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Thread: How much table saw do I need... or want?

  1. #1

    How much table saw do I need... or want?

    I'm what I'd call a "prosumer" hobbiest. I self-perform a lot of very involved home projects and I can foresee myself stepping up my game and getting into light cabinet making. These projects are bordering on something a contractor would take on, but I'm only a homeowner. As an example of a project that I going, I attached a picture of our cabin that I'm building.

    I currently have a Bosch 10" portable table saw. It's a good saw for what it is, but I've been exceeding it's capacity and would like to upgrade to a cabinet saw. I'm looking for a saw that will complement the Bosch and I'd like for it to have more capacity, a larger table, a better, longer fence and a really good square. I like old industrial machines because they meet all of these criteria, are affordable and will outlast me. Without question, I want it to be able to rip a rough sawn 4" timber. I'm assuming the saw would be 3 phase, but I don't have 3ph so I'd run it on a VFD. 5hp VFD's are getting expensive so I'd rather have a 3hp saw. 7.5hp and over is off the table - unless it was single phase.

    I'm thinking I'd like a saw in the 12-14" range, but I've noticed that many of these saws are arbor saws and their cut capacity is quite poor. Especially when compared to the price, weight and difficult in moving the unit. For example, my Bosch has a max 45 depth of 2.5" and a max 90 depth of 3.125". A Northfield #4 with a 16" blade will cut 3" at a 45 and 4" at a 90. That's a huge blade for only 7/8" increase in depth. This is exceptionally disappointing because the big cabinet saw will have a large arbor and expensive blades. Plus the saw will be hard to move and will need other upgrades such as guards. I've checked other brands (Greenlee and Delta) and they're all arbors with a comparable depth of cut. At this point I get frustrated and give up. Are there any options for a quality, 40+ year old industrial belt driven cabinet saw?

    Do I even need something this good or is a 10" unisaw good enough? There's a 12" uni close to me for $850 and it'll do everything that I need for a good price. It's just not what I want...
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  2. #2
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    Look at a Delta 12/14 or Powermatic 72. They will have the DOC you want as they are belt driven. If you want a slider you could look at a used SCM SI 12. My Robinson ET/E slider has the 5" DOC with a direct drive but they are rare. Darcy here might have one for sale. I have a Rockwell 12 ( similar to DElta 12/14 )with a sliding table of sorts. It is 5 hp single phase with scoring so there are some old saws in single phase although most will be three phase. Jack Forsberg can put you into a 5 hp vfd with single phase input for < $400 so don't sweat the motor unless you don't have the circuit for the amperage needed. One of the reasons the old saws still are running and so smooth is the direct drive nature coupled with the very large bearings used that serve both the spindle and motor. There are other 12-14" saws that are belt driven. Most are newer than the old cast iron saws but I'd seriously look at a shorter stroke Euro machine. Choices range from 40-80" in stroke but the choices are fewer as the stroke gets shorter and generally the build goes down although the SI12 is close to the same structure as the larger blade SI16. Some had a 6 hp motor vs the normal 9. I think Darcy had one of those too. Dave

  3. #3
    Re expensive VFDs. You can get a good one for about $225 delivered to your door from China for a 5hp motor.

    The few times Ive needed to cut 3 I just turned the board over, went to the bandsaw, or pulled out the handsaw.

  4. #4
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    A bandsaw is a better choice for ripping Rough timbers. Not saying I wouldn’t try it with a tablesaw if I had a chance
    Aj

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Hughes View Post
    A bandsaw is a better choice for ripping Rough timbers. Not saying I wouldnt try it with a tablesaw if I had a chance
    Already have a 18 band saw, but they make a poor choice for truing board edges. Im buying rough sawn lumber from the historic society and its up to 4 thick. I then build rustic tables and benches with the planks and give them back to the society to sell.

  6. #6
    Do you have a large(8+) jointer? I would get that to clean up the sawn surface for glueing instead of the big saw. Got any pics you would be willing to share of the tables?

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by David Kumm View Post
    Look at a Delta 12/14 or Powermatic 72.
    This if you want a conventional cabinet saw. Lots of Deltas out there. The PMs aren't as common, but maybe a tiny bit better. I have a 12/14 and a 10" PM 65 and it covers my table sawing needs pretty well.

