New to power tools — purchase recommendation

bob vaughan

Bob Vaughan
Senior User
If the choice were mine, I'd choose the 36-485 because the motor and drive train are more simple and easier to work on. I looked at the parts illustrations on the various parts places on the internet.
As to a 'riving knife', maybe that's a good feature. I've been using a table saw in one form or another since 1974 and haven't missed one at all. Same with a guard. A good shop-made wood push stick and safety glasses is all I've ever needed. Actually instead of safety glasses, a full face shield is better because your face won't get pelted with dust and make you flinch.
 

ssmith

Scott
Senior User
I assume the 36-485 you mention is the saw Neal refers to above and it does include the riving knife and blade guard - both are shown in the picture in the post.

The 36-725 you mention is still in production (Lowe's sells them) and is the one I use. From the factory, it's wired for 115V but can be converted to 220V. It's a capable saw - with mine, I've cut 2" thick hickory and it handled it though I had to feed it reasonably slow. The saw does include both a blade guard and riving knife.

Both saws are roughly comparable in terms of capability but the 485 is heavier duty. It's 1.5 HP vs 3/4 HP, belt drive vs direct, and has a better fence (the beisemeyer).

A few caveats;

As far as power goes, yes, more is better but you need a properly sized circuit to feed whatever you buy. The 36-725 runs off a common 115V / 15A circuit. The 485 is probably wired for 220V (but you'd need to confirm that) and if so, you'd need a 220V/15A circuit to feed it. While possible to run it off 115 you'd need a 20A circuit and even then may get nuisance breaker trips.

Fences - the fence on my 36-725 is adequate but I'd certainly like a beisemeyer which many feel is one of the best available.

Safety - I suspect advice here will vary a lot among the community. A blade guard, anti-kickback fingers, and a riving knife are included on most saws. Personally, I never use the guard but do use the riving knife and anti-kickback fingers when the piece I'm cutting permits it. To echo Bob, a push stick and face/respiratory protection are essential. If you have really deep pockets, you can go further and get a SawStop, which has arguably the best protection out there.
 

Rick Mainhart

Rick
Corporate Member
HI Laura,

I have a model 113.226880, with fence, miter square, homemade portable base, sacrificial fence, one fairly decent blade, and a dado-width insert you can have for free. BUT ... you have to take the whole thing!

The saw motor is getting a bit sad ... it takes a few seconds to run up to full speed, and it does not have the power to cleanly rip 1" thick hardwoods without using a narrow kerf blade ... I replaced it with a Grizzly (but that's another story).

If interested, please let me know.

Regards,

Rick
 

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Hmerkle

Board of Directors, Development Director
Hank
Corporate Member
"my hand-tool experience so far has fostered an affection for pre-loved tools from pre-plastic times."

LOL are you going to fit in here with a bunch of us...

Here is my 2 cents on your questions;
What do I need to know about voltage, horsepower and amperage?
1.Yes, more horsepower is better.

2. Voltage, unless you know you have 220 volts available, you likely only have 110 volts (normal wall plug) (If the 36-485 is wired for 220 / 230 volts but it says 115 / 230, it can be used (a simple motor rewire change) to work on 115)

3. Amperage – you want to have 20 amps available for your shop work, from your circuit breaker box in your house or shop. Without a game of 20 questions, it will be hard to help you figure this out.



Replacement fences

Unless you find a “smoking good deal” you will likely pay $150 to $200 or even more for a replacement fence. (This is potentially a good portion of your “seed money” for your new saw, but remember if you purchase another saw, you can likely make some money if you sell yours.)

As I say that: I searched on FB market place and saw this for only $115!!!: Iniciar sesión en Facebook



Safety

A riving knife is separate from a blade guard. I have worked without a blade guard for years. Many table saw operations find the guard in the way. My saw is SO old, there are not riving knife options for it. But I would invest in one if it was available. Easy to research online, watch a few YT videos on riving knives and table saw blade guards…

Saw choice

For the two choices you laid out (pictures are critical to a final decision) but simply based on the specs you layout, I would choose the 36-485. Things in its favor: Biesemeyer fence, 1 ½ HP, cast extension wing.
Does it look like this:
1669684362726.png


I believe the 36-725 is kind of a cheap piece of equipment. That is just my opinion from seeing them at Lowes… I think this is the one that you are looking at:
1669684395031.png
 

SabertoothBunny

SabertoothBunny
User
Hi all. First, I am blown away by the kind, thoughtful, generous, and incredibly helpful responses from you all!

