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Hi everyone, I am kinda new again to woodworking, having returned after some time. My tools are limited, a small bandsaw, drill, router and table, and a miter that belongs to my brother in law. We'll he and my sister are planning to move in two months so he has asked for his saw back. So now I am going to have to buy something new or used.

 I am wondering if I should go with a miterr saw that has served me well, or a table saw. With the exception of ripping which I rairly ever need done, I feel that a miter saw serves most need better than a table saw. Well that and a router whjich I also have. Having said that I am wondering what all of you think might serve better a miter compound saw or a table saw. Keep in mind that I am limited to around 400.00 but no more.

 Thanks, Duane

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Duane, for a few more opinions, you can follow the link below to see what some of our Facebook Fans think you should do:
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Well I ended up finding a miter saw at a pawn shop for 50.00 it is a ridged. The blade was so dule it coudnt cut balsa with out tear out So I bought a diablo 80 tooth, now it cuts threw oak like butter, no tear out... completly sweet. So although I was searching for a table, I got a miter and the search in on once again..... lol

Well I need more than time. No matter how well a project is doing for me at some point it amost always falls apart on me. But have a Kreg jig helps, and having a way tp cut a straight will make a real difference. I admire people whom can cut as straight of a line by hand than with a saw. I however am not made of the same gene pool it
For $400.00, I'd go to craigslist. You can get a decent contractor's saw AND a miter saw for that money. I've got a semi-firm rule that for medium and large machines I won't buy new; I'll buy only used equipment in good condition selling for under 50% of lowest retail. Nice thing about craigslist, too, is that many of the sellers just want to get rid of bulky, heavy things like shop equipment- their motive isn't necessarily to make a big profit. Make them a fair offer and they'll usually take it.

You may have to troll craigslist for a few weeks to find what you want at a price you're willing to pay. In my experience, when you see something you want, act immediately! Too many times I told they guy I'd come take a look at something the next day and it was sold by then.
Since you say that you rarely do any rippping, then I think you're really in the market for two tools. The miter saw is, in my estimation, an indespensible tool even for the casual woodworker. For you ripping needs, you could probably get by nicely with a hand-held circular saw. Just my 2 cents...
I have been thinking of picking up a circular saw at some point.
well i thought the same thing 25 years ago. but bought the table saw , and i am glad that i did....more user friendly.there are good table saws out there..i was given a radial arm saw and i gave it away....very dangerous. good luck
As I've been saying for years and years, "you get what you pay for". If I had the money I would definitely buy a Milwaukee 12 inch sliding compound miter saw and scrap my radial saw. I do a lot of ripping so also have a table saw; actually it's a Taiwan rip off of the American made ShopSmith 5 in 1 tool. I've had it for 29 years now and am still on the original spindle and bearings. I did have to have the miter slots opened up to standard size of 3/4 x 3/8. My most used tool now is the router/table saw and, if I had anticipated this in the past I would have bought a larger table. I have the Kreg portable table with their great table fence and I also have the original Incra fence positioner. The Milwaukee miter saw is around $650.00 but, after weeks of research, is the absolute best on the market as of this moment in that price range. Yeah, I did say the 12 inch model because you can crosscut wider boards with that size blade, which may be helpful to you.
Given the money that's what I would do. Good luck.
I have a table saw, band saw, etc. but find if I need to make a quick cut or doing a basic non fussy project, I tend to go to the mitre saw and mine was well under $400. In my case the mitre saw takes up less space than the table saw. I guess it would depend on what kind of projects you enjoy doing. Sounds like, from the replies you are getting, you could almost get a table saw and a mitre saw for under $400.
You can do well with either but keep this in mind. The table saw is the most versatile machine in the shop. The workhorse. You can make many different types of cuts with the table saw that are impossible with the miter saw. Research the saws indepth. There are some that are cheaply built with many plastic parts. If you plan to do a lot of woodworking over the years, a cast iron or granite top will be your best choice. I have a Rigid granite top and I am thoroughly satisfied. However, the price tag was $600 at Home Depot.
Keep this in get what you pay for!!!! If you are an occasional user, I would check out the Sears Craftsman line and read the reviews that people submit. Also, if you have a Sears nearby, visit and take the time to carefully, see how they are built without the salesperson hawking you from behind. Hope this helps.
I recently purchased a miter saw as well. I did my research and found that most professionals recommended that the purchase should be based upon they type of projects you expect to do. Fair enough. However, there are some other important considerations that didn't really get mentioned. I considered a table saw, but bought the miter for the following reasons:
-Space. I don't have much of it. I can easily take a MS off a shelf and use it, vs a table saw that I would have to unpack.
-Safety. The material moves across a table saw; with a MS, I can keep the material steady and double check the cut before turning on the saw. Also, it is easier to support longer material if it doesn't move.
-Price. A good quality MS is cheaper than similar quality TS

I know that my post will not help the OP, but someone will search and find it.
Hi Duane,

From everything you said, here are a couple ideas I would consider. You mostly make smaller furniture, with the occasional large piece of wood possibly. I myself try to by 4x8 sheets when I can to save money on material, when applicable. I built a simple 8' long radial saw cutting jig, took only a few minutes to make. I too really would like a table saw but space limitations and how rare I would use it have deterred me. Not to mention I don't like to buy crappy tools when possible.

There is a great little site called I have a local store near me as well. I don't use the miter saw that often either, so figured, before I spend $600 on a Bosch miter or Hitachi (bit less), I'd get a cheap one to make sure I will use it. Harbor Freight has a sale on 10" MS (not sliding), was normally $90 or so, on sale for $50.. and a 20% coupon.. got it for $40! I've used it several times, and while it has almost no bells and whistles, it does the job nicely! Far better than spending time to torque some wood down and use a radial or jig saw.

As for Dado's and some other cuts, I have a router as well that I use for that. I don't like using it for larger cuts that make more sense for radial saw, or free-hand rounded cuts that I'll use the Jigsaw for.

Given your price range, I honestly would say get the 12" Hitachi like someone else suggested or if you can afford it, the Bosch looks very nice. If you don't have a radial saw, pick up a cheap one of those for those long cuts and set up a jig to keep them straight.

I've found that the few times I cut 4x8, the radial saw with the jig does the trick, little more work than setting up the table saw, but a lot less expensive, and eventually I'll pick up a nicer miter saw when the cheap one I got dies.

The reason I would go this route.. I find that for the size/space requirements, the Miter is more versatile and much faster to work with than table saws for most cuts up to 12" or so. Building book cases, crown molding or base boards, shelf's, etc.. the 12" sliding miter will do it all complete with various angles and is very quick to set up, change angles, etc. The only down side is the set up of a few saw horses to make the radial cuts without the wood splitting and falling away.
I would rather have my tablesaw if I could only have one. It depends entirelyon what you will use it for.


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