I hadn’t visited with the Family for awhile (FamilyWoodworking.org) so I stopped by this afternoon to read about how everyone’s doing. The thread that caught my attention was one that discusses woodworkers who choose not to use table saws…

The table saw’s such a staple in the shops of most woodworkers that I couldn’t resist reading it… The thread starts out with: “I’m interested in how those of us who don’t have a tablesaw get by without ‘the central tool.'”

Most interesting to me are the tools and techniques that develop around the “missing” table saw. And as a note – it looks like the majority of the folks in the thread are woodworking hobbyists by the way, or folks who can’t afford the space a TS takes.

Here are some takeaways:

Mark Kosmowski
“The cutting tools I have on hand are a bandsaw (with a Kreg fence), radial arm saw and a router table for the stationary tools – I also have a couple circular saws, a jigsaw and a reciprocating saw for hand held power tools…”

Patrick Anderson
“Most of the stuff I do is cabinet type work with big sheets. I use a cs and a guide ( festool soon ) to break it down on a folding table with a cutting grid.”

Duncan Cheslett
“If I was setting up a shop at home in my garage I wouldn’t make a table saw the central tool on the shop, in the way that mine currently is in my commercial workshop.

For cutting sheet goods, I’d invest in a Festool guide rail system, and for ripping lumber, I’d have a good quality bandsaw. Everything else such as grooving, tenoning, dadoeing etc can be done easily and more safely with a router or on the shaper.

The main problem with a table saw is space. Allow 10 ft either end of the blade and 4 ft to either side and you’ve used up a massive 160 sq ft on one tool!”

Stuart Ablett
“I have two bandsaws and they both get used a lot, I also have a SCMS which is used very often. I guess if you have to have only one tool, you can do an awful lot with a TS, but, for me, if that was my choice, I’d rather have a bandsaw, WAY more versatile, then I’d get a circular saw and guide rail system (take your pick) and a good router and guide rail system.

Now all of this goes out the window if you are in a production environment.”

Sam Blasco:
“My bandsaw is very versatile and my favorite tool, but I wouldn’t want to part with my slider any time soon. However, I know I have said it before, if it came down to only one major power tool — the bandsaw would be it. At a recent class, dedicated to just this instrument, the students witnessed (and participated) going from logs to lumber to dimensioned pieces to tapers, tenons & dovetails — using only one tool the whole weekend — the bandsaw, and that is not even mentioning radii and compound curve cutting. With a few simple jigs you can face joint, straightline (edge joint), thickness, rip, crosscut, on and on… All with incredible accuracy, cleaness of cut, and in thicknesses unheard of for a table saw, guided saw or router.”

Thanks to the Family for such an interesting discussion! Click here to visit the whole post: no tablesaw? (long)

So… did you notice all those mentions of BAND SAWS? And here I was thinking that the circ saw + guide was the true and proper alternative to the TS for the space-strapped hobbyist :)

Here are a couple of Band Saw Resources I found:
Band Saw Overview
Band saw vs. Table Saw

And here are some table saw resources we’ve put together:
Q/A: Best DIYer Table Saw for Ripping Plywood… Under $300?
DIY Table Saw Alternative: EZ Guide + Circular Saw