ST1 - What Table Saw Should I Buy?

For more information, free plans, and helpful links: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/video...

Trying something new here. It's a mini-series I'm calling Shop Talk. Project videos are awesome but with so much time between videos I sometimes feel a little out of touch. These periodic short format videos give me an opportunity to talk shop while also answering a specific viewer question, hopefully passing on some useful information in the process.

Updates & Thanks
- I received a sticker from 5 yr old Vance, better known as #VanceMaker. Check him out on Tim Sway's Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/timsway

- Want to send me a sticker (and get one in return)? Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to PO Box 8203 Surprise, AZ 85374

- Sean Rubino sent in a beautiful gilded/patinad board which you'll soon see adorning my shop wall. Check Sean out: https://www.youtube.com/seanrubino

- Just completed the Gaming Dining Table which is available in the Guild. A short video will be available soon on the free site.

What Table Saw Should I Buy?

Skip sent in an email asking for advice on a table saw purchase. He was considering SawStop, Powermatic, and Jet. Ultimately, he decided to go with Jet for the sake of affording more tools to complete his shop setup.

What to Look For:

- Flat Table - The area around the blade should be reasonably flat. The rest of the table is less important since the primary reference surface exists around the blade.
- Zero Clearance Inserts - Make sure the table takes either shop-made or commercially-available zero clearance inserts.
- Splitter or Riving Knife - A splitter or riving knife is required equipment as far as I'm concerned. The best option is an easily-removable riving knife.
- Reliable Fence - The fence should be nice and straight with no flex and should lock down reliably each and every time it's put into position. It should also be easy to adjust.
- Standard Miter Slot - Avoid proprietary or oddball miter slots. A standard miter slot is easy to build for and just about every after-market accessory that uses a miter slot will be at your disposal.
- Takes a Dado Stack - Dado stacks really multiply the versatility of a table saw so make sure your arbor is long enough to take a stack safely.

What Not to Worry About:

- Blade Guard - Blade guards are important but if the saw doesn't come with one, don't fret. You can always add an aftermarket guard.
- Extension Wings - If the saw has cheap plastic extension wings, that's not all that big of a deal. Remember, the primary reference surface for the saw is around the blade. Everything is there to support the work so if it isn't dead flat, it's not a deal breaker.
- Stock Blade - Most stock blades are fairly low quality and have a limited life. You'll want to upgrade anyway so don't let a crappy blade dissuade a saw purchase.

This advice really just scratches the surface but should give you a starting point for your table saw search. If you have any other tips for buying a table saw, feel free to leave a comment!


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Every woodworker inevitably needs a table saw to complete specific tasks. The kind of table saw you purchase for these tasks depends on what you use it for. Some are mobile and light-weight, while others are heavy and cumbersome.

The specialist table saw is a portable and light-weight machine, which often has actually wheels installed on the base. The top is typically bolted to the base, however if the saw is to be moved routinely a wood frame will be enough in holding the table saw in place without bolts. The motor on a specialist table saw is made to remove quickly too. The motor, base, and top fit in any size truck bed with a lot of space to spare.

The cabinetmaker table saw is a fixed durable powerhouse, which is produced heavy use day after day. Usually you set one of the bad-boys up one time and hope you like where you situated it. It will need a dedicated 220-volt electric outlet, and a vacuum system for dust removal.

The specialist table saw is made with light-weight material, and thinner metal, while the cabinet table saw is made with cast iron. A table saw motor includes a big coil of copper wire, which is really heavy. The cabinet table saw motor is usually larger and heavier contributing to the weight of the total saw.

If you need to move it to the job website you will want to purchase a specialist table saw, but if you use it exclusively in the shop, the cabinet table saw will be your best choice. If you are simply beginning you can probably acquire the contractor saw in the beginning given that the cost is a lot less. Eventually the cabinet store will need a cabinet table viewed as a long-term fixture.


The professional table saw is made with light-weight product, and thinner metal, while the cabinet table saw is made with cast iron. The cabinet table saw motor is generally larger and much heavier including to the weight of the overall saw.

If you require to move it to the job site you will desire to purchase a contractor table saw, however if you utilize it exclusively in the shop, the cabinet table saw will be your best bet.
For more information, free plans, and helpful links: http://www.thewoodwhisperer.com/video...Trying something new here. It's a mini-series I'm calling Shop Talk. Project videos are awesome but with so much time between videos I sometimes feel a little out of touch. These periodic short format videos give me an opportunity to talk shop while also answering a specific viewer question, hopefully passing on some useful information in the process.Updates & Thanks- I received a sticker from 5 yr old Vance, better known as #VanceMaker. Check him out on Tim Sway's Youtube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/timsway- Want to send me a sticker (and get one in return)? Send a self-addressed stamped envelope to PO Box 8203 Surprise, AZ 85374- Sean Rubino sent in a beautiful gilded/patinad board which you'll soon see adorning my shop wall. Check Sean out: https://www.youtube.com/seanrubino- Just completed the Gaming Dining Table which is available...