MOTHER's Table Saw Survey: Investing in a Quality Table Saw

MOTHER's table saw survey helps homesteaders investing in a quality table saw to choose the right tool, a choice which can make the difference between workshop productivity and total frustration.

| July/August 1985

MOTHER's table saw survey helps homesteaders investing in a quality table saw understand the differences between a variety of table saws. (See the diagram and survey chart in the image gallery.)

MOTHER's Table Saw Survey: Investing in a Quality Table Saw

It's probably safe to say that the table saw is the flagship of any home workshop. It's the first stationary tool most people purchase and, by and large, the one that sees the most use. But not all saws are cut from the same cloth; price aside, saw construction and design can vary considerably among different manufacturers, and even pieces of equipment of the same marque may differ depending upon their intended uses.

So, understandably enough, choosing the right saw can be a confounding and intimidating task. Consequently, we've done some homework and have come up with a number of parameters that'll help you evaluate your prospective purchase in view of your needs . . . and we have also prepared a buyers' guide listing most of the saws that the popular manufacturers and importers have to offer.

You Can't Always get What you Want . . . 

All too often, the difference between what you'd like to have and what you need could double the cost of your purchase. The first question to ask yourself is what kind of work the saw will be doing. If your chores are minor fix-up or hobby jobs that won't involve large pieces of stock, consider the bench-top models. Though they have smaller blades (usually under 10 inch-diameter) and tables, are designed for light service, and generally aren't precision-machined, they might retail for less than half the price of a basic stationary saw. (Then again, smaller saws are not necessarily small in quality!)

If your needs are more substantial, set your sights higher . . . but consider the sheer size of the machine and its table. Will the saw fit to the shop space you have available for it? :1 good rule of thumb is to allow a working space that's 8 feet wide by 16 feet long for the tool. Less will do, but there's no point in buying a machine whose usefulness is going to be limited by its environment.

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