Is China trying to ruin my Workshop? Table Saw concerns

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25 Aug 2018
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Hello everyone,

After years of dreaming, I finally have the space + time + cash to have my own small workshop at home. I plan to do weekly hobby tasks in the workshop and right now researching for a good quality Table Saw for cutting old Pine for flooring and kitchen cupboards for our house we are finishing.

To date, for my workshop I have purchased a generic Chinese made pillar drill and have been disappointed with the quality, also a Holzmann metal cutting saw MKS 180 that cannot even do the most basic job of making a clean straight cut - also after research this is a generic rebranded Chinese product.

My research for bench Saws have concerned me how many are just re-branded products from the same Chinese factory. I really am worried I am going to end up with a device that lacks any accuracy due to poor quality of construction.

My requirements...
  • Single Phase (I can get 3 Phase to the house, but would prefer not to)
    Sliding table
    Max budget £3000 - for this I do not wish to be disappointed!
    Ideally a brand that is renowned for quality machines as I also with to get a Bandsaw and Thickness Planer from the same company
    Can post to Poland
    I know the Second Hand market has some great quality old machines out there, but I wish to stick with single phase and also wish to have newer safety features

I thought I hit the jackpot with a brand called Holzstar, but it looks like the TKS 250 SC (230 V) is the same as the slightly cheaper Holzmann TS 250F.
After reading a lot of post on this site I have come back a few times now to the Axminster brand, the Axminster Industrial Series TSCE-12R looks the business and I really mean that, just compare it to the two above and it visually looks like its in a diffrent league! Also, its price is too.

This leads me (finally) to my question for the wider woodworking community...

Does the Axminster justify it price over the Holzstar\Holzmann? Or, am I being over sensitive regarding China's aim to ruin my dream workshop? :(
I don't think it is China per se - after all, the country is very capable of outputting high quality stuff like Harvery machinery, Apple laptops and phones and even Sawstop stuff (China/Taiwan).

I think it is more a fact of cost cutting, western companies using China manufacturers to cut costs.

I have no experience with that Axy saw, but it looks very high spec from the pictures and description. Axminster's customer service is excellent though, so if you have issues, I am sure they will keep you happy.
At that sort of budget, you could probably scrape a new Felder Hammer K3 Basic which will do all you want it to. I believe you can also have a spindle moulder fitted into the machine as an extra if you wanted, plus there are more extras to be had. They have a good reputation and are built in Austria (I think).

My personal preference would be getting a good second-hand machine that's either single phase, which would be expensive anyway because everyone wants a single phase machine. Or you could get an absolutely bombproof 3 phase machine and get either a converter so that it runs on single phase or swap out the motor and switchgear for single phase and still have an amazing machine for a fraction of new.
Try looking at Sedgwick,British made and well engineered machines,you used to be able to buy through Axminster that's where I bought my table saw and planer thicknesser from,I am not sure if they make bandsaws but look for a Startrite 352 I don't think you would be disappointed.You don't say if your budget is for all three machines or solely for the table saw.I think Scott and Sargeant would ship to Poland and they stock Sedgwick machines although they are a little expensive,hope this helps,regards Kevin.
As others have said its not China per se but items being built to a cost and the first thing that dies is quality assurance shortly followed by customer service. I have only one major piece of Axminster equipment - a bandsaw - QA was obviously good and customer service is good. Thats why they're trusted.

As to your saw £3000 should get you a serious bit of kit. New the iTech or Axy units seem to give good value, Hammer are a bit over budget (but their demo sales are very good), as are sedgwick, robland and SCM. 2nd hand though should get a professional level unit with all the mod cons. Be aware that a sliding table saw takes up serious room - using mine is a proper pita.
The TSCE-12R is excellent. I changed to this from the PSA315 panel saw because it was a better fit in my workshop and easier to maintain its accuracy. There is nothing wrong with Chinese or Taiwanese machines as long as you understand that they, like any manufacturer, are building to a price that customers are willing to pay. If you are prepared to pay for quality, you will get something good regardless of where it has been manufactured.
Hello all,

Thank you all for your speedy and detailed replies.

Yes, apologies to China, my subject was a little on the humour / frustration side - clearly the issue is with the demand and suppliers, not China directly.
My main concern is that I do not wish to buy twice, do I bite the bullet and get a higher priced machine and do they justify their price tag.

The Holzmann metal cutter I have was not cheap, but the build quality is terrible - I do not wish to make the same mistake with my bigger kit.

