panel saw in shop

tod osier

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I HATE managing sheet goods in the shop and getting them down to size to work on the table saw. I do not see the dream 12" table saw with huge outfeed table in my future and that wouldn't even completely fix my hate of breaking down large sheets. I'm wondering about having sheet good storage separate from the shop with a panel saw adjacent to hack off pieces to then move into a shop (like a basement shop where getting a 4x8 sheet would be inconvenient).

Tod, my brother who recently semi-retired owned a woodworking shop for 30+ years. I have helped him in the past off and on. Personally if I had to give up a table saw or panel saw. I would give up the table saw. So yes I would do the panel saw
Gary Mills said:
Tod, my brother who recently semi-retired owned a woodworking shop for 30+ years. I have helped him in the past off and on. Personally if I had to give up a table saw or panel saw. I would give up the table saw. So yes I would do the panel saw

Good to hear. I'm going to start looking at options.

I picked up a Safety Speed panel saw at auction five or six years ago. It really comes in handy. Cross cutting ply is a very simple task and it is better at it than my recently completed 12" Powermatic 72 table saw. There is a downside though. They are a bit of a wall hog. At over 8' long it chews up space. Safety Speed makes a short version that would probably work just as good for my needs. For ripping sheet goods I still use a table saw. For me a crosscut is the unbearable, and dangerous, one to do on the table saw.

On the used/auction market I see them several times a year, and they frequently go for anywhere between $250 and a grand. A wide range and probably a function of the age. The newer ones have a lot of features that make them nice, but also more expensive. For example, you can swap the saw for a router and make dados until the cows come home.

Have you looked into a track saw? Their popularity (Festool for example) has softened the market for panel saws. There are several manufacturers making them too that are more affordable than Fesdrool. If you haven't looked into them you may find the solution you are looking for in a much smaller package. Tons of videos on YT of people showing how they work.

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Thanks Eric, what I'm thinking is to have sheet goods storage and panel saw in garage away from shop, so that would monopolize a whole 25 foot wall, but the benefit would be having that out of a smaller shop.
The cool people on youtube throw a sheet of closed cell foam board on the floor and cut their sheet goods down to size with a Festool track saw at about half the cost of a decent table saw. I break mine down on the table saw. I can't say that I enjoy it but thats how I do it.
I made my own rip guide using a 1x4 and a strip of 1/4 ply. Nailed 1x4 to strip then rip with the saw. Helps to make sure I am on my marks when laying out. I built 2 so I have a 16' rip guide when I was roughing boards to size for planking the garvey.

Thanks Brad, looking at the track saws (unless i missed something), you have to measure and clamp it on. I'd want something that would crosscut or rip square without relying on measuring and clamping on. In the whole hating breaking down sheet goods, using a saw guide to do it ranks pretty high.
If you have the shop space panel saw is very nice. A track saw from festool can be set up on their table to be similar to a panel saw. You can also take a track saw places if that interests you. I borrowed my brothers track saw and it's amazing no clap just lay it on two marks and go.
Good morning, Tod~

I had my Dad's panel saw in my old shop for awhile. I gave it to a friend because of the space needs.

I, too, dislike ripping plywood. I keep n aluminum straightedge for the purpose - using clamps and saw horses when needed to guide my circular saw.

Whenever possible I have the lumberyard rip my plywood - when I know its intended use. I have them get it close - then fine tune it on my table saw.

Putting a panel saw in a separate building - along with all sheet goods - is a grand solution.

Hope this helps! Now off to my shop to rip some plywood for some flap boards on the current South Bay.....


I have a table made from strips of plywood. Its hard to explain but the strips are 4 inches wide and it is put together with half lap joints so it looks like a lattace (sort of). Just take a sheet of plywood and cut the entire sheet into 4 inch strips, then assemble it. I have it on sawhorses and I use a track saw to break down full sheets of ply. It makes it REAL EASY to cut large stuff down, then the pieces can go on the table saw with I am making things. I make kitchen cabinets so I cut A LOT of plywood. The beauty of a table like this is when a piece is cut off, it just lays there. Nothing falls to the floor. Its a dream to use.
If I can figure out how to post a picture I will do so.
Panel saws are pretty much old technology. They take up a lot of space and the saws are not real good. too much tear out. A track saw will fit under your bench. I use mine nearly every day.