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  • Which table saw to buy?

    As I have stated in other posts, I am looking seriously at purchasing the TS3650 before the end of the year to get the lifetime warranty. Even without this warranty the saw seems to be made a bit better than other saws in the same price range. I particularly like the mobile base since I will be using it in a garage and will have to move it at times. Not being a woodworker, but wanting to get into woodworking, I really do not know what to look for in a table saw, other than the obvious. Does anyone have any suggestions as to what is really important to look for in a table saw? Also, how does the TS3650 stack up to comparable brands? Given the cast iron table, the 36" width, the TEFC motor, and the Hercules base, it seems a good value for the price. Thanks.

  • #2
    I do not own a RIGID TS. I am lucky enough to now have a Unisaw.

    But, the RIGID TS, IMO, is one of the better Contractors saw in that price range. Take the next step un to the $850-$900 range and you may as well buy a cabinet saw.
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    • #3
      toolesq
      I bought the 3650 a month or son ago. Love it no problems. I love the size of the table. It came out of the box almost perfect. I bought the Gizzly instrument set, check all no problems.
      SCWood

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      • #4
        Look at power and table size. The 1.5 hp motor on this saw is not very good for 4/4 hard woods and no mater what blade it will not perform well.
        Later on I will re power this saw with a better motor. The basic cradle and belt drive system will permit easy retrofitting. For two hundred or so more dollars you can get that extra power, but do you need it?

        Over all, the 3650 is a good saw. It is not the best, but good.
        No Bull Dust Just Saw Dust

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        • #5
          Since the vast majority of brand name TS's will spin the blade accurately with sufficient power, and most owners "love" their TS and think you should get that one, I'd suggest trying to be objective and compare things like features, price, fence quality, warranty, dealer/distribution method, and construction. The fence is generally considered one of the most important items on a saw. Features like solid cast iron wings are desirable over stamped steel wings to many people. A good miter gauge, accessories and capacities should also get some consideration.

          The fence on the 3650 is aluminum and seems to work pretty well, but it's not as rugged as the steel Biesemeyer types that come on better contractor saws and cabinet saws. The 36" rip capacity is nice, but still doesn't have sufficient capacity to crosscut a 4x8 sheet, and extended 52" rails are not available. The mobile base on the 3650 is very nice. I'm not sure if the miter slots on the 3650 are standard t-slots or not, but could be worth checking into if that's important to you.

          At $600 I think the 3650 is a pretty good value. Delta and Jet both have basic offerings at that price point, but they don't offer cast iron wings, the rip capacity, and have a very basic fence. Grizzly has a new saw called the G0444Z that has two cast iron wings and a Biesemeyer clone fence for $525 + $75 s/h ($600 delivered), that I think may be a better value. The downside is that it's mail order only, and the warranty is one year. Bridgewood offers a similar saw for $579 plus s/h that is similar to the Grizzly with similar pros and cons. For $650 the General International 50-185 was recently rated #1 by Fine Woodworking, and has long been considered an excellent saw by many, that is comparable to the $850 Deltas, Jets, and PMs. It has an excellent Beisemeyer type fence, one of the best stock miter gauges available, comes with several accessories, can be purchased through dealers, and has a 2 year warranty. IMO this saw is the best choice near this price range, but it will boil down to what's important to you.

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          • #6
            Hewood, thanks for the info. I'll look into each of these saws. There is certainly something enticing about being able to just drive down to my local HD, load up the 3650, and bring it home. However, if the Grizzly TS or one of the others is a better deal and will last for many years, it is worth the wait to get it shipped to me. Thanks again.

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            • #7
              hewoods advice is very good and objective. I agree personally with the fence being the most important feature. And most of what he wrote. I would add though that your application should dictate type of table saw too.

