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Thread: Miter saw or table saw

  1. #1
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    Default Miter saw or table saw

    I watched a demo of one of these
    It has a 12 inch blade and will cut an 18in wide board.
    If you have a miter saw and a circular saw with a guide, do you still need a tablesaw?
    I'm think of a home shop rather than a commercial shop.
    “What, Me Worry?". -. A. E. Newman

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I'd always choose a table saw, it's far more versatile. I really lie the repeatable accuracy of a sled.

    http://www.finewoodworking.com/2011/...-crosscut-sled
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    If you want to rip a narrow board, say 3" wide...... that would be difficult/awkward though not impossible using a track saw. It's a piece of cake using a tablesaw. There are other advantages.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    i spent a full career working in a shop with BOTH

    both were of the best quality available at the time of purchase and they spoiled me

    in retyrement i find that my funds are not up to purchasing that quality any more and have settled on big box store house brand & kung fu brand tools in this case

    by watching the ads i have one of each in lesser quality butt up to my old man project needs

    both tools are of the portable(folding stands) nature and at times require a helper to manage longer materials that is until i find a set of leg'd rollers/conveyors on CL that can be employed for those larger pieces

    keeping sharp blades on the lighter weight power tools aids in their performance whereaz the old HD units would just plow on thru most anything i would feed them

    just this old man's 2¢ worth

    sw
    "we are the people, our parents warned us about" (jb)

    steve

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    If the question is 'which'... the answer is 'both'. They both have their place, and are not interchangeable... though there is some bit of overlap.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Apples and oranges really. It's very handy to have both.
    Fight Entropy, build a wooden boat!

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    A lot depends on what you plan on doing. My small contractor-sized tablesaw gathers a lot of dust now that I have a 14" bandsaw and a decent chopsaw. The table saw is too small for cutting up 4x8 sheets of ply, I always end up using a circular saw and guide to get the chunks down to size. Back when I was running a production shop we had a enough room to have a permanent big tablesaw and run-off tables it was different but now in my little shop there just isn't that much room.
    Steve

    Boats, like whiskey, are all good.
    R.D Culler

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    If you're doing finish carpentry and cutting lots of moldings, a chop saw is the right tool.
    The table saw can do any cut that a chop saw can, and some that are impossible with a chop saw.
    I get along just fine with a table saw and a portable and have never wanted to spare the space that a chop saw needs.
    Get the best table saw you can afford and go cheap on the portables. You'll value the capacity and precision.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    The table saw is way more versatile. I have a chop saw too and keep a cut-off blade in it to cut metal.
    -Dave

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    The table saw is way more versatile. I have a chop saw too and keep a cut-off blade in it to cut metal.

    Slight thread drift..........

    Dave, if you cut a significant amount of metal, do yourself a favor and look for a nice horizontal bandsaw. Metal (primarily steel) has been a major part of my working material for a long time. I used to use an old woodcutting chop saw fitted with an abrasive blade, then upgraded to a 14" metal chop saw with abrasive blade. By chance, I found a 6" horizontal and my life changed. I gave away the other saws. On a long cut, the ability to set the saw cutting and walk away is worth the price of admission.

    Jeff

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    ^ +1 on the horizontal with a bi-metal blade. Safe, easy,accurate and not so expensive.

    I've got a 12" one and the blades last several months cutting stainless.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    A radial arem saw will give you the best of two machines.
    Jay

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    A radial arem saw will give you the best of two machines.
    Jay
    And the worst
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    A radial arem saw will give you the best of two machines.
    Jay

    Jay, you have to stop scaring people like that.

    Jeff

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Agree with all 'both' comments. Might I suggest a new/used approach the same cost as a big name brand miter saw? New Ryobi or equivalent for the miter saw, as used ones are usually mistreated or misaligned. High end features in miter saws I find overrated. Second, used cast iron top contractor's table saw for $250-300 from CL, wait for one with all the parts and a decent fence. For my boatbuilding purposes I get more use from a table saw because most scantlings have to be gotten out of bigger stock.

