Once again, I am clearing up my workshop and making space for a full-size table saw. I have an increasing number of projects that require more than what jobsite table saws can easily or safely handle.
I’ve saved up funds for a couple of years, and am ready to upgrade. Maybe.
Which path do I take?
For simplicity, I narrowed down that if I get a traditional western-style cabinet table saw, it’s going to be a SawStop. There are many other brands out there, such as Powermatic, Harvey, and Laguna. I have researched SawStop the most, and their popularity should help with troubleshooting or accessory-compatibility questions that might come up.
SawStop has a couple of accessory options, including a crosscut slider, which sort of takes the place of a miter gauge and shop-made sleds – at least for certain applications.
I like to think I understand the community’s praise and criticisms of SawStop features and quality.
But is that the right style of table saw for me?
European-style woodworking tools are very different, and might be better aligned with my needs. For instance, I don’t plan on ripping 4×8 sheets of plywood on a table saw. It would be nice if I could easily break down 5′ x 5′ sheets of baltic birch on a table saw, but I have a track saw for that.
I want a larger table saw for repeatability and efficiency.
Felder has Hammer-series sliding table saws – the K3 Winner – in a couple of different sizes.
I considered a Felder Hammer jointer-planer for a few years before going with Powermatic. I’m still not sure if I made the right choice.
The Felder K3 Winner looks quite compelling, and from what I’ve seen its sliding table makes a lot of ripping and cross-cut tasks easier and maybe even safer.
Outfitting a Felder machine takes a bit of research as to which accessories are worth it. I haven’t spoken to any sales agents yet, just plenty of reviews online.
Sliding table saws can more easily cut rough-sawn wood, to create a straight and flat reference edge. You can do that on a SawStop or other cabinet saw if you fasten the rough board to something flat and sturdy like MDF, but it’s a bigger hassle.
A track saw can also be used, but it’s not easy or perfectly done on thicker boards. That plus my jointer has worked alright, but it’d be nice to be able to straight line-rip a board in one go.
Can I easily rip-cut boards longer than the sliding table on a K3 or other slider? As long as you have proper outfeed support, that’s easy on a cabinet saw.
Dados are easy on a cabinet saw, but what about a sliding table saw? That’s not a big selling point for me, as I can always use a router.
The choice is a hard one.
There are other brands in the mix as well, such as Maksiwa, a company I am not very familiar with. They are a Brazilian tool maker with a series of panel saws including the BMS.1600.IR shown here.
These are all sizable investments.
Contractor table saws are an option too, but I decided a long time ago to skip the intermediate step and save for a cabinet saw or smaller sliding table saw.
There’s plenty of information about SawStop out there, although I still have tons of questions. There’s far less information about Felder, and nearly nothing about Maksiwa.
Do I even need a larger table saw? I have asked this too. But then I consider how many of my pending projects require rip and cross-cutting of thick hardwood, or repeatedly cutting plywood panels to project dimensions, and the answer is yes.
I plan to work more with hardwood boards and glue-ups than plywood, but any choice I make will have to be versatile.
One can make do with smaller jobsite saws, to an extent. They can be dropped into larger work stations with auxiliary table support, and you can get panel support jigs, collapsible roller stands, and other such equipment to help further extend the support capabilities of smaller saws. But that won’t make up for power or performance shortfalls however.
I don’t have space for a miter station. Setting up my MFT table for cross-cutting boards can be done, but cordless track saws can be slow when cutting thicker and wider hardwood.
My thoughts keep bouncing between “do I really need one?” and “it would be central to the next decade of my woodworking projects.”
There’s a footprint difference. Sliding saws require more clearance, but cabinet saws require outfeed tables. Sliding cross cut table accessories require their own clearance.
SawStop’s website lists all kinds of replacement parts for their PCS table saw. Servicing a Felder machine seems to require a service call where a technician has to get involved.
It’s a tough choice. My credit card will be happy if I keep deferring the decision indefinitely, but my project list keeps growing. Some projects can be tackled with jobsite-size saws, but many cannot, and the improvisation can be much more time-consuming and imprecise.
If I’m prepared to spend the premium for a EU-style sliding table saw, that could bring me from SawStop PCS to ICS (industrial table saw) territory, which I keep hearing is sturdier and much better built. But, that would be overkill for my needs. Right?
Of course, now the idea if an ICS entered my head for the first time. The 3HP 36″ ICS is quite a bit more expensive than the 3HP 36″ PCS, but still less than the base model Felder Hammer K3.
I keep hearing that the PCS is “good enough for most users” and that the ICS has “amazing engineering.” But the price difference between the PCS and ICS would be enough to fund future equipment, at least in part.
I have room for one table saw. I don’t like selling tools, and this is too much for me to donate even after a few years.
The difficult part is that my projects and future plans have changed over the years. I went from only wanting to work on small things, to now also wanting to make functional furniture for my kids and family (such as headboards and display cabinets).
Cabinet and sliding table saws would make immediate tasks easier to accomplish, although neither would be 100% perfect for every planned project, let alone what I might want to work in 5 years.
As for SawStop flesh-detection tech, sliding table saws seem to very effective at keeping one’s hands far away from the blade. If my kids ever get into woodworking, SawStop now has a compact table saw that is far more portable than their jobsite saw. I have a sample on-hand, and have been pleased with it so far. I think that, once I eventually donate it, I won’t have any qualms about buying a personal copy if ever needed.
Setup is also a concern of mine. I have a 220V 30A outlet, which should work for 3HP and even 5HP machines, and I plan to add more outlets in the future. As for the physical setup of machines to get them onto mobile bases and into place, that’s a challenge with every piece of equipment. One of these days I’ll need to invest in a gantry or hoist.
I’m hoping not to put off the decision for much longer – prices and freight shipping rates keep going up, and I’m getting tired of so many projects being on-hold.
Yes, I know, pricey tools aren’t a substitute for skill and effort, but there’s a time consideration. It can sometimes take a few hours to do the same operations that would completed in minutes on a larger table saw.
Since there’s review and content potential behind this potential purchase, ToolGuyd is prepared to foot the bill for me. Otherwise, for my personal needs, I might have simply went with the cheapest option. Well, I still might.
