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  • About to purchase TS3650...Does Anyone Object?

    Greetings all, I'm a new guy here and I found this site in my research of the TS3650. I've read many of your messages and get the impression that the saw is a good machine for the money. I'm a huge DeWalt fan and accordingly the first saw I considered was the DW746XB for 900 plus dollars. Once I looked at the TS3650 at Home Depot, I found three hundred reasons not to choose the DeWalt... The TS3650 seems equally up to the task in every respect I need a table saw for, for a lot less money.

    So what's the verdict out there? Is there anyone who truly hates this saw? If so, what are your reasons? How has this saw held up for some of you people who've had and used it for a couple of years?

    A final thought about Ridgid products... in my opinion, it's time to keep an eye on them. I swear by DeWalt and had expected to plunk down major bucks for a pretty yellow saw, but one look at the Ridgid display in HD stopped me in my tracks. I love quality tools no matter what the color scheme and I'll reward any company with my busines that turns out quality products. Ridgid seems to have a great philosophy driving thier tools, judging by the TS3650, and I hope they never go the way of Craftsmen. Thanks!

    Greg

  • #2
    Welcome to the site Greg!

    - Hate is a pretty strong word to apply to a tool. I like to look for advantages of one tool over another, and judge which one is the best I can afford that will best suit my needs. Both the saws you mentioned will do a nice job cutting wood....almost all reasonably good saws will. Their features and designs are very different. The DeWalt takes up less space, has an advanced trunnion design, has better DC, and likely the better fence. It's downside is cost and value relative to other machines in it's price range. Steel wings and the fence are not all that impressive for an $850 saw. The 3650 has a mobile base, serpentine belt, and cast iron wings. It can be picked up at many locations, but there are some downsides. The stock miter gauge is very poor, but most are. Accessories and parts have been in short supply. The fence is one of the better aluminum type dual locking fences, but IMO is not on par with the steel Biesemeyer t-fence designs found on most upper end contractor saws and cabinet saws from $500-$3000. Dual locking fences lock at the front and rear railing making them hold firmly, but they can be locked down out of parallel, whereas the Biese types cannot. The aluminum fence and rails are not as strong as the heavy gauge steel found on the Biesemeyers, plus the Ridgid fence has a plastic handle....will it survive 10-20 years in a shop? At full price it has alot of competition....for 20% off, it has more appeal over the other $500 saws by Sears, Delta, and Jet.

    Assuming acceptable tolerances in the arbor and adequate structural integrity (at this price range they all do well), I'm of the philosophy that fence and blade determine the performance of the saw. That said, neither of the saws you've mentioned offers what IMO is the best fence available in this price range. For $435 plus $75 s/h, the Grizzly 0444 offers a Biesemeyer type fence and an awfully good stock miter gauge. Unfortunately, it comes with steel wings and is mail order only....good value. For $525 plus $75 s/h, the upgraded Grizzly 0444Z has the solid cast iron wings and a 2HP motor. An additional downside to the "Z", is that the motor draws high amperage and requires either 220v or a 30 amp 110v circuit. Shop Fox is a sister company to grizzly that has a saw that's identical, but is white and available through dealers. Bridgewood has a saw similar to the Griz 0444z, but it's motor is 1-1/2hp and will run on a standard 110v circuit, plus it comes with machines pulleys and a link belt. It's available mail order only and offers only one cast wing....second one runs ~ $70. The General International 50-185M1 @ $650 was ranked #1 over the DeWalt, two Deltas, two Jets, Powermatic, Bridgewood, Grizzly, and Woodtek in the price range from $500-$850 by Fine Woodworking. It has a Biese fence, solid cast wings, 2hp motor that will run on a standard 110v circuit, excellent stock miter gauge, and is available from dealers. Because of the #1 ranking they were backordered....it's possible that it's been resolved. Also, their dealer network is not real big. Great saw at a great price...

    At the price point of the 746, Grizzly and Shop Fox both offer full 3hp cabinet saws that have a number of advantages over all the other saws here. More power, the Biese type fences (or the Shop Fox original), massive trunnions with multiple-belt drive, better DC, and will handle every task you can throw at it. They'll last several lifetimes. They will require 220v operation, but IMO are superior saws to any of the others at or below the price point.

