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Sliding Table Saws ?New Versus Used

When the budget is tight, a used high-end slider can be a better value than a brand new low-end machine.November 15, 2011

I am buying my first sliding table saw, upgrading from a Uni-saw. I am on the fence between the Laguna PP18 and the Felder K700S-PLUS. Both saws look good. I like the fence on the Laguna better but the warranty on the Felder is longer. I have been able to get the same price on both saws. I run a small cabinetmaking company with multiple workers. I want to keep this saw for a long time. Any suggestions?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor C:
Get a used Altendorf if you can afford it. I am getting a used one myself. Martin is great too, but I have not seen many used. New means 18K-38K. I have an older Felder and hate it. After all I have heard and my personal dealings with Felder... they suck. Especially the fence, but many more things can go wrong. I don't know about the newer models but I looked at them at the AWFS show two years ago. Still not anywhere close to the Altendorf or Martin. Keep in mind this is like buying a car and the resale value of such a machine is worth taking into consideration. With a German made piece of quality, you will have a great resale.

From contributor J:
If I were to do it again, I would do as the above poster says and buy a used Altendorf, Martin, or SCMI.

From the original questioner:
Sounds like some good advice. How used should I go? Within 10 years?

From contributor J:
Depends on your budget. If you have a $2k budget, you will have to go very used. If you have a $20k budget, you will get a pristine late model.

Check out mlsmachinery.com and exfactory.com, and you more than likely have some machinery dealers in your area that sell new/used equipment. Every once in a while something nice will show up on kijiji or craigslist.

Also ask your sales reps from wherever you buy your materials. They are in lots of shops everyday and usually know about a machine that comes up for sale. I found a great used edgebander this way.

From contributor P:
No hard-and-fast rules on age; it depends on the use and care it's had. A machine that's been in a small shop has probably had an easier life than something that's lived in a production environment.

I've owned a Felder machine and wouldn't have another. Laguna's support for my construction borer has been non-existent. When I talked with them several years ago about one of their sliding saws and its ability to cut dead square repeatedly (which, last time I checked, was the reason one invests in a slider), the response was "hey, it's wood - how square does it really need to be?" Not exactly confidence-inspiring.

From contributor A:
Make sure you get one that has a long enough stroke to rip at least a 4X8 piece of plywood. You have to keep removing the crosscut arm otherwise. Stay away from SCM, particularly the ones with electronic fences. Built like a beer can.

From contributor U:
I couldn't agree more with the above posters. I purchased a new entry level slider (Minimax S315 WS) some years ago. It worked okay for my needs, but I could have had a much better saw for the same dollar had I listened to the same advice and bought a quality used machine. It is a lesson I learned the hard way. If I could go back in time I would have bought my CNC earlier with that money because the CNC's capabilities nearly eliminated the need for that saw entirely. I now use it to straight line and the occasional odds and ends cuts, and a good place to set stuff.

From contributor M:
I have a Griggio that cost me about the same as a decent used Altendorf costs. It holds its settings nice and I like having a new machine that did not need any fixing. The slide, table, fence, and pivot arm are all as good as I have seen on any other saw. The difference is in the little things like the knobs, levers and wheels.

For me it was not worth buying a saw that costs 2 or 3 times more. It would have been if I was processing more panels, but 50 to 100 a week is not enough. The Griggio is not like a Felder. It is more like a lower end SCM.

But in the US I believe Laguna is the sole distributor of Griggio.

From contributor P:
Andreou Machinery in New Jersey and J&G Machinery in North Carolina both sell Griggio machinery. Quality is similar to SCMI. Wouldn't say any of it is low-end though. Have owned several of their machines in the past and liked them a lot.

From the original questioner:
After taking everyone's advice, I have found a great 2004 Altendorf F45. A few questions though. Particular saw has 12' slide. Is this a major problem for everyday use? It's a bit long but we have the room. Also it is fully electronic with power blade raise/bevel and power fence. The controls are down on the side instead of eye level key pad. Is it a pain to always have to bend down to adjust fence? Can fence be manually adjusted? Big purchase for me so I want to make sure it is the right unit.

From contributor S:
I've never used one with a power fence, but the other features are excellent. The Altendorf is a quality machine that I think you will be very happy with.

From contributor C:
No, it's not a hassle unless I guess you are used to having the controls at eye height. Like anything, if you've never had one, you won't miss it. I used to have this saw and I loved it. I was under the illusion that I was a really good craftsman... I quickly realized it was the saw's accuracy and not me (sadly).

From contributor A:
Here is another perspective on the issue of automatic fences. We have an Altendorf F45 that we bought new about 18 years ago. It is manual everything. We added a Tigerstop crosscut on the sliding side for repeatability. We should probably do this on the fence side as well and plan to do so eventually.

There are some big advantages to adding something like a Tigerstop rather than buying the automatic features integral to the saw. If the Tigerstop decides to not run, I can be back in business with my old analog fence in about an hour. If this was a system that was built into the saw, I am incapacitated until the Italians decide to come back from vacation.

There are a lot of moving parts that have to behave properly to keep these automatic saws functioning. If the manufacturers are willing to give you plastic fittings on the part of the saw you see and touch, you can bet they didn't exactly take the high road on the internal parts.

If I wanted an automatic slider, I would put Tigerstops on both sides before I bought a saw with this already attached.

From contributor H:
I have a Casolin Digit and added the tiger rip fence. I have owned 3 Casolin machines, two of them in Montreal where I had a shop for 24 years. They are great machines and the tiger rip fence is a real time saver.

From the original questioner:
Thanks everyone for your advice. I think you saved me from a costly mistake. I bought the Altendorf and can't wait to get it!