This article is from the Woodworking FAQ Collection 5, by multiple authors.
Art Mulder (firstname.lastname@example.org) (http://www.ualberta.ca/~amulder/)
March 8, 1996
[ The question is definitely an FAQ, but the answer is an IMHO ]
Every now and then someone posts a "I'm looking for a
good tablesaw in the US$300 range" query to the
Right after that come a flurry of "There ain't no such
thing as a good tablesaw for US$300" posts. These posts
usually advocate spending more like US$700.
Here is my standard response, which I sometimes email to
the original poster:
I see all these follow up posts telling you that you can't
get a "decent quality" table saw in the US$300 range.
They are right -- IF YOU INSIST ON BUYING NEW!
I say, buy used, especially if you're just getting started.
Check the classifieds, check your local "bargain finder" (an
all-classified advertising paper around here that always has
a few tablesaws in it) and shop around. Especially if you're
starting out (like me) this keeps your investment down, and
still gives you a quality tool. If you later decide that
woodworking just isn't for you, then you haven't invested that
I recently (Summer 1995) purchased a 20 year old Rockwell/Beaver
Table saw for $250 (Canadian funds, = about US$180). This is a
full size contractor's-style tablesaw with a solid cast-iron top.
In contrast, if you were shopping new, for $2-300 you'd be restricted
to the smaller benchtop-sized saws.
This Table Saw is in fine shape, and should keep me happy for a
few years. By then I'll either upgrade, or have decided that it
is sufficient for my woodworking needs. Sure the fence requires
some fiddling, but that's ok for now.
ps: Besides, once you score that super deal on a used table saw
you can post a "tool gloat" or a "bagging the big iron"
article and have all of us drooling with envy.