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Table saw for beginner?

I am looking for a decent table saw, but the budget is somewhat tight and space is somewhat limited. I have looked at some of the portable ones out there like the Dewalt 744, but wondered if anyone has any advice or if I should save up a while longer to purchase a larger saw. Long term I would like to be able to build bookshelves, etc, but need to do some practice before I am at that level.

My experience is basically on a low end craftsman growing up and a friend's fathers large quality saw (brand???) in a workshop.

Any advice or recommendations at what I should look for in a saw, or personal favorites?

Re: Table saw for beginner?

Look, this subject will get many contradicting replies.

It all boils down to how much you want to use it and what for.

Table saws start at $100. If that's your beginner's price range get a sears craftsman or get one from harbor freight. But don't expect it to do complicated cuts or to work overtime - it will burn itself.

But really, why throw away $100? you want the dewalt? get it. I just got a porter cable after my old craftsman died cutting floor planks. Half the price of the dewalt.

There's an old saying: choose the one you love, then love your choice. It's true for a mate, a pet and a table saw...

Re: Table saw for beginner?

I got to "learn" on a Powermatic 66 cabinet saw. I think not having to worry about basic quality-safety issues while getting my bearings was invaluable.
Whatever you do, don't get the cheapest or smallest saw you can buy. they are usually unsafe crap. The last thing I would want to do would be to assign a new helper to a small saw without supervision. The bigger and more stable the saw is, the safer the experience will be.
Don't have your first project involve ripping 2" thick green oak, either. Start with small tasks with straight-grained, clear 1" pine, work up to harder projects.

A good used craftsman belt-driven contractor's saw can usually be found on CL for under $150, it's money well-spent. Everything on it (except the p ower switch) is serviceable.

Re: Table saw for beginner?

I figured this would be a pretty polarizing question!

To clarify, I think it is usually worth buying quality tools versus as dj1 said - throwing money away. My budget (or what I think I could convince my wife that we should spend) would be in the $500-$600 range if I bought new.

Safety is a major concern for me, but I can't save for a Sawstop right now either!

Thanks for the replies thus far!

A. Spruce
Re: Table saw for beginner?
WINT142000 wrote:

My budget (or what I think I could convince my wife that we should spend) would be in the $500-$600 range if I bought new.

For that kind of money, look at the General International brand. They make good, yet inexpensive machines.

WINT142000 wrote:

Safety is a major concern for me, but I can't save for a Sawstop right now either!

Safety starts with good quality equipment that you WANT to use. By that I mean, you can by a cheap piece of crap and be afraid to use it, of such poor quality that it is difficult/frustrating to use, OR, you can buy a machine that you are not afraid of, that will do anything you ask of it, and that you will get excited to use each and every time you use it. The latter will be the safest machine you will ever own, regardless of brand.

The second step in safety is to respect the equipment you're using for what it is, extremely dangerous devices that can maim or kill. Be aware of what you are doing, what you're trying to accomplish, and how you're going about that task. The use of clamps, jigs, and hold down fixtures can't be stressed enough.

The third step in safety is to be properly dressed and well rested while in your shop. Accidents happen most when the user is tired and pushing to make that one last cut . . . This is when fingers and hands become separated from the rest of your body.

The SawStop is a nice piece of equipment, but it won't stop you from serious injury, and as much as the equipment costs to buy, it will cost you to repair if you ever activate the safety stop device. IMHO, way over priced for way under protecting, and it's all unnecessary as long as you follow the above rules of common sense. And lastly, this advice is coming from someone who has gotten a finger into a tablesaw blade before, and I'm still saying that a SawStop isn't worth the money. Oh, and my finger is fine, thanks for asking. :D

Re: Table saw for beginner?

the problem with really cheap table saws is the fence.. their hardly accurate.. meaning their typically a nightmare to get parallel to the blade which can cause the wood to burn or kick back.. i had a cheap craftsman that did that.. used it at home for year then upgraded to a bosch ts4000.. which is considered the best contractor saw available along with the newer 4100. the dewalts are close behind along with the rigid which is very similar to the bosch

dont skimp on power.. or blades.. a clean sharp blade will take less effor to cut which means you wont have to force the wood through the saw

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