I am often asked what is the most important piece of equipment in a shop. Is it the CNC, a line machine or hand tools? The answer is simple; it’s your saw. Without it you couldn’t move to the next step in the fabrication process. There are many types of saws ranging from small hand saws to large CNC controlled types. The following article will describe these types and offer you some advice on selecting the best saw for your application.
The first question you should ask before purchasing any saw is how often you will use it. If you’re just starting out and you only anticipate fabricating one to two kitchens a week, a large bridge saw with all the bells and whistles may be overkill. In addition, the saw may not pay for itself. On the other hand, if you’re moving up from a smaller saw and your workload is increasing, a larger bridge saw may be just the ticket to keep you on schedule and allow you to fabricate more kitchens per week.
The next thing you need to do is a payback analysis. In other words, based on the initial cost and setup as well as what it will cost to operate, how long will it be before you are able to pay for the saw? If you discover it takes 10 years or more, the saw will more than likely be outdated by then.
Finally, before you purchase a saw, ask the manufacturer or distributor for a list of fabricators who have purchased that saw. Call each and every one and ask them specific questions.
The following is a list of question you may want to ask.
1. How long have you had the saw?
2. Have you had any problems with it?
3. How long does it take to get a service technician out when it breaks down?
4. Are parts available in the United States, and how long will it take to get the part needed?
5. If you had to do it again, would you buy this saw?
6. What do you like about this saw or why did you buy it?
7. What do you dislike about the saw?
8. What would you change on this saw to make it better?
9. What saw did you have before this one?
10. What did you pay for this saw?
Ask as many questions as you like. You will find that many fabricators enjoy helping other fabricators. You can also post questions relating to saw purchasing on some of the stone fabrication forums.