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Contractor Tablesaw

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  • Contractor Tablesaw

    I am in the market for a new contractor style tablesaw. I would like to spend around $600.
    I have read and read about this topic but still undecided due to the fact that i cannot go to the store and see all of the models i want to compare. So i have a few questions for you.

    These are the models that i would like to compare

    Rigid TS3650
    Rigid TS3612
    Delta 36-650
    Powermatic 64A
    Jet JWTS-10jf

    The only model that i have been able to see in person at home depot is the TS3650. I thought it was a really nice saw. I did notice the legs are a little wobbly, I love the lift idea, really inovative. Althought, from what i have read, the leg problem can be fixed, but i was wondering if it had the TEFC motor? and What is TEFC? Can a 3/4" Dado blade fit on the arbor? How does the TS 3650 compare to the other models i have listed, and Do you think the 3650 is a quality built machine? The mix of standard and metric bolts is concerning? How is the 3650 different from the 3612?


  • #2
    jbird---welcome. However, just be aware that you're posting a brand selection question on a Ridgid forum.

    First, to get a 3612, at this time, you're probably going to have to buy used, as Ridgid doesn't make it anymore.

    Frankly, to cut to the chase, you should consider two things: quality of the fence system and availibility of parts/accessories.

    Fences----the Powermatic has a Biesemeyer clone and another, in that price area, the General has a licensed Biese' fence. I don't think Delta has one until you get into the $800-900 range. While the 3650 has one of the better low-end fences, it can't compare to a Biese or clone.

    Accessories---don't take my word for it, but do a search here. Seems like Ridgid hasn't been giving a lot of support to accessories for their newer tools. This could change, but when you want an insert, etc., they haven't been supporting the product, whereas, these other models have been around a long time and seem to have great customer support.

    I think we've had a number of people here who have agreed that the 3650 is a good buy if you can get it on a 15-25% off sale, but at it's list price, there are other better saws in your price range. Good luck.


    • #3
      The 3650 has a 'TEFC' motor
      Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled
      Ya I was dissapointed when I found out what it meant too


      • #4
        The 3650 and the 3612 can both handle up to 13/16" dados. I wouldn't be concerned about a mix of metric and SAE bolts. If you don't already own metric sockets and wrenches, they would be a good investment cause you WILL need them in the future. I also have to disagree with the ferg dude when he says the Ridgid fence is "low end". I have never had problem one with my fence. It has stayed square for well over a year, never been knocked out of the set position and moves very smoothly along the rails. It also is very accurate. I also like the Ridgids ability to rip 36" right of the blade versus the 30" that is offered by Jet and Delta. The cast iron wings on the Ridgid are also another plus feature over the Jet and the Delta. I'm not familiar with the Powermatic so I can't comment on it.
        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.


        • #5
          Thanks for the input guys, Well i just went and looked at a Delta 36-675 with the bies... style fence and i like the Ridgid TS3650 fence better. The Delta fence does not clamp on both sides of the table and can be wiggled at the un-clamped end.


          • #6
            Jbird---and Badger Dave----let's restate this again----the 3650 has one of the best fence in the low-end ts market----but, sorry----it's simply not better than the Biese'---here's why. Any fence that has lock-in/attachment to both the front and rear rail tends to be more difficult to initially align and to stay aligned---whereas, the Biese' design is a T-square, which locks onto the front rail only. Any deflection you may have found in the rear part of the fence is either correctable by adjusting two allen screws and/or inmaterial, in that the deflection is past the blade and not subject to any pressure causing the deflection.

            Very simply put---there's a very good reason why 90% of the fences found on table saws are either Biesemeyer or clones of the Biesemeyer.

            Now, if I couldn't have the Biesemeyer, yes, as I said, the 3650 design is the best of the stock fences, in the lower end table saws, but it simply doesn't compare to a Biese' in ultimate accuracy.


            • #7
              jbird - Daveferg is correct about the design summary of the two types of fences, but I acknowledge that it's important to buy which one you like. There's truly a design difference and there's no free lunch with either design. The Biesemeyer type fences are found on almost all the top end contractor and cabinet saws, and it's much more than a fad. They're precise, rugged, impossible to clamp out of parallel when aligned, and easy to clamp jigs to. Deflection at the rear rail is typically measure to ~ 1/64" and is less than that at the blade....a non factor. Downside is cost.

              Also, don't overlook the difference in the strength of the two materials. The steel rails do a better job supporting the solid cast iron wings and keeping them square. That strength becomes even more important if you hang a router table off the rails. The steel will also handle the occasionally bumps that occurr in a shop environment. The aluminum is far easier to damage. I also have concerns about the plastic handle on the 3650. Hard to imagine that lasting a couple of decades unscathed.

              It's a bit awkward to post design concerns on a brand-specific site where many owners can get offended, but I'd hate to see you make a decision without weighing all the factors. I've never heard of anyone willingly changing from a Biese type fence to a Ridgid type, but many jump to the Biese which is considered a step up. Posting the concerns may also ultimately lead Ridgid to raise the bar with their fence.

              The PM64a is considered the Cadillac of the group. The Delta 36-650 is decent entry level, but I'm not fond of that fence either. Jet is offering the new Microglide fence on their entry level contractor saw. It's an improvement, but no Biese. Have you considered a General International ($650), Bridgewood ($580), or Grizzly 0444Z ($525)? The Griz @ $600 delivered is IMO the best bang for the buck going in this category.