I have been leaning towards Felder, but I have my hesitations.
I don’t expect readers to make the decision for me, but am hoping for questions or feedback that can help guide my decision past this impasse once and for all.
I don’t know if it’s for you, but I’ve used a Felder sliding table, Shaper and 24” combo jointer/planer. I would choose the Felder sliding table over SawStop. I like the big SawStop at the Wooden Boat school I volunteer at, but the Felder with the sliding table and easy clamping felt safer than anything.
Off topic, are the Milwaukee tools that the big box stores sell, the same quality as from Tool Nut, Acme etc.
good luck with choosing your Table Saw. I would stick with the well known, don’t know about the made in Brazil.
Thanks! Did you have an easy time with Felder delivery and setup?
As far as I am aware, Milwaukee tools are the same quality no matter where you buy them.
Sometimes the factory location changes – I’ve seen wire strippers of slightly better quality and made in China in promo displays than the made in Taiwan pliers in the main aisle, but that is occasionally true for many brands.
The equipment was already in place where I worked. I’m not sure which machines were bought new, but in two years, none of the Felder machines needed repair.
He also had a cabinet Saw Stop and the contractor SawStop. We spent more time cutting boards on the Woodmizer than in the shop. He had a German vacuum table for clamping that if I had an extra $11,000…….
I have built my Dewalt collection from Tool Nut, Acme . . . These stores are indeed bonafide & The Tools purchased from these places are solid
One warning with Tool Nut in particular – their return policy stinks. Make sure you are getting what you want, and you’ll be fine (they do have good deals). You’ll hate it if you need to return an item though: you’ll pay for shipping back and a restock fee.
Can’t even fathom how an online business survives with policies like that
Thanks for the heads up. Better to know restrictive policies ahead of a purchase – rather than cry over the fine print later on.
Years ago – some of our crews would stop into their bricks and mortar shop to pick up items to complete punch lists. That’s how I first heard of them. Can’t say that I ever tried to return anything.
I wouldn’t deal with ToolNut again.
I bought a power tool kit, then they changed the webpage of that kit removing some accessories and sent me the lesser kit. The confirmation email from them does not list the content of the kit so they just kept saying they sent me the right product.
I haven’t used a sliding table saw, but unless you’re working on exclusively large cabinetry I can’t see using one as your *only* tablesaw or centering your entire shop around it. Even if you keep a contractor saw around or use the MFT, it’s just inherently a more specialized tool compared to the flexibility of a cabinet saw. Even moreso if you don’t have a good miter station and do have a tracksaw already for breaking down sheet goods. None of this is to say the Felder isn’t a gorgeous machine, just overkill and not a one-to-one replacement for a cabinet saw.
As for the PCS specifically, I have the 3HP 36″ version, and have had it for about 5 years now. I fully consider it my “forever saw”. The only things I might change are getting the longer rails now that I have moved to a larger shop, and upgrading the 4″ dust port to a 6″ now that I have a larger DC. Also if you’re on the fence the integrated mobile base and the over-blade dust collection guard work quite well, though a fold-down option would be slightly more convenient. I have not tried the sliding-table accessory for the PCS.
The ICS is obviously going to be “better”, but I have trouble identifying where that improvement would matter outside a commercial shop. Unless you know a specific thing you’d like to do that the PCS can’t it just seems like a waste of money better spent somewhere else in the shop.
From what I’ve seen, sliders work very well with cross-cutting, at least when you add miter fences.
Regarding SawStop dust collection, I have repeatedly read that most dust is collected from the base, and the over-arm attachment (free right now with PCS purchase) helps with finer dust.
The floating dust collection arm looks better, but a single 4″ dust extraction line can struggle to collect from 2x 4″ ports at the same time. There’s very little information about this in online reviews, other than complaints for different reasons.
I assume the over-am is better unless one has a more capable dust extractor that can work with the floating hood. I still have a 110V JET. I’ll need to add more 220V outlets before I can think about upgrading it.
The ICS has a couple of extra inches of table depth, but mobile or folding outfeed support can accomplish the same thing.
Things like lap joinery can be easier with a dado blade than any other means.
Regarding SawStop, some decisions would already be made. I would go with 36″ T-Glide fence, and whether PCS or ICS, the ICS mobile base is universally recommended as the better choice.
I try to be careful about sufficient vs. better. With my band saw, I went with the cheaper option. I have some regrets, as the more premium version featured a brake. I went with the better (but not best) option for my jointer, and am happy with the compromise.
Yeah, the majority of chips go down, but the overarm catches the stuff that’s particularly bad for your lungs and otherwise getting thrown straight at your face. I hooked the above-table guard collection into my DC with a Y rather than the T-fitting that SS sells for it. A 2.5″ branch for the above-table works fine with a 4″ trunk line, or you can dedicate a shopvac for just the overarm, and you’ll definitely want to go for a bigger DC down the line either way.
Ah. “Over blade” dust collection can mean two things. The one with a traditional guard with dust port is the one I’d get, rather than the floating arm.
If you have enough power in your DC vacuum (I have a Jet DC-1200), the SawStop floating arm / over-blade system is _very_ effective.
I was shocked at how good it works, kicking myself for not installing it sooner.
Thanks! I have the 115V DC-1100. It’s decent, but I also use an extendable Rockler hose rather than rigid piping. I’m not sure how well it will work with a y fitting or with two lines to a SawStop cabinet plus floating guard.
I have heard complaints about both types of dust collectors with respect to getting in the way, but it seems the floating guard is a bigger commitment.
I typically only see the floating guard being reviewed with huge multi-stage 220V dust collectors.
The floating guard looks to make moving everything a little more complicated, but maybe not. I plan to keep whichever saw I opt for out of the way when it’s not being used.
I find the “Dust Collection Blade Guard” to be very good with a decent shop vac. This is the one that incorporates a splitter and anti kick back pawls. I’ve run my sawstop for awhile on a pair of shopvacs, one for the lower cabinet and one for the blade guard. I would suggest doing the same, but with your jet on the cabinet. A shop vac doesn’t really provide enough flow to the cabinet, but the blade guard is very efficient and benefits from the high suction of a shop vac.
