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  • Best Table Saw for a Novice

    The title describes my woodworking ability so far. I am just starting and would like to make a table saw my first stationary tool.

    After reading several reviews I had decided on the TS3650. Then I found this forum and have spent a couple of days reading various threads. Some of these raised some concerns - at least as far as my abilities are concerned.

    The two things that I read which really concerned me are associated with "user fixes":

    1. Discussion about wobbly legs that users have crossbraced themselves.
    2. The TS3650 Assembly Tips thread that talks about the installation manual being wrong and several people who assembled their saws using what sounds like "user work-arounds" or by returning the saw to the nearest service center.

    As I said, I am a novice plus I live in a remote area 4 hours from the nearest service center. I am also not real interested in making my own changes to the saw. These posts have made me very nervous about purchasing this saw. Are my concerns valid?, Is there another saw that would be better/easier to assemble?, or would most saws have these potential problems?

    I can follow directions but am worried about user modifications or workarounds. Thanks for any/all help or suggestions anyone might have. (Sticking to hunting and fishing is a valid, but not preferred suggestion)

    Steve

  • #2
    Originally posted by vermilionsteve View Post
    The title describes my woodworking ability so far. I am just starting and would like to make a table saw my first stationary tool.

    After reading several reviews I had decided on the TS3650. Then I found this forum and have spent a couple of days reading various threads. Some of these raised some concerns - at least as far as my abilities are concerned.

    The two things that I read which really concerned me are associated with "user fixes":

    1. Discussion about wobbly legs that users have crossbraced themselves.
    2. The TS3650 Assembly Tips thread that talks about the installation manual being wrong and several people who assembled their saws using what sounds like "user work-arounds" or by returning the saw to the nearest service center.

    As I said, I am a novice plus I live in a remote area 4 hours from the nearest service center. I am also not real interested in making my own changes to the saw. These posts have made me very nervous about purchasing this saw. Are my concerns valid?, Is there another saw that would be better/easier to assemble?, or would most saws have these potential problems?

    I can follow directions but am worried about user modifications or workarounds. Thanks for any/all help or suggestions anyone might have. (Sticking to hunting and fishing is a valid, but not preferred suggestion)

    Steve

    Welcome to the forum.
    I am a novice too and I bought the 3650 last year.

    I have never found the legs to be wobbly. I have not done any workarounds and they are nice and solid. I dont know who has had problems but I cannot see how they would wobble unless put together wrong.
    Along with that, the herculift system is darn cool and effective. My shop is in our garage so I need to move the saw around to where the car is when I need to use it. The herculift is smooth as silk considering it is lifting a 300lb saw.

    The instructions were pretty straight forward and my understanding is that they have made them even more clear now.
    As well, there is a thread somewhere on this board as a supplement so I would not worry about that if I were you.

    As well, you have probably read the many reviews on the web and in the magazines and continually rate this saw as a excellent value for the money.

    Further, with the LSA, if the motor ever craps out, you are covered; tough to argue with that.

    Finally, my father has been a woodworker for 40 years and he twisted my arm into buying the 3650 (at the time I was not sure if I wanted to spend that much money).
    He said, "that will be the first and last saw you buy in this lifetime" and I am pretty sure he will be right. In fact, he still drools over my 3650 everytime he sees it (he bought a 1000$ craftsman a few years ago and is pi$$ed that I got a better saw than him while only paying 599$ Canadian .

    That says a lot to me if he is still drooling over it a year later.

    Cheers.
    TC

    Comment


    • #3
      I own a Craftsman"Zipcode" saw as there called by most forums, I love mine and the miter slots are a standard size,The Hybrid models are really nice, trunnions mounted to the heavy cabinet makes for easy adjustment of the miter slot to blade and to fence, not done very often, but makes it easier, I bought the lessor of the 3 models and added solid cast iron extentions after purchase through Sears. They are really nice tablesaws made by Orion , who are a group of ex Delta employees. You Might give them a consideration keep in mind this is a Ridgid site so most if not all love there ridgid saw here. You might also read some posts on the Woodnet foruns too, and look for unbiased opinions ,i'm not knocking the 3650 at all, i'm just saying no matter what saw you buy keep an open mind then decide. I got my Craftsman on sale plus a 10% off deal (look into the craftsman club for sales it is free to join)for about $400.00 then I added the solid cast iron wings at $69.00 each, so for about $540.00 its one heck of a saw and deal. 3/4 cabinet the motor dont hang out the back , easier dust collection. Do your research then decide. I think most of the Ridgid tablesaw issues have been addressed by Ridgid, i'm sure owners will chime in . Good luck and be Careful.

      Comment


      • #4
        Steve: I have had my 3650 since Jan of last year and it has seen a lot of use. I think its a great saw and it is rock solid if properly assembled and the feet are adjusted so they fully contact the floor. I have pushed 80 lb sheets of 3/4 cabinet plywood across it and it didn't budge. My opinion is that it is the best saw in the price range, but it isn't the only saw out there that will do a good job. If you are a novice, some things you may not know and want to consider when looking:

        1. Noise: A belt driven saw is quieter than one in which the blade is directly mounted to the motor. A cast iron saw is quieter than sheet steel or aluminum. Cast iron extensions are quieter than stamped steel. (I won't go into the reasons on this post but will later if you want to know).

        2. Vibration: A saw with the blade directly mounted to the motor Normally vibrates less than belt driven (except on start-up). The vibration problem is solved on a belt-drive saw by going to a link belt (which is after-market added expense and requires replacing the pulleys and belt) or by using a serpentine belt like an automobile (the 3650 comes with the serpentine belt). A normal V-belt type has the most vibration.

