Vertical Panel Saws Versus Sliding Table Saws, Again

The perennial discussion, with a few new observations. March 3, 2009

What are the pros and cons of a vertical panel saw versus a slider? Most of my work is euro box commercial. I will be upgrading from a pm 66. How do you cut angles on a vertical saw?

Forum Responses
(Cabinetmaking Forum)
From contributor J:
Vertical takes up less space in the shop but can't cut small parts as easily as a slider. If you can only have one or the other, I vote for a slider. More versatile.

From contributor I:
I moved from a SCMI 10' slider to a Striebig vertical panel saw and have been very pleased. I would not go back to a slider. Small parts can be tricky, but most can be cut; the problem is cutting a small part off a small piece of scrap. I go to the Unisaw for that. Yes, keep your PM 66 for ripping solid wood and other operations like dados. Angles can be done with an angle device made by Striebig. I don't have one but they are available. Doing euro casework, how many angles do you really do? I would opt for a vertical and get some of those carts from Hafele that flip. Load the cart, flip it vertical, and roll it to the end of the saw and slide the panels off - a lot less effort and 1 man can cut easily. I do like my vertical and would not go back. True, if I had the room I would probably also have a slider. Mostly for bevel and miter cuts on sheet goods.

From contributor J:
I made a cart on wheels just slightly lower than my slider's surface. I stack the sheets then slide them onto the carriage to be cut. Again, easily accomplished by one person. You're probably best to find a couple local shops who have a vertical or a slider and see if they won't let you take them for a demo. Your local machinery dealer could probably help arrange this for you.

From contributor A:
I would take a good Streibig and a Unisaw over a high quality slider everyday of the week.

From the original questioner:
Thanks. The only thing that I can't figure out is how the horizontal rips on the vertical saw don't pinch the blade. Must be some sort of clamping mechanism that you apply to the upper half of the panel so it does not fall and pinch the blade? How does this work if you are gang cutting? Think I will go for the Striebig and keep the 66 around until I can get a CNC. The advantage that I can see for the CNC is mainly for radius work such as serpentine tops, die walls, etc. I use leg levelers or ladder bases so I think the Striebig will cut 90% of what I will need. (No toe kick notches necessary.) Would like to go to blind dado at some point but that seems more efficient for a CNC as well.

From contributor V:
I cut everything on a Striebig and a Powermatic 66. To prevent the material from pinching the blade when making rips, you can use the hardwood shims that are supplied with the Striebig (or make your own) to insert in the saw kerf as you are advancing the saw through the cut. Another alternative, and the one that I use most often, is to grab the top piece before you complete the rip cut and hold it up just slightly as you complete the cut and withdraw the saw.

From contributor H:
I've had all three. Unisaw (too small table, but very handy), SCMI slider (legs hurt from walking around the beam all day to set the fence), and now the Striebig vertical (eureka). Hands down the vertical is easier, immeasurably safer, and faster than either the Uni or slider.

I cut angles all the time with simple plywood fixtures - how many angles do you need? I've got one for 22.5; never needed another angle so far, but easy enough to make one. I thought about a fixture made from 8020 extrusions, but the plywood fixture works very well, plus all my dimensions are written on the fixture for my usual angled uppers. For rips, just press the top rip to the laths, and lightly pick up on the end of the cut. By the way, my other 8 digits appreciate my slider a lot. Another stupid mistake. If you have employees or family members, go the vertical or Sawstop.

From contributor E:
Another emphatic vote for the Striebig vertical! As has been said, the safety, reliability, and decreased physical effort loading the sheets are just incredible. I also have a Unisaw and 10" Robland saw for dado, small rips, tenons and mitering for carcasses, plus a Festool saw for random angles and install trimming. Only thing that I feel lacking about my setup is the ability to cut through thick stock that a good slider (Martin) can handle with their large (500mm?) blades. This has not been a huge issue for me but I have thought about it. The total cost of all these machines is less than the price of a new Martin! Definitely see a Striebig in action and you will understand.