I’ve got all the parts for a 5hp dust collection setup, but just haven’t gotten to it yet. I will likely run a dedicated line back to the collector for the blade guard. The approach of T’ing off the cabinet port doesn’t work great as it doesn’t provide sufficient vacuum pressure to the blade guard.
Very different saws. I can only speak for having a Sawstop PCS 1.75HP with the 30″ fence for space saving. I has been pretty damn flawless for me since 2014. My reasoning to purchase it was after a considerable hand injury on a worksite saw.
Those Felder saws are very nice and next level up in price. The sliding table on the Felder adds safety.
Don’t think you can wrong with either.
Pics or it didn’t happen!!
From the few examples that I’ve seen the Hammer looks to be better made than the Sawstop. Will that translate into better functionality or longevity for what will likely be hobbyist occasional use? Most likely not. Both seem to be professional level tools capable of good work.
Although I’m slowing down, I continue to build furniture using my 1970’s vintage Unisaw. If I were to buy a new saw it would be the Hammer – but it would not be as a replacement for the Unisaw – but my home shop has over 2000 sq ft of space so I could probably rearrange tools to fit both.
I still use the Unisaw with a dado stack to cut dados and rabbets. For years I used a tenoning jig and a dedicated mortising station for joinery – but now find that I mostly “cheat” using a Domino 700 machine. The mortising jig and station now mostly collect dust. I used the Unisaw to create channels for splines (could have been done with a router) – but more recently I’ve used dominoes. I’ve ripped countless pieces on the Unisaw and used it to cut tapered legs. If the Hammer were my only saw – I’d have to think differently about how it would comport with all of the tasks that I’ve done and do with the Unisaw.
I think that this all would have me leaning to recommend the Sawstop – then take any money left over and consider if a Domino machine (for floating tenon mortises) or a Lamello Zeta P2 (if you want to build knock-down furniture) are worth considering. Also remember that the one stock blade and accessories that come with the saw may be the “tip of the iceberg” and that you will likely add additional quality blades, fixtures and jigs.
I went from a 5hp powermatic to a 1 1/2” hp sawstop. My trade is cabinetry. Bought a sawstop because of some dizzy spells a year ago. The sawstop has handled everything. I’ve used a felder slider. Very nice and not really needed. Gd luck
My Dad has the ICS, I have the PCS.
The ICS has more power, but it is VERY rare that my PCS slows down when cutting stuff, and that is usually a sign to sharpen the blade.
My dad got the ICS because at the time it was the only one made.
I have the off feed table on both and would certainly get that too.
I have a 14 year old and a 10 year old that i feel comfortable using the saw because of the brake system.
Never had an issue with either saw.
If i had a HUGE workshop I would keep the PCS and get a giant Altendorf slider just to have a saw that is the size and price of a midsized car.
I went from a SawStop ICS to a Felder CF531 combo slider/shaper/jointer/planer.
I have a CNC router and a track saw to cut down sheet goods in theory, but the fact that the Felder is setup means I still use it for large material sometimes as it’s just faster.
I realize some of my comments may land adjacently to what you are asking, but here are my thoughts from a moderate-level woodworker doing general things.
1. In theory, the sliding saw offers safety and greater utility than a conventional “shove the material” saw, however this is only true if your slider is big enough to slide the whole material. My CF531 can handle 2 meter Baltic birch ply on the slider; I don’t think the Hammer stuff can go that big. My CF531 can’t handle 8’ long, so if I want do do that, I have to go into “shove it” mode, which negates many of the benefits of the slider.
2. If your slider is big enough, to take advantage of the safety and utility of the slider, you need to have work holding setup such that you can hold your material in the right position. Cross-cutting is easy; use the fence. Ripping is possible, but you need a Fritz and Frank jig, and it can be non-trivial to align them so you get a straight rip compared to just using the fence. In my usage, I end up just ripping against the fence in a lot of situations like this which works fine, but now I’m working close to the blade without the safety of the SawStop.
3. Felder is the BMW of woodworking machines – the good and the bad. They are amazing in certain areas, but maddening in others – the company is managed in a very European way (not a compliment), and the good-hearted US folks try their best, but there are many frustrations with getting parts, getting help, waiting for boats, etc.
I looked at the Winners before ponying up for the medium-sized Felder. I think they are nice saws, but unless you get one big enough to slide all of your material, you’re essentially buying a nice cross-cut sled.
I’ve been teaching woodshop for closing in on two decades and have both the ICS and PCS. Both saws are close in capacity with the table extensions and I cannot think of any instance where the smaller saw significantly bogged down under load. I don’t think the average user would need something like the ICS. I do feel that these saws are well built as they’ve held up quite well with high schoolers using them. If I had the need, I would buy the PCS in a heartbeat. Some tips for these saws: Keep a couple brake cartridges on hand, install a line filter on the power supply, and the dado blades are only 8-1/4″ (my Unisaw is a 10″ set so I don’t worry about that). My school experienced a power surge a few years ago and it took out the control board assembly (power switch box). Parts are readily available on Sawstop’s website and brake cartridges can be had from Amazon for more convenience.
I was going to ask what projects specifically have you looking at these? Sliders as I’ve been told were made for eu work rules where working manually into a saw balde is not allowed
They are not necessarily better for any purpose not in a corporate production world I would save the rather significant money.
Does the sawstop pcs take a dado stack and can you easily replace blades and use others? I ask as I like to clean my blades after a while.
Doing things like tapers and dados on the sliders looks to be a very expensive addition. So I’d have a very very hard time not going conventional saw
The PCS takes the same blades as any other cabinet saw. The only difference is if you change between a dado stack and a regular blade you also swap the brake cartridge, which is trivial to do.
I am not subject to EU rules, and am more interested in the the different way to do similar cuts. Consider using a miter gauge vs a sled – the results are effectively the same, but the approach is very different.
Similarly with jointers, western-style and EU-style guards are completely different. I think I would prefer the EU-style, but thought it would be easier buying a Powermatic online.
