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Doubts about Ridgid

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  • Doubts about Ridgid

    I was getting ready to buy a Ridgid TS3650 Table Saw, Shop Vac, and ROS. But after reading several posts including those by "Bob D" & "RevEd" and a few others, about bad service, delay on parts availability, and lack of accesories, I now have serious doubts. Not only that but, I don't see any rebuttals or reassurances from anyone representing Ridgid. This disturbs me even more if the company has this website and doesn't make the effort to respond. I have to ask, "What are they doing?" I'm not the Chicken Little type, far from it, but this kind of stuff isn't acceptable. Anybody else have these questions? Or am I just overly concerned? If I'm wrong, I'll eat the crow and apologize.

  • #2
    You know what they say about opinions..but here's mine. I have a TS3650. I didn't buy it because it was the best saw I could find. I bought it because it was the best saw for the money. The saw has some features that I really like and some I'm less crazy about but, for me, the features I don't like just aren't that important. For me, the things to look for in a table saw are adjustability, fence and rail quality, 230V operation, cast iron tables and table size. For the price, Ridgid has these down cold. I think any tool has features that are undesirable for some buyers...even those $3000 cabinet saws. The bottom line is this: if I were a professional carpenter I might have made another choice but for the serious home hobbyist, the TS3650 is a great saw and I recommend it. Don't confuse the quality of the tool with the quality of the people you buy it from. Most of the beefs I hear in this forum about service stem from the fact that HD does a poor job of training their salespeople, coordinating with the manufacturer and stocking parts and accessories. Clearly some stores are better than others but they are in the minority. I have run into parts and service issues with virtually every brand HD carries but that has not lowered my opinion of the tools themselves. You want an example? I bought the Bosch jig saw from HD. It's the best there is. I waited 3 months for the edge guide I ordered for it and finally had to buy one on the internet. The Bosch is still the best jig saw around. See my point?

    [ 04-27-2004, 01:34 PM: Message edited by: outrage26 ]


    • #3
      There have been posts both praising and condemning Ridgid's service, parts availability and accessories. It's up to you to decide which ones are the norm and which ones may be exaggerated. I tend to think that there is a little truth in both sides. Without exception, no company is trouble free 100% of the time.

      As far as a lack of response from factory peaple, I totally agree that is an area that could use some improvement. However, the only other tool company that I can think of that has a forum like this is Ryobi. When their website is up and running, it crashes all the time, the factory representation there is nonexistent and the product portion of the site is shamefully out of date. Ridgids product sections on the other hand are as current as todays newspaper.
      I decided to change calling the bathroom the "John" and renamed it the "Jim". I feel so much better saying I went to the Jim this morning.


      • #4
        For what it is worth I own the TS3650 also. I did considerable amounts of research and playing with the many models available(Delta, Jet, Grizzly) before I saw the TS3650 in HD(At that point wasn't even considering Ridgid).

        My only thought was WOW. Cast iron top with 2 cast iron extensions, packaged with a great movable base, and only $600. I couldn't pick it up soon enough. The biggest thing you'll hear from others is that the fence isn't as great as the Bies or one of the clones, utter bullsh!t. Properly installed and setup this fence is great, with zero deflection. Granted my testing method of locking the fence on the display models and pulling on the *** end isn't very scientific but I have a keen eye and notice anywhere from 1/64 to 1/8 deflection on the so called "GREAT" fences. Before anyone even says it, yes the displays were properly put together, I verified this myself.

        As for customer service I haven't heard of a company in the last 4 forevers that has good customer service. I'm in the IT field and am constantly on the phone with India it seems like. Before you ask, yes you will have to make your own zero clearance inserts and dado inserts. No biggie, in 2 hours you can make about 10, more than enough for a good long time, and for about $25.

        My 2c$

        [ 04-27-2004, 02:12 PM: Message edited by: Barry Johnson ]


        • #5
          I have a 3612 which I am very happy with. Do I wish I had a Unisaw? You bet I do, but for 1/3 the price, the Ridgid does a great job.

          As to the parts availability, I took in some extension wings in the fall and had new ones within 2 weeks. heck, even the PC and DeWalt service centers don't have that beat! (over 1 month with DeWalt and currently passing 2 weeks on PC)

          As to the fence, I think the stock one is great. That said, I just installed a new Biesemeyer fence on mine for the extra capacity and simplicity of not having that back lockdown feature.

          I'm sure for $600 you won't be sorry. Use it a ton and if you want to upgrade later, you'll still get some cash back out.


