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Thread: Sawstop tabletop dimensions-riddle me this...

  1. #1
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    Sawstop tabletop dimensions-riddle me this...

    Hi all,

    I've been mulling a new tablesaw, though it will be a bit yet. I currently have a 1974 PM 64 that there is nothing wrong with but...

    For an american style cabinet saw, there's really only one contender as a replacement and that's one of the Sawstops-ICS or PCS. I've heard really nothing but good things about them and recently was able to see a PCS in person at my local hardware store as the lumber yard replaced their old unisaw. A couple things struck me and so I checked the specs.

    My PM has a table that's the old-school standard of 28" deep. The PCS is a bit shorter at 27" and the ICS is longer at 30". Neither difference on its own seems like a big deal.

    Here's what I really noticed however-the distance from the front of the table to the blade is much shorter on the Sawstop because the blade is set much more forward. The distance from the front of my PM to the blade when fully extended is 14 1/4", with only a bit of table behind the blade (which has very little effect on cut quality).

    The PCS distance is 10 1/4" and the ICS is 10 3/4". In the pictures below, I split the difference and set the blue tape to leave 10 1/2" of table in front of where the blade would engage.

    IMG_8907.jpg
    IMG_8908.jpg

    Two thoughts:

    1) Ripping: the amount of wood on the surface and length of the fence contacting wood before hitting the blade seems really short-job site saw short in fact. My understanding is that after the cut is open, the fence doesn't do much (hence euro style fences that end at the arbor to help prevent kickback). Regardless, I like having the full 14"+ (depending on depth of cut) on mine to hold/feed/guide as I'm sawing.

    2) Crosscutting: only a ~10" vs. ~14" wide cut can be made with a miter gage that starts on the table--that's a good amount of difference.

    I'm not trying to start a firestorm here... I simply haven't seen this discussed before and am curious about two things:

    Did they move the blade forward to accommodate the brake mechanism? and

    Does it actually matter in practice? Again, my suspicion is that it doesn't make too much difference given all the good reviews the saws get.

    Anyway, some food for thought.

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Hi Chris, yes the loss of crosscut distance could be an issue for some.

    As to the ripping issue, the fence should end near the start of the blade, on a Euro fence you pull it forward so the entire fence is in front of the blade, giving increased infeed guidance, and improved safety. You should put that sort of fence on the saw, or make a wood fence add on that accomplishes the same thing.

    That said, you could never could convince to go back to a cabinet saw after owning a short stroke slider...........Regards, Rod.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    I get around the ripping issue with a expandable rolling conveyor, and get around the crosscut issue with a crosscut sled I built with runners that don't allow it to tip off the front of the table. So I can easily crosscut up to 27" with my sled.

    I had no room for a slider, and am thrilled with my ICS. My $0.02
    - When God closes a door, he opens a window. Our heating bill is outrageous & six raccoons got in last night. Please God, this has to stop!
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  4. #4
    Good eyes; I own the PCS. You're right- it's probably due to the brake cartridge. I don't notice problems ripping, but don't use the saw for ripping sheets and use Magswitch featherboards for most rips. I have noticed the short table on cross cuts with an Incra miter gauge. For me it's minor (but note my sig). If it got annoying I'd either extend the miter slot with a table off the front or spend some time making crosscut sleds.
    Just a Duffer

  5. #5
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    Older saws generally had the blade farther back on the table. Fences were often center mounted and the strongest part of the fence was in line with the blade. Concern grew, particularly with hobby and smaller saws that reaching farther back on the table to clear the fence was scary so blades moved forward a few inches. Probably other reasons too. If you can do a short stroke slider, consider it too. No downside. Dave

  6. #6
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    My old Craftsman "table top" saw has about 14" of table before the blade. My old hybrid has just over 12". My PCS is in storage but, you already have that measurement. I don't really notice any problems operationally with any of the saws. I did notice the extra depth on the older Craftsman since I use it primarily as a crosscut machine with a sled.

    Certainly more table in front of the blade would not be a bad thing and an excessively short table surface could be a problem. Only you know your most often used methods of tablesaw use and would have to decide which characteristic wins the day.
    "The Danish government believes that if we train 5,000 designers, and produce
    one Hans Wegner, the money is very well spent." - Ole Gjerlov-Knudsen

  7. #7
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    Mine is further back and I still built a removable extension for the front for cross cutting large pieces. Got the idea on here.

  8. #8
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    Cross cutting something that's 10+" wide would probably need more support that the miter fence can provide, which is probably one of the reasons crosscut sled are so popular.

    I have a medium size and a large size crosscut sled. I can crosscut 27" on my larger sled. I also made a clamp on support to make this easier.

    Last edited by ChrisA Edwards; 01-22-2021 at 3:36 PM.

  9. #9
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    I have an ICS, and I do prefer the "less space" in front of the blade. I make boxes, and make a lot of smallish cuts. I do have sleds. Recently invested and built a MicroJig Zero play sled. Which I really like. The main reason for choosing that design is there is very little metal, almost no metal so accidental firing of the brake is way less. At any rate, reaching less to make those small cuts is better for my old aging self......
    I guess it depends what you will be building. Small cuts, I think it's better. Regular stuff, maybe not.

  10. #10
    On occasion, I have flipped the miter gauge around to keep it on the table for wider cross cuts. The gauge sliding off the back onto the outfeed table was less of a problem than the gauge catching on the infeed side of the table.

  11. #11
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    I have not noticed any difference in this area on my PCS, my previous saw was a /C-Man. As noted above it had about 14" before the blade. Izzy Swan, recently built a Jig to extend this part though. I believe he using the ICS. It is for sale on his website. I currently use Jessem Clear-Cut TS™ Stock Guides to address the Kickback and improve rip accuracy. Since they pull your stock towards the fence. I also use a cross cut sled with the fence in front. Norm showed building one on New Yankee Workshop. Dan

  12. #12
    I have had no issue with my PCS that would be traceable to the limited space in front of the blade on the table. I used a BT3100 immediately before the PCS and it's table is tiny, however. I don't do wide crosscuts on the table saw (even with a sled). I do crosscuts up to about 8 inchs on my 12 inch CMS. Wider I use a track saw. Much more accurate for me. I had an auxillary fence on my old BT3100 but I haven't felt the need on the PCS. You might want one, however, after using a wider saw. It would affect the ruler for setting the fence but it seems like there would be no other downsides.

  13. #13
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    I had a Canadian General 3hp lt cabinet saw, and it too had more space in front of the blade. I currently have the 3hp PCS SawStop. There are times that I really want that extra space. I've been using work arounds like others have mentioned here. I think I'm going to invest in a sliding table.

  14. #14
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    Thanks all. Good to know the dimensions are workable with a crosscut sled. Chris, I like the support you made!

    Best,
    Chris
    "You can observe a lot just by watching."
    --Yogi Berra

  15. #15
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    Something to consider...if you do a lot of crosscutting, you might want to consider a short-stroke slider. You'd rip normally on the fence for longer stock but would have very good and repeatable crosscutting inherent to the machine. Best of both worlds, honestly. No blade brake, of course, but a lot less instance where you hand needs to be near the blade, too.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

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