To add...
  • I can at a push go to 3k gbp for the Table Saw only, but I need to be confident I am getting something that is going to last me a long time. If I could get quality at around the 2k mark with maybe less power \ features, I would be happy
    3 phase, I am so tempted. we are getting things rewired and adding 3 phase is an option. You may laugh, but our long term plan is to be running off solar - adding 3 phase just seems like I am moving in the wrong direction regarding our power needs. Also, I am keen to have more modern safety features and dust collection - hence I have put 3 phase units to one side
    mbartlett99 - I am keen to know how much room approximately your sliding table takes? I will have around 3.5m2 to play with

Thank you for all your suggestions, I will investigate the suggestions made now.
I think we've all felt the pain of paying a lot for a piece of junk; esp. for the simple things like a pillar drill for some reason. Ho hum.

On size for a sliding table - my garage is 4m wide which is enough but not too much. My table is generally dismounted and hangs on a rack or it would block the place up. Most of the time I use the sliding beam to rip/crosscut and only mount the table for panels. It depends if you're talking about a proper panel saw with the frame mounted on a slifing beam ( ... ne?prod=10) or a smaller saw bench with a modest table sliding table ( ... 1ph-4-0-hp).

Here you go; ... 22742.html . At that price I'd bite your hand off.

Here's the Polish site ... owa-9.html unfortunately my Polish is limited to drinking.
Hi mbartlett99,

Most definitely the smaller saw bench with a modest table as suggested.

This website it excellent, thank you - having a good browse now.
If you have access to three phase power there is really no reason to not use it. I run everything that I possibly can on three phase.
A three phase motor has a lot more torque for the same power rating and there are fewer things that can go wrong in it. That extra torque means that you can rip 2 inch boards without the saw blade slowing down. That is a great adwantage when trying to get the job done efficiently and accurately.
I don't think you can get enough solar power to run a table saw anyway and if you can a phase converter of some sort that converts single phase power to three phase will me a minor cost compared to all the other components in the system.
I am not even sure the Polish power grid can handle a large single phase table saw plus a single phase dust collector running at once. The Finnish power grid would certainly struggle and any normal main fuses would pop.

20 years of woodworking mostly as a hobby but also professionally during some periods and an increasing number of machine rebuilds have made me very very very sceptical against all Chineese machinery. It is very rare to find a Chineese machine that is any good. They are specializing in making cheap machines and that's what you get. A machine designed and built specificly to be cheap. Then the importer may or may not market is as professional or heavy duty or whatever but when you start using it you will notice that it is nothing but junk.
By the way I came across a Holzmann metal cutting bandsaw similar to yours at the scrapyard when I was looking for materials for my machine rebuilds. It was almost unused. I could have had it for 50 cents a kilo but I didn't bother because it was obviously too cheaply built to funcion at all.

Theese days Ejca (Sweden), Moretens or Logosol (Sweden), Felder (Germany), Sedgwick (England), Rapid (Germany), SCM Rimini (Italy) and Rojek (Czech republic) and a few others are the names one should look for when wanting a decent sliding table saw of the smaller sort.
At your budget a secondhand Altendorf or Martin would be tempting if you have spece enough. They are top end industrial saws. The newer models without the phenolic slider rails are best. Usually the newer ones cost twice yor budget secondhand but there are occasional ones that go within your budget when someone has to sell his saw quick for one reason or another.

Considering that you are close to the enormous second hand market there is in Germany I would suggest secondhand: ... mm/ci-1429

My oldest table saw was manufactured in Chemitz in Germany in 1885. I rebuilt it and added modern safety features and when I get the electric wiring done it will be as safe and as good as any modern equivalent. I scraped the moss of the table when acessing it's condition before purchase and paid 20 euros for it loading included.
I may be wr8ng, however I believe there are inky really two advances in safety features to be found in modern saws when compared to the most ancient saws. The first is that the crown guard for any saw that can run a blade larger than 12” or 300mm must cover the entire width of the blade in all positions. In other words when tilted the saw blade must be fully covered. This in essence requires a wider crown guard that isn’t attached to the riving knife. A very simple modification to make and there are plenty of over arm kits available if you don’t want to make one.

The other is that the blade must stop within 10 seconds after being switched off. This again is a fairly easy feature to add to an old saw. You can either add for 3ph machines a DC brake, add an inverter (VFD) with a brake this would allow you to run a 3ph machine of single phase or replace the motor for a brakes motor. The motor change would be the most exposensive.

For a small vintage saw, the Wadkin AGS machines are brilliant and really nice machines with almost nothing to go wrong. Clearly not made any more but plenty around. The Startrite 275, or 175 are good machines that will last many lifetimes but not as well engineered as the Wadkin.

For a medium sized vintage saw the SCM L’Invincible range, Wadkin, and Sedgwick LK are some of the most robust indestructible and accurate saws that hold their value, have almost nothing that can or does go wrong.

