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I'm considering buying the TS-3650, but questioning the fence

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  • I'm considering buying the TS-3650, but questioning the fence

    Hi guys. I'm brand new here and this is my first post. I have been doing a fair amount of research before buying a new table saw and the TS-3650 seems to be the saw of choice in its class and price range by all the woodworker magazine comparisons and by all I've checked on this site and others for many reasons.

    I currently have a smaller Craftsman table saw, (really more like a bench saw on a stand), which has been "okay" but my hobby / part time business now requires something more heavy duty and more accurate, but still mobile enough to move in and out and around my garage shop.

    I've read in here that almost everyone judges the Ridgid fence okay, but it has been beaten into my head for years and years that the best fence is a Biesemeyer, (although the June '06 issue of Workbench judges some better now).

    One thing I'm concerned about is the plastic locking handle. Any comments from you experienced TS-3650 guys on the handle and any other issues with the fence?

    Also, is it possible to purchase a Biesemeyer fence separately and use it on the TS-3650? Any idea wof hat kind of adapting would need to be done?


  • #2
    Originally posted by dufhudson
    One thing I'm concerned about is the plastic locking handle. Any comments from you experienced TS-3650 guys on the handle and any other issues with the fence?

    Also, is it possible to purchase a Biesemeyer fence separately and use it on the TS-3650? Any idea wof hat kind of adapting would need to be done?
    First of all, welcome to the group.

    I started a thread awhile back asking actual owners of Ridgid table saws whether or not they had experienced any incidents of the plastic handle breaking under normal shop use. IIRC there wasn't a single response from a user who reported that the plastic handle had broken under normal shop use. I think that one guy said he found a damaged handle when he unpacked his new saw. The general consenus seems to be that the broken handles on some display units at a few HD's are caused mainly by HD customers abusing the display models and HD employees banging into the saws while moving stock around. It seems that whenever I read about someone claiming that the plastic handle is a weak point of the fence, the writer is someone who doesn't own a Ridgid TS.

    You certainly can purchase a Biesemeyer rail and fence system to replace the stock rail and fence sytem on the 3650. To mount the Bies rails onto the 3650 you may have to drill an extra hole or two but basically it shouldn't be a big problem. But, I would give the stock rail and fence system a try before plunking down money for an aftermarket system. You never know, you may well be satisfied with the stock system. I know I am.
    ================================================== ====
    All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.


    • #3
      Welcome to the forum. I have learned quite a lot about my TS3650 on this forum and agree with what BadgerDave said above. I have had no problems with my handle on the stock fence and would really have to imagine it would take some effort to break it off (or real carelessness). I am also quite happy with the stock fence and don't currently see the need to upgrade. I find it it to be quite accurate and no issue to complain of at all once I had everything aligned properly.

      Good luck with your decision. I'm sure you would be quite happy with the TS3650.

      Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


      • #4
        I've read a handful of posts from owners who's handles were broken upon opening the saw, maybe one who broke it in the shop, and a few who noticed them broken in the store. It doesn't appear to be a common occurence, but the materials of construction aren't as strong as the materials used in a Biesemeyer. It's fairly strong plastic and should be fine, but I do think it'd be stronger if it were steel.

        The Biese is in a different league IMO. It's the most copied design on the market, and is the number one selling aftermarket fence. Not only is the fence built like a tank, but so are the rails which offer increased wing support and rigidity. Virtually all cabinet saws, high end contractor saws, and highend hybrids offer some form of a Biese fence. Regardless of whether Wood rates it #1 or Workbench doesn't, mag reviews are still the opinion of the reviewer or reviewers, and should be treated as such. It's steel construction makes the Biese extremely durable, easy to use, repeatable, and accurate. However, I can't think of many current fence offerings that aren't capable of the task at hand, but some do offer some advantages. That said, go with the one you like best.


        • #5
          Thank a heap Badger Dave and WWS! I've already come to respect your answers and opinions from reading through some of the previous threads. Your information just pushed me over the edge. I'm getting the TS-3650!

          Thanks again.


