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Thread: Completely overthinking first table saw purchase. Please help

  1. #1
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    Completely overthinking first table saw purchase. Please help

    Iím selling off some work equipment to clear up some space and pay for new tools. Iím a DIY hobbyist, probably not going to be turning woodworking into a career at any point, so Iím not going all in. Iím looking at the Fusion F1 saw vs the Hybrid Grizzlyís as my first and potentially only saw.

    Iím mainly going to be using the saw to rip sheets of plywood for cabinets, built ins, cutting dados and smaller projects like keepsake boxes with splines and such.

    The Fusion F1ís dust collection and table is making me lean in that direction over the Grizzly models.

    Then we get into the SawStop discussion. I might be able to stretch for the hybrid contractor SS and I want to avoid jobsite saws because Iíve been borrowing one and even with my makeshift outfeed table, I just donít feel as safe ripping sheets of plywood as I would on a proper table saw. Spending more on the table saw also means less than I can spend for other tools. Price difference is essentially a Festool track saw kit.

    Long story shortÖ besides the ďhow much are your fingers worthĒ discussion, how do the F1 and Grizzly hybrids hold up as a hobbyist saw and is the SawStop worth stretching for in terms of quality?
    Last edited by Stephen McBride; 02-13-2024 at 8:21 PM.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stephen McBride View Post
    Iím mainly going to be using the saw to rip sheets of plywood for cabinets

    I want to avoid jobsite saws because Iíve been borrowing one and even with my makeshift outfeed table, I just donít feel as safe ripping sheets of plywood as I would on a proper table saw.
    You're going to get a lot of better advice from folks far more knowledgeable than me, but the first thing I thought is that the difficulty in finding a good answer is that you may be asking the wrong question.

    I would suggest that a tracksaw is a better option than a small table saw for cutting up sheet goods. A combination of inexpensive track saw and lower priced jobsite saw may get you better, safer results at an equivalent cost.

    Depending on your budget, you may be able to get the safety of the Sawstop after all.

    I work in a very small space, and have found the combination of tracksaw and jobsite saw (mine is a Bosch, but I'm saving up for the Sawstop) does everything I need as a hobbyist woodworker in a safe and controlled manner. While I would like to have a centerpiece table saw with a huge outfeed table that would handle 4x8 sheets safely, there isn't room in my workspace or budget.

  3. #3
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    "and is the SawStop worth stretching for in terms of quality?"
    yes spend the money and cry once
    Took me a long time to buy my SawStop ICS, yes it was a lot of money. I tremendously enjoy it every time I use it
    I bought a Safety Speed Cut H-5, 60" crosscut, before the SawStop came on the market, a panel saw is the ticket for cutting plywood and other sheet goods
    I started out with a 10" TS with nonmetallic top, then a Jet contractor for a month before I forced Jet to buy it back. Then bought a Delta contractors saw, used it for 17 yrs and then bought the SawStop ICS. Bought a Dewalt radial arm saw early on. Bought more Radial arm saws thru the years. Now own 3 panel saws, 4 Radial arm Saws and the SawStop.
    I recommend you shop for a used panel saw for the plywood and get a compact table saw for the little stuff. Cut your dados with a router.
    Get a good air cleaner first, then dust collector, by then you will have a better idea of what you want in a jointer, planer and possibly a lot better idea of what you want in a table saw.
    Ron

    The Safety Speed Cut H-5 is fastened to the garage wall and protrudes about a foot out. Mounted it there in 1999, only problem is wife buries it and I have to move things to use it,
    Last edited by Ron Selzer; 02-13-2024 at 8:50 PM.

  4. #4
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    If you're thinking this might be your one and only saw, I'd look for a well-cared for US made Unisaw, PM 66, or similar. You will get a lot more saw for your money than new and a well-cared for one will last a very, very long time. I have a 1954 Unisaw, born the same year as me, and I'm quite sure it will outlast me by a very wide margin. These saws probably provided design inspiration for SawStop's internals.

    Those old saws are built far more robustly than the ones you're considering, especially the PM66. You will never have reason to upgrade unless you decide to get a SawStop or slider. Around me, I see 3 hp Unisaws for around $1000 and PM-66's for around $1500.

    Ripping sheets of plywood requires a heavy, stable saw with good outfeed support, too. Jobsite and contractor saws need not apply.

    John

  5. #5
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    I have a Unisaw and have had other lesser tablesaws, and have also used a Makita tracksaw once. I see Unisaws well under $500 on occasion at online school auctions. There are a lot of them around. For sheet goods a 1 HP bullet motor like mine has is plenty, even in 3/4" maple plywood. The tracksaw is nice, but you have to set up each cut, so if you are doing a lot of repetitive cuts the tablesaw is faster, but the tracksaw can do some things better like cutting a hole out of a piece of plywood. If you want to buy something new I have no idea, as I am a bottom feeder in the tool market. I am, like you, not a fan of jobsite saws. My first cost me $30 from an ad in the paper and it was OK, but not great, even for smaller things than full sheets of plywood. I like a nice solid cast iron top and a cabinet much better than anything on legs with holes in the top.

  6. #6
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    I own a SawStop and itís the only saw I would buy unless I was considering a slider. No comments from me other than thatís what Iíd buy or save up for period. I like Laguna tools but donít have any experience with the F1.

    There are lots of ways to cut sheet goods, but Iíll stay on the table saw topic.

  7. #7
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    I've gone through a number of different cabinet saws over a period of about 20 years. They are all different. The best cabinet saw I had (before moving to a slider) was a 5HP Powermatic 66. It just "felt" more solid than any other cabinet saw I used (Jet, Delta, etc.).

