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Thread: SCMI SI12 short stroke sliding table saw - any owners here?

  1. #1

    SCMI SI12 short stroke sliding table saw - any owners here?

    I am strongly considering upsetting my current tandem table saw setup and getting a used short stroke slider. I’ve seen the value and wanted one for years, but until a recent shop re-arrange, never quite saw the space available for one in my ~500 sq ft shop. For build quality, track record and price the SCMI SI 12 is at the top of my list. Budget is $3k or under. Not interested in Felder or lighter duty Minimax (SC 3) as I have a strong preference for heavier machinery and don’t see the value in paying a premium for more aluminum and electronics. I like to keep my machinery as simple as reasonably possible and none of my current machines are newer than early 90s for a reason. I considered a few older SC 3 saws that I have seen for sale recently, but something tells me that unless I find a really cherry example of one, that I may be disappointed and wishing I’d gone with a saw with a slightly heavier build. I’m open to being wrong on this.

    I currently have a dual table saw setup in the middle of my shop that consists of a Tannewitz Model U (16” + blade, fixed table, 5 HP, 24” rack and pinion fence) and a Powermatic 66 facing each other with a short outfeed table between them. The saws are coplanar with each other and the 66 has a 52” bies fence on it. Right now I use the Tannewitz for ripping, crosscutting, and joinery that doesn’t involve a dado blade. I use the 66 for dadoes and plywood, though I still generally use a track saw first to put an initial reference edge on the sheet and often times for the first cross cut because of spatial/outfeed clearance challenges at the table saw. Because of (3) load-bearing block columns that run down the very center of the shop, I am limited to a little less than 24” of clearance to the left of the blade on the 66, which can make full sheet plywood cuts impossible sometimes depending on actual dimensions needed.

    I’m considering selling one or possible both of them and adding a stoutly built short stroke (~50” +) sliding saw. I would prefer to sell the 66, keep the Tannewitz for heavy ripping duty on longer stock, which I tend to do plenty of and try and nest the Tannewitz back to back with the slider, obviously on the side where the sliding table is not. Even with both current saws gone, I don’t think I would have room for a full stroke (8’+) slider and even if I could physically get it through the door and fit it in the space, I’m not sure I want to commit to taking up ~18’ of stroke space.

    Tasks that I would use this saw for would include solid wood and sheet stock crosscutting, solid wood joinery cuts, cabinet, etc sized sheet stock dimensioning, short length ripping, tapers, etc. I build a wide variety of custom woodwork from small things all the way up to entry doors and sometimes beyond. As nice and heavy and accurate as the Tannewitz miter gauges are with long wooden fences, they have their limits for cross cutting when thicker stock lengths start to exceed 4-5’ and that happens with enough regularity in my work that I have felt the need for a better crosscut solution for some time. I have been working with enough sheet stock as of late also to see the value in a short stroke slider that has enough crosscut for a 48” sheet.

    I do not currently have a miter saw set up in my shop and haven’t for a few years. I have considered tracking down an industrial miter saw and setting it up with a side table with stops, but would rather not due to space constraints and if I could kill 2 birds with one stone with a well-built short stroke slider, I would rather go that route.

    The SCMI SI 12 (late 80s, 90s, early 2000s? era) is at the top of my list. I have also seen the older SCM L’invincibile SI 15(F), though this looks less capable, convenient with sheet stock than the more modern SI12, but maybe I’m too quick to judge. I have a soft spot for old SCM stuff, but not brand loyal by any means. Is there anything else similar in build quality, capability, price and size that I should be looking for? As much as I love OWWM and the old iron, all the short stroke sliders I’m aware of are more optimized for solid wood and thus don’t have enough crosscut capacity for the 48” sheet stock crosscut.

    3 phase up to 10HP is not an issue. Space (width and length) is a big concern. I’ve attached a few pics of my current table saw setup. The slider would go in place of the Tannewitz and if possible the Tannewitz could stay and go where the 66 is, but it’s hard for me to visualize it accurately without actually having the slider in the space.

    If this matters to you, I do this professionally as my means to make a living. While I won’t always be in this shop space, I would like to try and find a saw that will not only fit here for the next handful of years and really increase my efficiency/accuracy, but also provide value later on in a larger shop space.

    Thanks for any input.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 07-28-2021 at 9:09 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  2. #2
    Phillip, those short-stroke Si's are solid machines. They literally don't make them like any longer. It sounds like you know what you're looking for but a few observations from having seen so many:

    -Machines are often rode pretty hard. Sliding tables may need adjustment or possibly new ball bearings if they've been sitting for a while in a humid shop.
    -Make sure all crosscut fence flip stops are present. Those always seem to be missing. Ditto for riving knives and sawblade guards.
    -Spare parts may/may not still be available.