        3. Portability: Table top saws are small and inexpensive. Most have limited capacity and power, are noisy, and usually have poor accuracy. A contractor saw is more powerfull, light, easily moved, and some have very good accuracy. Some come with a mobile base that makes moving them and set-up/storage very easy. The trade-off is they have small tables, reduced fence-to-blade (cut) capacity, and are very noisy (made from plastic, aluminum, and have direct-mounted blades). A hybrid-saw is a stable saw with larger table and cut capacity. May have aluminum, steel or cast-iron table/extension wings. Requires a mobile base (either included or added expense) to move around and takes up more storage space. Cabinet saws are heavy-duty saws (most expensive), that aren't usually designed to be moved (altho some do have the capability) and usually require 220v current due to the large motors.

        And last and least discussed but to me was VERY important:

        4. Front edge of table to blade distance: Smaller tabled saws have less distance in front of the blade. This makes it more difficult for cross-cutting and dadoing wide pieces common to furniture projects and limits the size of the work piece when using the miter guage. The contractor saws normally have about 8" or less clearance which means about you can only do about a 6" wide piece when using the miter guage. The 3650 has 13" with the blade fully raised and other hybrid saws have varying amounts. If you are planning on doing any furniture work, this one factor can make you praise or curse the saw you work on.

        I hope this helps you get a saw you will be very happy with. Tradeoffs always have to be made based on space, portability requirements, intended use, and as importantly for most, price. As for problems after you buy it, I have read posts from owners of Ryobi, DeWalt, Bosch, Delta, Craftsman, Grizzly, Jet, and even Powermatic who have had problems, so your concerns about the Ridgid, although quite valid, are also concerns about any brand out there. You see the concerns here because this is a Ridgid forum, but I feel you will see as many about other brands if you visit other woodworking forums.

        Good luck.
        Go
        Practicing at practical wood working

        Comment


        • #5
          The 3650 is about the best TS you can get for the money.
          The sears zip code saws are a good deal when they are on sale and with the extra 10%. If they are not on sale I would pass on them since you can get a lot more saw from delta, jet or grizzly for a few bucks more.
          Rockler has a jet hybrid on sale for $599. Nice saw for the money.
          www.TheWoodCellar.com

          Comment


          • #6
            Steve - Contractor saws pose some unnecessary obstacles by hanging the motor out the back. They take up more space, have a risk of hitting things when beveled, make dust collection difficult, and have a longer belt. It's an obsolete design that has been addressed by the newer hybrid designs with an internal motor. If I were in your shoes I'd definitely look at one of the many models available from Grizzly, Delta, Craftsman, Jet, General International, Sunhill or DeWalt. The hybrids have many of the same advantages a cabinet saw has, and have virtually no disadvantages relative to a contractor saw. They're available starting from ~$400.

            Having owned an excellent contractor saw and now an excellent hybrid (Sears 22124), you won't regret stepping to the more modern design.

            http://www1.epinions.com/content_184778395268

            There's presently a guy on BT3Central who's putting together a bulk purchase of (8) Delta 36-715's for an incredibly low $450 (Amazon has it for $970!) .....worth checking into IMO.
            http://www.bt3central.com/showthread.php?t=24862

            Comment


            • #7
              Many thanks to all of you who have replied. I appreciate the input.

              You have given some more considerations and choices as well as making me feel much better about the TS3650.

              I will check out the other options before making my decision.

              Once again, I really appreciate everyone taking the time to give me some advice.

              Steve

              Comment


              • #8
                Wobbly legs

                I know exactly what you mean by wobbly legs... the slightly used TS3650 I had experienced that same problem for about a month after I had them, then I looked at instructions and put the feet on CORRECTLY and solved the issue.

                Had gone to HD and taken a look at theirs and same mistake (didn't know that at the time).

                Basically, if you don't loosen (yes.. not tighten) the screws to the top of the thread as it says (very conter-intuitive until I figured it out) the legs don't fully engage and the Herc-u-lift still holds some weight.

                Having said that... every tool in the world over .. gee... 20 lbs should have a Herc-u-lift.

                Bottom line... get the TS3650.... numerous saws out there but IMO none that comes close for the money.

                Hope this helps and good luck with your decision!

                Comment


                • #9
                  I agree with Tall Canuck. No problems here.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Can anyone make a comparision between the Bosch Portable table saw and the Ridgid TS3650.

                    At Home Depot in Canada, the TS3650 is on sale for $599 CDN (reg $799) and the Bosch is listed at regular price for $499 CDN (with folding table stand).

                    Most reviews have put the Bosch on top but users here have provided excellent feedback on the TS3650. Just trying to determine what is the better buy.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      They are two very different saws. The bosch is a portable saw equivalent to the Ridgid 2400, The 3650 is a contractors saw with cast iron tables. it is movable not very portable as the weight is just under 300 lbs. The trunions and table top are much heavier than the Bosch, The fence is better, It has a 36" rip capacity to the right of the blade, The wings are cast iron, It has a 1.75 HP induction motor and is belt driven. I have the Ridgid 3650 and I feel that it is the best saw available for the money.

                      my opinion

                      Ken

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        For a contractor's saw, why is the ridigd model only 13A. For a contractor's saw I would expect it to be 15A for more cutting power especially for tackling hardwoods.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          don't kid yourself - that motor will trip a 15A breaker if you have anything else running. I put in a 20A dedicated circuit for my TS3650.

                          You won't find a better saw in this price range.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Does the TS3650 have soft start in the motor design? I did some reading and don't find any mention of it.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Why would anyone want a slow start feature on a tablesaw?

                              Comment

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