All SawStop cabinet saws take dado stacks, with some restrictions due to the safety tech.
I work at a community college and have taken it’s furniture classes dozens of times. The wood shop has two classrooms with saws, jointers, planers, etc. and a third with CNC machines. They have four altendorf Sliding table saws and 5 Sawstops. Two of the SawStops, one in each room is set up with dado stack. It is not uncommon for us to set up three or four saws in for Batch production of leg parts. We usually do most of the non-90° mitering on the SawStops with one or two incra 1000hd miter gauges per saw setup with the fence aluminum removed and replaced with an MDF Zero clearance fence to prevent chipping and blowout the back. It’s not uncommon for us to have two miter gauges to set up to dado each side of a tenon on a leg splayed 15°. One 15° to the right and the other 15° to the left.
The Altendorf Sliding table saws tends to be reserved for our 90° cuts because setting up its miter is more difficult and may be a little less precise. Cutting panels is easier on the slider. The slider can get in the way so jigs fixtures like leg tapering jig would be made for the SawStops. The Slider also gets is the way for Rip cuts, you tend to be in the kickback path.
Also, I do wish that SawStop had EU/delta uni-saw style fence vs it Biesemeyer fence but that is not deal breaker.
You may wish to read LostArt’s thoughts on their slider on their SawStop. https://blog.lostartpress.com/2020/11/08/a-couple-months-with-a-saw-stop-slider/
Without knowing exactly what your intended use is it’s really hard to pick one over the other. From my perspective these two tools have complimentary applications and a case could be made for buying both if funds and space allowed.
I’ve used several old-school Oliver sliding table saws (pre-1960) and I would imagine that the Felder is likely smoother / similar. I’ve also used / maintained many older (pre 1980) Unisaws. Nice saws, but they are a P.I.T.A. when it comes to replacing the arbor bearings. When it came time to purchase a new saw for my nascent cabinet business I selected a Powermatic 66 with a Biesemeyer fence. That was in 1984 and it has served me well – without failure – since then, in spite of moving to three shops over the years. I consider it one of the best purchases of my life.
I know a lot of people rave about the SawStop and their safety features certainly set them apart. In all honesty, I’ve never used one. I can’t tell you if it is as smooth and vibration-free as my vintage Powermatic (nor can I tell you if the new Powermatic models compare to that benchmark either). I know that I can balance a nickel on edge and it doesn’t move when my old Powermatic is running – even with a dado stack.
For ripping, a standard table saw is still the best tool. For cross-cutting, well, The Felder would probably win the prize if you are cutting mid-sized panels. Large ones, maybe not so much. I have a wall-mounted panel saw (Safety Speed Cut H5 – also ca.1984) that I use to break-down sheet stock into a more manageable size – far faster than a track saw, but you need a lot of wall space.
I know – TMI, but in thinking this through, I’d say the SawStop might be the better choice for all-around versatility.
Our cabinet shop had a few artifacts from the past like a big Dewalt RAS.
When we bought a big Shop Fox sliding table saw (the price was right compared to the SCM we also looked at) the Safety Speed Cut got a lot less use. The guys used an Oliver straight line rip saw with power feed for most ripping. We also had a pair of Unisaws that were probably the most used.
Having a big sliding table saw with a separate scoring blade and ability to handle full sheets is great – but probably impractical for most home shops. Bringing 3-phase power into a home shop is also impractical in most instances. Having a dedicated rip saw would be nice – but adds cost and takes up space. Overall – for most home shop needs – the traditional cabinet saw usually becomes the heart of the shop.
If your primary need for a larger saw is breaking panels, you might want to investigate a good used vertical panel saw. I used a Holz-er 1265 for more than a decade to both cut panels and straight line rip up to twelve foot length boards. It was purchased used and sold for nearly what I paid for it when I moved out of my shop all those years later.
The overall footprint and operating space was much smaller than a sliding saw and fit right into my minimal workspace. In fact, prior to acquiring the vertical saw, I was using a unisaw with a sliding table attachment and had to maintain a clear space around it that was larger than what I needed for the Holz-er. Any other slider available at the time required more space than what I had available. The unisaw ended up being relegated to ripping operations with a stock feeder in a narrower space than what it previously required.
The vertical saw had excellent self contained dust collection and produced a minimal amount of airborne particulate.
Many people look at verticals and say “Wow, that is huge…”, and go no further, but if you lay out the space it takes to break an eight foot panel horizontally and compare it with the walk and work space in front of the vertical saw tied to its actual footprint, it will begin to show the advantage over a slider.
My primary use for the saw in the time I owned it, ended up as cutting sheets of solid surface materials. Secondary uses were cutting panels for cabinets and straight line ripping lumber.
Some of my projects involve breaking down full size sheets of BB plywood (60″ x 60″), for bookcases and cabinets, but I generally prefer working with solid wood. After breaking down large sheets, the bulk of my plywood cutting could almost always be done on smaller saws.
I like the idea of sliding saws for their easier straight line ripping and cross-cutting capabilities than for cutting large panels.
I don’t foresee having the space for a vertical panel saw anytime soon.
I don’t have enough experience to give any advice on your purchase choice. But if you can safely get by with what you currently use. You may benefit from some new product technology coming down the line.
What kinds of new technologies?
Some other brands have different types of safety tech, but on commercial equipment costing tens of thousands of dollars.
Aside from safety tech, what else is coming to cabinet saws?
I guess the safety technology could be reason enough. I remember walking through new houses being built back in the sixties. The images of those contractor saws setting there. No blade guards with a mountain of sawdust underneath.These carpenters lived healthy active lives till the end. High eighties to mid nineties. But every new safety feature shouldn’t be taken lightly. If these saws aren’t going to be a major game changer for you, there’s always the option to wait .awhile longer..
You might consider the recently introduced track saw, which has the new safety features. Might help when cutting thicker materials.
I have no experience with a slider, but I have a 3HP PCS and don’t have any regrets. I don’t think you would have any regrets either.
