The nature and function of table saws has changed a lot over the past couple of decades. Now, much of the production work that this machine used to handle is done on beam saws, optimizing CNCs, vertical panel saws and other machines. Technology keeps moving along. Ho hum.
But there’s still no substitute for a small, portable table saw on the jobsite, especially when working with parts that are a little larger than a miter saw can handle. And small custom shops still rely on a decent cabinet saw (or even a hybrid or contractor model) to dimension materials. While robotics and CNC technology are obviously the future, they both come with a daunting price tag and what can be a challenging learning curve. So, at least for the time being, table saws are still alive and well in the woodshops of hobbyists, custom craftsmen and installers. And while new toys such as ShopBot’s new Large Sheet Tool might change that sooner than we think, they are still making news.
Most woodworkers are still wondering whether all of these machines will soon be carrying SawStop safety technology. It’s a debate that has been raging for several years, and is still not settled. Last spring, the Consumer Product Safety Commission made a preliminary determination that “there may be an unreasonable risk of blade-contact injuries associated with table saws.” Interested parties were invited to comment by July 26th, 2017, and it seems that’s where it stands for now.
In an interview with Woodshop News, SawStop’s vice president of marketing Matt Howard says the company’s acquisition by Tooltechnic Systems (TTS, the parent of Festool) last June is opening lots of new doors in terms of product options. SawStop’s safety system may have applications across a wider range of machinery and tools, and while it will be a little while before we see such products on the market, the engineers in both companies are excited about the prospect of making all kinds of woodworking a little safer.
Bosch is currently barred from selling its Reaxx table saw in the U.S., following SawStop’s complaint to the U.S. International Trade Commission that Bosch infringed on its safety technology and patents.
Small shops and installers are just beginning to experience what amounts to revolutionary technology in the portable unit market. That’s because battery-powered table saws are adding a whole new dimension to the concept of jobsite portability. Bigger batteries, and using several in series, have opened the door to powering portable circular and miter saws that are capable of making big cuts all day long. Now, cordless power is entering the table saw sphere.
The DeWalt (dewalt.com) model DCS7485T1 is an 8-1/4” cordless saw with a brushless motor, a rack-and-pinion fence, and the capacity to rip 4x8 sheet goods (24” rip).
Metabo (metabo.com) also has a couple of versions of its full 10” cordless table saw that should soon be available in the US. The saw, model TS 36 LTX BL 254, is powered by two 18-volt LiHD batteries and features a built-in collapsing wheel/leg set that makes it extremely portable. It also has integrated dust extraction and an extra-large support surface thanks to both table width extension and length extensions. It doesn’t have a riving knife, but the splitter can be lowered without tools for hidden cuts, and transporting.
With the recent introduction of several cordless miter saws (such as Makita’s XSL06 10” model, and similar tools from manufacturers such as Ridgid and Ryobi), it’s probably safe to say that woodworkers can look for a rapid widening of choices in the cordless, portable table saw sector.
Altendorf (altendorf.com) has introduced the first digital, mobile operator guidance system for a sliding table saw, called Magis. It shows the cutting sequence for optimized panel processing and, being mobile, can be used with any Altendorf sliding table saw. It also helps to enhance safety in the workplace, and reduces the time required to complete a defined job at the machine. Magis consists of software, a tablet and a mount. It is not a cut optimization program, but rather a visual prompting system, so intelligent that it can acquire the relevant data from the cut optimization package, detect the saw specs, and then incorporate this information into prompts.
Grizzly (grizzly.com) offers a new industrial-grade 14” sliding table saw, model G0764Z. Listed at $8,150 plus shipping, it’s engineered to handle the largest sheet material and has a 4-1/8” maximum depth of cut at 90 degrees. There’s an independently controlled scoring blade and two flip stops on the crosscutting fence, plus a large overhead blade guard with a 4” dust port and a 5” cabinet-mounted port. The company also introduced the G0820 12” slider for $4,695. This smaller saw is still an industrial-grade machine, but its compact size (118” x 90”) takes up a lot less shop space. It will crosscut sheets up to 63” x 106-1/4” and rip panels as wide as 33”. At 7-1/2-hp, it has a scoring blade, a miter fence with adjustable flip-stops, dust ports above and below the blade, a riving knife, and a clamping hold-down system for the sliding table.
Oliver Machinery (olivermachinery.net) recently introduced a 10” left-rip table saw that comes in a couple of different fence configurations (36” and 52”). The new 10040, which the company calls a hybrid, is a cast-iron saw with the trunnion mounted to the cabinet, not the underside of the top (as it would be in a contractor saw). It also has a spindle lock, riving knife and built-in wheels.
The newest version of the Fusion saw from Laguna Tools (lagunatools.com) is now equipped with a riving knife, blade guard and quick-release system. It’s available in 110- and 220-volt systems, and features a 36” rip (52” optional) capacity.
Delta Machinery will introduce two new 10” portable table saws under the ShopMaster (shopmastermachinery.com) brand in 2018, model S36-290 with a 16” rip capacity to the right of the blade and model S36-300 with a 31” rip ability.
Skil (skilsaw.com) has introduced a new 10” portable worm-drive table saw that the company says is specifically designed with the power and torque needed to tackle ripping tasks. It has a full 3-1/2” depth of cut and 25” rip capacity, so it’s big enough to rip plywood sheets in half. It also features the company’s Dual-Field motor.
More table saw sources can be found in the Woodshop News’ Resource Guide at resourceguide.woodshopnews.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2018 issue.