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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all. My apologies if I am posting this in the wrong section. I am looking at purchasing a used table saw. I am hoping to get your input. I am starting off and have a very limited budget. I realize that there are many factors that go into the purchase of a used item (sight unseen) but I thought that I would run it by you folks anyway.

I cam across 2 table saws that are selling for 100.00 - 125.00

1 - Ryobi Portable Table Saw Model No: RTS21G

2 - Craftsman (Still waiting for the seller to get back to me with the model number)

I am a novice and was wondering what are some of the things that I should be looking for.

Or, is it just a roll of the dice and hope that the item holds up. Even if it is until I can afford a quality machine. I have a small project that I hope to get off the ground soon (Acoustic panels that I mentioned in an unrelated post)

Thank you so much

Peter
 

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Buying a cheap saw is unlikely to do you much good. I had a used Ryobe for a couple of days when I first started and immediately put it into recycler. This one is a newer model and might work out for awhile. But read on...

No way most of us will touch a Craftsman tool new or used--no parts available when it breaks. Used table saws are not really that hard to find if you're patient. Hold out for something by Bosch if you can in the portable saw category.

The table saw is the center of any shop. You can replace some of its functions with a circular saw with a clamped-on straight edge and premium blade, but it will never have the precision possible with a decent table saw.

I'd keep looking, including estate sales, online and yard sales. Several people here have found really top notch table saws at estate or garage sales where the sellers really had no idea of the value.

My first decent table saw was a clearance item at Lowes, $300 for a Delta contractor saw, still in the box. Worked for me for several years and now in my Son in Law's garage. My personal view is that an acceptable table saw like the Bosch 4100, is worth saving up, and even a little debt. Buy in haste and regret at leisure.

Hopefully, others will chime in soon with alternatives. Some like the new DeWalt portable contractor saw, but not sure if there are many used ones out there. Be sure the saw you buy will take at least a 6 inch dado blade set. Some have arbors that are too short to accept a set, and you will very quickly need to get a set.

Since you're relatively new to woodworking, I've attached a pdf of an article on the 17 things that accelerated my learning over the past decade or so. Hopefully it will help you avoid some of the costly lessons I learned. It's long but has pictures. Keep it around for re-reading from time to time. Next thing to get after the table saw is a really good dust mask.
 

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I bought a similar one awhile back, don't recall the brand, but possibly they are all made in the same plant anyway. No stand, and hadn't been used for awhile. But ran fine, and was $35. I've also got a similar Harbor Freight saw I bought new in about '96-97, somewhere a bit over $50, still using it. I looked at some of the big name saws, going for around $300, and a couple, except for the color, were twins of mine. I would say for those prices, for used saws, I would shop around a bit more. Possibly you can find one someone wants to trade. Got me a scroll saw that would normally go for around $100, used, for a $35 flute.

Your dime, you will ultimately have to make the call.
 

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the Ryobie I wouldn't touch w/ a 100' pole..
table issues..
miter issues...
PITA to use a sled on..
insert issues...
low power..
if the craftsman is belt driven you might be on to something...
their cheapo pulleys are usually an issue...
if it's a 1hp model it's seriously under powered...
1½ HP models are marginal power department
if it's direct drive... I'd stay away from that one too...
 

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You could check out reviews online to help make your choice. Search for Reviews of Ryobe RTS21G. I found what turns out to be a pretty good review of the Ryobe saw at https://electrosawhq.com/ryobi-table-saw-reviews/

At $100, looks to be OK. It is far better built than the one I tossed. If money is really an issue, I'd go for it. And, according to the review, it will take a dado stack. Looking at again, the previous owner at least put a dust catcher on it, which suggests some care was given it by the previous owner.
 

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the Ryobie I wouldn't touch w/ a 100' pole..
I wouldn't take it if was paid to take it gift..
fence issues
table issues..
miter issues...
PITA to use a sled on..
insert issues...
low power..
if the craftsman is belt driven you might be on to something...
their cheapo pulleys are usually an issue...
if it's a 1hp model it's seriously under powered...
1½ HP models are marginal power department
if it's direct drive... I'd stay away from that one too...
 

