Vertical panel saws offer many benefits, including saving floor space in the woodworking shop,  one-person operation and accuracy. Before deciding on which machine to purchase, here are six things to consider:

1 Factory assembly & alignment: Panel saws should be assembled and aligned at the factory by qualified technicians to meet exacting tolerances. If you buy a component saw, any price savings are quickly offset by the time spent trying to assemble the tool, and by poor cutting accuracy over the life of the saw.

2 One-piece welded frame: Frames that are bolted together can loosen over time and rust or corrode in the fasteners. These problems can lead to performance and safety issues later on.

3 Rugged guide system: Guide tubes should be fabricated from specially manufactured steel tubing to ensure straightness, concentricity, and smoothness. The guide tubes should be welded to top and bottom brackets to assure absolute alignment with the frame as opposed to bolted guide tube systems that can loosen or vibrate during operation.

4 Specialized saw motors: Quality saw motors on panel saws should be specially selected and adapted for use in this type of machine. Features included on these motors are usually not available on off-the-shelf hand-held circular saws. Essentially there no substitutes for industrial strength power units.

5 Quick change from crosscut to rip cut: The saw should be able to change quickly and accurately between two modes without having to disassemble the carriage. The best saws have a rotating center that lets you switch between vertical and horizontal positioning.

6 Cutting accuracy: Panel saws designed and built as a complete unit will ensure that cutting accuracy is maintained over many years of service.

Source: Safety Speed Mfg. For more information call Tom Houska at (800) 772-2327 or visit SafetySpeed.com.

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