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Table saw VS Mitre saw

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  • Table saw VS Mitre saw

    Hello all,

    Reading through the forum I can see I'm not even close to being in the same league as most of you. I have done a few woodworking projects and would love to do more. Every thing I've done has been done using a circular saw. Needless to say my angles have a lot of room for improvement. My question is this. I finally have enough cash for either a table saw or a mitre saw. Which do you think I should buy? Am I correct in thinking that the only thing I can do with a table saw that can't be done with a mitre saw is rip plywood, which can be done with my circular saw? Thanks for any comments in advance.

  • #2
    I use my TS about 100x more often than my miter saw. The TS will rip more accurately and more easily than your circular, it'll crosscut wider boards than a miter, and mine even cuts angles more accurately than my miter saw. Strongly recommend the'll open alot more possibilities than the miter.

    That's one opinion


    • #3
      Also say a table saw should be number one on your list, though, comparing average prices of the two tools, you'd better be prepared to pay more for the table saw if you want a decent one.

      A table saw is all about accuracy on a large variety of cuts. Yes, with a decent circular saw and straight edge, you can do a lot, but nothing beats a table saw, and as was said, it's still the best tool for ripping.

      A miter saw is strictly a cross-cutting tool and with a limited width of stock it can cut. It can be much easier to use for cross-cutting stock, particularly for repetitive cuts or small pieces----it's advantage is that the stock sits still and the blade moves up and down.

      You can do the same with a table saw, but you need a longer arm for your miter gauge or clamp the stock or just use more care to prevent the wood from slipping through a cut.


      • #4
        Things you can do on a table saw that you can't do on a Miter Saw:
        1) Dados / Rabbets
        2) Ripping Plywood
        3) Panel cutting (via a panel jig)
        4) Ripping Hardwood
        5) Raised Panels
        6) Disc Sanding (albiet, rarely)
        7) Ripping wood
        8) Finger Joints
        9) Long Miter Joints
        10) Ripping stuff

        Can't imagine how I'd cut any frame members
        to width without a tablesaw! You want to try it
        on a bandsaw or with a circular saw, go ahead.
        You'll be tilting your head when you look at your
        finished work.


        • #5
          I agree with all that was said. The first machine that should be purchased is the table saw. The shop should be built around that tool. I will add to it by saying that you should buy a ts that exceeds your needs as of now. The more time you spend using it, the better you get, the better your projects turn out, the more you enjoy this great hobby. Next thing you know your down at the tool corral every other night dreaming of the next tool to buy.

          That is when you buy the mitre saw. Although I use the ts more than the ms, I couldn't think of where I would be with out my Dewalt 705.

          Hope this helps.



          • #6
            The obvious choice for the 1st tool would be a table saw. The first thing you should build with your table saw is a 45 degree mitre sled. They guarantee a perfect cut everytime.


            • #7
              I agree with everyone else on the tablesaw thing. Most useful tool in the shop. I bought bandsaw first, chopsaw, then tablesaw but only reason that was good for me is that if I bought tablesaw first. I would not have gotten as nice a one. my first tool was very price driven.

              With regards to tablesaw, comparing to price of mtre saw as David Ferg said you'd probably need to expand your budget. 200 dollar contractor/ table saws are not very useful and will add alot of frustration and if you enjoy woodworking will replace it within a year or 2, maybe less.

              My buddy has a neighbor with a cheapy tablesaw he was borrowing, and finally gave up on it and just used a circular saw with a board clamped to it in order to make straight cuts.. LOL. Told me he HATED the damn thing



              • #8
                Like Jake I know several people who don't even own TS in shops and just use a circular saw and straight edge. Both at times hate it - but they don't have the room for big TS either.

                Now that I've said that I'll also add it has never stopped either from producing some actually wonderful product either as I've seen what they make. Just takes more time and creativity in how to do things. So yep-slowed them down a bit but not stopped them every from doing what they wanted to do.

                Use a cs here quite a bit too, especially if working with ply. Just a PITA to be putting up 4x8 sheets on ts. Always cut down to rough size first with cs, then to ts... sometimes just use cs,if I take time to use edge and not freehand it. With a true straight edge and cs w/ sharp blades there's not much you can't do actually. Yep - somethings are impossible __ but not that much cannot be done. Especially if one has a router and table.

                So a good MS added added to mix and alot of things can be done.

                But if one has the room, has the budget, has thoughts of doing a lot of WW'ing in days ahead I'd put the TS up at/near top of list. Right behind, IMO, the BS. Never thought I'd ever say this as BS was once a secondary tool. Become primary now. But I also resaw a lot of old forest wood that I have access to. Can't do that with a ts

                [ 01-09-2004, 09:14 AM: Message edited by: Cranky ]
                Wish I had the answers ..... even half of \'em


                • #9
                  Thanks for the input guys. I'll get the table saw. My first project will be to build a 45 degree mitre sled(whatever the hell that, and then my workbench. I've been looking around on the net and have found lots and lots of free plans. I'm really excited about all the possibilities. My girlfiend has a small list of her own..


                  • #10
                    Sounds like a plan. Sleds are a great early project. Maybe I'd suggest building a bench first though. that way you have a tabletop to assemble your new sled you're building




                    • #11
                      Go to your local library or maybe some grocery store at the magazine rack and pick up the Dec 2003 issue of Wood magazine. It has a easy to build mitre sled article in the magazine.


                      • #12
                        You might also want to look at the pics here:


                        They are posted pictures of cross-cut sleds others have built. There are some good ideas here for the little things that really make a jig that much more functional and will easily work on a miter sled.