, General, or Uni are worth nearly twice what a comparably equipped Grizzly costs. The PM gives you a deeper table, built in casters, good warranty, dealer support that the Griz doesn't offer. The Uni is made in the USA and has a legendary reputation, updated design, dealer support, etc. What are those features and quality nuances worth to you? If the price difference doesn't really matter much to you, get whatever one makes your heart beat fastest!

Mark Engel
03-16-2012, 7:41 PM
I have the Grizzly G0623X sliding table saw. If you wnat ot get a little more information on this saw, look here:


and here:


david paul miller
03-17-2012, 12:21 AM
love my unisaw with the tilt in the front and the dial indicator, larger throat to get your hands in for blade changes, and blade set back about 3" further, gives more room on table front .

Will Blick
03-25-2012, 1:12 AM
Rich, which way ya leanin?

Rich Riddle
03-25-2012, 5:12 PM
Rich, which way ya leanin?

Found a 1-year old Unisaw with an long extension and professional outfeed table. It must have had at least 4 hours of use on it. He included five jigs he had a cabinet maker build. The owner wouldn't take less than $1000.00, so I paid that.

Will Blick
03-25-2012, 5:37 PM
that sounds like a steal Rich, congrats.... captial cost is a significant factor, as those dollars saved will surely buy you LOTS of extra and USEFUL tools....
any pix for us to feed on?

frank shic
03-25-2012, 7:09 PM
congratulations rich. hope to see pics soon :)