Completely new woodworker looking for advice on what table saw to get

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  • Completely new woodworker looking for advice on what table saw to get

    As the title says I'm new to woodworking however I am going to be doing a lot of home work and need a table saw. Mainly just cutting sheets for walls and some furniture work. I've read up on a lot of saws and have looked around at deals and came up with a few I think are decent. I'm looking for something that will last a long time and won't have to upgrade in the near future. Would love to hear some advice on what the pros think.

    All links go to home depot.

    BOSCH GTS1031 - I can get this for $320 with a gravity rise stand included. I've read a lot of great reviews about this saw however i'm not sure if the rip capacity is too small.

    Rigid R4513 - I can get this for $275.

    SKIL 3410-02 - I cant get this for $215

    These are the 3 saws i've found that have had some good reviews and I have decently cheap prices for them. Any info on these or any other good saw to get would be greatly appreciated.

  • #2
    Not a saw recommendation but I have the "gravity rise" with a Ryobi BT3000 on it and it is great.

    I would get a Bosch and Ridgid over the Skil. I am not sure of the particulars of any of those, but the brand of Bosch alone means a very good standard. Ridgid tools usually get good reviews, regardless of what tool it is. That said, I don't have any experience with any of them.

    What are you going to use these for? These are not for your basic precision cuts.
    Hank Lee

    Experience is what you get when you don't get what you wanted!


    • #3
      Well the Ridgid has a lifetime warranty if you register it. I have a R4512 and really like it. Still have my frankensaws as well.

      Dare to dream and dare to fail.


      • #4
        Here's my .02. If you are using it for putting in cabinetry, etc., I would get a sturdy job site saw on a mobile stand. The Ridgid looks great--I have several of their tools, all top notch. Re' the Bosch, I would look at the upgraded version of the Bosch on a wheeled stand, but this is >$500. Dewalt also makes a nice jobsite saw on a mobile stand. I would not get Skil for anything other than trivial work, JMO. Maybe if you're worried about the saw getting ripped off while you're away...

        Here's a very nice Sears Craftsman based on the Ryobi BT3000 that so many of us have used over the years:

        It is a very versatile saw at a good price. I don't think you would go wrong with this one.

        If you're mainly cutting sheet goods, IMO I would use a good circular saw. I bet I can do better fine woodworking with my Porter Cable circ saw than any saw under $400. With a straightedge guide it's as good as any stationary saw. A good chopsaw, even a fairly cheap one like the Ryobi and Ridgid, will also go a long way with trim work.

        Finally, just gonna throw this out there, that Sawstop makes a jobsite saw. Very sturdy and versatile--expensive but extremely well designed and made. If I were gonna do a lot of jobsite work, e.g., renovating a large house or a series of houses or apartments, I think it would be worth the extra money. Each finger you lose costs about $5000, just think about that awhile, and either be obsessively careful and/or get a Sawstop.


        • #5
          Welcome. If I were just starting out in today's market I would probably go with a track Saw to start. I had a Ryobi BT3000 for 15 years and I now have a Delta solid Cast iron top 220 volt that works great. My shop is not very large and a track saw would work out great in limited space.

          Regards Bob


          • #6
            Welcome to the world of sawdust!

            If you ask a bunch of WWs what saw to buy you are always going to get lots of opinions. We just love spending somebody else's money :-)

            With that said I would ask yourself first whether you need it to be portable or movable or you dont care. I note that all the options you mention are in the portable category although not sure if thats something you specifically need. If you could answer this it would help us all zero in on some suggestions more easily. To be clear with respect to my definitions:

            Portable - easily 'thrown' in the back of a truck or even trunk of a car and has a simple collapsible stand.
            Movable - any saw that can be on a mobile base and moved around a garage or shop with ease and possibly could be moved in a truck from place to place although may need a truck and 2 people to lift it in or out
            Dont care - larger saws can have mobile bases but usually lots of cast iron and you aint going to be putting them in any truck unless you are moving house!

            As you can imaging this scale has dimensions of size, weight, and capacity and usually price follows along although the uber portable/functional saws are often more expensive than many larger options.

            As others have said for cutting down sheet goods a good circular saw and a straight edge is fine. A track saw would be great but a good one will still leave you with not much change from $500. If you dont care about it being transportable then I would look for as much table surface area as you can fit, coupled with quality/accuracy and power. Depending on where you are there are typically plenty of options you can find on craigslist. Even if its not a long term keeper buying a used saw will get you to know how you will use it and the features you actually need.

            Let us know more about your expected usage and your need for moving it and we will undoubtedly weigh in some more.