    That being said, the Fusion F1 is basically a contractor saw that "looks" like a cabinet saw. I would not touch this and expect it to feel anything like a good solid cabinet saw. At only 195lbs., it even weighs less than the Sawstop CNS!!!

    The Sawstop CNS is likely going to be the best contractor saw you can get, especially if you stretch the budget and go for the T-Glide fence (about another $250). However, it's still a contractor saw. And probably your best bet if you want the Sawstop protection.

    If I did not care about the "sawstop protection" and was looking in your budget level, I would probably get the Grizzly G0899:
    https://www.grizzly.com/products/gri...inet-saw/g0899

    It's almost twice the weight of contractor saws at about 400lbs. Good dust collection and the Harvey sliding table is compatible for mounting:
    https://www.harveywoodworking.com/pr...37784413077687

    If you are doing plywood sheets, I highly recommend this sliding table as well as an out-feed. Both are very important. There were many years where I wish I would have had this sliding table on my cabinet saw. I generally do a lot of sheet goods like plywood and such. You can also cross-cut longer boards on this (something you typically had to go to a miter saw for). Here's an example of what you can do with this type of sliding table:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OubnQ7w0mK0

    One of the good things about the Grizzly G0899 is the hi/lo rip fence that you can also slide back to use as a stopper when using the sliding table to cut material.

    Another video on the Harvey sliding table:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Cgr6sIjl1k


    Alternatively, you can use a track saw to help "break-down" large 4x8 sheets, but you still need to be able to fine cut the smallish pieces. I remember struggling to try to rip cut a sheet that was 24" x 36". It would be so much easier with that Harvey sliding table.

    Oh, be aware that a 20A circuit is recommended for any of these 1.75HP or 2HP saws. Otherwise, you are likely going to have circuit breakers popping all the time.


    By the way, the current sale price of $1199 for the Harvey Compass sliding table --WITH AH-3T hold-down clamp-- is a screaming deal!!
    Last edited by Aaron Inami; 02-13-2024 at 9:51 PM.

  8. #8
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    What John TenEyck said.
    Regards,

    Tom

  9. #9
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    In most big woodworking tools, table saws, bandsaws. jointers, and planers, mass is your friend! The more cast iron and weight, the less vibration.
    Last edited by Ken Fitzgerald; 02-14-2024 at 2:27 PM.
    Ken

    So much to learn, so little time.....

  10. #10
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    I'm going to stop replying to any table saw discussions. It always turns into a Sawstop battle and we've had that battle about 100 times. But I would look for an old Unisaw and forget the cheap imports.
    Last edited by Richard Coers; 02-13-2024 at 10:44 PM.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    I'm going to stop replying to any table saw discussions. It always turns into a Sawstop battle and we've had that battle about 100 times. But I would look for an old Unisaw and forget the cheap imports.
    Battle? A bit over reacting aren't we? I actually find numerous posts above quite insightful with zero malice in the bunch. Particularly John's. Good grief, if we can't use the brand name without causing problems, is it really the people that own the saws or those that don't?

  12. #12
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    Used all the way. I'm also an auction or fb marketplace buyer. I've never had a real miss.

    I can break down sheet goods decently w a table saw. The problem is the left side of the Blade where you don't have as much support but you can fix this.

    They are called cabinet saws... but yes my tracksaw is easier and more fool proof. I can also break down sheets with less waste because of the tracksaw. But a tracksaw (festool etc) can be duplicated fairly well w a circular saw.
    Yes, I have 3 phase!

  13. #13
    Big difference between a saw with an actual riving knife, compared to those who only have splitters.
    Mainly the mechanism for raising the blade.

    I wasn't aware of this, and thought making a true riving knife for one of those old Unisaws or whatever cast iron equivalent
    wouldn't be that much bother.
    How very wrong I was, lol.
    That is,....a proper riving knife, which can be set 8mm away, or closer, so it actually works, in terms of kickback.
    The splitters simply aren't up to the task, and only half arsed come into play, when much beyond the blade.

    Here's what you'll likely have to do, in order to make a riving knife for one of those unsafe machines.
    Over in Europe, we pretty much always had "true riving knives" on the ones made/sold here.

    Might seem a lot of bother, but perhaps someone CNC's those parts, not came across such, but then again I didn't NEED to look,
    as my old Startrite has one already.

    Have fun trying to figure that one out, if leaning towards the likes.
    https://sawmillcreek.org/showthread....knife-retrofit

    All the best
    Tom

  14. #14
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    I don't believe that the trunion design supports modification to a true riving knife. You're correct, the change would not be trivial as the linked modification shows.
    ~mike

    happy in my mud hut

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by John TenEyck View Post
    If you're thinking this might be your one and only saw, I'd look for a well-cared for US made Unisaw, PM 66, or similar. You will get a lot more saw for your money than new and a well-cared for one will last a very, very long time. I have a 1954 Unisaw, born the same year as me, and I'm quite sure it will outlast me by a very wide margin. These saws probably provided design inspiration for SawStop's internals.

    Those old saws are built far more robustly than the ones you're considering, especially the PM66. You will never have reason to upgrade unless you decide to get a SawStop or slider. Around me, I see 3 hp Unisaws for around $1000 and PM-66's for around $1500.

    Ripping sheets of plywood requires a heavy, stable saw with good outfeed support, too. Jobsite and contractor saws need not apply.

    John
    I agree with every word of John's post. I'd add that if I were buying new I'd probably buy Powermatic or Jet. Because I've had good luck with new tools from Powermatic and Jet.

    My table saw is about a 2000 model Unisaw I bought new.

    Good luck with your purchase.

    PHM

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