    Your needs should dictate which of these saws will do, then decide which you like best. There's no free lunch....just get to know all the models and compare pros and cons. Good luck!

    p.s. The 3650 is a new design that has been out since last fall....no long term field reports yet.

    [ 04-25-2004, 07:38 AM: Message edited by: hewood ]

    Comment


    • #3
      Thanks Heywood! You sure seem to know your saws. The Grizzly 'Z' version you mentioned would have been my first choice had it not been for the disappointing 220v requirement... it seems to have everything going for it otherwise. Maybe I'll do a Google search on some of the brands you mentioned.... I've honestly never heard of some of them.

      Yes, hate is a strong word but that is what I meant about tool ownership (in this case, whether someone hates the TS3650 saw or not.) I can live with little things as long as the tool performs its duty well. Some things (that ideally should have been designed better from the outset) a person just gets used to and they no longer are a problem. What I can't tolerate are tools so horribly made that using them becomes an excersise in frustration. A case in point is my low-end Craftsman table saw.

      Years ago when I first purchased our home, I needed a saw to do basic jobs but I could not afford much... so off to Sears I went. Regrettably, what I came home with was the biggest piece of junk that was ever made... and it's why I used the word 'hate' in my original post. I won't get into the details here except to say that I am more confident of my bandsaw to yield accurate cuts than I am of my crummy craftsman saw...which sure as heck doesn't say much about that saw. Soon I'll clean it up and put it in our annual garage sale and see if I can get something for it.... someone could buy it for the leg set it comes with I guess.

      I'm about 90% sold on the TS3650, but after your reply Heywood I am still keeping my options open. 25 years ago my old high school shop teacher had a great technique for making sure a fence was parallel with the blade, but I sure wish I could remember what it was... maybe I'll find a good one here in this forum or in a table saw techniques book. (I still remember his 5 P's however -- Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance!) My big requirement for a table saw is that once I've made sure the fence is parallel to the blade, it stays parallel when stock is being pushed through. That's why I hate my craftman and would cheerfully push it off a cliff... no matter how much I tinker with the fence or carefully lock it down, by the time I'm done with a single pass it is all out of whack again.

      Thanks again for the information. To sum up my feelings, I guess I could say that I know every competently made tool has its own basket of virtues and vices... it's up to the buyer to decide what can be lived with or not. If you are wealthy enough to own the best of the best, then maybe your 'vice basket' is empty. Most of us however have to put up with a thing or two in a trade-off for something we like... so far the TS3650 seems like the one to go with, but I'll check into some of those other models you mentioned first.

      Comment


      • #4
        Sorry Hewood... I spelled your name wrong in my reply... It won't happen again!
        Greg

        Comment


        • #5
          Greg,

          If you really like the Dewalt, check out the 2005-2005 Craftsman tool catalog. The new saws appear to be based on the DW746 design. But, they're priced hundreds less - $600 for mid-priced version with cast wings and $850 for top model with Biesemeyer commercial fence. Yea, it says Craftsman on it so you'd have to get over that.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sorry Hewood... I spelled your name wrong in my reply... It won't happen again!
            Greg
            Man...if that's the worst thing that happens today, it's gonna be a great day! Don't sweat it....

            p.s. Spelling and grammar don't count as long as we can make out the dialogue. [img]smile.gif[/img]

            Comment


            • #7
              I too was looking through the Craftsman catalog the other day and am initially impressed with the new 10" cabinet saw with Biesemeyer fence for ~$900, maybe they are making a turn around in the tool department. My biggest concern about Ridgid tools is the poor customer service and LONG waits for parts. If they can't support their current line of tools where will you be in four or five years when newer models are out on the market?

              Originally posted by ByteButcher:
              Greg,

              If you really like the Dewalt, check out the 2005-2005 Craftsman tool catalog. The new saws appear to be based on the DW746 design. But, they're priced hundreds less - $600 for mid-priced version with cast wings and $850 for top model with Biesemeyer commercial fence. Yea, it says Craftsman on it so you'd have to get over that.

