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  • Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

    Long story short: like others throughout this forum (good forum!) I bought a cheap table saw years ago and it served me for what I had to do. Now I am building better stuff, devoting more time to the craft, and while I hate to blame the saw there are just some things I can't do on it (Craftsman 10" tabletop). I need to do mortise-and-tenon joinery to build panel doors. So here's the question: based on many reviews and comments in this forum, I'm thinking of buying the Ridgid TS3650. Is it accurate enough to do good quality cabinet work, and by that I mean, will I be able to cut nice, clean dadoes? Tight fitting tenons to fit the mortises I'm cutting on my mortising machine? I really don't think I can fit or afford a bigger panel saw. And I realize the quality of my work depends as much on my talent as the tools I'm using. But is the 3650 the saw I need? Many thanks in advance.

  • #2
    Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

    Before you trash your Craftsman saw..how about tuning it up, or doing some preventive maintenance on it.
    Get a good quality saw blade and a good dado set. Make sure the fence system is accurate..many can be somewhat adjusted.

    Ensure the miter fence is accurate or get a newer one like an Osborne. Buy a or make a tenoning jig.

    Another upgrade may be the motor. I am not that familiar with the saw you have, but you may be able to get a heftier motor if necessary.

    If the saw is not a direct drive then look at replacing the motor drive belt with a
    power twist belt.

    Buy or make a zero insert for the saw blade..Make two of them, one for the dado blade and one for the good quality new blade.

    As long as the deck is flat you can probably improve its performance by doing some of the stuff I suggested.



    Cactus Man

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    • #3
      Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

      Thank you. I've done some of what you've suggested. But my tabletop Craftsman allows only a 1/2 inch dado. I know I could do a pass and finish with a router or adjust the fence and do another pass but I was really hoping to get a saw that could do a 3/4 (23/32) dado. And I have invested in a good blade. The fence is a real problem even with adjustments; I adjust it each rip. It's a direct drive motor. Because the mitre slot isn't a standard 3/4 inch, I can't buy a good tenoning jig so I did make one that rides along the fence. But since the fence is lousy and the saw is underpowered (again this is the low-end Craftsman, my first saw), my tenons are tough to make.

      Any opinion on the Ridgid 3650's ability to cut good dadoes and fine tenons?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

        John, The 3650, in my opinion, is the best saw available for the dollar. The fence is extremely accurate, it has plenty of muscle, and with a good blade will cut with the best of them.

        Terry

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        • #5
          Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

          ok, As I indicated in my first rant... I was not familiar with the saw. Now that you provided more details I also vote you buy the Ridgid saw. This would be more cost effective. I still suggest you buy the stuff mentioned earlier as most often the supplied stuff is low grade quality.

          Cactus Man

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

            It sounds like you are in the boat I was a few months ago. I had one of those direct drive craftsman specials (also my first saw). Vibration wasn't too bad, but the table was small and not flat, the mitre gauge was non standard and sloppy and it howled like a banshee. I made a mission bed using it, and used a home made tennoning jig that ran on the fence. Using the saw was an exercise in frustration. You can get it to do good work, but you have to measure everything 5-10 times, and use extra jigs and supports for just about every cut. I recently bought a 2412 (predecessor to the 3650) used, and it is a pleasure to use in comparison. Add my vote to those saying it's worth the upgrade. I don't think the new saw improved the quality of my work much (if at all) but I had MUCH more fun using it.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

              Originally posted by johneel View Post
              Long story short: like others throughout this forum (good forum!) I bought a cheap table saw years ago and it served me for what I had to do. Now I am building better stuff, devoting more time to the craft, and while I hate to blame the saw there are just some things I can't do on it (Craftsman 10" tabletop). I need to do mortise-and-tenon joinery to build panel doors. So here's the question: based on many reviews and comments in this forum, I'm thinking of buying the Ridgid TS3650. Is it accurate enough to do good quality cabinet work, and by that I mean, will I be able to cut nice, clean dadoes? Tight fitting tenons to fit the mortises I'm cutting on my mortising machine? I really don't think I can fit or afford a bigger panel saw. And I realize the quality of my work depends as much on my talent as the tools I'm using. But is the 3650 the saw I need? Many thanks in advance.
              The TS3650 will cut straight accurate dados and also will cut very accurate tenons. I have built cabinets, furniture, and bookcases with mine. All problems I had were the operator, not the saw. When I had bad cuts, they would have been the same even if I had a $1500 saw. The largest dados I have cut were 3/4"w x 1" deep using a Freud SD208 dado in kiln dried white oak. The only thing I would call a PITA is setting up the splitter. It works well after you get it right.
              I also had direct drive Craftsman before I bought the Ridgid. No comparison. The ridgid is more accurate, solid accurate fence, more table space in front of the blade, wider crosscut capability, and it is much, much quieter. You do have to assemble it and make the inital adjustments, which will get you familiar with how it works. Do not rush the set-up. The time taken to get it right will definitely reward you as soon as you start using it.
              I believe that after you buy it, you will wonder why you waited so long.