    Dan

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I have both and a good bandsaw.
    '' You ain't gonna learn what you don't want to know. ''
    Grateful Dead

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Slight thread drift..........

    Dave, if you cut a significant amount of metal, do yourself a favor and look for a nice horizontal bandsaw. Metal (primarily steel) has been a major part of my working material for a long time. I used to use an old woodcutting chop saw fitted with an abrasive blade, then upgraded to a 14" metal chop saw with abrasive blade. By chance, I found a 6" horizontal and my life changed. I gave away the other saws. On a long cut, the ability to set the saw cutting and walk away is worth the price of admission.

    Jeff
    Thanks for the tip. I don't cut a lot of metal, so I squeak by with what I realize is a messy solution. Someday I'll get around to doing it right.
    -Dave

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by jpatrick View Post
    Jay, you have to stop scaring people like that.

    Jeff
    Jeff, GRIN! I have a very old De Walt radial arm saw that was given to me by a friend some forty years ago. I am on my second motor for it now. When I built my new shop I set the saw up with a twenty foot table for cut off work. The machine will do a fifteen inch cut off that is dead nuts square which, makes it great for cutting all manner of multiple planks and other stock to length! It can cut bevels and angles as well.

    It also can be rotated 90 degees and used as a rip saw and can be fitted with a dado head. And, it does have an efective anti kick back device that works well for ripping. Although I have both a bandsaw and good table saw, I find that the radial arm saw really is more versitile than the other machines I have. Until I built the plenum box for the dust collector, we called it "Old Facefull"!!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Woxbox View Post
    Thanks for the tip. I don't cut a lot of metal, so I squeak by with what I realize is a messy solution. Someday I'll get around to doing it right.
    I have a $350 jet metal bandsaw that has made thousands of cuts in stainless bar stock with nary a problem. It doesn't take a multi thousand dollar band sawto do what you need. It also works as a verticals saw with a table for precise shaped cuts in plate.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I have used a compound mitre saw a lot like the example in the original post and wasn't that impressed by it.I found it quite hard to judge where the cut would be and the angle adjustments were good approximations and marked in degrees.In boat work you have to take bevels from the boat,rather than working to known angles and setting the saw to do this wasn't easy.You also need to build a bench at the same height as the saw's table as the extending supports are too short to reach more than a couple of feet.I would prefer an older Dewalt radial arm.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Yes John I did build the bench to match the height of the saw. In face, since it is a new shop I have that option for all the benches. I really like that old antique saw, just, because it works so well!
    Jay

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Because this forum is read by many novices, I can't let this matter pass without voicing my opinion:

    Although a radial arm saw CAN be rotated 90º to be used as a ripping saw, this isn't such a good idea. Jay's saw which is typical of many older machines, lacks a blade guard and a riving knife. Both of which increase safety a great deal. Furthermore it is impossible to safely push the stock through the cut on the inside of the blade. One could use a long push stick, but such an appendage cannot keep pressure both against the fence and push the stock forward. That spinning blade is "right there."

    Furthermore, the supporting work surface is quite narrow and gets ever more so as one increases the width of the offcut to the inside of the blade. Plus, in that extended position, the deflection and vibration of the powerhead greatly increases. Then there is the surface itself: the wood bench is great when crosscutting giving just enough friction to hold the work securely. This friction is a huge detriment when ripping when one needs the stock to glide freely.

    I think a radial arm saw is a wonderful tool for crosscutting purposes as long as it's fitted out with the appropriate safety devices. But it should never be used as a ripping saw.

    Jeff

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Darn, I sure do like that old saw! No, there is no riving knife but, I do use a wooden wedge in the cut to prevent the stock from grabbing the blade. The anti kick back guard works very well on this saw. In over forty years I have never had a problem but, be advised, ripping on this tool is a two man job! A notched push stick fits through the inside of the cut. The ad vantage here is that stock up to twelve feet in length is completely supported by the long table and there is no tendency for the table surface to steer the stock.
    Jay

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Radial arm for ripping? Sure... it can be done. I've certainly done my share of it. But Jay & jpatrick are talking about two distinctly different circumstances.

