Panel Saws vs. Sliding Table Saws: Which is Better for Your Business?
release date: 01/20/2017
It’s not just a question of a big vs. small operation. For many woodworkers, deciding whether to use a panel saw or a sliding table saw is a personal preference. It’s all about comfort, convenience, and the feel of the saw in your hands.
If you own a woodworking business, the decision is even more important. The tool(s) you choose to dictate the quality of your work and, just as importantly, the efficiency with which you get things done.
Versatility vs. Specialization
The real question is what you plan on using your saw for. If your business requires little more than accurately, fluidly cutting panels (for cabinetry and the like) then a panel saw will give you the best cuts for the job. Vertical panel saws are great for cutting panels into more manageable parts, but they’re not known for their accuracy or finishing.
For precision work or highly-detailed jobs, sliding table saws provide the most versatility. They also tend to be a little more expensive, and you may have to buy additional components to complete every task at hand. Sliding saws are not ideal for cutting very small pieces off of other small pieces, and they take up more space on the floor.
The Pros and Cons of Different Saws
If you’ve got the space and money, it may be ideal to have both a panel saw and a sliding table saw for your commercial operation. Vertical panel saws can be used on the front-end to cut down large pieces of lumber, and they also require far less physical effort to load! For many woodworkers, lifting large pieces onto a sliding table saw and repetitively walking around the table to set the fence can take its toll.
Horizontal saws – both panel and table – often require two attendants to run properly. The additional manpower (not to mention the safety implications) of horizontal saws should be a consideration. If facility space is an issue, think twice about purchasing a sliding table saw as these can be some of the largest-footprint tools in the whole shop.
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