          • #6
            Happy with mine

            I bought the 3650 about 6-7 months ago to replace my old one lost in a fire. Naturally, I am using this one to rebuild my home and my shop and thus far I have no gripes with the saw or the fence. I used a dial indicator to set up everything and out of the box my fence was within .003 alignment and straightness. Try the factory fence for a bit. Then use the money you saved on a 'Beezy-mier' to get a new toy.


            • #7
              The vast majority of people prefer the Biesemeyer if given a choice. The cost difference is considerable though. There are good copies that offer a less expensive alternative. They're stock on many saws which minimizes the cost difference quite a bit.

              Here's a link to a thread about upgrading tools, and a comment from an owner who switched from the Ridgid fence to the Biesemeyer:

              "Dave, what I noticed as the biggest difference was the fence. Going from the Ridgid fence I had to a Biesemeyer fence was like angels had opened the sky above my tablesaw and allowed me to make cut after cut exactly the correct size with NO measuring besides using the curser on the fence. "

              Last edited by TomP; 07-14-2006, 12:49 PM.


              • #8
                I'm not sure what that writer was trying to say. From my experiences with my Ridgid fence/rail system, I've never had any problem making exact sized cuts using the tape on the fence as long as I've read the tape correctly.

                Usually I set the fence using the tape on the rail then double check with my tape measure and measure from the blade to the fence. The only time I've ever found differences between the two measurements was when I had incorrectly read the tape on the rail and even angels couldn't prevent that.

                So, I guess I disagree with that writers when he insinuates that the Ridgid fence/rail system isn't accurate and repeatable.
                Last edited by BadgerDave; 07-14-2006, 02:42 PM.
                ================================================== ====
                All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.


                • #9
                  I have used the tape measure on the 3650 rail so long that I don't even bother to check with a ruler any more. I can get repeatability to better than 1/32" over and over again as checked with a digital caliper. The key is to spend some serious time getting the little magnifying indicator calibrated right for the blade you are using. You can certainly spend more for a fence and if you use it several hours daily for 10 years, you might be able to tell the difference. However, for my usage, the Bies fence would be wasted money.


                  • #10
                    Having never tried a Bies fence, I can't offer an honest opinion on the differences. But I an agree with others above and say that I have gotten repeatable cuts of same measurement with no issues. I also use a tape measure between the blade and fence and have not found any differences with the tape on the rail so I rarely bother anymore. I found it to be more useful for me on the "measure twice, cut once" theory than anything and prevent user error. I would rather to spend the money on something else. I would not be as happy with the saw if I bought it and the stock parts did not allow me to produce the results I currently get and expect with the money I spent.

                    Just my $.02 worth.
                    Still enjoying all 10 fingers!


                    • #11
                      BD wrote: "So, I guess I disagree with that writers when he insinuates that the RIDGID fence/rail system isn't accurate and repeatable."

                      I agree with Dave and others, there is no problem with the RIDGID fence and repeatability. There IS one thing you should watch out for though. If you set the magnifier (calibrate your fence) with one thickness blade, then swap to another blade of different thickness, your cuts WILL be off slightly due to the difference in the thickness of the two blades. Most of this error will be on the right side of the blade, so if you normally use your fence on to the right of the blade you will encounter the error more often. If you use your fence on the left most times the calibration is not affected to as great a degree so you may never notice.

                      The difference comes from the width of the teeth and the thickness of the blade. As an example think about a blade that is .115" thick with a tooth width of .125" and another blade with a .098" thickness and .110" tooth width.

                      The left side of the tooth on the thicker blade is to the left of the arbor flange 0.005", for the thinner blade this works out to be 0.006", so a 0.001" difference; hardly noticeable.

                      On the right side of the blade, the side away from the arbor flange, it's a different story.

                      Now we need to take the thickness of the blade plus half the difference between the blade thickness and the tooth width. For the thicker blade we have;

                      .115 + ((.125-.115)/2) = 0.120"

                      For the thinner blade its;

                      0.098 + ((.110-.098)/2) = 0.104"

                      Now we have a difference of 0.120 - 0.104 or 0.016"
                      "It's a table saw, do you know where your fingers are?" Bob D. 2006



                      Time, cost, or quality; pick any two but you can't have all three.


                      • #12
                        probably very late for this one but the 3650 is a great saw, go for it if you did not already
                        Just my opinion