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Is a DIYer who works on smaller projects, such as cabinets, desks, lamps, etc., would I have any benefit from owning a 5hp 14" Powermatic saw? More specifically, it is pretty clear that a saw like this will give me a greater depth of cut. But will it also make it easier to make smaller cuts and will the end result be better?

  • You don't even need a table saw much less a 5hp model, just sayin' ;-) – Graphus supports Monica Apr 4 at 7:57
  • To help frame some of the answers that follow, 5 h.p is a little over 3.7 kW, and energy (watts) is calculated as voltage (volts) multiplied by current (amperes). So a 110 volt electricity supply would need to deliver about 34 amps to power a 5 hp motor; a 240 volt supply would need to deliver about 16 amps. – user02814 Apr 9 at 1:29
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As a DIYer, there's no compelling reason for you to go out shopping for a 14" table saw. That said, if you're asking because there happens to be a 14" table saw available to you for an irresistible price, there's nothing inherently wrong with it, but there are some things to be aware of:

  • If you're in the US, you won't be able to get 5 hp out of a standard wall socket, so you'll need to have the right electrical supply available. At minimum, it'll require 220 V service. But more likely than that, it'll require a 3-phase power supply, which pretty much only exists in a commercial or industrial setting. Check the specifications of the machine and make sure that the electrical power you have available will work for this saw.
  • It'll be heavier, and more difficult to get into position in your shop.
  • Blades and accessories will be more expensive.

Mainly, the advantages that come with a larger saw blade are the depth of cut you can achieve (see note), but cut quality is tied more to how carefully and precisely your machine is set up, not how big the blade is, so it wouldn't necessarily make your end result any better. I don't see how it would make smaller cuts any easier.

Note: a saw this size is an expensive, professional machine. As such, it'll probably have nice features and great build quality, but those are more related to it being a professional machine than the fact that it has a large blade.

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    It might require 3 phase power - I'd be surprised if it didn't. – CoAstroGeek Apr 5 at 16:36
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    @CoAstroGeek That's a great point, thanks for thinking of it. I'll edit my answer. – Gern Blanston Apr 5 at 16:58
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    You can get phase converters to run 3 phase tools in a home shop. But you'd have to have a really compelling need for a 14" saw to go that route. If you have to ask why you would need a 14" saw, you don't need a 14" saw! That said - a 220V 3HP 12" cabinet saw is a joy to use compared to a typical contractor or benchtop saw. – CoAstroGeek Apr 5 at 17:16
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    @CoAstroGeek these days you can get 3-phase inverters as well – Chris H Apr 23 at 12:55
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You could cut some really big coves!

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