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Thread: Porter Cable Table Saw

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    Born and raised in New Mexico. Live and work in Albuquerque.
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    Talking Porter Cable Table Saw

    I'm in the market for a new table saw and on a tight budget in these tough economic times. Our local big box home improvement store has a Porter Cable stationary table saw that I can afford. It has some nice features on it like the other higher priced saws have too. Does anyone out there own one and could give me your review and imput about this saw?
    Last edited by Barney Roybal; 01-15-2013 at 03:05 AM.

  2. #2
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    Austin, Texas
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    I am not familiar with that model, but I looked it up on the web. Found a $300 version and a $600 version.

    Most of the $300 table saws I have seen are very light weight "job site" saws, with the blade attached directly to the motor. The blade therefore is only as stable as the motor arbor, not nearly as precise is a separate arbor bearing. Basically it is a contractor hand saw, upside down. Somebody gave me a used one decades ago, and it was so inaccurate I gave it away.

    The $600 version may be good, but I owned a Ridgid 3650 when that model first came out, and loved it for years. I believe the current price is around $550. Some machines have a long time excellent reputation for reliability, precision, and wear - this is one of them. I don't know anything bad about the $600 PC but I would also consider the 3650.

    Why did I get rid of my 3650. Well, I bought a $20,000 combination machine. It was a step up, but a fair amount of the work on my web site was built on the 3650.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

  3. #3
    I own a 3650, which hasn't been on the market for 4-5 years now. It's a good saw. The current Ridgid saw is a 4512 and the reviews on it are decent. At least as good as the 3650. $500 off HD's website.

    I know the Porter Cable saw the OP is talking about. I wouldn't use that $300 saw if you gave it to me, then gave me $300 on top. Stamped steel wings, wobbly legs, junk fence. Some people may say my view is skewed because I've simply looked at the floor display model. I say - if it can't hold up 6 months as a display, how is it going to hold up 6 years in a shop??

    Unfortunately, it's not 1999 anymore. $300 doesn't buy much saw now-a-days.

    It sounds like a broken record, but watch Craigslist. I found my TS3650 2 years ago for $250. Albuquerque is a large enough town you can probably find 4 or 5 20-year-old Craftsman saws for $100 right this second.

  4. #4
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    ABQ NM
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    Barney, is this the one you're looking at?

    Porter Cable Tablesaw

    Personally, I'd recommend the Ridgid from Home Depot over the Porter Cable. I have the predecessor to this one, and it has been a workhorse for me.

    Ridgid Tablesaw

    Ridgid has a very good track record and reputation in that market segment, but Porter Cable is a relatively new player on the block. (Porter Cable used to make professional-level tools, but in the past few years they have cheapened most of their products to appeal to the homeowner/hobbyist market.)

    If the Ridgid is out of reach price-wise, I'll second David's recommendation to keep an eye on Craigslist. You can often get good deals on large power tools if you buy used.
    Last edited by Vaughn McMillan; 01-15-2013 at 09:19 AM. Reason: Fixed the Ridgid URL
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  5. #5
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    I should also add that if you do go looking at used saws and want a second set of eyes, feel free to give me a shout. If I'm available, I'd be glad to help check out any potential purchases. I'll extend the same offer if you need any help getting things set up and dialed in, whether you buy new or used.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  6. #6
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    That PC does not look like much of a saw for that kind of money. But I would not hesitate to buy another one of these http://www.factoryauthorizedoutlet.c...FU-d4AodJSUAxg Mine is going on 5 maybe 6 years now of almost daily use. next up would be the Ridged but we have use up 2 of them in that same time.
    It could be worse You could be on fire.
    Stupid hurts.

  7. #7
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    Yes Vaughn, that's the one. What i Liked about the saw was the ease of the fence set-up. It glided on the rails effortlessly and also the size of motor as well as the accessability of the blade depth gear and the miter/bevel gear. Very solid miter guage too. I have been told that it's made by Delta.