    Hope this helps.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  3. #3
    Thanks Erik,

    Ideally, I’m looking for a well kept example with as many accessories and fences present. There is actually an SI12 on IRS auctions ending in a few days in Baltimore, that I considered but it’s missing the rip fence, crosscut fence, stops, hold down clamp. Unless I’m missing a source for parts then I plan to pass even if it’s very cheap as I don’t have the space and time and energy to put the saw in storage for months while I try and track down all the accessories that I have so far seen no evidence of on the used market. I’ve learned that it’s worth waiting longer and paying a bit more for older machines that are well kept and largely complete with accessories if you use these machines to make your living.
    Still waters run deep.

  4. #4
    You need alot of width for those saws. Buy complete both my Invincibles came from original german owners, 100 complete. Plug and play. Buy used and if you need a bit of care you saved and end up with 2 or 3 machines of what new would cost. New is no guarantee of set up right or all castings true. Old stuff may be rode hard but was built to be rode hard. Those old machines were built for industry.
    Last edited by Warren Lake; 07-28-2021 at 11:47 AM.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Phillip Mitchell View Post
    ...Iíve learned that itís worth waiting longer and paying a bit more for older machines that are well kept and largely complete with accessories if you use these machines to make your living.
    Phillip, from a guy who is in shops all the time, I must disagree with that statement. In my experience, shops who are serious about making a living are far better off buying a new machine. I don't mean this to sound disrespectful but EVERY customer I have ever met who gives the whole, "I'm just going to hold out for that perfect used machine" has one thing in common: They never find it. To the contrary, this mentality actually holds you back from business standpoint. No sales schtick: Just being honest. If someone wants a vintage machine because they want a vintage machine, that's one thing but making it a business plan to wait for the perfect used machine is a good way to not move forward professionally (who was that guy here who found his perfect used martin slider, then had basically a year-long thread about trying to actually get it running and usable? Didn't he "buy it for business"). Again, no disrespect intended. Just my observations. I hope this all makes sense.

    Erik
    Felder USA Territory Representative: Central & South Texas

  6. #6
    No offense taken. I don’t fundamentally disagree with you and certainly understand the point. Traditionally speaking in business and scaling a business, I’m sure you’re correct, however I look at it a little differently and intentionally do not want to scale beyond myself at this time. It really comes down to budget and what I can afford with cash. I don’t like borrowing for a machine purchase if at all possible and would rather sit tight and wait for the right used machine to come along that is in my cash budget than be in the hole for a new saw that is 3-5x (+ ?) the price. I simply do not have the cash available and am very unlikely to have it over the next few years for a new slider that is built to a level that I’d be happy with. In your estimation, what would a comparable new model saw cost right now and how long would the wait be?

    I’m a small, one man shop and I don’t need a sliding saw so bad that I want to put myself in a position with a loan to have to make a payment on each month. Could I do that? Sure. Do I want the added overhead / burden of that in my small operation? No. If there’s anything that I’m willing to go into debt for it’s funding a new shop build on my own property, that will happen one of these years and I’m saving my debt for that experience / opportunity.

    As for spending a year getting a used saw up and running, that’s not the game I’m trying to play right now, which is why the search is limited to what I’d call plug and play machines (that will cost appropriately more than a basket case.)

    Your point about how long it will actually take to find the right saw is of real concern and sometimes the worst part of being picky and looking for used machines within a narrow set of filters. I have still found a lot of value over the years in being patient, keeping my eyes peeled on the used market and buying when it felt like the right machine/place/price. With my particular budgets, I’ve always felt like I could stretch my dollars way farther by searching hard and going used industrial compared with new. I don’t have the same budget or work at the same scale as a large shop.

    I realize that this is intentionally limiting and counter to the approach of many scalable businesses. Thanks for your comments.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 07-29-2021 at 7:02 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Auckland, New Zealand
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    411
    I couldnt wait for the perfect saw and ordered a L'Invincibile double tilt short stroke (2200mm) panel saw. my shop is 30 x 20. my current slider is a 3800mm slider Griggio

  8. #8
    The shop I used to work at had an SI12. It was a good solid saw, and if you can find one in decent shape it should serve you well. All the ripping was done on a 66 and the SCMI was used strictly for crosscutting- in fact when I came on the rip fence was in storage! We sold it to get a long stroke slider, first an 80's era Griggio SC3000 and later a similar vintage Martin T71. The SCMI was a bit better made than the Griggio but "it's not a Martin". The full format machines were a game changer for us but your shop space limits you. Using the tracksaw for establishing an initial straight edge on sheets is a reasonable compromise.