            Phoenix AZ - It's a dry heat

            We all make mistakes and I should know I've made enough of them


            • #7
              If you're really "looking for something that will last a long time and won't have to upgrade in the near future", I'd stay away from the portable saws altogether. If you don't need it to be portable, there are many advantages with a full size saw. Have you read the replies on the other site you posted on? You'll get more thorough answers if you participate in the thread.
              Last edited by Knottscott; 03-22-2016, 08:19 PM.
              Happiness is sort of like wetting your pants....everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth.


              • #8
                Originally posted by Carpenter96 View Post
                Welcome. If I were just starting out in today's market I would probably go with a track Saw to start. I had a Ryobi BT3000 for 15 years and I now have a Delta solid Cast iron top 220 volt that works great. My shop is not very large and a track saw would work out great in limited space.

                Regards Bob
                I agree with Carpenter96. When I started out 15 years ago, I got a BT3100. While it has been very useful to have over the years (and performed admirably), there have been times that it's gone unused for a long time. Now, I also have a track-saw. I think if I were getting started today, I'd start with a track-saw and hold off on the table saw until I knew that I'd be using it enough to justify it.


                • #9
                  There's a few things to reconcile. What's near future for you? While those are nice little saws, they are little saws. If you're an actual contractor that needs the portability, that's one thing, but none of those saws scream long term to me. They will probably last you, but as you grow with woodworking, you'll eventually outgrow them.

                  If you're primarily doing sheet goods, there's no reason not to start with a circular saw and a rail guide of some sort. It could even be DIY, but you'll get much more bang for the buck. The biggest pain will be cutting multiples of the same measurement, which is really the only advantage those jobsite saws have over a circular saw, but that too can be dealt with. Personally I think your better bet is to go this route, then at some point down the road once your skills and ambitions grow, get a nice stationary table saw.

                  You don't have to spend the money on a Festool track saw, even though that's what I can personally recommend. Plenty of very good corded circular saws and plenty of paths to get to a rail/guide system of some sort for what seems to be about your budget.
                  I have a little blog about my shop


                  • #10
                    I fully agree with the recomendations of a track saw. You just can't cut sheet goods with a small table saw. Unless you are going to be using a track saw/circular saw outdoors your choice should also consider saws with vacuum systems for dust control. The amount of sawdust they produce cutting plywood is unbelievable, and when the missus comes home and finds her house full of sawdust your woodworking hobby could be over!


                    • #11
                      I have a tracksaw (2 in fact) and love it. That said, if you are just starting out I 2nd Cochese's suggestion of making a guide for a circular saw. That way you have a way of dealing with the plywood easily and still have money left over for a portable tablesaw. Which, imo, is so much easier for doing rip cuts.
                      I reject your reality and substitute my own.


                      • #12
                        Do you have a miter saw or anything to make quality crosscuts in long boards? If not, I repeat the suggestions to consider a circular saw with a home-made guide (aka "sawboard") and a I'd suggest a good miter saw, possibly on one of the folding stands for portability. Many such stands include portions that slide out to support long work pieces - like the Ridgid stand. Crosscuts of long & skinny material (e.g. trim molding, door casing) is more difficult on a table saw as it's easy for the work piece to rock against the miter fence as it drags whatever you use to support the cantilevered other end. Upgrade the factory blades on both saws as that's often the weak link. The red Freud blades make very good cuts and are reasonably priced. There are cheaper blades out there... but I've had nothing but stellar performance from my Freud blades. And they're available at Home Depot in both circular saw sizes and 10 or 12 inch sizes for power miter saws.



                        • #13
                          Personally, I think I'd have to ask you a few questions first.

                          1. Do you have a space that you can call a "shop" or are you working temporarily in your garage or perhaps even in a room that you are remodeling or fitting-out on a particular project? In other words, do your have to setup to start and then fold-down and put away when you are done?

                          2. If you have a space to call "shop", can you afford to go with a bigger stationary saw, like (or similar to) the Ridgid stationary saw ( I realize it's another $200-300, but it's a lot more stable and will last you a lot longer.

                          3. Will you be adding more equipment as might be required, like a workbench, drill press, router table, etc.? If you have a "shop" then you should have a plan for future growth, even if that stretches out over a few years. So, you need to keep in mind that whatever money you spend, you don't want it to be for a tool that you later have to sell off to get something better.

                          But to answer your question about the three choices: I think that Bosch model is much too small for anything but simple rips of small, easily handled pieces. I think if you tried to run a full sheet of anything it would be asking for trouble. You'd have to bolt the saw down to something really substantial to keep it in place. The very small table surface, of that particular Bosch model, simply doesn't provide adequate support.