          • #6
            The biggest thing you'll hear from others is that the fence isn't as great as the Bies or one of the clones, utter bullsh!t. Properly installed and setup this fence is great, with zero deflection.
            Barry - With all due respect for your opinion of the merits of the 3650, I think it's overly optomistic and simplistic to put it's fence on par with a Biesemeyer. The design philosophy of a dual locking system like the Ridgid's does indeed lock down tightly when set up properly, but there are cons along with the design. That same dual locking system offers an opportunity for the fence to lock down out of parallel if the proper technique isn't used because it needs to square with two sets of rails. When setup properly, it isn't possible to lock down a Biese of out'll be the same everytime. There are cons with a Biese t-type fence as well....such as cost and a negligle amount of deflection. When Wood Magazine compared cabinet saws last fall, none of them sported a fence remotely close to Ridgid's. All but one were t-type fences similar to the Biese. The worst of the bunch deflected 3/64" at the rear rail some 36-42" from the front rail with 20# lateral force...many were 1/64". The deflection at the blade is a fraction of those measurements, making it a moot point for all practical purposes, not to mention that 20# of direct lateral force is unlikely in real world use.

            Also the materials of construction of the fences are very different. Aluminum is not as strong as steel and will not support the wings as well, or hold up to banging or moving by the rails like the steel rails will. In addition, the handle is unimpressive plastic that is much more likely to break than the 5/16" diameter steel on a Biese. The Biese will withstand decades in a shop environment. The Ridgid fence isn't as likely to survive the same amount of time.

            So, while you're entitled to your opinion of the 3650's fence, and I will offer that it's better than Sears', Delta's and Jet's entry level aluminum offerings. There are facts of physics and design that give the Biese types quite an advantage, and I suspect that's why saws from $500-$3000 offer them.

            [ 04-27-2004, 03:53 PM: Message edited by: hewood ]


            • #7
              First, I echo Hewood's view on the fences. Always glad people are happy with their choices, but please, let's also be realistic.

              As to response to problems on this board, any old-timers here are likely spoiled by the great help Jake was. He is sorely missed. BTW----Ryobi forum always breaking down-----how appropiate. But, seriously, I would say Jake's monitoring of problems here certainly kept things from snowballing as they have at times.

              From all that I've read here, there does continue to be a problem getting parts and accessories, and on some tools, like the table saw, that IS an important consideration. Gad, how many posts have there been about the bandsaw riser block? Why don't they have dado inserts or z/c inserts? They had them both for the 3612? I think it's great people have been helping eachother in making these, but, why is it the only major brand that you can't get these accessories for?

              There are just questions you're correct to ask. It's now coming up on a year since the change over and you would think we'd see some improvements by now.


              • #8
                Dave, I agree with all you said except for one thing, and that is saying Ridgid is a "major brand". They are not a major player in the woodworking arena the way I see it. They may _want_ to be, but they will never get there the way they are going about it, and their biggest hurdle to getting there is customer service having to do with replacement parts.

                Took me 4 1/2 months to get a replacement handle for me MS-UV, and that only happened after I wrote to the higher-ups at Ridgid, Home Depot, and TTI (TechTronic Industries, owner of Roybi, and manufacturer of some Craftsman® tools for Sears, as well as other private labels).


                • #9
                  It is certainly true that Ridgid's responsiveness to its customers 'taint what it used to be, and I wholeheartedly endorse daveferg's observations about Jake Schnarre. (Jake: where are you?)

                  That said, though, one can easily put too much emphasis on customer support when making a tool purchasing decision. A great tool isn't going to need much support (and the occasional lemon can be dealt with by promptly returning it to the vendor). At the same time, spectacular customer service isn't going to make a poorly made or poorly designed tool worth it.

                  I own a TS2424 and think it is the greatest thing since spice cake. By all reports, the 3650 is just about the same (with some issues, maybe, about the rigidity of the support base). There are a couple of other stationary tools I'd give serious consideration to if I had more room in the shop. I'd be inclined to stay away from the new line of power hand tools, in part because Ridgid has nothing to do with their manufacture and in part because Milwaukee and Porter-Cable are still around.

                  I must say that my reaction to some of the complaints I've seen lately about cordless tools reflect more the fact that people are misusing them than that they are not well built (though I suspect a Makita cordless drill or DeWalt cordless trimsaw will outperform the Ridgid versions any day). Cordless tools are for those occasions when there is a good reason for not rigging a cord. They are not a replacement for high voltage tools. They cannot develop the same torque, and ni-cad batteries were not designed by supply high current loads and never will. Nor will ni-cads last very long so long as consumers want to charge them in 20 minutes and manufacturers supply chargers that purport to do so.


