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Whats the better TS?

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  • Whats the better TS?

    I just read an article in FWW Tools & Shops Annual Issue (my wife bought for me ) and they did a shop test on the TS. They stated out of there test, the Woodtek 148-271 was the top. I would like to hear your veiws on this TS. I have not read this form in awhile, but I know there has been a large rave on the Ridgid TS from HD. This TS was NOT in the test. The test was on hybrid saws. I want to get a new saw but cannot decide.

  • #2
    Re: Whats the better TS?

    Once you get to around the $500 mark, most of the saws from major manufacturers are capable of very good to excellent performance. The end performance boils down to mainly good setup and blade selection. After that, it's really a matter of opinion which features and design you like best. You'll have a tough time telling one cut from another between a Jet, Delta, Ridgid, Craftsman, GI, etc. in the $500-$1000 range of saws that'll run on 110v, but some are heavier, have different adjustments, trunnions, fences, drive systems, accessories, etc. Also keep in mind that any review is typically one person's opinion, or possibly the opinion of a small team. I don't put much weight in reviews...there's a huge opportunity for politics and cash to sway an opinion (independently from advertising agreements). Nothing wrong with some research to determine any chronic issues or a general consensus, but I would never buy a tool based solely on a mag review. Which saw you prefer is the "best" choice for you.

    The Woodtek is a hybrid saw with an enclosed motor, which makes alot of sense to me. It's also made in Taiwan by GeeTech and is basically the same saw as the GI 50-220 and Sunhill Machinery hybrids. Things like paint, fences, bolt-ons, accessories, warranty, retail situation are what differs most between the these 3. The saw features a dual stage drive system said to increase torque, and a one-piece cast blade shroud. The digital bevel gauge is a nice touch, and the fence looks good. From an in-store inspection, the GI looks like a good saw to me, and has reviewed reasonably well...haven't seen the WT and Sunhill in person. One drawback is that the motor is not in a standard NEMA 56 frame, which means if ever needs replacing, you're options are a proprietary replacement from the manufacturer or having it rebuilt. Another drawback that's applies to many, is that the trunnion bolts are darn hard to reach for adjustment. I'm not certain, but the throat inserts may be that thin style that's difficult duplicate in the shop if you make your own.
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    Last edited by hewood; 12-04-2007, 09:44 AM.

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    • #3
      Re: Whats the better TS?

      I will basically agree with the above statement,

      but I do think for the most part, there is a defiant jump from a contractors type saw to a cabinet type saw,

      and weight does play a role in the end quality. (but jsut because it is heavy does not necessary mean it is the better).

      I think there are small things that start to make a saw easy to use or more difficult, some is even on how much table is behind the blade, (low cost and many contractor type saws have very little table behind the blade, (yes you can make up for this deficiency with an auxiliary table) but sure is nice when it is part of the saw.

      is the fence capable of extending 49" from the blade, so one can cut or trim a over sized industrial sheet material, are the wings on the saw solid?

      the fence is is move easily and will it lock on both ends and take some abuse, (slide a 4x8 sheet of mdf up against it can jar it fair), the length of the arbor for dado heads, and special cutters, ease of re "0"ing it, on the bevel cuts.

      the shape of the fence, is it to your liking, (on my old saw, the fence is such that I can lock my ring finger and pinky over the fence and "lock" my hand to the fence, and if a kick back does occur my hand stays and the wood may move, but my hand is not draw into the blade, a feature I very much would want if changing saws).

      I think after a point like said it is the small features. Now this is many moons ago, when I was in shop class, the teacher got a new powermatic saw, very nice saw, and we had a old walker turner cabinet saw, it was to replace. I liked the old walker turner better for many things, (liked it so much I bought from the school and it is still in use to day in my shop). the powermatic was probly technical a better saw, more power and may be heavier, but was easier to use in my opinion, I also bought a 9' Rockwell delta cabinet saw for the job site use, and (I need a link belt on it, it should reduce the vibration a lot), I had both set up many times in the cabinet shop, but unless some special set up was needed, the walker turner was always preferred, the little saw was and is a good Saw, jsut not a pleasure to use and lacked many things that makes it easy to use, (table size, fence length and capacity, vibrations, arbor capacity length).


      one easy auxiliary table that is easy is to build two small narrow tables about 12" wide and about 6' long the same height as the saw, they can be placed on the rear or the side or front or rear, to support long or odd or over sized pieces,

      one more hint, make as much of your shop furniture the same height, work benches, etc, as they can be used as auxiliary helps at times, or at leas will not interfere with cuts, such as standing a few inches taller than the saws
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      • #4
        Re: Whats the better TS?

        Originally posted by ernurse View Post
        I just read an article in FWW Tools & Shops Annual Issue (my wife bought for me ) and they did a shop test on the TS. They stated out of there test, the Woodtek 148-271 was the top. I would like to hear your veiws on this TS. I have not read this form in awhile, but I know there has been a large rave on the Ridgid TS from HD. This TS was NOT in the test. The test was on hybrid saws. I want to get a new saw but cannot decide.
        That's because the Ridgid TS3650 isn't a hybrid saw. If you're looking for a hybrid, and they are a very good option right now, then most of what they said in the FWW article is accurate. In the end, the only person who can decide how a particular saw feels is you, you should choose the ones you're interested in and get some time to actually examine the saw, see how the fit and finish is, see it in action, etc. Personally, I'd never buy a major piece of equipment that I couldn't touch until after it was delivered.

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        • #5
          Re: Whats the better TS?

          Thanks for the helpful info. I still cannot decide yet though. I can go to HD and take a lookee see with the Ridgid, but I don't have access to phyisically look at the Woodtek. The only stores within an hour or two of driving is Lowes and HD. I live in S. CA between San Diego and Yuma AZ. But I do hate to make a large buy without looking at it first. I feel like I'm buying a new car.

