Shopsmith Model 510 vs. Top Quality Contractor Saw
In this corner... A vintage Model 500 with 510 upgrade
Serial #7540 Manufactured in 1980original motor
10 blade, 50 rip capacity, 22 X 40.5 table top
13.5 amp motor
Speed: 700 to 5200 rpm (variable)
front to back: 22
width: variable (up to 102 with extensions)
as pictured: 40.5
And in this corner... A General International left-tilt contractor saw
10 blade, 29 rip capacity
15 amp motor
Speed: 2760 RPM
front to back: 27
Those of you who read woodworking magazines are aware that the GI has been picked as the top tool in various table saw tests.
Quality of Cut
Difference: Variable speed
Anti-Kickback Splitting Device
Because the riving knife is close to the blade, it reduces the chance that the kerf will close up and cause the wood to kick back.
The dust you see is the result of making identical cuts on the same piece of wood.
The Shopsmith collects dust much better than the contractor saw, even with the aftermarket upgrades. The Shopsmith collects dust incredibly better than the contractor saw as it came from the factory.
Reason: Shopsmith fence locks at both ends.
The Bottom Line
Both machines are sitting within a few feet of each in my shop, yet I usually find myself walking past the contractor saw and cutting wood on the Shopsmith. Why? For one thing, I hate cleaning up sawdust, and the Shopsmith dust a much better job of keeping things clean. Also, I often rip narrow strips, and the featherboards on the Shopsmith make that a much safer operation. Im not going to get rid of my contractor saw, but to do it all over again Id just have the Shopsmith and no other table saw.
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This page last updated 11/11/05
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