    Otherwise you might want to consider a relatively current Euro slider. I personally wouldn't mess around with one of the old iron vintage sliders and as you have discovered, the big direct drive saws don't get you that much more capacity despite their enormous blades.

  8. #8
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    I would agree that ripping rough sawn lumber on a table saw may not be the best idea. If that is your main use for a larger table saw maybe a larger band saw might be a safer idea. Possibly a track saw and band saw could suit your needs although there aren't any track saws I know that will cut through 4" lumber.

  9. #9
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    Any self respecting home woodworker knows he needs a 10" table saw, a 10" radial arm saw, a skill saw, and a jig saw.

  10. #10
    Join Date
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    Is it a Skil saw, or a skill saw? I've always assumed the former to lump all circular saws, like calling all copy/printing machines the "Xerox", but now I'm not sure.



    Quote Originally Posted by lowell holmes View Post
    Any self respecting home woodworker knows he needs a 10" table saw, a 10" radial arm saw, a skill saw, and a jig saw.

  11. #11
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    I was lumping them together. My skil saws are Porter Cable .

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Einwalter View Post
    I'm what I'd call a "prosumer" hobbiest. I self-perform a lot of very involved home projects and I can foresee myself stepping up my game and getting into light cabinet making. These projects are bordering on something a contractor would take on, but I'm only a homeowner. As an example of a project that I going, I attached a picture of our cabin that I'm building.

    I currently have a Bosch 10" portable table saw. It's a good saw for what it is, but I've been exceeding it's capacity and would like to upgrade to a cabinet saw. I'm looking for a saw that will complement the Bosch and I'd like for it to have more capacity, a larger table, a better, longer fence and a really good square. I like old industrial machines because they meet all of these criteria, are affordable and will outlast me. Without question, I want it to be able to rip a rough sawn 4" timber. I'm assuming the saw would be 3 phase, but I don't have 3ph so I'd run it on a VFD. 5hp VFD's are getting expensive so I'd rather have a 3hp saw. 7.5hp and over is off the table - unless it was single phase.

    I'm thinking I'd like a saw in the 12-14" range, but I've noticed that many of these saws are arbor saws and their cut capacity is quite poor. Especially when compared to the price, weight and difficult in moving the unit. For example, my Bosch has a max 45 depth of 2.5" and a max 90 depth of 3.125". A Northfield #4 with a 16" blade will cut 3" at a 45 and 4" at a 90. That's a huge blade for only 7/8" increase in depth. This is exceptionally disappointing because the big cabinet saw will have a large arbor and expensive blades. Plus the saw will be hard to move and will need other upgrades such as guards. I've checked other brands (Greenlee and Delta) and they're all arbors with a comparable depth of cut. At this point I get frustrated and give up. Are there any options for a quality, 40+ year old industrial belt driven cabinet saw?

    Do I even need something this good or is a 10" unisaw good enough? There's a 12" uni close to me for $850 and it'll do everything that I need for a good price. It's just not what I want...
    I have a 1920's era Yates American G89 that will do all you are asking. I'm not sure what the exact capacities are because I use it for straight line ripping. I'll sell it reasonably, so let's talk if you are interested PM me. I could use the space.

    On another note, I use the Delta/Milwaukee/Rockwell 12/14 as my main saw and love it. I rarely need anything more than it does for me, and when I do I head over to the Yates.
    Stuart Kent
    Founding Director of the North Carolina Furniture School
    Robust, Rikon, Harvey, & Easy Wood Tools Dealer
    252-916-8226

  13. #13
    The 12-14 seems to be what I'm wanting. Nothing close to me at this time. Any other options? Sometimes, just having the search terms is 3/4 of the battle.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Christensen View Post
    Got any pics you would be willing to share of the tables?
    They're not making Fine Woodworking any day, but they have this rustic look that seems to be pretty popular today. For the oak one, I learned my lesson on checking moisture content before starting. I think I paid $500 for roughly 3,000 bdft of oak planks from the historic society. Some of it is clear, but most has "character". They run a demonstration saw mill at their thresheree and this is the lumber that comes out of it.
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  15. #15
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    Where are you located? While they are available for 1500 that won't usually find a good condition plug and play machine. More likely it will need some love. Dave

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