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          • #6
            Re: Whats the better TS?

            A good true cabinet table saw is a real investment machine made to do serious work for a long time. A hybrid is basically a good contractor saw on a base styled like a cabinet saw. The overall quality is not the same as a true cabinet model. With that being said a hybrid for a DIY type may well work out just fine. A good contractor saw can do some serious cutting work. Before I put out the money on a hybrid, I would check around for a good condition cabinet saw such as a Delta Unisaw, older USA made Powermatic 66, General or such. Do make sure the company that made it is still around. I took a long look at a nice older Boyce-Crane (spelling may be off) but realized that any needed parts would have to be custom made for it. Because it was in nice shape I kind of wish I had gone for it. I don't have a good table saw just now but have some leads on Delta Unisaw that's a tilt left model. I may just grab it. Adding a nice new fence takes a little work but then you really have a nice machine. They can be sold later on for a good price. I wonder what the selling price would be for a good contractor saw after say 10 and 20 years of ownership. A cabinet saw of such age in good condition brings a good price. For me I don't mind a good 2 rail fence either. Sure the really good T square ones are nice but how many times per day do you reset your fence. I want to take a good ruler and measure from the blade tips to the fence anyway to be sure before I start cutting. Then I want it to stay put even if bumped a little. A good two rail fence will stay put. I'm sure the really good commercial T fences will take bumps but some of what I have seen on contractor saws make me wonder. Yes, I'm spoiled and set in my ways. Having used both several Unisaw and Powermatic 66 over time, I really don't want a lesser machine. Neither will you once you run one and see how it works. A collection of some very good blades is a must have too. Now go bust the piggy bank and good luck. Before I forget a good well made mobile base is great to have too. Try moving a 400 pound plus machine without one. No yanking on the fence or table, please.

            Sorry for the ranting but I would hate to see people buy a machine and end up hating it so they sell it at a big loss. Take your time and do try to get a hands on of as many models as you can. Be sure the miter guide slides nice and is well made.
            Last edited by Woussko; 12-06-2007, 10:14 PM.

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            • #7
              Re: Whats the better TS?

              By now you may be confused, so I will attempt to give some basic definitions, which I am sure will be corrected if I am wrong:

              Contractor saw (least expensive): The blade mechanism which is supported by trunnions is mounted to the saw table. Can be run on 120 volt although the more powerful allow for 220v single phase conversion). It is designed to be somewhat portable, although they can exceed 300 lbs (ex: Rigid TS3650). The motor may be direct drive (blade mounted to motor shaft) or belt driven. If belt driven, the motor hangs out the back side. Mounting the trunnions to the table allow more movement without knocking everything out of adjustment (which works sometimes and sometimes doesn't). This is a wide range as it includes everything from the aluminum table, direct drive table top saws to the cast iron top belt-driven

              Cabinet saw: (most expensive) The trunnions are mounted to the cabinet, so to adjust the squareness of the blade to table, the table is adjusted. 220v single phase to 660 3 phase. This design allows for the use of large table sizes. These are designed for heavy duty use, and not to be moved too much. The base (cabinet) is usually much heavier gauge metal to make it stiff enough to support the trunnions, but because of the design, they do not like to be moved as an uneven floor can throw the cabinet out of alignment with the table. Some have mounted them on stiff mobile bases that allow them to successfully move them around in the confines of their shop. They are belt driven with the motor inside the base cabinet.

              Hybrid Saw: A saw that has the trunnions mounted to the table, but the motor (belt drive) is located inside the cabinet. Newer to the market and price would be midrange. Usually have a stiffer base, and are in the more powerful range of the contractor saws to the lower range of the cabinet saws. The designs on these are still coming out, so new varieties are still hitting the market. More portable than the cabinet saw, smaller footprint than the heavier contractor saws depending on the table size.

              Go
              Practicing at practical wood working

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              • #8
                Re: Whats the better TS?

                Originally posted by ernurse View Post
                Thanks for the helpful info. I still cannot decide yet though. I can go to HD and take a lookee see with the Ridgid, but I don't have access to phyisically look at the Woodtek. The only stores within an hour or two of driving is Lowes and HD. I live in S. CA between San Diego and Yuma AZ. But I do hate to make a large buy without looking at it first. I feel like I'm buying a new car.
                The TS is a key tool in most shops, and is a very personal selection. I'd want to see and touch it too. That review is likely one person's opinion. In other hybrid comparisons, the Jet ProShop, Craftsman 22124 , and Grizzly G0478 have rated first...who's right? All of them. In two months the results of that review will be long forgotten, so put very little emphasis on any review. If the review is the only reason you're pursuing that saw, I'd suggest taking a pass...especially if you can't view one locally. Woodtek has very limited distribution and little name recognition. The name has little to do with how well the saw works, but some day you may want to sell it, and it could be a tough sell.... I can't imagine that the Woodtek has sufficient advantage over any of the other contender's to warrant choosing it sight unseen. Look at as many as you can, and buy what you like best.

                Gofor - Two of the hybrids have cabinet mounted trunnions....Craftsman and Steel City. Some argue that they are cabinet saws, but they're far more like a hybrid than an industrial cabinet saw in my book. They tend to be reviewed with the hybrids too.
                Last edited by hewood; 12-07-2007, 01:10 PM.

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                • #9
                  Re: Whats the better TS?

                  I thank you all for your very helpful advise. I guess it's time to get out there and kick the tires. So hopfully I will be coming home with a new saw/fistfull of new blades and a Dado too. Christmas to me. The wife got $500.00 worth of bras and they cost as much as a new saw he he so she cannot complain too much. Thanks again

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