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Hey guys, I'm looking to buy a table saw pretty soon. Does anyone have any buying advice? Ideally I will just use it for weekend type projects. I was hoping to keep my budget under 300 but if need be I can spend a little more. Thanks.
 

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Hey guys, I'm looking to buy a table saw pretty soon. Does anyone have any buying advice? Ideally I will just use it for weekend type projects. I was hoping to keep my budget under 300 but if need be I can spend a little more. Thanks.
I would advise you to buy a better table saw, as you won't regret it in the future. We used many table saw at job, my boss used to buy cheap black&decker and ridgid saws, but they all fell apart in the long run. Usually the problem is that they stop cutting straight.
I would reccomend you bosch table saw, that's what we are using, and it's great. Ypou can't go wrong with Makita either IMO. If you can't spend that much, The Ryobi BTS21 could be your best bet. People used to say Ryobi makes crappy tools, but I used to have a drill and saw from them in days when I couldn't afford anything better and they still work today. But if you willing to spend a little bit more, go with bosch or makita- solid construction, great blade guard system and riving knife to prevent kickback and they cut super-straight:) Hope that helps.
 

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Look real carefully at the rip fence - does it lock in straight easily or are you likely to lock it in crooked? I've found the quality of the rip fence goes directly with price. Spend as much as you can and you may have a lifetime tool. I'm on my second table saw because I cheaped out on the first - that rip fence was cr*p!
 

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the higher end models have a sensor that'll stop the blade if they come in contact with metal and flesh. Pretty cool and will save a few fingers.
 

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Focus on the Fence. If you can't cut straight, every time, there's no point in having it. The SawStop saws that have the emergency break technology are expensive. Great, but a lot of money.

Look at some of the woodworking forums for advice and reviews like this one: http://www.woodmagazine.com/

Good saws are expensive. Not sure what you'll find new for $300. Try the used market. Its been a while, but Crasftsman came out with a new line of saws a few years ago that were considered excellent by reviewes and were reasonably priced. Occasional specials made them a steal.

Most are made off-shore these days. If that doesn't bother you, you might try Grizzly http://grizzly.com/products/category.aspx?key=0

They always had great value. At you bedget your best bet may bethe used market. eBay alsways has many, the woodworking forums usually have a swap shop.

Good luck. Use push tools to keep fingers away from those blades.

AB
 

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If you are willing to make fixtures for your table saw you can get by very well with cheaper saws. You can make a very good rip fence, for example, and you can make crosscut sleds of various types that you will use more than you use the standard crosscut fixture. And, making extensions for the table is pretty easy too. But, no question, a more expensive saw, with a great rip fence and crosscut fixture will make wood working much more enjoyable.
 

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I've been happy with my Ryobi that I bought last year. Then again, I'm (at best) a rather irregular user of it. Once my "major" project (redoing the floors) was done, the saw accumulated stuff the same way every other flat surface in my garage does. You know, tools, lube cans, auto stuff. But it definitely cuts straight, and even the mitres are good enough for cutting baseboards @ a 45 degree angle.

If you think you'll be using it a _lot_, get something better, though. But for the price/performance for infrequent use, the Ryobi is great.
 

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Check craigslist. With the market the way it is there are lot of guys unloading tools. Also, not sure about where you are but around the Denver area I have seen some nice stuff at a couple of pawn shops I drive by from time to time.
 

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I would recommend trying to get a contractor style saw from one of the major manufacturers such as Jet, Delta, DeWalt, Makita, Hitachi or Bosch. The Rigid and Ryobi saws are also pretty good saws. There are other great brands out there but you probably wont find anything in your price range. The SawStop has a sensor that will stop the blade instantly if it contacts skin but they start at around $1700. Stay away from Craftsman saws and definitely dont buy new. I could have gotten the exact same saw I bought for 50% less if I had checked craigslist or the other local classifieds.

When it comes to features look for a biesemeyer style fence. A cast iron top is prefered to stamped steel because the extra weight helps dampen vibrations. The bigger the motor the better. If you have limited space look for a saw with a built in mobile base or if you are getting one of the smaller table top style saws a folding rolling base.

www.woodmagazine.com and www.sawmillcreek.org should both be good resources for information. I would also recommend going to your local harware stores especially if you have one dedicated to woodworking at looking at what they have. Find out what you like then look for it used.

And most important, buy the nicest saw you can afford. You will rarely ever wish that you had purchased a cheaper saw.
 

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Unless Ryobi has started using more metal in their saws, I'd stay away. The plastic bevel lock and blade tilting and height mechanisms will annoy the heck out of you if you use your saw often, as they become prone to failure with extended (weekend only) use, and you will likely end up putting it at the end of your driveway with a 'FREE" sign on it.
Also, many saws have a motor mount made out of cast aluminum- fine as long as your stand is on wheels, but bouncing it across the floor without wheels can cause this part to crack.
 

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craftsman!
 

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I have used two Craftsman saws, one very cheap one that still did most of what I needed, even though I had to make a fence and a crosscut sled for it. Its biggest disadvantage was the undersized table, making cutting large pieces of plywood for cabinets very difficult. The other saw was a $600 one, not the cheapest nor the most expensive, and it was a "contractor saw". It was a very, very nice saw, that I thoroughly enjoyed. If I were doing it over, I would very likely head for Sears and buy another one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks for all the info guys, I've been checking out craigslist waiting on a deal nearby. I think I'm definitely gonna try to get a slightly nicer saw like you guys suggested, because I'm sure I won't regret it.
 

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Which ever one you get, use it with the guard and splitter / riving knife system as provided by the manufacturer. Table saws are responsible for more injuries / amputations than any other woodworking tool.

Google "table saw kickback" to see why.
 

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I have been woodworking as a professional (about 10 years in my twenties) and as a hobby for over 20 years. I have had a ridgid ts3612 for 8 years now and wouldn't trade it for anything less than a cabinetmaster and even then I might pass it up.

This saw has cut thousands of board feet of wood and all I do is keep it clean and adjusted whenever necessary (which isn't often).

I paid about $600 for mine and after all this time believe it would have been worth it at a thousand.

I saw one on CL go for $250 a while back and almost bought it just because it was such a good deal and would like to have another saw when I build my new shop to turn into a slider only.

dantimdad
 
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