Buying used commercial grade table saws can be a great value to small cabinet building businesses and serious woodworking enthusiasts. Often one can save hundreds of dollars or more. But before writing a check a thorough inspection is necessary to ensure the table saw under consideration is truly a good value when comparing not only the equipment itself but also the power requirements.
Inspection of Table Saw Is Crucial
Note: For reasons of safety the power source must be disconnected from the table saw prior to inspecting it.
The following areas of the table saw are critical to your evaluation:
Saw Blade – The blade should be relatively shiny, without burnt teeth, rust or circular pitch marks around the circumference. Under no circumstances should there be cracks, lines or missing teeth. Take blade type into consideration: rip blades have sharp points on each tooth that rake from right to left. Use them for cutting rough lumber or ripping lumber lengthwise. Cabinet or furniture blades typically have square teeth that are flat on top. Use them for fine cuts in hardwood or other architectural materials for a clean cut. If the blade is damaged or not what you’re looking for, remember that blades are easily changed, replaced or sharpened.
Pulleys – Pulleys conduct the drive belt on the table saw. Turn off the power to the saw, remove the necessary covers, and inspect them. They should be shiny, without rust, pits or cracks. With the power disconnected, carefully grasp them with your hands. If they rattle or move — other than rotating smoothly — they could be defective or need replacement.
Arbor – Arbor is the term used to describe the shaft that spins the blade. The most important thing is arbor diameter. Blade size and arbor size must match perfectly. Sizes range from 5/8-to-1-inch in diameter. Make sure the arbor is compatible with your blades before purchasing. Remove the blade from the saw and spin the arbor with your hands. It should spin freely without noise.
Belts – Belts should be consistent in color and makeup. If the belts have ragged edges, missing spots, cracks or loose fibers they won’t last. Belts can be replaced, but check the make model and size beforehand to ensure you can find them.
Fence – Proper fence alignment is critical on any table saw. If the fence-to-blade alignment is off even a fraction of an inch, it can cause the material to kick back, possibly causing injury. Check the alignment by locking down the fence. Place a framing square on the miter gauge slot nearest the fence — or alongside the blade — and along the side of the fence. If the fence is not square with the blade don’t operate the saw before aligning the fence. When the alignment is correct, the fence should be solid, without any side to side movement. The fence should not rattle or make noise when pushed or tapped on with your hand.
Table Top – The best table top is steel — the thicker the better. Flimsy, thin steel tops aren’t sufficient for making fine cuts, and heavy table saw tops add necessary ballast for cutting large sheets of plywood or long, heavy pieces of lumber. The heavier the table, the better the saw will operate. The top should also be shiny and smooth, without pits or rust. Some small rust spots or defects can be sanded out, but for table saws to operate smoothly, the table must be clean, shiny and slick.
Motor – There’s no confident way to check the motor without running the table saw. If possible, run a piece of lumber through the saw. If the motor slows down considerably when under a load, it could mean that it’s weak. If it heats up, smokes or chatters, it might need to be replaced. If you see burnt or frayed wiring, smoke marks on housings or switches, have an electrician or qualified repair technician inspect the saw before placing it into service.
Weigh Out Cost of Refurbishment versus Buying New
Many table saws can be refurbished. If you find the right saw at right price, but needing some attention, consider replacing parts as required. Parts generally are available from the manufacturer or distributors. Do some comparison shopping online. Weigh out the cost of repair versus buying a new saw. Heavy, sturdy framework is very important. Older saw bodies can be superior to newer, flimsy table saws. If the table top and framework is heavy, but the motor is bad, compare the cost of a new motor to the quality of the framework. Fences, pulleys, belts, blades and belts all can be replaced.
Because of the severe duty factor of commercial saws, some are driven by 3 phase motors. Fortunately for those having only single phase power, a NAPCES three phase converter is a practical, cost effective solution. Depending upon your specific requirements we offer two series of rotary phase converters, Pro Line and Smart Boost™. Both series of digital rotary phase converters enable convenient connection and operation of three phase machinery on single phase power lines. Need more info? Call NAPCES today (1-877-545-2926) to discuss your needs.