I sometimes use the full height of the blade on hardwoods and I still can’t imagine needing more power. I bought the saw used so I didn’t get to choose the accessories, but it has the industrial mobile base and I wish that it had the professional mobile base. The industrial is needlessly bulky and traps a debris with its complicated mechanism.
One thing you could do (and maybe you have) is look at the woodworking youtube channels that are using sliders. The two I can think of are Darrel Peart, who builds furniture for a living and has felder everything, and Dusty Lumber Co who is doing a lot with reclaimed materials where I can see a slider being a major advantage. For general use (a mix of cutting framing lumber, hardwood lumber, and plywood), I don’t see a big benefit to a slider. For my use, which I think sounds similar to yours, a sturdy fence (which sawstop has) to reference to a straight edge seems totally adequate.
I forgot to mention, the sawstop promotion for a free base or dust collection arm is happening now. That’s the only “sale” sawstop ever has, so call that motivation to make your decision!
There wouldn’t be a power difference, as I was considering the 3 HP PCS.
The 3 HP ICS has a deeper table (just a couple of inches), which might help with workpiece support during rip cuts, and a lot more heft.
I have heard a lot of remarks about better build quality, but rarely any specifics.
Either would be a huge upgrade over the smaller saws I’ve been working with.
I used a few SawStops in school and they were nice. I really liked the on/off switch. The school had a SawStop for 3/4 width dadoes, one that was for other widths of dados, one for ripping, and one for plywood. The plywood saw had an aftermarket sliding table. These were all industrial models. The sliding table on the plywood saw was ok but not right next to the blade like a European slider. I don’t think there was a crosscut fence on the sliding table. If you specifically want a sliding feature there is no question that the European style is the way to go since the saw is specifically built with a sliding mechanism in mind. Also one thing to note is I think the slider can be locked and crosscut fence moved out of the way to make the saw function more like a western saw. In terms of Dado features, I don’t think dado blades are allowed in Europe, so I wouldn’t expect the European style to be setup to accept dado blades. I think Felder is underrated in North America. Many table saw users are like “SawStop or else.” The biggest selling point for the SawStop is the safety mechanism but if you have a false positive you’re out an expensive brake and an expensive blade. Sure your fingers are saved on a true positive but many other companies have shown a both and approach. You can save your fingers AND the blade. Felder even has a finger saving feature on their Format 4 line. Felder’s approach is arguably the best I have seen. It saves everything and can be reset with the press of a button. If you specifically wanted a bigger table saw for dadoes I would go with a Western style saw but otherwise I would go European style.
Can’t you get a slider setup for the sawstop too? Might be worth looking into anyway.
A sliding crosscut sled. The larger sled increases the footprint and clearance too much for my space.
The carriage of a true sliding saw moves close to the blade. A slider on a cabinet saw essentially functions as a cross-cut sled. There are similarities, but a true sliding case can also be used for certain rip cuts you cannot do as easily (or safely) on a cabinet saw without creating or utilizing additional jigs.
I have a Hammer A3-41 jointer/planer and a 36″ SawStop PCS 3hp. Very pleased with both of them. Both high quality and reliable.
I considered getting the Hammer Table saw, but decided to go with the SawStop. It’s been a while, but I think the Hammer was more expensive, took up more space, didn’t have the SawStop safety feature, and would take longer to get. I got the Industrial mobile base with the PCS, and use it frequently. It is better than the mobility system that is available for the Hammer. I also suspect there is more choice of accessories and blades for the SawStop than the Hammer.
BTW, for full sheets of plywood, I also use a track saw. I do occasionally deal with partial sheets on the table saw.
Hope this is helpful in your decision.
I think get the sawstop. The safety is nice but I generally find american-style to be a bit more flexible. I love using sliders and they are amazing… but I can’t get away from the feeling that they’re more specialized.
I would also say that since you own a track saw… I think that’s going to do most of what the slider is specialized for. Straightline ripping stuff on the felder seems like a good idea, but you’re limited to 8’ and honestly… track saw is just easier to set up. In my opinion. And 8’ pieces are fairly easy to joint on the jointer.
I have both a K3 and a sawstop contractors saw.
They are capable of essentially all the same operations but with different trade offs in safety, quality, and ease of use, however the work flows and setups are significantly different.
I have the 49” slider in the K3 so still need to breakdown full size sheets with a track saw. You also really need the scoring attachment for plywood or you’ll get tear out and chipping because it isn’t a zero clearance insert and the slider rides a few thou above the saw table,
Crosscuts, straightline rips and tapers are easy, repeatable and safe on the K3. Ripping to width is a bit different. You either need a jig on the slider or use the rip fence. Using the rip fence is basically the same as on the sawstop, but you’ve given up the added safety of the brake.
The K3 will accept a dado stack or a grooving cutter but they are expensive and are limited in depth of cut. I’d recommend the longer slider as the 49” I have is a bit limiting at times. I bought mine used so didn’t get the choice.
I find myself using the sawstop more for rip to width operations and for dados, as I haven’t built a parallel guide or invested in dado tooling for the K3
All in all, I think you can’t go wrong with either. Especially if you are continuing to evolve as a woodworker and haven’t settled into a particular type of work or are in a production situation.
I’ve interacted with both Felder and sawstop customer service and tech support and have been happy with the interactions. Felder documentation is EU oriented and tends to have a lot of German and less than clear English translations. Sawstop documentation is superior. Felder parts and accessories tend to be spendy.
If I was forced to give up one, I’d probably keep the K3 as it seems to better fit where I’m going as a woodworker, but it really is a close call.
Snag the Ramon V zero clearance insert. Works awesome
I did, just haven’t gotten around to installing it yet!
I have a A3 31, and have to agree with Tim regarding the German/English issue. Inches vs mm is also an issue. Hooking up the dust port requires an expensive piece of plastic from Germany. The tech people were helpful, but it took forever to get a straight forward answer on the breaker size recommended.
In general, they are not very customer friendly. Their website does not list prices. They don’t like credit cards for payment, they wanted a transfer, we made them wait for a check. They seem oriented toward working with business customers.
The machine has been wonderful, I have processed a lot of board feet from our mill with great results.