              Good luck whatever you decide.

              [ 04-22-2004, 09:08 PM: Message edited by: hewood ]


              • #8
                thanks for your opinion hewood, I would consider those other saws, but no one around here sells them, so i cant even look at one.


                • #9
                  Hi jbird,

                  Last I heard that popular new Griz machine was 2-3 months behind on filling orders.
                  My .02 concerns the term "low end" being bandied about here. The Ridgid is not low end if you have been to see the Craftsman or the $399. cheapie units from Jet and Delta, etc. When I was shopping, I almost gave up after seeing how poor the arbors and fences were on these units, until I went to Home Depot for only the third time in my life. The Ridgid impressed the heck out of me, the arbor was tight and true and the fence locked down tight.
                  Obviously I own a Ridgid and the fence is as good as it feels. I used to clamp a board behind the fence when ripping valuable lumber 10-14 feet long out of paranoia, I haven't bothered in the last 6 months, the fence stays where I put it.
                  Good Luck in your saw search!

                  Crooked no longer! [img]smile.gif[/img]
                  \"Is it Friday yet?\"


                  • #10
                    I've had my 3612 for about a year. My only complaint is dust collection. If you can spare some more money I'd look at a low end cabinet saw from grizzly. The grizzly does come with a better fence.
                    Dave's explanation about the fence is accurate, however, the fence has given me zero problems. It was easy to align and has not needed realignment. It is not the weak link when ripping. Any problems I've had ripping were not due to the fence but to the user.
                    If I had to do it over again I would have saved up for a cabinet saw.


                    • #11
                      Hi JBird

                      I bought a 3612 about a year ago and for what I do with it I have no complaints. The fence is not a beis but if your woodworking progresses to where you feel you need one you could upgrade to one, although by that time you may also need a 2 or 2.5hp motor and if the dust colection does bother you then maybe a cabinet saw would be what you want.

                      I know buying something and thinking I may have to buy another better unit later is a worrysome thought, but you will then know how much you like the hobby or maybe even the business of woodworking.

                      The TEFC motor is a plus, sawdust does not get into the motor at all. The 3612 does not have that kind of motor which really baffels me. As far as accesories go some Craftsman stuff will work on the 3612 or older models and I'm sure the 3650 stuff will be out soon.

                      And DaveFerg is a good knowledgeable guy although you might disagree with his politics... LOL just kidding Dave
                      Before I bought my saw I took alot of his advice and several others here and I haven't regreted any of it.

                      Good luck


                      • #12
                        Well I,m trying to make a decision between the Rigid 3650 and the delta 36-675. Has anyone used them both ?? If so, I would like your opinion. The Rigid has cast iron wings, dust collection, and the lift..........the Delta doesnt have any of those, but it does have a beis style fence, and is very sturdy.


                        • #13
                          You didn't say why you want a "contractor" saw. The term is meaninless these days as most contractors have gone to the more lightweight "jobsite" saws. I recently joined the trend and replaced my old Rockwell (Delta) contractor saw with a jobsite saw and a Ridgid TS3650 for the shop.

                          If you are actually going to transport the saw, I'd advise against the Ridgid. Its very heavy (50lbs more than Delta) and its probably more fragile due to the die-cast Zinc / aluminum / whatever trunnions and the rails. I haven't seen the exact Delta model you mention, but in the past Delta had sturdy cast iron trunnions and steel fence rails. I used to pick up my Rockwell by the top, swing the legs up and drop it (gently if not too exhuasted) in the back of my pickup. I can't imagine transporting the Ridgid.

                          If you want a $600 shop saw and you're not in a big hurry, I'd check out the 2005-2005 Craftsman tool catalog for the new table saws coming in May. I know lots of folks will laugh at me for suggesting Craftsman, but what's the harm in looking? The new saws are nothing like the old saws. They're cabinet style with internally mounted motors - very similar to the $900 Dewalt Woodworkers saw but priced hundreds less. If I hadn't bought my Ridgid during the 20% off sale, I'd be disappointed that I didn't wait.


                          • #14

                            Welcome indeed. I'm relatively new to woodworking and let me state unequivocally that the people in this Forum are an absolute invaluable source of information; patently outstanding and always willing to help. They've helped me make some informed decisions when I was otherwise headed off in the wrong direction.

                            The Good Lord knows I've hammered them with one question after another, and they've been stellar in their responses.

                            Again,'re in some outstanding company. It'll be a few years before I join their ranks though!


                            • #15
                              I think maybe the best saw in this price range was not in your consideration - the Grizz 0444z.

                              Curious as to why not??

                              jbird - have an older Delta flavor with Uni - great saw but not fair to compare as different setup.

                              Had 2 rigid 3650's - real cheap when on sale. Sold one and son has other now. Replaced with the 2 Grizz units - the referenced 0444z and a cabinet one, the 1023. IMO the 0444z is just a whole lot more saw but also 220v.

                              I'm surely not knocking the 3650 - nice saw, will serve very well. I just think the options are also out there that maybe are bit better.

                              I also feel very strongly that the PM 64a is nice saw but would never ever consider one. Not when a low end cabinet saw is priced similar. If it was priced in $700 range it's a buy.

                              The GI is great saw - back-ordered still.

                              Good luck

                              [ 05-11-2004, 10:32 AM: Message edited by: Cranky ]
                              Wish I had the answers ..... even half of \'em