The Cutting Edge – A Mobile Contractor and Their Table Saw
I often refer to myself as a carpenter but, in reality I’m a mobile contractor, moving from one project to the next, sometimes even two locations in one day. Many independent contractors work remotely, often on multiple projects at the same time
The trades has an aging work force and most carpenters I know are older and concerned about tool size and weight.
One of the main culprits is the portable table saw. As an essential tool, the portable table saw takes up a ton of space. Many of us are on the quest to find the holy grail of table saws. That means a compact portable table saw that can still provide them with the power, quality and flexibility of a larger table saw.
Today’s smartly, well-designed, compact table saws are tougher, more capable, and more accurate than older models, and many boast expanding tables, sliding supports, improved rip fences, rolling stands, and 10-inch blades driven by 15-amp motors.
Compact portable table saws are designed to be easy to lift and move around, making them great for contractors and others who spend most of their time on the job site. Portable table saws perform the same basic function as larger table saws, but on a smaller scale.
Users want to rip full sheets of plywood etc and prefer lower weight but do not want to sacrifice accuracy.
Portability Is Where It’s At!
Portability is a huge concern and one that certainly influences purchase decisions, but we still need be productive and safe. It only makes sense to purchase and run your tools and accessories in such a way as to minimize the time it takes to store, locate, access, as well as, transport them to and from the job site.
Time is money right?
Portable Is Not Always Compact
Not all portable saws are considered compact. Portable table saws these days come in two major styles, either bench top or stand type. Some table saw stand models come mounted to collapsible-wheeled stand. These wheeled stands are convenient but bulky space-eaters and can weigh as much as 100 lbs.
My on-the-job set up is always changing some days I’m outside, others inside or in a 5th floor walk-up. Maneuvering and wheeling a saw stand around is not easy to do or feasible. It’s in these circumstances where compact table saws shine!
Compact Saws Are The Solution
Our favorite compact table saw is the DEWALT DWE7480. This small footprint table saw is and ultralight weight at 48-pounds, and its 15-amp motor spins a 10-inch blade that melts through hardwood and pressure treated lumber. The saw is protected by a roll cage base and the rear feet are adjustable to accommodate uneven work stations.
The DWE7480 has a close ripping feature, allowing you to adjust the work support on the fence to the higher setting and do a close rip and safely have room for a push stick and can leave the guard on. With the new guarding feature we are also seeing more users leaving guards on the tools.
A large 2-1/4 inch dust collection port to easily attach a dust controlling vacuum when using this stair friendly saw indoors on a 5th floor walk-up.
This saw is light and fast, but still has the power you need to quickly get your work done. A kick-ass little saw, I’d recommend for trim carpenters who work in tall residential buildings where climbing 2 or 3 stair flights can get old fast.
Flooring guys will like this saw because they work close to the ground, don’t need large rip capabilities, and frequently move their saw. Lastly, carpenters and mobile contractors who value lighter weight, and compact portability will appreciate it too!
DEWALT DWE7480 Specifications
- 15.0 Amps
- 4800 rpm
- 10″ Blade
- 5/8” Arbor
- 2-2/12” Dust Port
- 90°: 3-1/8″ depth of cut
- 45°: 2-1/4″ depth of cut
- 24″ Max rip to blade right
- 12″ Max rip to blade left
Using a Table Saw System
Being able to take a small, portable saw and transform it into a accurate, safe, full scale table saw setup, with minimal effort and time is invaluable. Additionally being able to break down the unit into a footprint that doesn’t take up much space in the van, or trailer is a game changer. Read more on the Rousseau Table Stand. [photo above]
Manufacturers are developing smartly, well-designed, compact table saws are tough, capable and geared for mobile contractors that make their living out of the back of a pickup, van, or garage.
Think of it this way, how often do you really need a super-sized large rip capacity table saw on your job-sites. If the answer is not every day then you need to start looking at these compact models as a serious solution to space, weight and time to transport.
Keep that big saw in the garage until you really need it and work smarter not harder!
Compact Table Saws: