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New to good table saws - input on "Dovetail"

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Forum topic by Caboose posted 03-20-2018 12:29 AM 553 views 0 times favorited 10 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Caboose

6 posts in 121 days


03-20-2018 12:29 AM

Hi all. First, thanks to all that take the time to give such well thought-out replies to questions posted here. I have been lurking for a while and this is becoming my go-to forum for solid answers to the questions I have.
I will be soon graduating to some real stationary shop tools and will probably start with a good table saw. I have a Bosch 4100 right now but I realize there are limitations that I will start to discover.
I am seriously entertaining the following:
- PM2000, 3 HP, 220V 1-phase, 50” rip
- Laguna 4 HP, 220V, 1-phase Dovetail saw
- Grizzly G0651, 3 HP, 220V, 1 phase

Money is always a consideration, but if I am convinced it is the way to go, it won’t be a huge deal to swing the PM2000, I just like to make smart decisions and if the Grizzly and/or Laguna are a good deal for me as a hobbyist/serious hobbyist, I would like to go that way for the “bang for the buck” factor. Based on the projects I have planned for retirement, I don’t think any of those will leave me wanting more. Won’t be a production environment, so the 5 HP is not something I’m looking at.

One question I have, and the main reason I started this thread (I can’t find the exact answer I’m looking for) is because of the term “dovetail” that Laguna uses. I think I have a decent understanding of what it means, but I want to make sure. I do not see Powermatic or Grizzly using the term “dovetail” in their descriptions. I see “cast-iron trunnions” used, but I’m not thinking the terms are necessarily synonymous. I have in my head that the dovetail design is desirable, but am not thinking that I need to rule out proven saws that do not use that design.

So, what say ye’?... I know there are definitely those squarely in the Powermatic camp as well as those that are in the bang-for-your-buck camp, and I am not trying to start another debate – I really just was left wondering about the dovetail question.

Thanks,

Dean


10 replies so far

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TheFridge

9708 posts in 1539 days


#1 posted 03-20-2018 01:22 AM

Dovetailed ways for up and down travel I’m guessing? Everything moves straight up and down as opposed to the typical arc.

-- Shooting down the walls of heartache. Bang bang. I am. The warrior.

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knotscott

8078 posts in 3429 days


#2 posted 03-20-2018 01:55 AM

The Griz G1023RL series uses dovetail ways for their vertical lift mechanism. Check the parts diagram online.

Why no mention of a Saw Stop PCS 3hp or ICS? Both great saws.

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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Loren

10476 posts in 3701 days


#3 posted 03-20-2018 02:03 AM

The INCA 2200 has dovetailed ways. I had
that saw for awhile. It was said the centerline
of the blade remained more consistent through
the adjustment range.

Direct drive variety saws by Northfield, Oliver,
etc. commonly have dovetailed ways.

It’s simpler to retrofit a riving knife to a saw
with dovetailed ways.

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Caboose

6 posts in 121 days


#4 posted 03-20-2018 02:57 AM

Knotscott. Thanks for the reminder… the SS PCS 3 HP was on my shortlist, too.
Thanks for the info about the other saws with this design. I will see if I can dig up the parts diagram for the other saws and compare to the known dovetail models.
I guess this discussion begs he question… is the dovetail design worth using as a limiting factor in my saw choices?

Thanks again

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Caboose

6 posts in 121 days


#5 posted 03-20-2018 03:00 AM

Loren… I remember 20-25 years ago when I used to regularly pick up Fine Woodworking… Incas were always heavily advertised and I used to drool over the ads. From what I understand, they aren’t sold in the US anymore.

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Loren

10476 posts in 3701 days


#6 posted 03-20-2018 03:15 AM

Yeah. I’ve bought, used and sold a bunch of
INCA machines. They’re interesting and well
designed. The only one I have today is a
3-wheel band saw.

The woodworking machine division at the very
least shut down, though there is still some parts
availability. The owner died or shut down the
business. Prior to that INCA withdrew from the
US market, allegedly due to what they considered
nuisance lawsuits over injuries.

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knotscott

8078 posts in 3429 days


#7 posted 03-20-2018 11:01 AM


Knotscott. Thanks for the reminder… the SS PCS 3 HP was on my shortlist, too.
Thanks for the info about the other saws with this design. I will see if I can dig up the parts diagram for the other saws and compare to the known dovetail models.
I guess this discussion begs he question… is the dovetail design worth using as a limiting factor in my saw choices?

Thanks again

- Caboose

I like the dovetail way design, but if a swing arm design is well executed, it obviously provides good precision…..PM66, PM2000, General 350/650, Delta Unisaw, etc. The Saw Stop ICS uses an elevation thread, but I don’t think it uses dovetail ways.

Here’s the G1023RL diagram:

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

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MrRon

4853 posts in 3296 days


#8 posted 03-20-2018 07:10 PM

I notice the dovetail method has an adjustable gib that keeps the elevating mechanism on track. It is my opinion that any machine that uses gibs for sliding fits can go out of adjustment. This would require a periodic inspection or accurate cuts could be affected.

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Caboose

6 posts in 121 days


#9 posted 03-20-2018 07:51 PM

Thanks for the feedback, everyone. Based on some limited study and some input here and further reading, I think I will take the dovetail design off my “must-have” list for now. I thought that it might have been a design that was incorporated into some manufacturers’ higher-end offerings, but that does not appear to be the case across the board.
Back to shopping :-)

Dean

View msinc's profile

msinc

448 posts in 557 days


#10 posted 03-20-2018 08:32 PM

It really seems more like a gimmick to me. I mean, metal working mills and lathes, etc. do not have to have a dovetail way to work…why would a woodworking machine need it? Also, manufacturing a dovetail is not exactly rocket science or some form of rare, lost black art. If it was superior or necessary or otherwise really did something good for you then you can best believe the rest of the world would have caught on and be using it. Buy the PM2000, you will not regret it for a second.

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