So I am eyeing this Delta Contractor Saw for sale that several of you mentioned, but I think I might be willing to take another look at the 113 after reading all of your advice. I went outside last night to check out the cord, and I realized something that may be a game changer. So the cord to the machine is pretty frayed, but I had no idea that my extension cord had been just about chewed to death (likely from some baby possums I didn't kick out in the late summer -- they were very cute, but they were not polite garage-guests). Exposed copper and everything! I changed it out to a brand new heavy duty cord, and I didn't feel any zaps. Granted, I was wearing my thickest rubber-sole boots just for a little extra peace of mind.

If I do go the fix-it route, I'm located in Alamance County, so I might take one of you up on the offer to help or field questions.

To get more specific than I was in the original post: With the budget I have now, my goal was to find an old machine in a condition that was good enough to work with now (mostly to push off the inevitable having to learn to service it). I'm not super interested in a brand new saw -- even with the holiday discounting, my hand-tool experience so far has fostered an affection for pre-loved tools from pre-plastic times.

The one other thing I forgot to mention was that my craftsman doesn't have a working fence. I can't conjure it up without going outside (and I'm technically "working" right now -- ha!), but there was a piece of it that was bent when I got it. So even if I were able to get it clamped down solidly, I can only cut straight until it hits the bent part.

Would the need to purchase a new fence play into any of your suggestions to keep what I got and get to learning? In the bright light of day, I'm feeling less intimidated, but I don't want to get too far down the road without doing a solid cost-benefit analysis.

Finally, I'm trying to learn about how to compare saws. The two I'm looking at seem like they're in the same "family" -- the Delta Contractor 36-485 and a Delta Contractor 36-725 that made it's way into my inbox this morning. I'm going to attach my notes (and questions) here.

When I look one saw next to another, I'm realizing I am not sure what it is I'm even comparing...

Again, I really appreciate all of this help. I feel like I'm already learning so much!

All stationary contractor and higher table saws accept dado stacks but you need to make sure you have a throat plate for the saw that allows the stack width. I believe all the Delta contractor saws come with Biesemeyer fences but I could be wrong. Both of these saws you listed are largely interchangeable with some feature variations.

You can download the manuals for each saw online to assist with comparing some of the details. I think the biggest differences are that the 36-485 has a little bit wider of table top and the 13amp, 120v is roughly 2hp on the motor of the 36-725 compared the 1.5ish of the other one. One of the engineers in here could speak to this better than me most likely. In the end the different models change or tweak components to change models/price points just like cars do.

Another note, the 36-725 uses steel for the side wings as they are cheaper to produce and ship than the cast iron but it does have a cast iron table top. The 36-485 has a cast iron top and wings I believe. While cast iron is more durable and techincally better I don't think it is a deal breaker for a hobbiest who isn't trying to be professional and is still learning a lot (like me). More HP is always better but go with what you can afford.

Great video review on the 36-725 that I encourage you to watch (about 8 mins):
 

bowman

Board of Directors, Webmaster
Neal
Staff member
Corporate Member
I have an unopened MJ Splitter that i will sell. I bought it for a Delta saw i no longer have.
 

JimD

Jim
Senior User
A riving knife attaches where a blade guard attaches on saws that have both. The blade guard will also have a riving knife in it. The riving knife puts a piece of metal in the saw kerf behind the blade to make it more difficult for the wood to go off course and cause a kick back. The riving knife will go up and down with the blade. It is hard to retrofit to a saw that did not come with one. So some use a splitter to do something similar. A simple way to have a splitter is to put one in the throat plate. But you have to pick a height or be able to change them. Not as good but worthwhile IMHO.

The blade guard does the riving knife function but also puts a piece of plastic over the blade so it is hard for your hand to come into contact. It causes several issues but if you can get used to one it is probably a good thing. One issue it creates is visibility of the blade. You want to see the blade contacting the wood especially if you are cutting to a mark. At best that is looking through clear plastic with a blade guard. There is also not normally enough space to use a blade guard on a narrow rip. You cannot use a blade guard while making a dado cut. I use the riving knife that came with my SS or a thinner one sold by them on all but dado cuts on my SS but I've never attached the blade guard to the saw. Another issue with them is the anti kick back pawls they use. They can scratch your wood and interfere with moving the wood past the blade. I am not a fan but I think they can be a very useful safety device for some cuts.