I am at the same place as you, looking for a cabinet saw. I considered the Felder/Hammer machines, but remembered what a pain they are to work with. There is a dealer that sells Sawstop machines nearby, and I am currently leaning that way.
Good luck, and your problem is a good one to have!
I have the 36” PCS, 3 hp. I love it. I highly recommend the 36” over the 30”. Much better fence. I’ve ripped tons of 4/4 hard maple and it never bogs down.
What rip can you do with the slider that is difficult on the standard? How does it do a taper without a special jig? Or attachment
I’d still recommend the saw stop and with the savings get accessories and make a jog or 2. Or get that incra mirte sled thing.
Meanwhile what are the projects in mind?
36 Sawstop. If I was a professional batching out hundreds of pieces I might go with a Felder because I’d probably be smart enough to keep my hands away from the big round thing but I’m not and I’m not. Also the proud owner of ten fingers and a Sawstop.
I can help with this, I have a hammer K3, bought new and delivered with zero issue.
Buy 2 flip stops, the 120mm to 4” adapter for DC, get the mobility kit and longer arbor for the dado setup. Also highly recommend the Ramon Valdez zero clearance insert.
The fence is different than a traditional saw and I have the micro adjust. Works great just takes a little getting used to.
I also have the sawstop jobsite saw for.. well jobsite work. Now that I’m working 99% from my shop I’m going to build a bigger outfeed table for the hammer and put the sawstop in it.
Ask away any question you have, or shoot me an email. I also own a felder J/P machine and I can confirm you made the wrong choice!!! After using PM and grizzly at furniture school the felder is leaps and bounds ahead of them.
I work in a shop (use the cnc mostly) on occasion of a kick ass YouTuber and he has a felder slider, it can do 4×8 sheets easily and is really nice. I have worked on that saw a few times and love it. But it needs some room thats for sure.
I’m English, and I like the American style table saws, theirs a simplicity in their design that I like, cast iron top with miter gauge slots, European table saws are complicated in their design, with more safety regulations and guards.
I have a 10 year old PCS, and I really like it. A few years ago I came across a used Sawstop crosscut slider for a good price and picked it up. I wish I saved up for a second, true sliding table saw instead. The add on just has too many compromises. It’s pretty well made (with the exception of the spindly legs sawstop uses on all their extensions) but it’s definitely a bolt-on afterthought.
Thank you, I appreciate it!!
In that case, if I go the SawStop route maybe I’ll save the space and keep my MFT handy for repeated cross-cuts of large pieces.
I have been reading good things about the Harvey bolt-on sliding crosscut table, but the two look very similar to me.
Unfortunately, there are no woodworking equipment dealers anywhere near me to try things out in person.
That Harvey looks exactly like mine.
I can’t remember the install options, maybe I could have removed part of the cast iron table to the left of the blade to get the fence closer, but that’s not how I have it set up. If you mount it on to the left of the standard table it’s just really far away. No matter what, that crosscut fence is perpetually in your way for rip cuts.
First off, a Hammer is not a Felder. That’s like saying a Porter Cable is a DeWalt.
I had a 3hp Jet with 52″fence.
It’s very hard to manage a sheet of plywood on one, which is why most commercial shops have an 8′ out feed table and often a second hand to help. I sold it after I bought a Felder.
I only had the 4′ slider. The blade about scared me every time it started up, as it was over 5″ above the table’s surface. While nice to slide things on the sliding table, I still had to lock it for 95 percent of the rip cuts. Yes, you can put a shoe stop on the far end and rip a “live edge”, but in reality, that’s once in a blue moon and only as long as your slider is. To actually manage a 4’x8′ sheet without an outrigger and an 8′ sliding table was not fun. I got a Festool TS55 and never looked back. I throw up a couple of saw horses in the driveway and put a foam board down, then cut to dimensions & put them in the shop.
I moved and sold the Felder. I missed the 12″ j/p, so I got a Jet HH 12″ j/p. But I replaced the Felder with a PCS with a 36″ fence. I had the mobile base, but it was hard to move (see saw across the floor), so I got the Industrial base and now I can turn it on a dime. I would not mind the ICS, was it has 2″ more table in front of the blade, but it wasn’t worth the money. I’ve never had the blade bog down, even on 8/4 purple heart. I have a dado set & dado cartridge, but it’s just easier & safer to use a router bit on my Festool rail for rabbits..
I did sell the Jet and got a Hammer 16″ j/p with HH. The fit and finish were not as nice as the Felder. I broke a 1/4“ nut on an outfeed support table. Felder/Hammer wanted $8 for what should have cost $0.50. I bought a metric nut locally for that much.
The machine was boxed very nicely, but that’s for the slow boat from Europe. Once it reaches the dock, the delivery is by whatever carrier they can get for the cheapest rate. Your actually delivery will vary by whatever freight company is used and whatever the driver is willing to do to accommodate you at your home. Some people hire riggers to get the item from their driveway and into their house.. See Bent’s WW on YT for an example.
Those Sawstop sliders are a toy. The Europeans have sliders dialed in from a functionality standpoint. I have a Hammer and it’s miles away a better saw than the Sawstop. First off, it’s heavier and has much thicker iron and sheet metal. It’s almost double the weight of the Sawstop.
The Felder tolerances are in the .002/.001 range. Sawstop runout tolerances are more like .010!
The slider has a mitre gauge. No more mitre saw station.
The hammer has a larger dust port.
Finally. And here is the kicker. You can do tapered rip cuts far more accurately than any cabinet saw using parallel guides.
The hammer is a far superior machine.
To Andy, Sawstop tolerances are not 1/100″. That’s nonsense. When I bought my PCS in 2014, I tested the arbor and it was 1/1000″ as expected. No need to smear products. I have nothing bad or inaccurate to say about Felder, they are high quality. Sawstop quality easily rivals any other US branded top new cabinet saw.
It’s not surprising that an add-on is not as good as a purpose-built machine.
I bought an add-on sliding table for my Unisaw about five or six years after the saw. I think it may have cost close me (shipped) to what the saw itself set me back. I had high hopes – which were dashed on the shoals of reality. Not smooth operating or versatile – got in the way of normal operations – soon decided to revert the saw back. Pity that there weas no Internet back then (1970’s) where you might have had a shot at researching things.