The above will all have rock solid accurate fences, trunions that stay accurate and true and will cut better than most modern saws of the same size.

For a modern small / medium sized saw you can’t go wrong with a Sedgwick.

All of vintage machines with all modifications will be below your budget and will hold their value / increase in value. The modern Sedgwick will probably be slightly above your budget
Many thanks for your comments deema, heimlaga - I have to say, very insightful, but boy - I am struggling to make a decision.

Yesterday, I was set on the following from Axminster all 230v...
[*]Industrial Series TSCE-12R 305mm Table Saw
[*]AT107PT Planer Thicknesser with Spiral cutter block
[*]Trade Series AT6X90BS Belt Sander
[*]Workshop Dust Extractor (asking them for advice here)

Now, there are two items I am struggling to make my mind up with - getting 3 Phase to the Workshop and purchasing a sold second hand table saw

3 Phase Power
OK, I think this is an easy one. As of yet, I have not found any reason not to get 3 Phase Power to the house and then Workshop. Only downside others have said is cost and availability - I can see the electricity pole with 3 Phase from my window and additional cost is minor as we are getting the power to the house redone.
As for Solar, I guess I am being naive as even with plenty of Solar panels, the costs of the batteries would not make it worth it. Solar DC for lights \ house and 3 Phase for Workshop I am guessing is a much more achievable aim.

Secondhand or new
So, I know, hands down, the right second hand unit in regards to quality and value is ahead. But, I need to be realistic regarding my needs and abilities. I am inexperienced and I need something I can plug and play - I will not have the time to mother an old machine to be sure all is well or the skill to know when something is not right. Also the challenge of finding the right machine, if I had more time and knowledge I am sure this would be an easier task. Going for new will cost me at least an extra 1k GBP, but this can be delivered within a week and will come with the backup of a support team if needed. (I almost hate myself for saying this!)
Also I am limited with around 3.5m x 3.5m of usable space in the side of the workshop I wish to use, so a unit that has a folding sliding table is ideal.

OK, so lets say I go for 3 Phase to the Workshop and new machines. Other than a possible Bandsaw I have yet to look into, it looks like most machines other than the Table Saw will be 1 Phase. Is it worth the hassles to get 3 Phase just for one machine?
[*]Would I see that much jump in power going from 1 Phase to 3 Phase for the TSCE-12R as an example?
[*]I am guessing that with 3 Phase, I can spread the single phase machines acrosses the 3 phases so this would reduce the likelihood of drawing too much power at once on 1 phase as you have highlighted heimlaga?

Thank you all for your input regarding this. For years I have dreamed of having a workshop and spending more of my spare time on carpentry projects - a love I never had the opportunity to fulfil. Your added feedback and guidance I hope will avoid me making a silly \ expensive mistake(s).
I rekon that if you can get three phase without significant cost and if the Polish power grid is dimensioned anything like the grid in Finland and Sweden and Norway you should get it even if you had no three phase machines in order to spread single phase machinery on all three phases.
The British poer grid seems to be able to handle single phase loads better than ours....... but the poor sods of Britain rarely have affordable access to three phase.

If you choose secondhand I think you should look at the best end of the secondhand market. Machines that seem to be ready tu run. That would fit your situation better than the sort of machines I buy. There will always be a few unpleasant surprizes in a secondhand machine but in that class of machinery the surprises are likely to be nothing worse than a bad cable or a worn out bearing or two.
When I started buying machinery I got lots of advice from more experienced rebuilders on the internet and thanks to them I did things that I never had dreamed of doing.

For instance a secondhand Rapid table saw should be a fairly safe purchase and a saw suitable for your amount of space and your life situation as you describe it. They are still manyfactured and spare parts can be ordered from the manufacturer in Germany.

In your case I think you may benefit from buying the band grinder new just like you were going to. They are scarce on the secondhand market and usually either worn out or almost as expensive as new.

After this I think you might be better off if you postpone the purchase of a planer/thicknesser for a while. Until you are sure what size you need and fell comfortable with the two machines you have already bought. I have found that when making joinery for elderly houses you need a wider and more solid planer/thicknesser than you first think or you would end up planing most of the timber by hand.

Due to lack of money I am forced to buy the cheapest junk I can get. Machines with mayor parts missing or broken and/or lots of wear. They also become excellent machines in the end but it is one hell of a job which you shuld try to avoid.
Due to lack of money I have also made it a rule to only buy machines that ether are:
-Big and powerful enouigh to cover my needs in the foreseeable future
-Or can be resold for a price that covers all my costs when I outgrow it.
This has led me to having few machines but very good ones.

Just my thoughts......

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