Table Saw horse power?

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New User
I "upgraded" from a 10 year old Craftsman table top with legs, direct drive, cast aluminum table saw to a 20 year old "basket case" Craftsman cast iron table saw with the belt drive motor stickin' out the back.

I got her up and running today and am I very disappointed in the POWER! The other table saw (2.7 horse power peek) unknown horse power, 5000 RPM, direct drive rips right down a 2x4. Using the same saw blade, the older cast iron saw struggles all the way down the 2x4 (motor bogs down). This saw has a General Electric 1 horse power, 3450 RPM motor. The pulley's on the motor and the spindle are the same size (2-1/2"). Motor looks like a newer motor than what originally would have come on the saw. Motor sounds excellent, both running without the v-belt and with the v-belt and saw blade. Quiet as a mouse.

What am I missing here? The obvious being a stronger motor? I can't believe anyone was happy with these table saws if they came with a 1 horse power motor!

Trent Mason

New User
Trent Mason

I had similar issues with an older Ryobi BT3000. While I never fully resolved them, one thing I was doing wrong was using an extension chord. I lost a bit of power while using a 50' extension chord between the saw and the outlet. If you are using an extension chord, try plugging it straight into the outlet instead, that might give you a little more power. Just a thought. :thumbs_up


New User
Don't forget to check the alignment of your rip fence to the blade. You want the fence to angle slightly away from the blade from front to back, otherwise you will be pinching the wood between the blade and fence which will bog the motor down. I assume you are cutting a framing 2x4 and not hardwood?


Corporate Member
You GE motor is probably an honest 1HP. Most contractor style table saws are 1½HP. This could be part of your problem. My Powermatic 64A is 1½HP and has no problem with 2x4's (or 6/4 hardwood). I would seriously look at your blade. Is it a good rip blade or a combo blade? A rip blade is much preferred if you are ripping a lot of soft wood 2x4's. Is you blade sharp? A dull blade can eat up at least ½HP. Even a dirty blade can cut performance significantly.

In summary, 1HP is a bit weak and coupled with a dull and/or dirty blade will give you the symptoms you describe.



New User
Craftsman saws of that vintage would have come with 1.5 hp Emerson motor. More than likely you've got a replacement that is not right for the saw. You say the pulley is the same size so the RPM of the blade would be approx the same as the motor. Is the motor a 3400 rpm or 1700 rpm? If it is the later that could be the problem.
Ooops! I should read more carefully. You already answered that question.


Senior User
Excessively long power cord
Misaligned fence and/or splitter
Misaligned motor/arbor pulleys
Glazed drive belt (slipping)
Improperly tensioned drive belt (slipping)
Bad run-capacitor on the motor (if it has a run capacitor)
Bad bearings in the motor or arbor
Undersized motor

Could be any of, or a combination of, the above.



New User
Check your line voltage and the wiring of the motor. It sounds like you are supplying 110V to a motor that is wired for 220V.

Don't just go on the basis of the plug. Pull the cover plate off the motor and verify that it is wired correctly for the voltage you are supplying. I have seen several machines wired for 220V that have a 15 amp 110V plug on them.


Mark Gottesman

New User
+1 on checking the wiring. I have seen this happen several times on motors including older Sears 1HP motors. In fact, I have one on my saw that I got for free because it was "underpowered".

I use it on a '50's vintage Sears/Craftsman benchtop saw and it has no problem ripping 2x materials in pine and oak.

I do use a thin kerf blade. I have rebuilt and tuned the saw so it is squared, adjusted and lubed.

I also got rid of the link-belt I was using and went to a proper V-Belt. The Link-belt, while smoother running, was prone to slipping. Not sure why.
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