    Jay is an old hand who survived the admittedly chancy trial of learning how to use the tool thusly... without getting bloodily nibbled. And learning how to maximize the tools strengths, while minimizing the weaknesses.

    jpatrick is talking about what to hold out at 'good practice' to those less experienced sawdust-jockeys. Ripping on a r.a. is, indeed, less safe than on a table saw... or bandsaw.

    They're both right.

    But - like Jay & I... the radial arm is an older style of tool. Some would even say Nearly Outmoded. I no longer own one. But if I were chipping lots of largish rough lumber to rough lengths, I might snag another one. I've considered getting one for out in the boat shed. But for someone starting new... the versatility, quick setting changes, accuracy, and improved safety argue for a dual-compound sliding chopsaw. We have a couple of those set up in the shop - one 12" & one 10". Plus a couple loose ones that can travel. Plus the chopsaw in the metalwork shed with a cutting wheel on it.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I have a table saw, RAS and a sliding mitre. A RAS can do pretty much everything the other two can with enough tinkering and is far and away the best for repeated cross cutting to a specific length. I have ripped on the RAS but it is a process that requires serious concentration and it best to have a helper. The sliding mitre has its place but I pretty well just use mine for rough work.

    If I had to choose just one of the three, it would be the RAS.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I chose a small sliding table saw to replace my cabinet saw. It was a bit of an adjustment at first, yet on balance it has been mostly positive. The disadvantages for me: Most of my old table saw jigs and fixtures no longer work. It takes more time to install a dado blade. A zero clearance insert only works on one side of the blade. My big outfeed table is gone (this is also a good thing because it always collected stuff). The sliding table takes you further away from the blade (you need longer push sticks). My small saw (for my small shop) only has 5' of travel - bigger sliders can really occupy some real estate. The advantages for me: It's very handy to be able to quickly straight line rip and skip the jointer. With some simple jigs you can safely rip and crosscut small stuff. Your hands are usually pretty far from danger and kickback has never happened. It has a large and accurate crosscut capability without the need for a sled. There's a small scoring blade in front of the main blade that can score plywood to prevent splitting. The 5 hp motor is more than adequate for what goes through my shop.

    My current boat is severely cramping my shop space and I've had to temporarily disable the large cross cut capability on the saw as well as the overhead dust collection. The blade is surrounded by a sheet metal exhaust port and it works pretty well. The chop saw is still used a lot.




  27. #27
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I must admit that most of the tools I use have been around for a while. But then, so have I.
    How many of you practice foot adzing?
    Jay

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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Greer View Post
    I must admit that most of the tools I use have been around for a while. But then, so have I.
    How many of you practice foot adzing?
    Jay
    Not me. Though I've been known to wield a nice sharp hatchet for roughing out.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I have a sliding compound mitre saw too. It's OK for rough chop-work. It's not that good for accuracy when you're doing 45 cuts for picture frames and the like -- the detents are close to 45, but not quite on.

    But the table saw is the cornerstone of my shop. I have a 4x8 infeed table, where I can rough-cut panels using a skil-saw, and then an outfeed table for assembling. All at the correct height, and all set up permanently.

    The outfeed table has a large box underneath for shavings and sawdust. That box acts as a plenum -- there are many feeds into it, 2 chambers in it to slow down the flow, and a large fan extracting air from it.

  30. #30
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hadfield View Post
    I have a sliding compound mitre saw too. It's OK for rough chop-work. It's not that good for accuracy when you're doing 45 cuts for picture frames and the like -- the detents are close to 45, but not quite on.

    But the table saw is the cornerstone of my shop. I have a 4x8 infeed table, where I can rough-cut panels using a skil-saw, and then an outfeed table for assembling. All at the correct height, and all set up permanently.