              If you are doing general carpentry the fence is less important. If you plan on doing any precision work such as building cabinetry or other furniture. The precision of fence is a MUST. I just purchased a higher end contractor saw b/c of the fence for 850. Powermatic64A, 52 inch fence. Was looking for 3 months almost bought 3650. Decided not to b/c of concern about fence staying square over time. Seemed to me to be soft aluminum guides. I got to use a table saw of relative for a couple months and this helped me learn what I really wanted and needed. Initially I would not consider spending over 600 bucks, but am glad I bought the saw I did.

              Best advice I can give is to decide what you want to do first. If you are new to hobby, buying used or borrowing isnt' a bad idea to get a feel for what you want. Many on this site are very happy with 3850, it seems to add alot of value for price with castors and othe features. Motor seems like it may be weak if you are going to work with thick sheets of hard woods. Plywoods should not be any problem though.

              Also find a local dealer that specializes in woodworking. Seeing, and feeling difference between fences with a beismeyer verses home depot or lowes line of tablesaws made a world of difference to me.

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              • #8
                I just recently completed my "what table saw to buy" adventure two weeks ago. In the end, I purchased the 50-185LM1 from General International. With tax, I ended up spending $730 for the 52" model. The deciding factors for me were 1) the 2 horse power motor that can be wired 110 or 220, 2) the exceptionally good fence (biesmeyer clone), and finaly 3) the great review it received from FWW magazine.

                The installation was a pain, but now that it is all set up and adjusted, I am very pleased. I gave the Rigid TS3650 a good hard look, but I was concerned about the stability of the base (I won't fix a design flaw... that's the engineers job), and I really wanted the bigger motor of the General. Good luck with your search.

                Paul

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                • #9
                  Paul M., I've also recently become aware of the General 50-185. I've read some great reviews. I also like that it is a Canadian company (next best if not American) and the saw is partially constructed in Canada. However, nobody in my area sells them. If you purchased online, how did it go? Also, what is the warranty? I've looked at the General website and no reference to warranty. Thanks.

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                  • #10
                    Not to make this too long a story, but finding someone to buy it from was a challenge. I am from the Pittsburgh area. On the General website, they listed several distributors in western PA. However, none of them actually had any in stock. Several of them said they could order one for me, but that they'd have to pass the shipping charge (from $200 to 350 estimates) on to me! That would make it a real bargin, wouldn't it.

                    Any way, my oldest daughter lives in Columbus, Ohio. They have a great woodworking store there near the airport called Woodwerks (that is spelled correctly). I contacted them, and they had five in stock! The store has an outstanding large selection of equipment set up. I'm one of those folks who has a hard time buying something sight unseen. I need to put my hands on a big ticket item like this. After kicking the tires on it, one went home with me.

                    The warranty is a standard 1-years arrangement. The folks at Woodwerks said that I should call them first if I have any problems, and they would make sure I got things taken care of. Its too early to tell how that will work out, but they were very helpful when I called with a question on the initial setup of the saw. It helps to be able to talk directly to someone who specializes in woodworking tools.

                    If you need to order one online, I think Hartville Tools (www.hartvilletool.com) had the lowest shipping charges I found at around $80. I've never dealt with them before, so I can't comment on them positively or negatively. Good luck.

                    Paul

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                    • #11
                      Paul - I'm pretty sure General has a two year warranty, but I'll double check my manual.

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                      • #12
                        Yep - here it is:

                        GENERAL® & GENERAL® INTERNATIONAL

                        All component parts of GENERAL ® and GENERAL ® INTERNATIONAL machinery are carefully inspected during all production stages and each machine is thoroughly inspected upon completion of assembly. Because of quality, GENERAL® and GENERAL® INTERNATIONAL agree to repair or replace any genuine part or parts, which upon examination proves to be defective in workmanship or material within a period of 24 months. In order to obtain warrantee, all defective parts must be returned prepaid to GENERAL® MFG. CO. LTD. or GENERAL® INTERNATIONAL MFG. CO. LTD. Repairs made without our written authorization voids all guarantees.

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                        • #13
                          Hewood,
                          Thanks for checking that. Bonus!

                          Paul

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