Personally, I would not want a slider as my only table saw. I don’t know what sort of projects you intend to do- Maybe you have work in mind where a slider will pay for itself, (and they can) but it’s hard to imagine in a home shop.
There are just so many resources dedicated to traditional cabinet table saws here in North America- These capabilities are baked into our woodworking culture and teaching, even our furniture styles and design.
Many American joinery techniques that are intuitive and ingrained on a cabinet saw are frustrating to pull off on a slider. Simple DIY zero-clearance crosscut sleds and jigs may seem low tech, but are often very accurate and repeatable.
Sliding saws have their own set of techniques for all these tasks- Fritz & Franz jigs, etc, but it’s another world. You need to be a motivated europhile and individualist, dedicated to ignoring the status quo.
I have worked/been involved in a number of woodshops at this point. Two of those shops had sliders as their only table saws- One was a cabinet shop with a giant SCM, plus a smaller Felder slider. One was a home shop with a Hammer K3, purchased by a rich hobbyist. Both shops were dysfunctional compared to the shops with at least one standard cabinet saw in terms of cutting options. (The shops with multiple styles of saw were obviously the most productive, but that’s not an option here)
The important thing to remember, is that unless your sliding saw has a giant capacity, you’re going to be pushing material through slider locked in place, (just like a cabinet saw) 50% of the time. While slides are definitely awesome for cross-cuts and mitres, it’s worth considering if a simple crosscut sled on a cabinet saw couldn’t achieve the same thing for your projects.
I’ve used sliding table saws of various sizes and qualities for 30 years. I started with the surprisingly nice Ryobi BT3000, which while pretty lightweight and small, did a fine job for the furniture I was making back then.
Then I got a 2nd hand Robland X-31, which was much bigger, heavier, tougher and more serious. Having the 12″ jointer/planer and large shaper was exceedingly useful. Have to admit the shaper scared the hell out of me and the noise made by the shaper cutters slamming air past the edges of the guard was just plain terrifying.
A few years later I got a MiniMax CU300Smart, which is a major step up in quality and performance. It also has the joiner/planer (using the fabulous Tersa cutter head system), and the heavy duty mortiser, and the big shaper. This shaper somehow doesn’t make anywhere near as much noise. The main saw blade is 12″ which makes for easier handling of heavy sections. Dust collection is pretty good too, an improvement of the Robland. The scoring blade is really nice for veneered material work.
I get to support and clamp material safely on my precision slider table and stand well out of the way of the blade and possibly flying chunks. This is especially nice when using the shaper; hands are so very easy prey for undomesticated shaper cutters.
Setting precise angles and widths is simple, repeatable, and reliable. The large crosscut fence extends out to 100″+ and has multiple adjustable stops built in. The table takes 4×8 sheets of ply without any issue. The smaller mitre fence unit takes the same stops and easily handles typical furniture size items without any extra support.
The slider table pops off with 30seconds of undoing a couple of knobs and stores away easily; if you’re short of working space this can be useful. Mostly I do that on the rare occasions I need to rip something long, like 20ft 4×12 beams when I built the house.
The CU300 takes a dado stack happily, though I prefer using a router for that since it can follow the inevitable slight ripples in ply. It has a proper riving knife that supports a decent over-blade dust collection guard. It takes all of 30 seconds to remove if you need to do non-through cuts or use the dado head.
The rip fence is perhaps the least useful feature, but then you hardly ever need it as anything other than a convenient stop .
Yes, a machine like this is quite expensive but I have had this one for 20 years so I’d say it has worked pretty well as an investment. As always, it’s personal taste and needs that have to rule the day and your ideas are probably not identical to mine.
Having worked in a commercial shop with Altendorf sliders, I can say that I don’t think I would want a slider as my only saw. We grew into the Altendorf using Powermatic 66s for years prior and thought that the Altendorf would replace them but it didn’t. Sure it made many tasks easier and better quality, but many tasks were still better done on the 66s. With a tracksaw being more common place these days, I would say if you can only have one go for the traditional saw, if you can have both have both.
I have a Minimax Classic 300 and a Jet 10″ Cabinet saw.
After learning how to use the CU 300, I never use the Jet and it is now an expensive table in my workshop.
Tim is spot on with his description and there is no need to repeat what has already been said.
I would add that with my CU300, I’m much more efficient, productive and precise with my projects. It also has a scoring blade that reduces tear out dramatically with plywood.
Sam Blasco has a YouTube channel demonstrating how he uses the combination machines.
It seems that the principal benefit for the Euro style is ease of work with sheet goods. If that isn’t a concern for you, I’d say the second concern would be footprint.
I have a 3hp SawStop with the sliding table attachment. The sliding table is removable when not needed to you can reduce the footprint when you don’t need it. I also have a router in a wing of the saw, so if your concern is TOTAL footprint and you have a router table, the SawStop could be a good choice. If you have tons of room or don’t really care, I think its 6 / 1/2 dozen…personal preference.
FWIW, I saw the SawStop get triggered yesterday at the shared workspace I’m using between places. The guy had a minor cut on his finger, put a band-aid on it, and was back to work in 10 minutes.
It’s not just sheet goods.
If you want to cut a piece of twisted hardwood on an American style table saw, you need to create a straight edge and flat face first either by cutting with a jig or jointing, otherwise it can be really dangerous.
On a Euro style sliding table saw, it’s not an issue. The saw does not require a straight edge and a fence to create another straight edge.
I have a very tiny (as in can’t bring a full sheet of plywood to it) basement shop, and I have a sawstop contractor saw on the wheeled stand that gets folded up and put away after use. Prior to the sawstop I had a dewalt, and even though I loved the rack and pinion fence, I did manage to dado my thumb. Just a tooth, so I have a scar, but not amputation. After that I picked up the sawstop because the added protection of flesh sensing seemed like cheap additional insurance. The company has been great to deal with, and although the system will destroy a cartridge and a blade when it fires, it is much cheaper than surgery. The saw is very robust and will chug through full depth cuts in ash, red and white oak. You do have to listed to the motor and adjust feed rate for denser woods, but for plywood it will cut as fast as you can push. My biggest complaints with the sawstop is the dust collection is really meh, and that is using both the under saw and above saw dust collection.
