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Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 12:46 am
by Pinelope
Just starting out with woodworking. Never done anything like this before so needing some (lots of) guidance. So far all I have is a drill, some bar clamps and a circular saw and a pocket hole jig. I want to be able to cut bigger pieces of timber more precisely as I'm planning on making a pull out under stairs pantry (and eventually some utility room storage cupboards) and don't feel I am capable of making accurate cuts on smaller pieces of wood (like 2 x 4) with my circular saw yet (I'm going to need lots of practice). So I thought (and do correct me if I'm wrong) that a table saw would make this much easier for me.
Budget is tight though so does anyone have any recommendations of fairly cheap table saws? What sort of price do they start at? Any recommendations for decent sites to buy from at a reasonable price? I know you get what you pay for but as someone starting out I thought I would just get something fairly cheap until I can see if it is worth me making a long term investment for or not.

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 7:08 pm
by 9fingers
Fully understand the need to keep costs down but the very cheap saws do suffer from problems. The worst of these is that the fence that will not repeatedly lock down truely parallel to the blade. If you can get to a shop like Axminster, they should be willing to demostrate their wares. Personally I would stay clear of Clarke as a brand - the support in the event of problems is poor.

Good Luck

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 8:16 pm
by davidpidge
If you're cutting sheet material for cupboards then even a cheap track saw can be extremely accurate. You also need less space than a table saw to cut large pieces.
I lived without a table saw for years when I started out.

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 10:05 pm
by Pinelope
Thanks for your responses 9fingers and davidpidge.

9fingers...I'm not actually able to get out to ANY shops at the moment so would have to buy online and have it delivered. It is possible though that a friend could pick something up for me if I order it online or over the phone. I doubt they'd be happy to make choices regarding which table saw to go for after seeing a product being demonstrated. What would be the minimum price (roughly) you'd expect to see a table saw worth buying available at, new? Just looked on the Axminster website and the cheapest (and only) table saw I could afford would be the Proxxon KS 230 Saw at £120 which looks like, whilst probably better quality than something I could pick up at my local generic home improvement shop, does'nt look like it has many features I would require or that it would be able to cut on the scale I need (sheets and 2 x 4 etc). If I'm wrong though please do correct me :) I could probably afford to go up to £160 at the moment. Other than that I think I would have to put off some of the projects I have in mind until I have saved up for a better table saw. They start at £350 on the Axminster website so...

davidpidge... Thank you I have just found a youtube video generically comparing circular saws, track saws (which I hadn't even heard of until you mentioned them!) and table saws so I'll have a watch of that and see which might be my best option. I like the fact that track saws are cheaper, definitely as this would enable me to use that until I can afford a decent table saw. It has left me wondering though, what the difference between a track saw and a circular saw with a guide is? I think the reason why I'm struggling to cut accurately with just a circular saw is that I need some sort of a guide and also some way of ensuring the guide doesn't rock when cutting narrow bits of wood. Perhaps I just need to prop the guide up on another piece of wood to stabilise it? Not sure I'm explaining myself well but don't know all the correct terminology... yet. Any advice appreciated.

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 10:59 am
by 9fingers
Hi Pinelope,
The proxxon range of tools is aimed at model makers and whilst well respected are not suitable for your needs. Maximum depth of cut is 8mm in softwood!
Track saws* are great for sheet goods but less so for working with 4x2 etc as you have noted due to lack of support.
Although you can't get out and about at the moment maybe you will be able to later on and then the possibilty of buying a second hand TS nearer your budget.
Another possibility might be to join a bigger forum such as UKworkshop and see if there are members near you who would be able to cut the timber for you for the urgent projects whilst you can save up some more cash to get your own decent table saw. Around £400 will be needed I'm afraid.

*It is fairly easy to make a saw board to use with your existing circular saw to facilitate straight long cuts on sheet materials.
Note how the board gets trimmed to the distance between the edge of the saw base and the blade first time round and thereafter gives the straight edge guide to work from.

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 2:21 pm
by thatsnotafestool
Hi Pinelope

Whereabouts in Cumbria are you ? I'm on the border with Northumberland.


Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 7:39 am
by Meccarroll
I work on site and use "Saw Boards" a lot, just make them up on site as needed. Changing the blade in your Circular Saw for a sharp one will make a big difference and there are a lot of different saw blades designed for different cutting operations. I change my blades for cutting sheet material, laminate or ripping and I mainly tend to use quality saw blades which cost a bit more but give better results.

Check your circular saw blade is properly aligned with your rip fence on your circular saw (parallel), also check that the blade runs true with the edge of the base plate because if it's out you will never obtain true cuts with a "Saw Board" and will forever struggle with it.

Cheap table saws are not going to improve your woodwork experience so my advice would be to save up and buy a decent one that will do what you need it to otherwise you will just end up going round in circles.

Re: Just starting out and need table saw advice

Posted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:59 pm
by Jamesh
I have a screwfix titan which is no cabinet makers saw

But for £100 new it's pretty decent.

The fence although only fixed at one end is fairly substantial and the track it runs in is full width - about a meter.

The cross cut slider is poor with plenty of slack. I just adjust for the slack making sure my timber is 90 to the blade when under tension.

Cheers James