Whenever a woodworker mentions he’s in the market for a hybrid table saw there’s always someone standing around to tell him he should just take the money and invest in a used cabinet saw.

A SawmillCreek member (a Creeker) asked his fellow woodworkers to help him evaluate a used Powermatic 66 opportunity he found online. I thought there was some great advice in the thread and it inspired me to pull out the best ideas as well as hunt down some other resources for folks buying used table saws.

Here’s the opportunity that a woodworker asked his fellow creekers to evaluate:

1) a used Powermatic 66 with a Baldor 3HP, 1-ph, for around $1,400. It’s 5-7 years old.

2) It looks to be in pretty good shape from the pictures (a little rust on top that should be able to remove).

3) I will have to drive about 7 hours to get it and the person that is selling it doesn’t have 220V to fire it up.

So he’s got a great price dangling in front of him, but there’s a seven hour drive and he will have no way of telling if the motor’s working because there’s no power.

Here’s some of the best advice from the thread:

1) Price is very fair if the machine is in working order. You can still check the gears/bearings for wear/slop even w/o motor running. 14HR round trip adds to the cost with gas prices, but they just don’t make um like they used to.

Notice you see very few PM66’s for sale used? Ever wonder why?

2) offer the guy 1000 for it sight unseen. That way you are covered even if it needs a motor. Or you could say, I will give you a grand for it sight unseen, or 1400 if you can plug it in and see it cut a board.

3) As for the motor. smell it. If they let the smoke out you can smell it. Other than burning it up, not much else serious can go wrong. Try taking the belts off and truning the motor over by hand. There are just two bolts that hold the motor in place. Loosen them and put slack in the belts and you can check how the bearings in the motor and arbor feel.

4) As for what can go wrong with the saw? Not much, the pinion gears some times need adjusting to keep the tilt and lift of the trunnion moving smoothly and easily. Typically the magnetic starters are the first thing to really go out, but I’ve only seen it happen to one saw personally.

5) Once there make sure that the trunion moves freely (if gunked up then clean the trunion and try). Also check the top for flatness. Don’t bother too much with the wings as they can be shimmed and adjusted properly. Also check the flatness and squarness of the fence. That plastic material can be a PIA to get flat. You may notice bumps in the fence where the fence face is bolted on to the body. You may need to disassemble and flatten the mounting face. Also check for arbor runnout and belt adjustment.

Check out the full thread here: Used Powermatic 66 vs. New Advice

Now all that great advice on buying a used Powermatic 66 got me to thinking about those folks out there who might be interested in other used table saws. Some of the advice I quoted above could be recycled for other brands. Some not.

Anyways, I found some other used table saw buying resources and include links and excerpts below for folks who’d like to assemble a used table saw buying checklist. Feel free to add your suggestions to the comments!

From SawdustMaking:

1) What was your overall first impression of the machine? Are there any obvious signs of abuse or neglect, broken knobs, damaged parts, rusty or warped table.

2) Why is the saw for sale, has the seller upgraded or replaced it wth an equivalent model, if you can see no improvement be wary.

3) Plug the saw in and listen and feel how it runs, keep in mind that if the saw has sat around for any length of time the belt will not be a supple as it should be and will thump for a while.

4) Check the rip fence does it move smoothly across the table and lock solidly, bear in mind that this seems to be the weakest link on any saw and there are aftermarket replacements that are superior to the orginal.

Read: Buying a Used Table Saw from the SawdustMaking site >>

From the Rigid Forum:

1) ask the seller to run a cut
2) raise & lower the blade through its full range
3) angle the blade through its full range

See: How would you check out a used table saw? >>

Related resources:
5 Questions You Should Ask Before Buying Reconditioned Power Tools
A Table Saw Buying Guide: Benchtop vs Contractor vs Cabinet vs Hybrid