Issue: Issue 3.03
Posted Date: 2/12/2002
He's heard it over and over again. You have to get a good contractor's saw. But this woodworker just doesn't have room for it! He's been using a Makita 2702X1 (the 2702 with a table) and asks for opinions on this and other bench saws.
Predictably, the first response leads the attack, stating that it's impossible to get the fence on a bench saw to stay square. But if you must, make sure you get one with a great fence?such as the new Bosch. Then he offered a couple of surprise suggestion: Get a used Shopsmith. Prices are reasonable, and they combine a tablesaw (not as good as a contractor's, but better than a benchtop), drill press, lathe, and disc sander into one.
Regarding the aforementioned Makita, a woodworker recalled buying and quickly returning the same model (the fence was really crude, and he couldn't get an accurate cut). He went with a DeWalt (really nice fence!) and also liked the Bosch. Another participant suggested the Ryobi BT3000 as the best performer in its price range. A happy DeWalt buyer related the good deal he got on eBay. And another woodworker shared the cautionary tale of how his neighbor grew frustrated with his Shopsmith after using the stand-alone tools. He went on to describe how he helped the neighbor make the most of his limited space (in a one-car-garage) and shared his belief that it is the person behind the tool that determines the "quality" of his work, and that the workbench and the table saw are the two most important tools in the shop.