ISO Table saw purchase advice

I’m in the market for a table saw.

I have a bench top saw, but I would need to build It into a large work table to make it useful, and the motor is undersized.
I used to have a contractor saw, which was okay, but the fence was lacking.
I don’t need a cabinet saw, but my wife is encouraging me to buy a nice saw as encouragement to make a full wall of built-in shelves/entertainment center.
I’ve been looking online for used and haven’t found anything worth looking at, so I’ve decided that what I really want is a new saw, but that it will probably cost $2000…which I can accept.

So, I’m looking for advice about brands and experiences you’ve had. I don’t mind paying more for quality tools. What I really want is good value.

Heh, I’ve been pretty happy with my cast iron rigid table saw. I did build a new base for it though.

Then you said $2000… :rofl: I really want a moving bed table saw, they’re really handy.

I was considering a big saw like that. Honestly, the 220V is what stopped me. There’s no good way to get tons of power to my shed. I ended up buying a mid 90s craftsman 113, with a cast iron top, the hang on the back, belt driven motor. You can buy biesemeyer fences and add them to any old saw. The craftsmans typically come with rust, and need new belts and sometimes pulleys. I built a cabinet and dust collection is pretty good. It has been a labor of love, but it really does perform very well now. I don’t have a problem building high precision jigs for it. My other saw had too much runout to use a high precision jig.

Here is the rambling thread where I documented my cabinet:

My biggest problem with it is safety. It doesn’t have a riving knife, and it will happily chop off any appendages you give it. I should probably buy the aftermarket riving knife kit from microjig.

If we moved today, and I had a 3 car garage with 220V available, I would buy a sawstop. I am totally convinced of their quality and their safety. I was considering their jobsite saw when I bought mine, but the contractor saw is probably a better choice. An experienced woodworker hobby person I know said that if they were starting out again, they would take woodworking classes at the local community college, and buy a sawstop. He has one now, but wished he had bought it 20 years ago.

If the table saw refurb was charged as work, I would have easily spent over $2k on it. But I like doing most of it, and I’m proud of the result. I can also fix or edit it however I like.


I have a lot of very nasty words for sawstop. The dude is an asshole lawyer.

I’ve got a Sawstop and it’s a great saw.

Barry: I don’t know the owner. I bought it because I have two friends that have had horrible table saw accidents and I really value my fingers.

I had a Dewalt contractor’s saw that I just about wore out. I used to fear that blade but no more.


The owner is a lawyer, he invented the tech, patented it, then pushed for laws to require all saws have safeties. The woodworking industry fought back on that one, but lawyers know about it now… I used to work in education, and I know of a dozen high schools that closed down their industrial arts classes because they couldn’t afford $2000 saws when their insurance required them. Bosh created a different system that doesn’t destroy the blade, but the sawstop guy took them to court and somehow won. Most table saw injuries are from kickback, followed by eye injuries, then cuts.

This study shows that in 2007 there were 76,000 table saw accidents and that 66,900 were from blade contact.

You and I should just leave this subject alone since neither one of us is going to change our opinion on the Sawstop.

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I’ve heard nothing but good things about them as a tool, I just don’t like the dude.

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This is the saw that Marius Hornberger uses.

My table saw is huge! Had to add a 220 volt for it. It came from my late Father in-law who picked it up at an auction for cheap. Check your area for auctions. In the Denver Colorado metro area I subscribe to and keep an eye on the roller auction. They sell TONs of tools every year. Often from commercial shops that have decided to close up. (I see some commercial CNC machines on occasion as well.) Otherwise you can check pawn shops in autumn as many of the summer workers sell their tools as their work ends.

I spent some time online yesterday, but can’t find any good review/comparison articles. I’m not surprised if a home/hobbyist site/magazine does a review that focuses on low-end benchtop or portable saws, but I hoped Fine Woodworking would have a good article about higher-end saws. But, I suppose everyone has to appeal to the masses, and the field of choices is always changing.

I spent most of my time on the Grizzly site, and I am trying to sort out the differences in the options, but they don’t have a good search/selection filter to find what I want. I can pick cabinet style and horsepower, but I can’t set a filter for options, like included router table extension.

Anyway, I’m leaning towards this model at the moment. It’s on sale for $1700 which is closer to the $1000 I originally thought was a good budget before I started looking, and significantly better than the $3000 I was shocked to see for a high-end saw.

The search continues…

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You have to take all this media with a grain of salt. Woodsmith shop, fine woodworking, etc. are all media companies that make their living on dollars from tool companies. So do youtubers. But Chris Salamone had that saw, or a very similar one in older videos. He was doing some excellent woodworking with it, for sure. Any saw that can effectively do a vertical tenon cut in hardwood is a good saw, IMO.

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I would prefer a separate router table easier to build out jigs and if you need to use the saw you have to remove jigs and stops and it didn’t work out for me at all

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I built my router table into my table saw, and am quite happy with it. I think it’s a great use of space. Granted some operations are less convenient, but for me the trade off is worth it for the space saved.


That being said you won’t be disappointed in any saw from them


I upgraded to a Sawstop a few years ago. There are about 30,000 table saw accidents per year in the U.S.

They are a great saw. Think about your fingers.

I’ve worked on a number of table saws in a number of shops over the last 35 years or so, but never as a production woodworker. I’ve never lost my healthy respect for the power of these tools, and know the most important safety feature is to keep my concentration engaged while planning and executing the machining operation. As I’ve seen on stickers here an other places - “This machine has no brain - use your own.”

With a full understanding that my personal anecdotes are a statistically insignificant sample, I’ve had 2 near miss shop accidents, both my fault when my attention was distracted. One time a shaper grabbed and threw a piece I was working on about 50’ across the shop. Luckily no one was in it’s way and I got off with a small nick next to the nail of my middle finger. The second was kickback in my home shop on a mid-50’s Craftsman table saw which gave me a pretty ugly bruise on my belly but no lasting consequences. Both of these were due to lapses in concentration and bad work habits. A sawstop would not have prevented my kickback accident.

A free find off Craigslist (after watching the listing for 2 weeks at $50.00 and nobody grabbed it), I invested about 2 hours of cleaning, added a magnetic switch, a new link belt, and new blade. My Craftsman saw runs smooth and true, passes the nickel test (start and stop with a nickel standing on edge and the coin doesn’t fall over) and came with it’s original blade guard, which I use when I can.

All this is to say, everyone has to do their own risk analysis for their specific situation. if you can afford the premium price of the Sawstop and believe the emergency stop feature is important to you, go for it. If I were outfitting a student shop I would definitely make that choice to protect against life-altering injuries - I might even be required to by insurance requirements. But I would worry that folks might get a false sense of security watching the “hot dog” test and not develop the required respect for the power or the tool and the different way things can go terribly wrong. I can’t justify the extra expense at home, given my infrequent hobby use.