              Go
              Practicing at practical wood working

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                Thanks all for the feedback. All good tips, and I appreciate it.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                  Gofor is absolutely correct. I too had a craftsman saw that I purchased to do some remodeling work around the house. It did well for me, but I now regard it as a dangerous toy, and am glad to be rid of it.
                  The Ridgid contractors saw is a tremendous step up.
                  It amazed me it's ability to produce square and accurate work. The fence, run out to maximum travel is accurate and trustworthy. You rapidly get to a point where you no longer have to test each cut for accuracy, the saw repeats.
                  Steve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                    Originally posted by tpwade View Post
                    Add my vote to those saying it's worth the upgrade. I don't think the new saw improved the quality of my work much (if at all) but I had MUCH more fun using it.
                    I believe this statement is true: the saw alone won't improve your quality. If you're adamant about quality you could build anything with a handsaw and a plane alone. But the saw will allow your produce quality work much more efficiently, and faster overall. So what you're paying for with an upgrade is the lessening of headaches, workarounds, frustration, and wasted time.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                      I also had a Craftsman 10" table saw - the small one. Yes, it was tuned, yes, I made the tenoning jig work with the Craftsman. And yes, I just bought the 3650. It is a world of difference. It is so nice to be able to mitre a 45 on a piece of 9" wide stock without having most of it hanging off the front of the table. It is a real pleasure to rip a 6' long 1" thick cherry without the blade slowing down or dropping on motor over-heat. My new saw is accurate and clean, the fence required minor adjustment to be aligned to the blade +- .002" ( I use feeler guages).

                      Good luck

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                        Too funny. Is there anyone that didn't start out with that direct drive Craftsman aluminum top table saw? Even though I managed to build some decent pieces with that thing, it was a happy day when its new owner drove away with it in the back of his mini-van.

                        The 3650 is far and away the best valued machinery purchase I've made so far, and I've got a garage full of stuff. Once tuned, it maintains accurate cuts for a very long time. No lack of power, and I've worked it pretty hard. The only negative I could say about any of my Ridgid tools is having to deal with HD... ridiculous.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                          Originally posted by StevenD View Post
                          Too funny. Is there anyone that didn't start out with that direct drive Craftsman aluminum top table saw? Even though I managed to build some decent pieces with that thing, it was a happy day when its new owner drove away with it in the back of his mini-van. ....
                          You can tell who did and didn't by the attitude toward the saw:
                          Those of us that did pretty much rave over the TS3650, altho we address the problems as minor things that are relatively easily overcome or fixed.
                          Those that start with a TS3650 tend to view the problems as more severe, because they do not have the experience or knowledge gained from dealing with the aggravations of a much inferior product. Sometimes it amazes me when I see posts on other forums from people with Felders and Lagunas that don't know the basics about setting up a saw.
                          I do not begrudge those just starting with the TS3650, as they will be those "old farts" 20 years from now that tell the next generation of woodworkers how to fix their TS when it says "Insert wood here" on the computer screen and it doesn't come out straight when the computer tells them to "eject wood". Altho, I do hope there are still a few around that can show someone how to tune a handplane or hand-cut a dovetail.

                          Go
                          Last edited by Gofor; 01-17-2008, 10:46 PM.
                          Practicing at practical wood working

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                            I'm a 3650 lover as well and I failed to recognize and address a significant shorcoming. Cutting tenons requires some precise, repetative cuts and if you are relying on the stock miter gauge, without improvements, the slop between the slot and the bar can make your cuts vary. A short-term fix is making center punch marks along one side of the bar to take up the slack. Replacing the miter gauge is one of the popular upgrades but the aforementined 'punch' improvement works. And if anyone thinks otherwise, I love this saw!
                            Later,
                            Chiz

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Tenoning with Ridgid 3650

                              Originally posted by StevenD View Post
                              Too funny. Is there anyone that didn't start out with that direct drive Craftsman aluminum top table saw? Even though I managed to build some decent pieces with that thing, it was a happy day when its new owner drove away with it in the back of his mini-van.

                              (SNIP)
                              Yeah, some folks didn't have the Craftsman. I had the direct-drive Delta aluminum top saw, with multiple extension wings. (I, too, was very happy seeing it go away in the back of its new owners' pickup - and he was happy as well ... a win-win scenario.) It was a nice toy, but I had to make ALL of the jigs myself (the panel cutter and the sled helped a LOT but not quite enough) and its miter gauge was somewhere between a joke and a nightmare so I had to make "fixed" 30, 45, and 60 degree miter "jigs" to use with the sled. (The sled was bigger than the saw's top BTW.) I bought the Ridgid 3650 and my only real regret is that I waited so long to do so. (OK, one of my regrets - I wish my shop were larger, too, and there are few other tools I'd like to have, and ...)

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