    The outfeed table has a large box underneath for shavings and sawdust. That box acts as a plenum -- there are many feeds into it, 2 chambers in it to slow down the flow, and a large fan extracting air from it.
    Sounds like a great setup. Your chopsaw can be fettled to give you deadnuts accuracy. Check the owners manual or online for the procedure for your saw.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  31. #31
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    I finally stopped begrudging the space taken by my 50" fence table saw when I saw it as the center of some other functional stuff.

    The side table of the saw now has a router lift and a big router that's the bees' knees for lots of molding operations. The saw fence is sometimes useful here.
    The space beneath stores the crosscut sled and various TS and router gizmos.
    The outfeed table is on a cabinet that has ten good-size drawers that made a big dent in shop storage needs.
    Everything is on casters, so it can be moved if I need to move a boat or rip a 20' stick.

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by David G View Post
    Sounds like a great setup. Your chopsaw can be fettled to give you deadnuts accuracy. Check the owners manual or online for the procedure for your saw.
    Only if the factory that made it practiced dead nuts accuracy.

    If the detents are not perfectly juxtaposed, it ain' NEVER gonna be right.
    Rattling the teacups.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Quote Originally Posted by oznabrag View Post
    Only if the factory that made it practiced dead nuts accuracy.

    If the detents are not perfectly juxtaposed, it ain' NEVER gonna be right.
    That's true. If your saw is badly made to start with, it's not 'never', but it's a whole lot more work - though still theoretically possible. Possibly not worth the effort, though. I fussed with a friend's Ryobi and got it mighty close... and I'm an impatient machinist at the best of times. Never had any trouble dialing various Makitas and a Bosch. I used to do beta testing for DeWalt, and they were... inconsistent. Better to just buy quality tools in the first place.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
    http://www.harborwoodworking.com/boat.html

    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  34. #34
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    (Ignoring the parts about the Radial Arm Saw...)

    I agree with what several have said - a table saw and a chop...er, "Sliding Compound Mitre Saw" are different tools for different purposes. That being said, you can do on the table saw much or all of what you can do on a SCMS, but the inverse is not true. It just takes some jigs and a bit more setup time.

    I've struggled by just a table saw, bandsaw and drill press (plus a portable planer) for years. With a nicely built cross cut sled, the table saw does beautiful crosscuts. But only at 90 deg; anything else requires using a mitre gauge. But again, with a nice aftermarket mitre gauge, you're in good shape.

    I recently added a Hitachi 12" SCMS, and find it very useful...but not indispensable. It just means that I don't have to take the time to take the blade guard off the table saw and pull out the sled for making cross cuts.

    Long story short, if I were in your shoes, (and I was, years ago), I would definitely start with a good table saw as the basic foundation, and add an SCMS as time goes by. But first a bandsaw, of course.

    Gotta weigh in on the RAS question - I admire what Jay has done with his, and I admire his long experience in learning how to use a valued and versatile tool in relative safety. But I think it's safe to say that, statistically, the RAS is most definitely considered a more dangerous tool to use. There should be no question about that. There's a reason why there aren't many RAS' being manufactured today. The statistics may not apply to the individual craftsman, like Jay, who has been doing this stuff since before god was born and has clearly mastered this tool and fully understands its limitations and dangers. But most of us will never rise to Jay's level of craftsmanship and skill. For us mere mortals, the RAS is truly more dangerous.

    -Paul
    s/v PickPocket

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Miter saw or table saw

    Does anyone even make a radial arm anymore? The only millshops that I know that even have one use them for one of two things and they are set up the same. Long tables on either side of the blade with tall fences. The saws are set to a permanent 90 degrees. They are used to square the ends of stock after they come from the ripsaw or are used to square the ends of bundled veneer. No miters, no ripping. And they all have an old sash weight or a sheetrock bucket of sand or cement on a cable to return the carraige
    The last big shop I worked for had a pair of old 14" three pahse Dewalts. They might be as old as Jay...

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