Sawdust is a major health issue in woodshops, and Sawstop really needs to up their game. If you HAVE to have a sliding table saw stop makes one too, but the European systems are really slick and dialed in. For me, the added protection of the flesh sensing system was the decision maker, but, that is an added protection, and not an excuse for unsafe saw use.
Depending on the amount of DIY you want to attempt…this video just came out.
That takes up about four times as much floorspace as my CU300.
It’s also worth noting that many euro-sliders are quite easy to move around and tuck into corners when not in use.
Your comparing a $20,000 machine (from what I could find on pricing) to an ~$3,000 machine with $600 worth of diy adds.
…Kind of like pulling up to the light and telling the civic owner that your corvette is faster.
The website also said your saw weights 1,400 or 1,500 lbs…no thanks.
Though it also says the dimensions are 1″x1″x1″.
Size and weight of a prospective piece of machinery is a serious consideration for home shop owners. If you envision the latest new tool to fit in your basement shop, you need to consider if it will fit down the stairs and how/who will accomplish that task. I have a large basement shop plus a 3-car garage that I also use for some shop work. Naturally it was always easier to have a tool delivered to or place into the garage via an overhead door. Even though I had an outside entranceway to my basement built with the shop in mind (double doors to the outside and to the garage plus double-wide beefy stairs), I still had a few times when I needed to engage machinery movers/riggers to move equipment in. In some cases – I had to crib-up the stairs and they used a truck as an anchor point for their block and tackle. When I bought my first batch of machinery (Unisaw, jointer, drill press, air compressor, and bandsaw) back in the ’70’s – it was from a commercial machinery house – that included (after surveying my basement shop) delivery and setup (minus electrical and duct work) in the price. In today’s market – the prices of machinery may well be cheaper (in terms of 1970’s dollars) – but I’m guessing that riggers will cost quite a bit more. Years later, when I bought my old (big and heavy too) Walker Turner radial arm drill press at auction – the bargain price was certainly offset by the cost for getting it moved down into my shop after restoring it in the garage. That was a “live and learn” experience.
A trick I’ve used to reduce the costs of rigging services when buying heavy machinery is to have the machinery delivered to the rigger, then have the riggers bring it out for the move. This reduces the freight cost since the truck can unload at the rigger’s warehouse with a proper loading dock, forklifts, etc. So no residential delivery or liftgate charges. Then the rigger brings the machinery out for the move. That means they can do it on their schedule rather than having to time it to meet the delivery driver, which reduces the labor involved for everyone. The only downside is that you don’t get to inspect the shipment when it arrives at the rigger, unless you make an extra trip there to be present when it arrives.
Sounds like a good idea for prospective buyers – to contract with a rigger first before tool purchase.
My other tip – is that for machinery that cannot be purchased with mobility options – you need to decide carefully on positioning in the shop. Even then it would be nice to have access to a set of machinery skates and lifting equipment (like toe jacks) should you decide temporary repositioning is needed. I’ve had times over the years when I wanted to move tools out of the way. Some planning ahead – like not hardwiring and making dust collection that is easy to disconnect and get out of the way – paid off.
I have been dreaming of a Altendorf Sliding Saw who invented the sliding saw after watching https://youtu.be/jfbuCe_T2CM . The idea of having better safety protection than SawStop + Sliding + Digital seems like the ultimate if space and money was not a issue.
What would Norm Abrams do?
OK, kidding aside, I don’t have either of the saws you are looking at and haven’t used either. The best I could muster was a General (not international, made in Canada) full cast iron contractor saw, and eventually sold it do due space issues, in my previous house.
My own experience is not that helpful but I was at a show where they had presentations on saws and was left speechless at a sliding table and what it could do during the presentation. I can’t recall the name, as it was years ago, but it was European (there’s a shocker!) and it wasn’t Felder.
In recent years I have also become a big fan of panel saws. For simple, easy and quick breakdown of large sheets, it is hard to beat the ease of a quality panel saw. Then a cabinet saw would be the perfect compliment. This combination is almost the best of both worlds, without hogging shop space.
I am in the process of redoing my house I moved into 3 years ago, currently started the kitchen. In about 5 years, I will be setting up a good size workshop, and if all goes well, it will be a panel saw and cabinet saw. .. but ideas can change between now and then.
The sliding table saw is a beautiful piece of machinery, like someone previously mentioned, like a BMW…fantastic at what it does best, but having to live with some of its foibles.
I am not 100% sure, but reading your article and some of the responses you gave, I would say you are sold on the Felder, unless if someone gives you ample reason not to go with it.
Whichever you choose, good luck and enjoy!
Top end panel saws from folks like Safety Speed Cut or Holz-Her have extra features to virtually eliminate tearout. But they will set you back a pretty penny. That’s why I use a track saw and a sheet of building foam – out in the garage to break down sheet goods – ahead of bringing pieces to the table saw.
In our custom cabinet shop – we had an older model Safety Speed Cut and a big Shop Fox sliding table saw. Once they got the slider – I think the guys mostly used it ahead of any conventional table saw cutting. I recall that we had been looking at SCM machines – and went with the Shop Fox based on cost. We also looked panel saw upgrades but decided against it.
BTW – it looks like the top Safety Speed Cut sells for something like $14,000 – but there are lesser models.
I have a Felder c3 and I used a sawstop a lot for me after I used the Felder with a friz and fron jig there there is no way I would go back to a standard cabinet saw I think the slider is really safe I have never found and application I have needed to take the guard off. I can’t recommend Felder enough would not trade it for anything else
I recently placed the high bid on a 5hp ICS SawStop. Amazing upgrade from the 2hp hybrid l was using. They have accessories for it that make it a sliding table saw. I do enough sheet work that I’m not going to buy that, but the engineering and parts are there to make the SawStop into the slider that you’re looking for. And, it works normally if you take that part off.