Shopping for a Straight-Line Rip Saw

      There are different flavors of straight-line ripsaw for different parts of the industry. Here's advice for a cabinetmaker with a budget, shopping for a smaller machine. January 2, 2012

I need a compact saw, with 5' or so of glue joint ability. I am looking at the imports, and used machines are about $5,000 - Powermatic, Northtech, etc. I have been told that the Powermatic has no glue joint ability. I have seen Northtech and North State and they look about the same - is that the case? I was originally looking at the smaller Oliver and would have to spend about 9K. Any input would be appreciated.

Forum Responses
(Solid Wood Machining Forum)
From contributor E:
I have the Northtech SRS12, which I believe is the entry level straightline, and can get a 10' glue line rip without any problems. In order to achieve it I do have support for the board on the outfeed to take the weight off of the hold downs. If buying used, just make sure the chain and race are still in good condition and have been oiled.

From contributor J:
If you are looking at used for sure check the chain and race. The cost to replace these parts is close to $2,500 for the parts alone not including the cost of downtime and labor to install. If you can't inspect the machine I would not buy it.

From contributor J:
Straight line rip saws are used in different applications. Example: We in the industry call it a busting saw when used to support a moulder ripping blanks, a pallet operation when ripping slats, a lumber yard when ripping cut to size lumber, and many other applications. These saws are run hard to keep up with demand.

Glue Line Accurate saws are used in cabinet and mill work plants for face frames, raised panel doors, table tops, butcher block, and related products. This allows the operator to skip the step of using a jointer to square the material prior to glue up. In order to achieve a glue line cut the spacing between the chain and race has to be tight tolerances. These saws are well maintained. Don't forget the leader in all of the advances in straight line saw technology is Diehl. Imports like Northtech, Powermatic, Lobo, Silver, Oliver, Extrema, North State, Grizzly, and others will work fine in your application. The key for you - know the history of the used machine. It is not the brand! Next you should look at using a glue line accurate saw blade, feed speeds, and buy a laser to optimize your yield. I agree that you need to inspect the machine or work with a dealer who understands you needs.

From the original questioner:
Thanks for the information everyone. I may just have to step up and buy a new machine with a warranty.

From contributor H:
Not so fast. I had a Lobo, bought it used and it was a wonderful saw. My dealer convinced me the Powermatic was better so I traded my Lobo for the Powermatic. The Powermatic has twice the HP of the Lobo but everything is milled steel as compared to the Lobo's cast iron. Still, both are serviceable and buying used if you know the history is perfectly well and good. Five feet of glue line joint is not that hard to get, I could do it all day long with either saw. The Lobo had 7 1/2 HP enough for 4/4 material while the Powermatic is 15HP and has a bit more bite.

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