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CaptainMarvel 01-09-2013 02:53 PM

DIY Table Saw vs Ready-Made Table Saw ??
This question/thought is, I think, geared more for the Home/DIY'er much moreso than a professional/contractor
... so please keep this in mind as you read on. ;)

I wanted to (hopefully) spark an informative/insightful discussion here as to the idea of creating/building a DIY custom table saw set-up vs. simply purchasing a (standard) pre-made table saw.

I love seeking out and reading "how-to" articles/blogs/videos on how to make all sorts of do-it-yourself projects. I've just started putting together my home "Weekend Workshop/Mancave" and one of the near-future tools I am going to want to be adding soon is a table saw.

Insofar as pre-made/manufacturer table saws go, I have my eye on the RIGID 10" 15-AMP Heavy-Duty Portable Table Saw - $499 at HomeDepot.

I have also seen/found - and have been intrigued by - several tutorials/videos from those who have built their own table-saw setups using a circular saw. I am intrigued by the thought of creating a custom set-up - with various custom elements I would want. However, I also see some potential drawbacks to the DIY approach . . .

- customize to/for what I want (e.g. materials, table size/length/width, track/fence, etc.)
- possible less cost than manufactured equivalent (depending on materials used)
- personal accomplishment/satisfaction of having created something useful from scratch

- most circular saws = 7.5" blades, whereas most conventional table saws = 10" blade
- under-tabletop blade angle/bevel and height adjustment for circular saw
- quality/stability of table fence (depending on approach utilized)
- having to DIY everything vs. having it all ready-made for one to use

Those are, at least, the pros/cons I can think of off of top of my head. I'm certain there are plenty other items/issues I am forgetting or not thinking of ... and I am certain you all will provide additional thought/insight on this issue.

I am looking forward to an informative, constructive and educational discussion on this issue. Obviously, I haven't yet made up my mind as to which direction I will ultimately go - which is exactly why I am putting up the topic for discussion here. :D

PaliBob 01-09-2013 04:17 PM

My very first Table Saw way back in the 60's was a Hirsch saw
conversion stand where I took my Sears circular saw and mounted it under a MDF panel that was supported by a lightweight folding support that was similar in appearance to this HFT Workbench

......I was extremely dissatisfied with the results because:
  • Very limited range on the fence
  • MDF top severely limited usable saw blade height
  • Blade height above surface very difficult
  • Blade bevel adjustment also very difficult
Needless to say, I did not keep it very long.
I just wish I'd taken a picture

mae-ling 01-09-2013 04:23 PM

Homemade is ok for less precise work, but for 'real' work buy one.

CaptainMarvel 01-09-2013 04:24 PM


Originally Posted by mae-ling (Post 1089847)
Homemade is ok for less precise work, but for 'real' work buy one.

How would you differentiate "less precise" work from "real" work?

retired guy 60 01-09-2013 04:26 PM

If you check the woodworkers' magazines you will find plans for practically every power tool from table saws to router tables. I use a Sears table saw with a cast iron table. I would not consider trying to build my own table saw. Even though my Sears unit is made in China and far from top of the line, I think it would beat anything I could build. This tool gets a lot of use.
I think you might want to do some research before settling on the Rigid. Not saying it is bad, just suggesting that there are other brands to choose from.

joecaption 01-09-2013 04:59 PM

Total waste of time in my opion.
Stick with making your own router table.

CaptainMarvel 01-09-2013 05:00 PM

Just for informational/reference sake, here are some of the videos I've found for "DIY Table Saws" . . .








Thoughts ??

DexterII 01-09-2013 05:16 PM

Interesting in theory, certainly attainable, and in fact I would not be surprised to find some ideas in one of mine or my dad's Popular Mechanics from the 40's, 50's, or 60's, quite a few of which I still have in my shop, occassionally for reference, but more often than not for a few grins. And, going a step farther, yes, I do remember seeing a few that people built back then. Times were different though; the options for a homeowner, or even smaller contractors, were very limited, comparatively, and discetionary income was not what it is today. So, can it be done, yes, but a fair amount of work, and it would be hard to match the accuracy and convenience of today's table saws. The other thing that comes to mind, significant in my opinion, is the fact that when I use my table saw I am often using a circular saw as another part of the process, so having to switch back and forth would be a pain. I will say though that I have seen few off-the-shelf cabinets that I like, so I would suggest buying a table saw, sans a stand, cabinet, or whatever, and focus on customizing that. In fact that is one of my projects this winter; I built what I thought was the ideal cabinet, and somehow things have changed over the 20 or so years since, so I have some basic plans drawn up, and this one should take me to the end of my sawing days.

