Battle of the TS saws

Back around March 2008, I posted quite a lot of information on this site as I went through the process of choosing a cabinet-type tablesaw.

Now four years on (believe it or not!!), and prompted by a recent query (given my tablesaw, the TS10L has been off the market for around 3 years) I can look back at the decision I made, and whether the apparent successor would have been a contender.

Tablesaw comparison - what floats your boat?

Saw Soup

This is also interesting as news filters through that may have gotten themselves as national importers/distributors of Jet power tools. Still a rumour at this stage though. Wonder if it will impact on Powermatic as well?

***Update: it is confirmed (information received independently from 3 different sources) that Carbatec have become the importers/distributors of Jet.  In doing so, it is likely that competing saws also made in Taiwan (such as the TSCE-10L) will no longer be available once current stocks are exhausted***

So 4 years on. The TS10L is still a great saw, and I still have no issues or regrets over the decision. No weaknesses or issues have come to light in that time, other than a couple of very minor items I resolved very early on – the antikickback pawls that were spring-loaded and causing damage to timber passing underneath (since removed), and the insert having to be lifted to get access to the guard/splitter quick release (solved by creating a new insert that can be removed from around the splitter).
So what features really make this saw, that are worth ensuring are included in other models?

Well many, but there are a number that do come to mind. The arbor lock for blade changing. Quick release for the splitter/guard. That the splitter/guard rises and falls with the blade. The left-tilting blade. The Biesemeyer-style fence. The large, heavy, flat tabletop that is significant on both sides of the blade and having two miter slots – one either side of the blade. The overall weight, and heavy manufacturing of the machine.

TS10L ….. TSC10HB Specification TSCE-10L
254mm 250mm Blade Size 254mm
16mm max*** 15mm max Dado Capacity 15mm max
Left Right Tilt Direction Left
3HP 15A 240V 3HP 15A 240V Motor 3HP 15A 240V
Induction Induction Motor Type Induction
2850 RPM Motor Speed 2850 RPM
4000RPM Blade Speed 4300 RPM
Triple Belt Drive Type Poly v-belt
5/8″ 5/8″ Arbor Diameter 5/8″
75mm 77mm Max Cut at 90° 75mm
69mm 58mm Max Cut at 45° 55mm
255/695mm Max Rip L/R 300/762mm
1072x739mm 1015x685mm Table Size WxD 1118x739mm
860mm Table Height 864mm
305mm Blade to Table Front 305mm
150mm Blade to Table Rear
Biesemeyer Style HD Al Lever Action? Fence Type Biesemeyer Style
Clear, Lifting Clear, Lifting Blade Guard Clear, Lifting
Quick Release, Floating Fixed, Anti-kickback Riving Knife Fixed Height *
Magnetic Contactor Magnetic Contactor Switch Type Magnetic Contactor
1×4″ 1×4″ Dust Port 1×4″
Cabinet Cabinet Stand Cabinet
1480x1100x980mm Footprint 1650x1100x1100mm **
220kg 190kg Weight 216kg **

* Error on website – riving knife does rise and fall

** Contradiction between website and latest catalogue

*** I have fitted more – up to 20mm from memory

So what does all this mean? Basically that it is very hard to tell machines apart on spec.

I’d be asking myself (and looking at floor models to see) where the additional 25+kg came from? Some is in the larger top, but the TS10L is not the largest of the three, but is the heaviest. Heavier mechanism (which is a good thing).

Left vs right tilt. I’ve heard justifications for both. I believe left tilt is a safer machine, so that is why I went that way. So did SawStop, and Powermatic. Think that is a pretty clear message.

Riving knives (and guards) are vital safety features. You cannot use them every cut, so one that is quick release is highly desirable. It has to work for you, not against you.

If I was in the market for a tablesaw again, I would first look at SawStop (for the quality of the saw, not just the safety feature), and Powermatic, and work my way down until I got to a model I could afford, rather than work my way up, trying to justify each price increase. In hindsight, I do not have any regrets spending the extra amount I did.

When looking at the machines in person, I would be looking at the strength of the mechanisms, smoothness of operation, quality of the motor (size is a bit of an indicator here – they are both the same power, but is one a lot smaller and therefore less robust internal construction / cheaper manufacture), quality of the fence and how easy it is to adjust/set it accurately to a measurement.

One thing that isn’t shown in the specs, is the accuracy to which the machine is made.  The TS10L has an impressive lack of runout in the arbor, both axially and radially.  This affects the accuracy of every single cut.  Before buying any machine, I would want to know / physically test the runout using a dial gauge.  Two similar looking machines with a large difference in tag price could boil down to one being superbly accurate, and the other being unfit for your purpose.

I don’t know the specs on the individual machines so this is a general comment.  When I did my “Battle of the Blades” soon after getting my machine, I tested the runout and was very impressed – it could have made the difference between every cut being rougher than need be, so is definitely worth considering.  http://stusshed.com/reviews/blade-review/

There is also a strong intangible element here – do you like the saw?  Will you regret not going for the larger/more expensive model in 2, 5, 10 years?  These are long term relationships you forge with large workshop machines – they should last a lifetime, and are not short term affairs as you get with cheap machines and disposable tools.  For the sake of a few dollars (and I do acknowledge the cost difference is significant) will you remain happy with the decision?

This article is definitely not a comprehensive look at current tablesaws, it is an attempt to address a specific question. If looking, there are other manufacturers and suppliers that you would have to carefully consider while making that crucial decision.

3 Responses

  1. “***Update: it is confirmed (information received independently from 3 different sources) that Carbatec have become the importers/distributors of Jet. ”

    Bugger! That means that there will constantly be stock-outs on Jet products in Australia from now on.
    🙂

    .

  2. So what happens to jet australia and the woodman group members who have jet shops?

    • To be honest, I have no idea. Will this result in the loss of competition in the Australian market?

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