                          I'm not a fan of anything Skil, so I'll refrain passing any further judgement on that particular unit.

                          I do like Ridgid tools and think of the three choices you have provided, that would be my choice. However, I think you're paying more for the portability than you are for the saw itself. I have a neighbor who has an earlier model of the Ridgid portable and it has served him very well, but he has that model because it's portable and you can fold it up and stick it in the corner of the garage.

                          For similar reasons, I have the Ryobi BTS 21, which also offers portable/foldable features. But again, the advantages of it is its portability, and in my case, I needed to have a saw to move to the other house. It cost almost as much as my BT3100, but it isn't nearly as much of a saw; for much of the money spent is for the portable features. The point is not to pay for features that you don't need. Spending $300 or more for a stationary saw vs a portable saw, and you know that the basic saw features are probably going to be less because part of that expense has got to go to the wheels and folding carriage of the portable, as opposed to features of the stationary saw that simply make it better. So focus on what you absolutely need, and if 'portable/foldable' is part of that need, then so be it.

                          A track saw has some good features, no doubt. But I don't own one. My BT3100 table saw, as much as I love it for ripping board stock, is much too light for ripping a full sheet of 3/4" ply, at least all by myself. It is far safer and much easier to us a track saw, if you have the money for such an exclusive item. (From my limited perspective, a track saw is designed for ripping sheet stock exclusively.) For me, I've found a "factory edge" to work very efficiently and accurately for the occasional ripping of sheet stock. (As pointed out in the following post though, you need to have a properly aligned baseplate on your circular saw.) But I admit that I don't use a lot of sheet stock. My BT3100 is great for ripping board stock as it does so with great accuracy and ease and if you're going to be making trim, cutting solid stock for cabinets and the like then a table saw is an essential tool. (I have a couple of folding roller stands for infeed and outfeed support.)

                          My approach to woodworking to to spend as economically as I can. I don't like spending other people's money either. Buy the tools as required for the job, look at what the particular tool need is and ask yourself if that particular tool decision will serve your needs in the future too. I really hate to have to go back to the wife and explain why I need to spend more of our money because I made a shortsighted decision. It happens, but pretty rarely. (I still have and use my RAS purchased back in 1974. In my shop it's an essential tool for crosscuts and other precise operations... you can't crosscut anything long, with any consistant accuracy or safety on table saw. (Today, much, but not all, of that operation would be served with a Sliding Miter Saw.)

                          So, you need to rip sheet stock... that's better done with a track saw or a circular saw with a good straight edge and clamps. You need to crosscut long stock, you need either a decent sliding miter saw or a good guide and a circular saw. The table saw is for good precision work of shorter piece rips and crosscuts, bevel cuts, etc.; it's almost essential for any good shop, but it's not necessarily the tool for ripping sheet stock unless it's of substantial size and weight and I don't think any of those three saw would be the best choice.

                          What do you think?

                          Last edited by cwsmith; 03-25-2016, 06:51 PM. Reason: Corrections/additions - see italics
                          Think it Through Before You Do!


                          • #14
                            I have a BT3100 and would try to find a used one rather than buy any of the saws you list. I think it is a better compact saw and it would cost less if you can find one. I used to use extension rails on it but took them off when I got a track saw.

                            I will also vote for a track saw, even first before a table saw. I think a combination of a track saw and a small table saw (small to me is anything with less than 50 inch rip capacity) is better for small shops in my opinion than a big table saw. I don't know about sliding table saws but they are in a whole different price range. With a track saw, you do not need the space to maneuver the sheet on the infeed and outfeed. A circular saw can break down the sheets for final cutting on the table saw but are very challenging to use for finish cuts. One issue is their base is seldom parallel to the blade. So home made guides that guide the saw by the edge of the base will never work real well because you have to fight them due to the lack of alignment. Track saws glide along the track with the blade parallel to toed in slightly and leave as nice a cut as a table saw. No issue with using them for a finished cut. I have a DeWalt but I think the Makita is probably as nice. The Grizzly has some drawbacks but is much cheaper. With a little work, I think the Grizzly would be very much worth owning (possibly the spring that you plunge against is overly strong, the blade isn't great plus maybe more).



                            • #15
                              I started woodworking in 2005 with the "famous" BT3100. Created some large projects and had no major problems with it. When I was forced to move, I sold it and later replaced it with a Bosch 4100. Ryobi was no loger a choice and I won't buy Craftsman clones.
                              I would carefully compare the Bosch 4100 to the GTS1031 you mentioned. And check CPO for prices and reviews.
                              Whatever you choose, make it your educated decision. Don't follow trends or advertising hype.
                              Do like you always do,,,,,,Get what you always get!!