Best cabinet saw

Old 04-30-03, 09:23 PM
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Best cabinet saw

I am not trying to start a fight so please forgive me in advance.

I have a Delta Contractors saw. It does what I need.
I now have the opportunity to spend quite a bit more for a cabinet saw.

Please let me know what any of you think would be the best choice based on the following info.

1- It needs to be a single phase motor.

2- I make everything from small birdhouses to china cabinets.

3- I only have room for one saw of this size.

4- I want to stay in the 10 to 12" range.

5- I have been very pleased with all of my Delta tools although i own other brands too. (Bosch, Ryobi, Craftsman, Skill, Porter Cable, Milwaukee.)

6- What are the opinions on direct drive versus belt?

Remember, I have my opinions too. I have been doing this for a little while, but I still would like to know what you guys/gals think!
Old 05-01-03, 06:02 AM
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I too have a Delta contractors saw.
A friend has a General cabinet saw that he says is great. He has made a few intricate projects and admits that the distance of the blade from the front of the saw makes it more difficult than his old contractor saw for set-up, as he is not a tall person.
If you are altitude challenged this could be an issue.
Old 05-01-03, 06:14 AM
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I too have a Delta contractors saw.

My upgrade would be to a Delta Unisaw.

Old 05-01-03, 03:34 PM
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In my opinion, the best cabinet saw is what you can afford and how much you can get

after the saw. When I upgraded from my contractor saw, my budget allowed me to get a Powermatic PM66. But that's all I could get. Was it the best cabinet saw for me? You bet. But I did not get the PM66. Instead, I bought DeWalt DW746 without the rails and fence, with what's left in my budget, I got Incra TS-III system, extension tables with Rout-R-Lift, Excalibur 49" sliding table, Overarm blade guard. A few Systi-Martica blades and Freud Super Dado SD508 set. So far (after two years), I have not seen anything that makes me look back on the setup I chose.
As you can see, my idea of the best "cabinet saw" is not just the saw itself rather than the whole table saw setup. I ripped 3" oak on my 1hp CS, I must admit it was a pain. Yeah, the 3hp or 5hp PM66 can rip 3" white oak in one pass. But do you really want to do that though? Not I have bandsaw for that task. I only had to do it once in the past four years. PM66 has bigger table top than my DW746, but I have right and rare extension tables plus the sliding table. You get the picture. Okay, mine does not have the "cabinet", so what. the dust shroud and overarm blade guard with the dust hood work well. My DeWalt will pass the nickel test at any given time. Even I never own a real cabinet saw, but I just don't see why I have to have a cabinet to make good cuts.
One of my friends was so puzzled why I bought a Nikon SLR digital camera that has only 2.1 mega pixels, while his 4-5 mega pixel Sony only costs less than 1/3. Once he saw the pictures I got, he started to realize something - it's all in the optics. So if you can afford a Contax body, but you can't afford any Carl Zeiss lens. How good is your camera? You are going to put a Sigma lens on it?
My conclusion is that there is no best cabinet saw just by itself.
Old 05-01-03, 06:11 PM
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thanks keep it coming

GregH - What kind of cabinet saw? And why?
Old 05-01-03, 06:21 PM
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thanks but keeping it coming

fewalt - Why the Delta Unisaw?

ct287 - I agree, but what if you caould afford whatever saw you desire? Would it still be the model 66?I have looked at this saw.
I too have been locked into the affordable zone, but I took sometime off from woodworking in order to work a part tmie job. I did this so that I could buy the saw of my dreams.

What I was wondering is what features other wood workers look for in a saw of this type and why.
Old 05-02-03, 08:51 AM
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Given that, I would get a combination machine like Felder or MiniMax

The money I spent on stationary tools (not including bandsaw) that I have now is close to one of those combination machines. But I have only a basement shop, it's impossible to move one of those down there. But if I have to choose a cabinet saw, it will still be PM66. I have not seen anything better than that.
The thing about "the saw of my dreams" is very dependent on what your dreams are (or what you will be doing with it). I think any of these popular models (PM66, Unisaw, Jet, Genera, even a Grizzly 1023Z) will become just that.
You need to be clear to yourself of what feature you look for in a table saw. Not to confuse with basic functions of saws at this level. Cabinet table saws at this level all have good fence, flat smooth tabletop, 3-5 hp motor, very little vibration. They all cut very accurately once tuned. I think you just can't go wrong with any one of those I listed. The question comes down to "Do I like it or not?" I have looked at Unisaw and PM66 side by side. I am sure either one will be the saw of my dreams. But I prefer the shinny tabletop of PM66 and I don't like the gray-blue color of the Unisaw, I also prefer the massive blade guard on PM66 over the cheap one on Unisaw (at least it looks cheap to me). I could not tell there are features in one and not in the other. So that answers my questions.
I am only a hobbyist when it comes to woodworking and I just don't see there are a whole lot of differences in features for the saws I looked at. To me, I can't tell if it is cut on a PM66 or DW746 and I never had a time that I can't make a cut that I wished have bought the PM66, but I can do a lot more with my setup than just the PM66.
Old 05-02-03, 08:03 PM
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ct287- Thanks a lot for an honest answer.

My woodworking evolved over the ages 9-39.
My first table saw was a bench top model that I built into a table.

I could do a lot with it.
Old 05-02-03, 08:42 PM
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I think that the cogent point has been hit. How you came to where you are and how you use your tools. With some of the combination tools available today, it is hard to make a clean comparison with a straightforward table saw.

I have built a router table that attaches to a workbench over the years, and use it rather than a full blown router table. I use my routers for many things, but the table is not a permanent use. Because of that, a portable arrangement works best for me.

The additions or accessories for a table saw make a lot of difference in how it is used and how useful it is. I have replaced the blade guard with an overarm guard to eliminate obstacles on the table top. I have a 52 inch uni-fence with extension table. I modified the overarm guard to accommodate a 4 inch intake for the dust collector. I added board buddies to the fence to deal with feeding safely and avoiding kickback. I have a 5' by 4' outfeed table with miter guage slots in it. I replaced the stock blade with a Forrest Woodworker II and blade stabiizer. I replace the drive belt with link belt. I built my own sliding table. This makes for a nice 2 horsepower Delta cabinet saw. When I think about what I would change, I think that 3 horsepower would be an improvement.

I have been through thousands of board feet of wood over the years. For all the tools that I have, if I were to buy anything significant now it would be a bigger, better dust collector.

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