    The SI12 is probably a few inches wider than a PM 66 to the right of the blade for the same rip width due to the size of the fence casting. The sliding carriage is only about 12" wide as I recall, less than many full size sliders, and the extension is probably about 4' or less, so smaller than some but still pretty wide for your space. I can't remember for sure but I think the extension went on and off pretty easily, while the crosscut fence needed to be carefully reset to square. It's been 15 years since I had my hands on the saw so my memory is not that crisp.

    The crosscut stops were kind of funky and I replaced them with a wood flipstop, so if you find a saw that is missing them no biggie. We never put a dado on the saw and I don't know if that's possible- if not that might be an issue for you although I guess you can get a dado set to fit your Tannewitz arbor. The scoring was run by a serpentine belt off the main arbor and worked ok, but it did tend to drift out of lateral adjustment and need frequent attention.

    It seems like the big problem is those columns- they will just have to go! Will you rip pieces wider than 24" with the tracksaw? It looks like you wouldn't be able to crosscut a 4' sheet with more than that to the right of the blade either. You said " it’s hard for me to visualize it accurately without actually having the slider in the space." Do you use cad for drawing? If so you can plan it out to the fraction of an inch using material paths around the saw to determine clearances, if not make cardboard models and shift them around on a floor plan. I was convinced that we couldn't get a large slider into our space but after considerable fiddling in cad figured out a solution with a few inches to spare.

    Sorry, I can't suggest other short stroke sliders from experience but I can say the SI12 is a good one to shoot for if available at a fair price. We got $2500 for ours when it went.

  9. #9
    Albert,

    Thanks for the comment. I have seen the video of your shop and while our square footages are similar (mine is basically 17’x28’) you have essentially a wide open space with no built-in obstructions and reasonable ceilings. I have multiple obstructions and low ceilings (it’s a walkout basement) and thus it’s not quite the same palette to paint on, as you might say.

    Kevin,

    Thanks as always for the feedback. Yes, the columns are a major problem...I have made some spatial changes recently to the shop space that have opened up a few more opportunities, but the columns (and low ceilings) continue to be the bane of my shop existence. Regarding machine layout, I took a closer look at it yesterday (based on measurements I gathered online, so grain of salt there...) I’m pretty creative with spatial challenges and figuring out what can fit where if I have accurate and actual measurements. The reason I made that comment is because I don’t know if the measurements I’ve been seeing online (that vary to a degree) are accurate enough for me to be scrutinizing every inch with. Based on dimensions I’ve seen, it seems like I could position the slider on the same side as the Tannewitz is currently and have ~40” to the right of the blade before I hit the column and ~60” to the left of the blade (sliding carriage side) before I run into the bandsaw. This is better than what I currently have for sheet goods processing by a large margin, but still less than ideal as I couldn’t crosscut a full sheet right in the middle...maybe I will look at what it would look like with the saw shifted to the left just enough to clear ~ 48” between right of blade and the column. Crosscutting a sheet exactly in half isn’t always what’s needed, but there have been plenty of times when that’s the most reasonable course of action when processing and it would be nice not to have to rely on the tracksaw for the rip and the first crosscut.

    I know I won’t continue to survive and thrive as a business in this space for too much longer, but I have so much (relative) time, energy and (to a less extent) “infrastructure” money into making it what it has become that moving to a short term rental space (and adding in shop rent and drive time to and from) does not feel worth it to me at the moment unless I come across the ideal shop space, which I have yet to do. Physically moving my shop will be no small feat and will cost some $$ both in terms of moving heavy machines and re-doing specific electrical things. I’d rather only do it once to a new space that will be somewhat permanent.

    My goal is to build a new large shop on our property, but there has been serious talk between my wife and I of selling/moving in the next few years, so I will likely wait it out and work with what I have for now. Building 3 custom interior doors at the moment and it is always a bit of a challenge (spatially) working with parts/assembled doors of this scale in this space, but I make it work.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 07-29-2021 at 8:40 AM.
    Still waters run deep.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
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    Ouray Colorado
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    1,086
    Phillip, buying late model machinery used and keeping debt low is always a good business plan.
    no experience with the SI 12 but I owned a SI 15 long stroke for a while and used a SI 15 short stroke in another shop. It’s a decent saw and heavier than the 12. The SI 12 looks pretty nice though. My favorite short stroke slider that I have used is the Altendorf TRK 45. It’s not a solid cast iron saw but heavy built and very functional. The later models have hydro tilt and raise.