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The thing about Craftsman is it's going out of business with Sears standing behind it. I took back a half inch ratchet about a year ago that I have had for 30 years or longer. Their tools used to be guaranteed for life now I think it's for a year. There are plenty of places that you can buy tools that are guaranteed for life. There are plenty of good saws out there without buying Craftsman.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 · (Edited)
@Stick486 If you posted this twice does that mean that you wouldn't touch it with a 200' pole. Just teasing!

Thank you all for your input. I really do appreciate it.

The reality is that I have that acoustic panel project that I would like to get started on. Sure, I can wait till the ultimate deal comes along but this has been dragging on for a while. Holidays and all. There is always an excuse I guess.

Or I can go out and spend close to a thousand dollars after taxes on a Bosch 4100-10. Unfortunately, that is not possible for me at the moment.

What I am going to do with the few pieces of woodworking tools that I have picked up after I am done building my panels is another matter. Which is the main reason why I do not want to spend more than I have to in order to complete the work. I have been looking at local classified ads for quite a while. And frankly, there is so little available in the way of decent quality tools. At least in the area that I live in. It's pretty much all the same ad after ad:

People unloading their old tools - Craftsman, B&D, Skilssaw, Delta, etc. For the most part they all seem to have served in some World War.

Not to mention that once the acoustic treatment is finished in my room, there is more audio gear that I will be purchasing soon after. I had even considered renting the tools that I need versus a straight out purchase. The problem with that is that the time that I can dedicate to the completion of my panels may be staggered. So, renting may not be a wise option!

I need more time to think about all this. Sorry about the long-winded post.

Peter
 

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If the Sears has an iron top instead of aluminum I would go with it. I bought a Craftsman like the Ryobi a few years ago. The fence was a problem. It was difficult to line up straight. I had to check every time I moved it to see if it was parallel to the blade which was a PITA. It wouldn't stay put during a cut until I glued some sandpaper to the back clamp. It was under powered but if I took my time I could get past that problem. You can't expect a saw like that to perform like a Unisaw or Powermatic 66.

My first saw was a direct drive 1 hp Sears. The fence was okay and the power was okay but it had an aluminum top and I bent it slightly which means you never get a perfectly straight cut with it. Despite that it still got the job done and may still be going with only one relay replaced in 35 years. I sold it a couple of years ago for $10. When I bought my Unisaw it served as a backup until a friend sold me an old Rockwell for $100. The Rockwell is a pretty good saw. The fence was decent but I had an aftermarket I replaced it with that was even better. The only issue I had with the Rockwell was a short distance past the blade to the back of the table which I improved with a short out feed added on. If you can find one of the old Rockwell Beaver saws in good shape I would go with it and they sold a lot of them back in the day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If the Sears has an iron top instead of aluminum I would go with it. I bought a Craftsman like the Ryobi a few years ago. The fence was a problem. It was difficult to line up straight. I had to check every time I moved it to see if it was parallel to the blade which was a PITA. It wouldn't stay put during a cut until I glued some sandpaper to the back clamp. It was under powered but if I took my time I could get past that problem. You can't expect a saw like that to perform like a Unisaw or Powermatic 66.
Thank you @Cherryville Chuck. I contacted the woman who is selling the Craftsman. Actually, it used to belong to her father. Sadly, he passed away a few weeks ago. She could not provide me with a model number at the time but she is supposed to get back to me today. I am certain that she won't be able to tell me if the top is iron or aluminum. I would have to go out to see it in person.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
If anyone is interested, these are the corner traps that I plan on building. Basically, the table saw would be used to rip the plywood that can be seen in Steps 2 and 5. Then I would be done with the saw.
 

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I wouldn't pay $10 for either one of those saws, even if they were in just out of the box condition. They scream when you run them, are way under powered for all but the smallest of projects, the miter slots are not the standard 3/4 X 3/8 size, a DADO blade cannot be used full width on them, not even a smaller diameter dado blade, and the fences are never accurate. Need I say more?


For a new woodworker on a tight budget, I would suggest that you look for a Delta Contractor Saw.

Before buying, make sure it cuts, isn't too heavily rusted, and is complete, and check underneath it for any broken parts, especially the trunions (blade arbor mountings and tilt mechanism slides). The top should be cast iron. The table wings (both side wings will likely be sheet metal) and the arbor tilt pieces are also cast iron. These can break if the saw is ever thrown out of a truck or knocked over. The OEM fence could be steel or extruded aluminum. Either one is fine.