How much power you need is work and blade dependent but any 120V saw can have issues at times with power. 13A is the least I would consider and you really want a saw that won't work on a 15A circuit because it keeps tripping the breaker. SS calls my saw's motor 1.75 hp. Seems weaker than my old BT3100 at times but it works as long as the blade is appropriate for what I'm doing. But neither would work on a 15A circuit. Any deeper cut would flip the breaker.
 

tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member
Let me clarify the difference between a riving knife ( very good) and a splitter,(not as good).

A riving knife is attached to the trunnion and moves with the blade. It is very close to the blade making it very difficult for work to get skew and kick back. A splitter is fixed and will be further away. I had two serious kickbacks with a rear-mounted splitter as in an Emerson/Sears/Ridgid saw. I sold the saw and bought a Harvey even though it did all the cuts I needed.

Rear mounted splitters will usually be in the way of a crosscut sled, another big safety device. Insert mounted, DIY or Micro-Splitter can be OK with most sleds and gigs. Most of my jigs work with my riving knife.

Now, one can make inserts with a splitter closer to the blade for different blade heights and it can be better. Make one for rips less than 1 inch and one for full height. Easy and cheap to gain a lot of safety.

Either system can have a blade guard. Few use them as they are often in the way of other safety equipment like your push stick. I have an over-arm blade guard more for dust collection than safety. It is not very good at either. Proper use of good push blocks and finger boards will keep you well away from the blade.

There are some expensive push blocks that excel in holding small work. Small work is where most accidents happen. Sleds and hold downs reduce risk greatly.

With dedicated thin kerf blades, a 120V saw will do fine. Full kerf and combo blades you may find limiting on denser or thicker stock. That is where a 220V 3 HP or bigger saw can shine. I also find I feel more comfortable using a bigger heavier saw. A big price difference of course. Same with a Saw Stop. They are a quality tool well made, so a bit more expensive and then of course the cost of their blade brake technology makes them a lot more expensive. Even if you bought a top of the line with every option, it is still cheaper than a trip to the ER !
 

ssmith

Scott
Senior User
Refining my estimated HP for the 36-725 in post #23 - it's between 3/4 & 1 HP depending on motor efficiency, and only Delta knows exactly what that number is.

Having said that, your best bet with a $400 budget would be to repair your existing saw, but if you're unable to do so or the saw does not have key safety equipment (riving knife & anti-kickback pawls) I'd advise upgrading to something that does.
 

Howie

Howie
Senior User
Hi there! My name is Laura, and I’m new to this forum. I’ve been teaching myself to make sawdust over the course of the past three years, and I’ve mostly kept to hand tools. (It’s been a blast because my small budget meant I also had to teach myself how to turn dusty junk-store rust-buckets into beautiful, sharp, and functional tools.)

That said, I was given a rusty old craftsman 113, and the SPEED at which you can cut wood when aided by a little electricity blew my damn mind.

Something is shot on that old thing — it gave me a little zap a couple times last week (wire is frayed), and prospect of teaching myself anything about electricity is just… I’m not sure I’m ready to cross that threshold. I’ve unplugged it, and I think I’ve said my final goodbye.

This is a very long-winded way of saying that I’m looking for a table saw recommendation. My budget is sub-$400, and I’d love to get something that’ll stand the test of time (aka: that will hopefully not need to be upgraded as my skill set develops).

I’m also looking for a thickness planer, but this is secondary for now (unless theres a great one for a solid deal sooner than I find the right table saw for my needs).

Photos of two in-progress, hand-tool’d projects just for fun!

Thanks, y’all.





Example > 2) 2hp Unisaws went on Industrial Recovery Service Auction site today. Items were in Raleigh. Both w/original Biesemeyer fences, less then $300.00 each. They were 3 phase but throw a VFD on there and you got a life time tool very cheap.
 

frankom

frank
User
Hi there! My name is Laura, and I’m new to this forum. I’ve been teaching myself to make sawdust over the course of the past three years, and I’ve mostly kept to hand tools. (It’s been a blast because my small budget meant I also had to teach myself how to turn dusty junk-store rust-buckets into beautiful, sharp, and functional tools.)

That said, I was given a rusty old craftsman 113, and the SPEED at which you can cut wood when aided by a little electricity blew my damn mind.

Something is shot on that old thing — it gave me a little zap a couple times last week (wire is frayed), and prospect of teaching myself anything about electricity is just… I’m not sure I’m ready to cross that threshold. I’ve unplugged it, and I think I’ve said my final goodbye.

This is a very long-winded way of saying that I’m looking for a table saw recommendation. My budget is sub-$400, and I’d love to get something that’ll stand the test of time (aka: that will hopefully not need to be upgraded as my skill set develops).