BigJim 01-09-2013 05:24 PM

If you build one be sure to get the fence aligned perfect. The homade saws are really bad to kickback. My dad built one years back, that was the only table saw I ever got cut pretty bad on.

woodworkbykirk 01-09-2013 06:55 PM

1 Attachment(s)
bigjim couldnt be more right about hte table saw fence.. how parralel a fence and blade wobble are the two first things i look at when buying table saws.. without those being deadly precise your not only going to get bad cuts which need to be sanded much more but it also makes for a far more dangerous tool. dont bother wasting yer time making one your just looking for a disaster

as for the router table. its pretty simple. and the fence being parallel arent as important as a table saw, it just has to be locked in place really well

heres the router table i built for myself.. i use a milwaukee 1 3/4 hp router with it

cleveman 01-09-2013 09:07 PM

I used one that my landlord had left behind, then I think he came and got it, so I made my own.

If you don't have a table saw and need one, you can't talk against them.

I used it to cut thousands of heat plates in half. Fiberglass.

I kept the circular saw. It is a big Bosch I believe, 220 V, 50 Hertz. I also have a very nice angle grinder in a metal box. I don't know the brand on it, maybe AEG. That box has got to be worth something. It's 220 as well. I changed the plug on the angle grinder and I used to use it. It would run fine, but I don't know how the hertz difference here would affect it over time.

Used to have a nice sewing machine as well, a Swiss one, Pfaff. Don't know what happened to that.

PaliBob 01-10-2013 04:59 AM


Approximately 40,000 Americans go to hospital emergency rooms every year with injuries sustained while operating table saws. About 4,000 of those injuries – or more than 10 every day – are amputations.
Click here for the Source

On these stats there is not a breakdown on what percentage of accidents occur using a DIY Table Saw but with all the Liability Laws I can assume that a DIY Saw is more hazardous than a brand name Table Saw. I for one would not risk increasing my chances of an accident.

Of course the common Brand Name saws are still not as safe as SawStop brand Table Saws

oh'mike 01-10-2013 05:44 AM

Foolishly dangerous idea------

With a circular saw under a board--inside of a box---adjusting the height will be to much effort---so you will find yourself leaving the blade all of the way up----

Any experienced wood worker lowers the blade so that only 1/8" or 1/4" is above the work piece--

Anything more is just asking for a kick back or sliced finger----
Why even consider this? Used table saws are dirt cheap or free----new ones are also affordable.

Foolish---completely foolish to even think of doing this.

Scary foolish. I'm going to try to get the image of blood and gore out of my mind---good bye.

ToolSeeker 01-10-2013 07:36 AM

First I have the ridgid have had it for years never had a problem. Added a Forest blade make big difference.
Make your own all I can see are problems, dangerous problems. How are you going to run your miter gauge, if the track is not perfect square to the blade and happens to pinch in the back now you have kickback. If the top is not close to perfectly flat your cuts will suffer your going to be so limited in what you could do with it. I mean I could go on and on. I would rather not have a table saw than this accident waiting to happen, just use the circ as it was meant to be used.

PaliBob 01-10-2013 08:19 AM

I have a Bosch 4000 now but If I did not and was looking to procure a Table Saw any brand of that I could find other than the SawStop brand is so inherently dangerous that I would never increase my risk by trying the even riskier DIY approach.

The Hirsch Table Saw conversion kit that I had in the 60's was a PIA to use and is no longer sold. It had an interesting design where the base plate of the host circular saw could be clamped to the bottom of the MDF plate which even included a primitive blade guard.
Interesting I could find no other other similar Circular Saw Conversion Kits on the Web. Then who would risk the inevitable lawsuits?

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