Any of the models in the 34-440 series or similar are essentially the same and they are very plentiful. (I think they incremented the model number one count for each year they were being made) They have a 1 1/2 hp induction motor on the back with a belt to the blade arbor and they come with a stand built-in so a separate stand is not needed. A lot of these saws were being made and sold 20-50 years ago and they are a very reliable saw to this day. A relatively clean one of these saws can be found complete with a usable fence and miter gauge for $100-200. For very clean and good condition I would even be willing to go a little higher in price. A lightly rusted top can be cleaned up as long as there is no deep pitting. Most of these saws have a specially designed dual voltage motor that is 1 1/2 hp when connected to 120 volt power, but will produce a full 2 hp when connected for 240 volt power. The limited power was so the contractor could take the saw to the job sit and it would run on a 120 volt 15 amp circuit, but if he was using it in his shop he could change it for 240 volt use and gain the extra 1/2 hp when connected for 240 volt power. The OEM fence on these saw isn't the best, but it will do a new user well for years if it isn't damaged, and it can be replaced later if the need arises for a better one. I'm still using the same miter gauges that come with these saws, which were standard issue with all Delta 10" saws made for well over 60 years.

These saws have the standard 3/4 X 3/8" miter slots (something that those $100 saws that you are looking at don't) so standard jigs can be purchased that will fit and work well on them and their 5/8" arbor shaft is long enough to take a DADO set and standard 10" diameter blades. Their biggest failure is that there is no really good way to control the saw dust, since the case/frame of the saw is completely open on the bottom and back. An optional (non Delta) cloth bag is available today that can be attached under the saw that will catch much, but not all of the saw dust.

I found and bought a 34-444 model of this saw for my son, cleaned it up a bit, changed the motor wiring for 240 volt, and put a new saw blade on it. The top was slightly rusty so some rubbing with a Skotch Brite pad and WD-40 was used to clean it up. I also adjusted the blade to be parallel with the miter slots and adjusted the fence to be parallel with the blade. After clean-up I waxed the exposed cast iron with several coats of Johnsons Paste Wax to minimize future rusting and make wood slide across it easily.

His saw now cuts just as accurate as my Unisaw and he has yet to bog down the 2 hp motor doing any and all of his house remodeling. The motor is an induction motor, not the universal (drill motor) type that is in those $100 saws that scream when you use them. It's relatively quiet in comparison and will likely last another 40 years.

Charley
 

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King is a Canadian Brand and I think being imported from the Orient. I think it is also a universal motor under powered saw. It looks like it also has a plastic cabinet, so I would tend to believe that it is also, maybe a newer version of the two in your first post, but I know nothing about King and their tools, except for some grumblings on the woodworking forums.

Do a Google search for the manual and pictures of a Delta 34-444, 34-445, 46, 47, etc.
and visually compare them to your photos. I think, even in the pictures, you will see a significant difference.

I don't like table wings with holes in them either. Too easy for something, or even a finger to get caught in them causing pain and a miss-cut board. Sears offered "contractor saws" too, but Sears is going out of business and even years ago, parts availability for Sears branded tools was limited. There's is a lot of Delta tools out there and many are being parted out with the parts available through ebay, etc. so part wise I think the Delta is still a safer choice for a good low budget saw.

I have friends who are building authentic re-creations of Queen Ann and other styles of furniture who are still using Delta Contractor Saws, but most have upgraded to better fences on their saws.

Charley
 

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I think 'King' has been brought up before. Wasn't the consensus that they're just a marketing company selling offshore machinery?
I doubt that all their stuff is crappy...
https://www.kmstools.com/king-industrial-portable-table-saw-with-stand-20476

https://www.kmstools.com/king-industrial-10-2-5-hp-cabinet-table-saw-142108
https://www.kmstools.com/king-industrial-6-jointer-107356
https://www.kmstools.com/king-industrial-26-drum-sander-113432

I'd like to at least be able to try their stuff out.
 

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@peterbata.Hi from down under Peter,please listen to the advise from from our experts here,if you can hold on till a decent ts comes along it will save you lots of grief.I can vouch for every one of the comments/replies made by our experts.I recently sold one of my rifles & will use the money to buy a decent ts,so I shall wish us both good luck in our searches. James jj777746.
 
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