General 350 Tablesaw
by Jim Shaver

General 350
General 350 Shown with Stock Fence

As a novice wood worker and starting out on the trail of "Tool Purchasing" it quickly became clear to me that the Table Saw would be the corner stone and most important purchase to all the work I would do. I reviewed several forums and read endless threads on what was good and what people considered to be critical characteristics in the selection of a good TS.

Several things stood out to me in making this selection, one was origin and quality of construction the other was power. These two elements also defined two distinct price ranges for TS as well, the "Less than $1000" and the "Around $2000" saws. After resisting many impulse buys I chose to focus on cabinet saws. I knew if I bought a lesser saw that I would constantly be tempted to up grade to what I really wanted. My Grandmother (God Bless Her soul) always told me to buy something once and to stop shopping for once you had it, you'd only be disappointed. She also said a dollar doesn't care who owns it, it's what you do with it while you have that counts, she should have known she was born in 1900 and lived through some very difficult times. Her message was to but quality when ever possible.

I spent 3 to months shopping and asking questions, I looked at new ones and found very few used ones, there just weren't that many around. So I chose new ones, in this region of Southern Ontario the Delta Unisaw is widely sold and most common, The General 350 next , the Jet cabinet saw as well. The only time I saw a PM 66 was at a wood show and I wasn't able to really get a good idea of it's abilities..

I bought the General 350 after much comparison.  Several things sold me on the saw, it was Canadian made and easy to get support for locally and from the factory in Drummondville Quebec ( I called the factory and spoke with the Quality Manager and Operations Manager). It is a strong cast iron top machine that weighs in at 420 lbs before the fence is installed. It comes with an excellent mag switch that is the safest I have yet seen anywhere. The switch is made by Danfoss, once you have turned the switch off you can not start the machine until you reset the locking off switch, no accidental start-ups! The guard is made of steel and like most guards difficult to use, so, I did not install it. The machine is wired for 240 volts and draws 14 amps on a 3 HP rated motor. The factory saw blade is a carbide rip blade of better than expected quality. Dust collection is enhanced by a motor cover that has a 4" port to attach to a DC system. It is a precisely machined saw, the cast iron top is almost seamless where it meets the solid wings.

I Bought my saw at Ashmans in Hamilton for $1975 Canadian ( spring 98) and delivered. I assembled the saw fence system in 30 minutes and after the first cut found that the setting on the fence was dead on to the cut dimension of my first sample piece. I used the allen key adjustments to kick out the tail of the fence by 1/64" and have had clean, unburnt cuts from day one. I built an extension table for the 52" fence from plans provided by General as well.

I had the saw wired by an electrician, as I am hopeless at electrical things , but he said it was a breeze and followed the instructions provided.

I must say, I bought the Upgrade TS as my first and I do appreciate what I have, a quality safe machine that will be here performing for others when my days have past. Email me if you have any questions