              Comment


              • #8
                Greg
                Ridgid woodworking tools has some serious problems to work out and so far they don't seem to be addressing them.

                First their customer service from most reports are not doing the job. They just told one guy he would have to wait 5 to 6 weeks for a part he needed for his "brand new saw". That problem was later solved but it does show what to expect.

                Second they seem to have a real problem with accessories and normal maintenance parts. There have been people awaiting for replacement parts for months.

                Third they haven't corrected problems that existed with Home Depot since they started selling machines through them. Their displays are shabby, the machines are missing parts and Home Depot employees know little or nothing about the machines, warrantee or service.

                On the positive. The 3650 seems like a great machine. It carries features that few if any contractor saws have as standard.

                First there is a easy to remove and REPLACE blade guard. Most guards get taken off and never replaced.

                Second it had PAL like adjustment on the rear Trunions, that is a $50 option on any other saw.

                Third it has the movable base which is a $50 to $100 option on any other saw.

                Fourth is has two cast iron wings most saws today come with one and fibre board on the right or they have two steel wings.

                Fifth the 3650 has a dust collector around the blade and it seems to work.

                Sixth it has flat drive belt that removes a lot of vibration form the saw. To get this in any other say you need to at least change the belt to a link belt which will run about $50. Some need machined pulleys.

                Seventh it has a TEFC motor which means the motor is sealed to saw dust which should make it last longer.

                On the negative side of the 3650

                First the legs to me seem too weak the saw wobbles. There are people on this forum that have fixed the problem or swear it doesn't exist but on every machine I have seen in about 8 Home Depots the saw shakes and to me that shouldn't happen on something costing $600.

                Second the motor is a no name and that worries me. I would be happier with a Ridgid sticker than nothing. Makes me think nobody wants blamed.

                As you see I don't have any real big problems with the 3650 but before I bought one, Ridgid would have to demonstate to me that they are addressing the customer service and maintenace/repair parts issue.

                My opinion
                Rev Ed

                Comment


                • #9
                  Wow! That's a lot to chew on from all you nice folks who shared your opinions... a sincere 'Thanks!' Your help certainly is appreciated.

                  A couple of days ago I was a happy man... I thought I had a saw choice all nailed down, but now I'm not so sure... Who'd a-figured it could be such an agonizing decision? Anyway, there has been a new wrinkle in my table saw quest... A Grizzly tech replied to my email and said that the G0 0444Z could indeed be rewired for 110V (at 24 Amps!)and that the wiring diagram for this configuration is right inside the saw...This is great news because this had been my first choice from the outset but the advertised 220V requirement was a real let-down. Now I just have to look at the wiring going into my shop and check to see what kind of breaker I have in my box for that line.... just what I needed.... another project!

                  This message board has been a real eye-opener for me... I've poured over a huge amount of information in just a few days here. It seems like just about everyone pretty much likes the 3650 table saw, but more than a few people are a leery of Ridgid. That's a shame because they sure seem to be building things the right way.... minor design-bugs notwithstanding. I hope they find a way to keep the consumer's trust once they've gained it initially. I have to admit some of the warrantee 'red flags' have turned me me cold on Ridgid for now. I'll just wait and mull it over I guess. I want to check out those new Craftsman machines coming out May 1st, just in case something is quality enough to make me lose my decades-long Craftsman power tool grudge.... (not holding my breath.)

                  The greatest thing about my future new table saw (whether it ends up being orange, green or yellow) is that it comes with the blessing of my wife, who has finally realized we need something that will not burn our expensive oak with with circular marks at every pass. This means that the saw $$$ comes out of our budget, which in turn means that it helps free up more of my personal $$$ to buy a milling machine and lathe, something I desperately need for projects I desperately want to be working on. Of course that will also introduce a new problem of how to get 1500 pounds of milling machine and lathe down into my basement shop without killing myself... but maybe I can find a forum online for that kind of thing!

                  Comment

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