I’m also looking for a thickness planer, but this is secondary for now (unless theres a great one for a solid deal sooner than I find the right table saw for my needs).

Photos of two in-progress, hand-tool’d projects just for fun!

Thanks, y’all.
I have a 1941 12 inch Boice Crane planer that must be sold. We moved from Virginia and I downsized to a garage without 240v electric and for sure no excess space. All new bearings and reworked internal shaft make it run quiet and powerful. It comes with an uninstalled start up switch that was $120.00. Also comes with a plywood mobil base that has super heavy duty rollers to bear the heavy weight of the machine. The only glitch is the height adjustment is accurate only to maybe 1/8th inch. Another issue is that if you do not have the 240v outlet that is an added cost. Having said all that I think you should buy a table saw first as they are central to a shop.
 

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tvrgeek

Scott
Corporate Member




Example > 2) 2hp Unisaws went on Industrial Recovery Service Auction site today. Items were in Raleigh. Both w/original Biesemeyer fences, less then $300.00 each. They were 3 phase but throw a VFD on there and you got a life time tool very cheap.
Good point. A lot of 3 phase get passes over because folks do not understand how modern electronics makes conversion so easy. Back "in the day" it meant a motor-generator!

Old planers are great but check to see if you can upgrade them to a helical head. Lux or Byrd. You will want too after setting up the knives 3 or 4 times! I could not afford a big old one, let alone a new PM, so I am keeping my DeWalt with helical head.
 

Howie

Howie
Senior User
Good point. A lot of 3 phase get passes over because folks do not understand how modern electronics makes conversion so easy. Back "in the day" it meant a motor-generator!

Old planers are great but check to see if you can upgrade them to a helical head. Lux or Byrd. You will want too after setting up the knives 3 or 4 times! I could not afford a big old one, let alone a new PM, so I am keeping my DeWalt with helical head.
Taadaah Reserve met bidding closed>https://www.irsauctions.com/popups/...ction=4M4LI23YQSALBR8AYXUK5HWAEUVJFJ&id=25312
 

AlanJ

Alan
User
Hi all. First, I am blown away by the kind, thoughtful, generous, and incredibly helpful responses from you all!

So I am eyeing this Delta Contractor Saw for sale that several of you mentioned, but I think I might be willing to take another look at the 113 after reading all of your advice. I went outside last night to check out the cord, and I realized something that may be a game changer. So the cord to the machine is pretty frayed, but I had no idea that my extension cord had been just about chewed to death (likely from some baby possums I didn't kick out in the late summer -- they were very cute, but they were not polite garage-guests). Exposed copper and everything! I changed it out to a brand new heavy duty cord, and I didn't feel any zaps. Granted, I was wearing my thickest rubber-sole boots just for a little extra peace of mind.

If I do go the fix-it route, I'm located in Alamance County, so I might take one of you up on the offer to help or field questions.

To get more specific than I was in the original post: With the budget I have now, my goal was to find an old machine in a condition that was good enough to work with now (mostly to push off the inevitable having to learn to service it). I'm not super interested in a brand new saw -- even with the holiday discounting, my hand-tool experience so far has fostered an affection for pre-loved tools from pre-plastic times.

The one other thing I forgot to mention was that my craftsman doesn't have a working fence. I can't conjure it up without going outside (and I'm technically "working" right now -- ha!), but there was a piece of it that was bent when I got it. So even if I were able to get it clamped down solidly, I can only cut straight until it hits the bent part.

Would the need to purchase a new fence play into any of your suggestions to keep what I got and get to learning? In the bright light of day, I'm feeling less intimidated, but I don't want to get too far down the road without doing a solid cost-benefit analysis.

Finally, I'm trying to learn about how to compare saws. The two I'm looking at seem like they're in the same "family" -- the Delta Contractor 36-485 and a Delta Contractor 36-725 that made it's way into my inbox this morning. I'm going to attach my notes (and questions) here.

When I look one saw next to another, I'm realizing I am not sure what it is I'm even comparing...

Again, I really appreciate all of this help. I feel like I'm already learning so much!
As others mentioned craftsmen 113 covers a whole lot of saws. including some that were not very nice when they were new and some that were pretty good contractor saws. I bought mine new in 1985 and its still going strong. The same sears store was also selling cheaper 113 saws that cost about 1/4 what I paid. Many of the parts are not interchangeable. If you post pictures of the saw and the fence you might get better advice about a replacement part or even if the saw is worth your while to repair/upgrade.
 

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