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Left vs. Right Tilt Table Saws

My review of the Grizzly 1023 tablesaw drew quite a few people looking to decide between Left and Right tilting table saws, so here is my thinking on the issue:

First the advantages of a left-tilt:

  • Motor on the left means the bevel wheel is on the right, good for right handers
  • Blade tilts away from the fence meaning that it is less likely to trap the wood between the fence and the blade. Trapped wood = BAD. It moves fast when it breaks out of the trap
  • Uses a regular right-hand thread nut to fasten the blade and the nut is on the right side of the blade, good for right handers.
  • When cutting a piece with bevels on both sides (trapezoidal) the point of the wood rides along the middle of the fence instead of at the bottom where it might slip under the fence.
  • The motor is usually inside the cabinet instead of sticking out. This may give you more room under the wing and make fitting a door easier.

The advantages of a right tilt:

  • The distance from blade to fence is not changed if you change the blade. On a left tilt, fitting a dado or a thinner blade will change the distance and make your scale read incorrectly
  • Use your left hand to control bevel angle, good for left handers.
  • Left hand threaded arbor nut means you can change the blade from the back of the saw where the blade is closer and use your right hand.
  • You can always switch the fence to the other side of the blade so that bevel thing I wrote above is not really a disadvantage.
  • Some saws are cheaper in right hand tilt than left hand tilt.

It looks like the reasons are slightly tilted in favor of the left hand for right handed users and the opposite for lefties. My first suggestion is go with what you are comfortable with. Neither one has a huge advantage over the other in terms of safety.

Powermatic has always built most of their saws with left-tilt and they are regarded pretty highly. Delta, historically, has been right tilt, but they are shifting to the left on newer models. Jet and Grizzly offer you a choice. I'd put the direction that the blade tilts as pretty far down on the list of criteria and would focus on accuracy, reliability and value first.

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    This is a single article from STUFF dated January 8, 2007.

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