    I just spent the last 6 months working part time restoring a Martin T17 short stroke joinery saw. More for a hobby project (a terrible business plan). Knowing full well that could buy a brand new Martin, Altendorf or L’Invincibile for the same dollars if I counted my time! It’s a way better saw than any of the highly cost engineered new short stroke sliders produced now though.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
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    SE PA - Central Bucks County
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    57,853
    If you can actually find what you are looking for and in the condition you want it with the stuff you need, that would be great. The time frame of your actual need certainly plays into things, too. At the same time, new/newer machines are still pretty darn good.
    --

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

  12. #12
    One thing I would add is that the sliding carriage ways are the heart of the saw and if heavily worn can make it worthless for precise work. The ways on our SI12 were v-shaped with balls riding in the v. The ways need to be oiled regularly to minimize wear, an often overlooked task in a busy shop. If the grooves worn by the balls are wider than 1/16" it is likely that the unit is clapped out and not economically repairable. I would not buy a slider without personal inspection of this detail unless from a trusted source.

    As always, Joe has the goods on heavy iron. If you could find a used Martin or Altendorf in the size you want that would surely be a step up.

    For myself, I managed to squeeze a 4' x 8' format saw into my shop. The utility of the 8'+ stroke for solid wood as well as sheet processing is not something I would give up easily. I often remove the extension table to save space, but when it is in place being able to rip up to 8' without removing the crosscut fence is a real plus compared to a short stroke saw. If you can, definitely keep the Tannewitz for long rips.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    921
    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Jenness View Post
    One thing I would add is that the sliding carriage ways are the heart of the saw and if heavily worn can make it worthless for precise work. The ways on our SI12 were v-shaped with balls riding in the v. The ways need to be oiled regularly to minimize wear, an often overlooked task in a busy shop. If the grooves worn by the balls are wider than 1/16" it is likely that the unit is clapped out and not economically repairable. I would not buy a slider without personal inspection of this detail unless from a trusted source.

    As always, Joe has the goods on heavy iron. If you could find a used Martin or Altendorf in the size you want that would surely be a step up.

    For myself, I managed to squeeze a 4' x 8' format saw into my shop. The utility of the 8'+ stroke for solid wood as well as sheet processing is not something I would give up easily. I often remove the extension table to save space, but when it is in place being able to rip up to 8' without removing the crosscut fence is a real plus compared to a short stroke saw. If you can, definitely keep the Tannewitz for long rips.
    Does it have solid or laminated ways? I think all the SCM ways I've seen were sold, but that doesn't mean much.

    The laminated ways are easy enough to replace if worn, and I would think depending on the design, laminating a previous solid way as a repair would likely work.
    20200329_161143.jpg

  14. #14
    are you focused on that model and what are the specs. The SI16SW has a good slider set up, 14" blades and can take to 16 inch no scoring. Most ive seen were 6.5 - 9 HP Then the SI16SF has the simpler slider that runs on a bar. Saw them at auctions. usually around 2k but remember one went over 3k

  15. #15
    Warren, it’s the short stroke and heavy build that I’m after. SI12 - 12” blade, 50 something “ stroke, 4-6 HP, scoring, ~450kg, Manual controls. Looks like a scaled down SI16 best I can tell.I think the sweet spot for being able to crosscut ply and still not taking up nearly the entire shop with the stroke range would be a ~50-60” crosscut capacity. I have a relatively narrow space to fit said machine that must navigate between a block column to the right of the blade and a 20” bandsaw/the wall to the left. Of course I’m trying to get some of both worlds and be able to accurately crosscut long solid stock (up to something like a entry/passage door stile) as well as crosscut and dimension plywood on the same setup...proving to be spatially challenging to satisfy both of those criteria and I may not get there in the current space.

    I think a full stroke saw (even 8’+) would just take up too much space lengthwise which would interfere with where my 20” planer lives as well as would likely not quite fit width wise if the extension sliding table/fence was any wider than what’s on the SI12 for example. That is the reason for the relatively narrow parameters, but I’m asking this here in case I’m missing something and should also add others saws to my short list.

    Joe, thanks for the input. I’m not familiar enough with a T-17 to know how big of a footprint it actually needs, but went down a rabbit hole earlier on CWW forum and saw your beautiful restoration job. What a saw!

    Jim, thanks for the input as always. I think I will need to keep my eyes peeled and play the waiting game for a bit, which has been no different than any of my other used machine acquisitions.

    Kevin, thanks for the notes on the ways and tolerances. Definitely something I will keep with me when inspecting. The last thing you want is to go through the time, effort and expense of buying and moving a slider to have it be an expensive and inaccurate boat anchor. I would try to keep the Tannewitz as much as possible. I like it too much to give it up easily and it’s a fantastic ripping saw.
    Last edited by Phillip Mitchell; 07-29-2021 at 2:51 PM.
    Still waters run deep.

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