                  • #10
                    Barry - With all due respect for your opinion of the merits of the 3650, I think it's overly optomistic and simplistic to put it's fence on par with a Biesemeyer
                    Neither optimistic(correct spelling) or simplistic but very realistic. To avoid a flame war I'll put it this way the ridgid fence compared to the bies is like comparing a Chevy to a Mercedes. Both will get you were you want to go, just depends how much money you want to waste getting there. Either one will give you a straight cut when setup correctly. I NEVER said this saw belongs in production enviroment, but for average home user this is more than enough saw at a great price.

                    If I was a betting man, I would wager that I will still be using the 3650 with same rails/fence 10-15 years down the road. Big deal the handle is made of plastic. Can you find one of your portable power tools that isn't?? If one of cordless drills/circ saw/jig/recip/corded drills haven't fallen apart yet I think the handle should be fine if treated properly.

                    Not to say that one day I won't have a uni with a bies but for now my ridgid will do just fine and produce high quality cuts just as easily. Brand loyalty and snobbery be damned.

                    As for you point of steel vs. alum. Have you even flown in a commercial jet?? Guess what 90% of those birds is made out of. Alum approaches the strength of steel without the weight. Granted it lacks the durability of steel but I wasn't planning on using my fence as a hammer anytime soon.

                    Finally point is this, good saw for great price.

                    [ 04-28-2004, 09:27 AM: Message edited by: Barry Johnson ]


                    • #11
                      I agree with you Bob, until ridgid starts selling their woodworking tools at other places than HD they will not be a major player. When I can buy them through amazon, lowes and some internet sites then they have a shot. It seems that someone at HD must have a photo of the ridgid president in a compromising position.


                      • #12
                        Thanks Gentlemen,

                        I appreciate all of your input. I will have to mull this over and make the decision for myself. I really like the saw, I just don't want to make a poor choice. I have two gift cards with a face value of $500 that I purchased for 20% off and a 10% off coupon. Should make for some nice shopping at the Home Depot. Have a good day.


                        • #13
                          Interesting----as to Ridgid being a major player---if they don't out-sell other brands, they have no one to blame but themselves----the point being, they certainly have the exposure. HD certainly outnumbers the number of Sears stores (who used to pretty much monopolize the tool marketplace). So, if you want to buy a shop vac or specialized power tool, there's a better than average chance you'll go to HD.

                          As to their cordless line----I'd have to say it doesn't sound like abuse to me. There have been so many reports of bad chucks, bad batteries, etc., it's hard to not conclude there's a quality control issue.

                          I would agree that customer service shouldn't necessiairly be a criteria for buying a tool. But, overlooking the fact that many reports of pre-mature failure of some of their hand tools----the reports of long delays in getting parts, IMHO is unacceptable.

                          As to accessories----I'm really scratching my head on that one. When I worked retail, the first thing they taught you was always suggest accessories when the customer bought a major item. Accessories could add 20-30% to the sale, and in most cases, had a higher mark-up. HD, even before the change, missed the boat on that count. But, with the lack of these accessories, even from mail order---that's just plain dumb.

                          Barry----you can scream all you want to, but anyone with a current reality check isn't going to buy your line about the Ridgid fence being better than the Biese'. Why can't you just be happy with the fact that they put out a vastly improved fence, which they have.


                          • #14
                            You weren't reading that correctly dave. Ridgid fence is the Chevy, bies is the Mercedes. Never said it was better, all I said was that the fence cuts straight when setup correctly, just like the bies cuts straight when set correctly. And their was no screaming. THIS WOULD BE SCREAMING, I only emphasized one word, no screaming. I do consider the bies to be a better fence, just not $300+ better for a hobbyist. Of course you would have to read the entire post and understand what is being said.

                            I just hear/see too man people shout bies whenever fences are brought up. Almost like a Ford/Chevy argument, pulease!!!! If you can't cut a straight line on the 3650 with stock fence, you couldn't cut a straight line with a bies.

                            Please now, can everyone including myself get off the frickin' soap box.


                            • #15
                              Do not let Dave bother you, he is a well known Ridgid hater that hangs out on the Ridgid site. The point is Ridgid is a good product for the price, they do make better and more expensive equipment. Dave knows a lot about woodworking and likes higher end equip.

                              I have the Ridgid 3650, the 12v drill, mitre saw and the 6" jointer, never had a problem with any of them.

                              Happy woodworking