What kind of portable tablesaw should I buy for building a new house and outbuildings? I’m not a professional, so I don’t think I need a professional power tool, do I? I’m looking at a $300 model right now. It has a 15 amp, 3 horsepower direct drive motor. Let me know if this is a really stupid choice. If it’s just semi-stupid I’ll go ahead.
Almost all portable tablesaws are direct drive these days, so that’s not a big deal. And all the really good portable tablesaws have motors with the same specs you mentioned. All this sounds fine, but there’s more to this power tool than just a motor. You also need to consider the fence, controls and the overall size and toughness of the tool. This is where spending a little more than $300 really pays off.
The main thing to realize is that while you may not earn your living as a carpenter, building a house puts you in the same league as the professionals when it comes to a tool as fundamental as a tablesaw. Good tools will save you time and yield better results. The biggest danger you face right now is under-equipping yourself. You need to think like a pro, not a hobbyist.
You can buy a great portable tablesaw for less than $600. Invest the money and reap the rewards of a better house building experience. My current favourite saw is made by Bosch. I use it all the time and really like the wheel-equipped folding stand.