Good Things to Have on a Sliding Table Saw

Are independently-powered scoring blades or extra-long length important? January 8, 2007

Question
I know this topic was just covered but I have some more questions. I am looking for a sliding panel saw that will be able to rip 4 x 8 ply and melamine and also want the versatility of ripping hardwoods as well. I am looking for the best saw I can get for the money. I am looking at Felder, Minimax, Paoloni and a few others. My questions are: how important is it for a scoring motor to be powered by a second motor versus off the main motor? Is an 8' slider going to be enough? Do I need to get a 9' or 10' I don't have room for anymore. Please let me know.

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor A:
My Minimax cuts about a unit a month, and its scoring blade is belt-driven off the main blade. If you are just cutting sheet goods under 1" when scoring, I can't see how a separate motor would benefit. The scorer is removing so little wood that even a 1 HP motor seems overpowered. Not to say that I wouldn't mind a Felder or Martin, but the MM is a great value and the customer support is great, which I've heard is not the case with other (green) machines.



From contributor B:
I have the MiniMax SC4. I saved a couple thousand over the 315, but I have to remove the fence a lot. I bet I could have fit the 315 into my 3-car garage, but it would have been very tight in there. Some here recommend using a HI-AT blade and not the scoring blade. I use the scoring blade, but it doesn't help much on veneer core if you can't keep it flat when you are cutting it. Aside from the short stroke, I really like my saw. It does work well for rips; just get a normal thickness rip blade so you can use the riving knife and dust hood and prepare to remove the fence again! The slider is an excellent tool for jointing board stock too.


From contributor C:
If you are going to rip hardwoods get a 10 footer in my opinion. I have had scoring blades that work on the same motor and prefer the strength of a separate motor for a lot of cutting. Besides, the better quality machines are all built this way. It's like a car; better quality automatically comes with the options, stripped-down doesn't. I have a Casolin Astra, 9hp main blade 1HP scoring with easy adjustments.


From contributor D:
I have a MM Elite S unit with the 1hp scoring motor. I love it. I would say that the separate scoring motor will only add more power and allow you to cut faster. I am running the 7.5HP main and can cut four sheets about as fast as I can safely feed it. There is very little load on the motor. I can not hear it bog down at all. I would say it is not that big of a deal. Go with the belt drive if it fits your budget. You will often run into 3phase with scoring motors and higher HP main motors. A couple of things on belt drive scoring - usually run all the time. I have to raise the main blade to full height to get the scoring blade up. Again, this is usually not a big deal. You will want to keep 3-4 teeth (main blade) cutting in the wood, no more. As far as sliders go, 8ft is common. If you are doing entry doors or something like that you may want a longer table. I found if you order a machine there is only a few hundred dollars difference for each foot. I went with 10ft. 95% of the time I do not use it, but love it when I need it. It depends on your space and whether or not you buy a machine in stock or order one. 9-10ft will likely need to be ordered (3-6 month wait). Most 8ft are a little over size so you have room for crosscut fence, clamps, and enough stroke to clear main and scoring blades before and aft of the cut. Check actual table length and stroke.


From contributor E:
We've got an SCM SL16 (10') bought new in '87, separate scoring motor. This saw has seen a lot of running and is still accurate. Sliders are not the handiest saws for solid wood ripping but you can do it. There are add-on pressure beams made for some saws that help hold the panels flat to the slider and improve the cut quality on big parts. The clamp that fits into the slider groove is very handy for holding jigs and the like. If you get a slider plan on keeping your cabinet saw for smaller parts, easier to use. Sliders are extremely versatile machines, once accustomed to using one you'll like it.