    The Ridgid model r4512 looks nice in the ads and has good reviews, however, unfortunately our local Home Depot stores are not at all anxious to assemble a table saw for display. It just sits on the tool floor in a box for all to see the picture on the side of the box. I would really like to see one all set up.
    Last edited by Barney Roybal; 01-15-2013 at 05:46 AM.

  8. #8
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    Never owned a PC tablesaw or a rigid. I do have a bosch that I have had for several years now as my "field" saw and its always performed flawlessely. Run out is minimal table was flat fence smooth. All around good saw for what its designed for. Thats the key right there. What do you plan to cut with it? if you are going to be running 8/4 rock maple through it in large volume then you are going to kill it real quick. if you are looking at small projects and mainly 4/4 stock and plywood and not for several hours a day you will get a good long life out of it.
    http://www.amazon.com/Bosch-4100-09-...osch+table+saw
    He who laughs last, thinks slowest

  9. #9
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    Hey Barney, which Lowe's has the Porter Cable set up? I'd like to look at one in person. The Lowe's website is pretty thin on info about it (and the P-C site doesn't seem to list them), so I'd like to get a better look. I'm curious to see what type of belt it has and get a good look at the fence. Also, are the table extensions stamped steel or cast iron? (The Ridgid has cast iron extensions, which was a big selling point for me.) Having the blade tilt crank on the front isn't a big issue, in my opinion. I don't think most guys change the blade tilt very often. I'd be more interested to see if it complicates or simplifies the blade tilt mechanism. (More complicated means more opportunity for something to stop working right.) Having it on the side also helps keep me from accidentally grabbing the wrong crank and messing up my perfect 90 setup when I'm trying to raise or lower the blade.

    I can understand the desire to see a major tool like this set up before pulling the trigger on buying it. At the time I bought my Ridgid, Home Depot still had their big tools on display. Lowe's was selling a similarly-priced Hitachi, and the one at my local Lowe's was set up pretty well. The Ridgid over at Home Depot, though, had apparently been assembled by baboons with a poor work ethic. Plus, someone had spilled a Coke all over it and it hadn't been cleaned up. The handcranks were missing and the fence was inoperable. Still, when I looked at the specs, reviews, and recommendations by others on the web, the Ridgid seemed the best, so I took a gamble and went with it, even though the store display machine was a mess. Turns out I made a good choice. The Hitachi saw disappeared from the market within a couple of years, while the Ridgid has continued to improve.

    I know Ridgid used to have a pretty good user forum on their website. (I've not visited it in a few years.) I wonder if there might be someone on that forum who owns the latest Ridgid in the ABQ area and would be willing to let you come see it?

    As an aside, my 3650 had a very nice fence, but I eventually replaced it with an Incra fence setup that I won in a drawing. (The fence was worth nearly what I'd paid for the saw itself.) Then I added a router table extension to it, so it's grown into quite a monstrosity.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

    workingwoods.com

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barney Roybal View Post
    ...I have been told that it's made by Delta.
    ...
    Delta and Porter Cable are now the same company. But that doesn't mean that any Delta table saw experts were involved ... that would be too logical

    Quote Originally Posted by Barney Roybal View Post
    ...The Ridgid model r4512 looks nice in the ads and has good reviews, however, unfortunately our local Home Depot stores are not at all anxious to assemble a table saw for display. It just sits on the tool floor in a box for all to see the picture on the side of the box. I would really like to see one all set up.
    Common problem at Home Depot - and once it is assembled, will it have all the parts, and will they be in the right place. However, that saw and it's ancestors have been the gold standard of the $500-600 market place, so I bet you will find someone local who will show one to you in use (even better than in the store). I would start with a post here with a title like "Looking to see a Ridgid table saw in the Albequerque area" or something very specific like that. If not, try the Ridgid forum www.ridgidforum.com - but don't get lost in it - Ridgid is big in plumbing and other areas - woodworking is only a small portion.
    Charlie Plesums, Austin Texas
    (Retired early to become a custom furnituremaker)
    Lots of my free advice at www.solowoodworker.com

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