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
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?
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.
The 3650 has a 'TEFC' motor
Totally Enclosed Fan Cooled
Ya I was dissapointed when I found out what it meant too ;)
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.
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.
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.
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 ]
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.
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]
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.